Kuwait airways recruitment exercise for Women hoping to become flight attendants raises questions as applicants reveal they were they ordered to strip down to their underwear so that recruiters could inspect their bodies, a Spanish newspaper reported.
Mariana, 23, told El Diario she was asked to strip to her bra, skirt, and pantyhose while a female recruiter wrote comments in a notebook: “I felt like an animal in the zoo.”
The incident took place at a hotel in Madrid, Spain, in November during a recruitment event organized by Meccti, which describes itself as the world’s largest cabin crew recruitment agency.
Three sources told El Diario that the interview process was uncomfortable from the start.
During an initial inspection, the sources said recruiters turned away women with glasses, braces, visible scars or moles — as well as any they judged to be overweight.
Some were asked if they’d be willing to lose weight, while others were asked whether they’d be willing to “eat more.”
One candidate was rejected after recruiters said they “didn’t like her skin or her smile,” according to Mariana.
Mariana told El Diario that just three of the 60 or so people attending the event were male, but they were turned away after recruiters said that the airline only hired Kuwaiti men.
Shortlisted candidates were later ordered to enter a room individually, where a female recruiter asked them to undress.
Bianca, a 23-year-old flight attendant from Romania, told El Diario: “The first girl that went in came out crying.”
She told the other candidates that she’d been ordered to strip down to her underwear. “The others came out saying the same thing. It was hard for me to believe. I was freaking out — but they weren’t exaggerating,” Bianca told El Diario.
When Bianca entered the room, the female recruiter asked her to pull up her dress. Bianca said: “I pulled it up a little bit, to just below my knee, so she pulled it up to my panties. My dress had a zipper down the back and she asked me to pull it down to my waist, so I was standing there in just my bra.”
The recruiter told Bianca that she was checking for “scars, birthmarks, and tattoos.”
María, a 19-year-old student studying, said: “First I took off my blouse and left my pants on — and then vice versa.”
María told El Diario that the recruiter “looked at me from top to bottom” and “bent down to look at me from the ankles.”
Meccti’s advert for the recruitment event stated that candidates needed to be at least 5 feet, 2 inches — with their “weight and height in proportion” — and have “excellent overall presentation.”
Spain’s Department of Labor has opened an investigation into Meccti’s hiring processes. Joaquín Pérez Rey, the labor minister, described the recruiters’ alleged conduct as “intolerable behavior that violates the dignity and fundamental rights of these women.”
Kuwait Airways and Meccti did not immediately respond to requests for comment