Airlines have traditionally been a hiring engine, with thousands of cabin crew, pilots, ground crew, aircraft engineers and designers needed every year to staff their fleet of planes. In the past, recruiters could rely on a steady stream of qualified applicants to fill the airlines’ high recruitment needs but this has begun to change with the tightening labor market, the proliferation of low-cost airlines and increasing hiring needs of airlines in Asia. It has become increasingly harder to find and attract candidates with the right skills, particularly among pilots and ground crew, and this is not likely to change with an expected tripling or quadrupling of aviation talent demand over the next 20 years.
The challenges of airlines in the hiring selection process
This has led to a series of challenges in their selection processes:
How does a candidate feel when going through your hiring process? Many aspects influence candidate experience, whether it’s how the candidate hears about the vacancy, how the interview is scheduled and conducted, and more generally, the candidate’s journey during the entire selection process. Established players such as Singapore Airlines and Delta Airlines are making an effort in this area so that candidates have a positive image of the company’s employer brand.
This is particularly important with Assessment Days, where the goal is to qualify and assess high volumes of candidates while at the same time engaging them in the process and their future career in the airline in order to maximize the conversion rate and minimize candidate dropout. This is a delicate balance to maintain. As an example, should a candidate be sent home at 10:00AM if they do not meet early hiring criteria? Doing so creates a less-than-optimal experience for candidates who have taken time from their schedule to attend the Assessment Day. Some online assessments with proctoring features can be conducted ahead of the Assessment Day to avoid this.
The way that a candidate feels as they go through the hiring process naturally influences their feelings about a company, which they may share with friends, acquaintances or social media. This brings us to the next challenge: employer branding.
How would candidates and employees describe your company in a few words? Employer Branding builds on candidate experience with a larger strategy that combines HR and marketing. The goal is to promote the image of the company in the eyes of its employees and candidates for retention and hiring. In a tight talent market, a positive employer brand makes it easier to source for vacancies and makes it more likely that candidates will accept job offers and stay past the first few months. Developing a positive employer brand requires a centralized message about the company’s values and reinforcing this message throughout the candidate and employee lifecycle. For airlines looking to promote a young, digital employer brand, the choice of HR technology solutions is a subtle indicator to candidates and employees of whether the airline “walks the talk.”
Digitalize and optimize your selection processes
In order to attract and engage the most qualified candidates ahead of rival airlines, time-to-hire is a key metric. This requires being able to make decisions faster – automating and digitalizing certain steps in the recruitment process, screen and filtering for key criteria as early in the process as possible and speeding up collaboration between the recruiter and the hiring manager.
Innovating your selection process
What’s the solution? Automating low added-value tasks. First of all, the tasks that take most of our time: sorting CVs, pre-screening and interview planning. They can be optimized with three tools already on the market: a chatbot on your career site that helps to gather and filter candidate applications, pre-recorded video interviewing to replace the phone screen and finally a planning assistant to organize your interviews, making this as easy as booking a table in a restaurant.
Especially relevant for cabin crew on long-haul international flights are language assessments to gauge the English proficiency of current and prospective flight crew.
With its asynchronous video technology, the easySPEAKing language tests assess four key skills - speaking, listening, writing and reading - based on their performance in professional situations.
This type of language assessment not only reveal the real language level of the candidate, but it is a hassle-free experience for the candidate and recruiter. The assessment can be done at the candidate’s convenience from a computer or smartphone in only 20 minutes and the recruiter receives the results by email within 48 hours. This allows the assessment to be used ahead of the Assessment Day as a pre-screening step to ensure that only the candidates with a minimum English level attend.
“The launch of the easySPEAKing app allows our candidates from all over the world to take the language tests anytime and anywhere, whilst also strengthening Carlson Wagonlit Travel's digital staff selection strategy” Rafael Teodosijevic, Talent Acquisition at Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
✈️ Currently airlines such as Air France, Air Caraïbes or OpenSkies use easySPEAKing language assessments to optimize and digitalize how they assess language skills for their cabin crew, while providing them with an experience that is:
- Innovative: speaking skills are assessed using asynchronous video technology
- Convenient: the assessment lasts only 20 minutes and it can be done on web or mobile, anytime and anywhere
EasySPEAKing is now available in 13 languages, including English, Mandarin Chinese or Cantonese.