To execute its customer-focused business strategy, JetBlue needs to hire individuals who have the right attitude to go along with the necessary job-related skills. Especially critical is hiring pilots who are a good fit with the JetBlue culture. This is important because JetBlue pilots are unlike many of their peers at other airlines. Prior to take-off, they may step out of the cockpit to make announcements to passengers face-to-face. If there’s a delay, the pilot might loan his or her own cell phone to a passenger to call and alert friends or family. At the end of the flight, the pilot is likely to be out of the cockpit again, saying goodbye to passengers and thanking them for flying JetBlue, and then lending a hand to clean the place and prepare it for the next flight.
JetBlue has designed and implemented a comprehensive hiring process that includes open house events, an online application step, and a phone screening interview using DDI’s behavior-based interviewing system, Targeted Selection®. Candidates who advance in the process after the phone screening are invited to a hiring event at JetBlue’s headquarters in Forest Hills, N.Y. Candidates attending the event go through two face-to-face interviews, a one-on-one interview and a panel interview, both using Targeted Selection®. Current JetBlue pilots select the best candidates to be interviewed from the database and also help conduct the interviews at the hiring events. JetBlue senior leaders also take part in the hiring event, making themselves available to answer candidate questions.
Final offers are made to the best pilot candidates once their flight records are reviewed and the results of background checks and drug screenings are known.
In addition to its process for hiring pilots, JetBlue also uses Targeted Selection to hire for all positions up to the vice president level.
Total turnover is half the 20 percent industry average. Pilot turnover is just two to three percent.
Seventy-eight percent of pilot candidates pre-screened using Targeted Selection advance to the background check phase of the hiring process, as opposed to just 25 of candidates before the pre-screening was implemented.
Interviewers who go through the Targeted Selection interviewer training consistently rate it an eight or higher on a nine-point scale.