new hire paperwork - recruiting aviation talent

Recruiting aviation talent? If you want to attract quality pilots, dispatchers, mechanics and more, now’s not the time to be rigid. Or to rely on old hiring practices.

After all, this is an incredibly fast-paced job market, and aviation candidates are constantly being approached with fantastic offers. Often unsolicited.

So if you’re a hiring manager, we urge you to be swift.

Be flexible. Show some urgency. Rethink your decision-making. And condense the process. For example, if you typically require four interviews prior to making an offer, this far too many.

Avoid these 6 Recruiting 'Don’ts'

When it comes to courting candidates, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Following are a few hiring SNAFUs, based on feedback in the recent past:

  1.  Application abyss. If you have a high volume of incoming applications, it’s very do-able to set up an outgoing automated email. It’s a nice touch to help you stand out as a compassionate, thoughtful employer of choice – even if you’re letting them down easy.
  2. Last-minute scheduling. Please do not call candidates the afternoon before and ask them to interview at 10 a.m. the next morning. It’s inconsiderate. It’s best to give at least 24-48 hours’ notice.
  3. Wishy-washy communication. When scheduling an interview, be communicative. Let the candidate know the interview will be via phone, video conference or in person. Be specific about whom they’ll meet with, the suggested attire, and any other pertinent details. Don’t leave it up to the candidate to guess about any aspect of the meeting.
  4. Crammed itineraries. Many hiring managers will bring in their top one or two candidates for a day or two of interviews. Just remember that when you create an itinerary, keep in mind the length of time involved. You may need to schedule in bathroom breaks and times to eat a snack. Nobody is at their best talking all day long without a pause or two to collect themselves.
  5. No follow-up. Shocking as it may seem, many candidates who conduct a 15-minute initial phone screen with HR never get a post-call response. People deserve to know whether or not they’re advancing in the process. A simple template email will do.
  6. General lack of respect. Business aviation is a small industry. If you come across as an aloof employer when recruiting aviation talent, word will get around. Surprisingly, many aviation organizations underestimate how mistreating candidates can affect their brand.

6 Do's for Recruiting Aviation Talent

During the recruiting process, a little conscientiousness goes a long way. Here are six  to-do’s on how to communicate with and court aviation talent:

  1. Delegate: Assign someone to respond to applicants and interviewees. Most larger flight departments have an administrative person or office manager. Make sure someone on staff can create a simple email template that says, “We received your resume. If your qualifications fit our requirements, we’ll be in touch.”
  2. Review the key players in the interview process. One HR Manager we work with takes time to prep candidates for 15-30 minutes before they meet with the leadership team. This way she’s helping the prospective employee put their best foot forward. And in turn, she is managing upward so she doesn’t waste the executives’ time. (And she looks good in the process!)
  3. Do the little things. When recruiting, part of rolling out the red carpet is thinking about the candidate experience. Don’t forget they’re putting themselves out there, too. One great way to communicate is to explain how you’ll reimburse their travel expenses for their one- or two-day visit.
  4. Have a backup. Make sure you identify two “A Players” and keep both interested. When recruiting aviation talent, you don’t want to release your second choice too early. After all, your top choice might not accept the offer. Then you’ve got to call back the offended number-two candidate. And that’s not an easy call to make.
  5. Be transparent! Don’t dilly dally around conversations regarding compensation and/or career growth. Be upfront and confident about your offer. Remember, in many states it’s now illegal to request information about a prospective employee’s income/salary. Instead, it’s better to ask about their financial expectations up front. (It’s best not to waste your time or anyone’s else’s).
  6. Over-communicate. Check for understanding and clarity before advancing candidates to the next stage of the process. This is for mutual protection of time and resources.

Overall, it’s important to remember that small measures can have big impact. Just getting back to someone to let them know you’ve received their resume is a big part of being a competitive employer. Everyone needs a little care—and closure.

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