Secrets of the Job Hunt


Thursday, March 23, 2006

How Job Seekers Audition for a Job

Interesting article this month in Business 2.0 on the "Best-kept secrets of the worlds best companies". One of which is #8 from Southwest Airlines. As a job seeker it's imperative that you treat every employee you come in contact with at a potential employer like you would the interviewer...turns out they are all interviewers in a way!

The Job Audition: Turn the interview process into an all-encompassing tryout.

You don't just get interviewed when you apply for a job at Southwest Airlines. You get auditioned--and it starts the moment you call for an application. Given that ultrafriendly service is critical to the $7.6 billion carrier's success, it's little wonder that HR managers don't wait until the interview to start screening. When a candidate calls for an application, managers jot down anything memorable about the conversation, good or bad. The same is true when the company flies recruits out for interviews. They receive special tickets, which alert gate agents, flight attendants, and others to pay special attention: Are they friendly to others or griping about service and slurping cocktails at 8 a.m.? If what the employees observe seems promising--or not--they're likely to pass it on to HR. Even when recruits aren't on the spot, they're on the spot. During group interviews of flight attendants, applicants take turns giving three-minute speeches about themselves in front of as many as 50 others. The catch? Managers are watching the audience as closely as the speaker. Candidates who pay attention pass the test; those who seem bored or distracted get bounced. "We want to see how they interact with people when they think they're not being evaluated," says Southwest recruiter Michael Burkhardt. The screening method not only keeps turnover low (about 5.5 percent annually) but keeps customers happy. Every year since 1987, the carrier has received the lowest number of passenger complaints in the industry.

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