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Southwest Airlines- Recruitment Proposals for Pilots Research

Southwest Airlines- Recruitment Proposals for Pilots Research

Recruitment Sources

Southwest Airlines can use several sources to recruit its pilots, such as through recruitment pages, advertising on its website, and LinkedIn. The organization could pay a locally based recruitment website funds to advertise its vacant pilot position and attach job specifications of the vacancy. This technique is beneficial for Southwest Airlines because it is cost-effective, and if the recruitment website has many subscribers, it will attract a wide pool of interested candidates. The organization would then be certain that it will receive adequate applications for the pilot position if it also instructs the website owners to submit applicant requests that only meet its minimum requirements. For instance, a pilot may apply for the vacant position at Southwest Airlines because they have been trained but have not been licensed by the Federal Aviation Authority. In contracting the website to recruit its candidates, Southwest Airlines will eliminate the time wasted to screen applications that do not meet its minimum requirements.

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Secondly, Southwest Airlines could recruit pilots to fill its vacant position by advertising it on the company website and inviting interested candidates to submit their applications. This technique is beneficial because the organization can use artificial intelligence to filter resumes that do not meet minimum requirements and only pick those that do (Broach et al., 2019). The Southwest Airlines career website can also be customized to incorporate other essential aspects, such as personality tests, simulation examinations, and competency-based skills evaluation to ascertain the suitability of candidates to fill available positions. Candidates can also upload their academic certificates on the Southwest Airlines career website while applying for a vacant position, which helps the recruitment team to select and fill the vacant pilot position quickly.

Lastly, the organization can source its pilots from LinkedIn, a professional careers website that links employers and suitable candidates for their vacant positions quickly. The organization can pay LinkedIn managers to display its advertised positions above competing ones so that interested candidates can view them quickly and apply instantly if they are interested. The benefit of LinkedIn recruitment is that it allows job applicants to apply for vacant positions without following the tiresome steps often incorporated in the career website. Southwest Airlines can also benefit from advertising on LinkedIn by contacting the referrals listed on the candidate’s profile directly so as to select the right candidate for the vacant pilot position.

Selection Methods

Southwest Airlines can select candidates that are appropriate for its vacant pilot position using different strategies. Firstly, the organization can conduct in-person, in-house interviews to assess the suitability of selected applicants during the recruitment process. During the in-person interviews, a board comprising managers from different departments can assess the candidate to check for their level of confidence, personality, and values using well-structured interview questions (Broach et al., 2019). The interviewing board at Southwest Airlines should have a sheet comprising minimum requirements that the candidate attending the interview is expected to meet, which should be similar for everyone for reliability purposes. The expected outcomes should be recorded and then compared, and the selected candidate should meet at least 80% of the required specifications, for the interview to be considered valid.

Secondly, Southwest Airlines could assess candidates for the vacant pilot position by conducting online assessments that incorporate simulator tests. The individual vying to be selected may have their computer at home, and then they correspond with an interviewer through Zoom and team-viewer, to relay the results of their online tests. During this e-interview, the candidate could submit documents to prove they have undergone training and they can ensure passenger safety. The selected candidate should surpass the interviewers’ expectations to prove they will be useful to Southwest Airlines, as required by the utility theory.

Lastly, Southwest Airlines can select candidates from the available pool of employees if the position is senior. Instead of advertising the pilot vacancy and paying the costs to recruit and select candidates, Southwest Airlines can pick qualified personnel and promote them to senior pilot positions because they have performed exceptionally in the past reviews and have proved they can handle more responsibilities well. The organization should ensure that pilots are licensed by the FAA as is required legally for employees of their positions to avert catastrophes.

Training and Development

The pilots selected by Southwest Airlines during the recruitment and hiring process can be trained using several approaches. For instance, the organization could pay an instructor to train them intensively for a minimum period, during which they learn theory work related to their job specifications, company policies, and organizational culture. During this training, selected hires can be tested for understanding through role-plays, sit-in examinations, and individual presentations. This training is cost-effective as it does not require the hiring of venues, paying for food and accommodation, and catering for trainees’ transportation during training.

Southwest Airlines could also allow selected pilots to fly with their experienced colleagues so that they acquire hands-on experience in their roles. The pilots can then observe how their colleagues manage take-offs, landing, or maneuvering dangerous scenarios while on air (Sommer, 2014). During the peer-to-peer training, trainees can also be allowed to manage flights for a limited period to assess their readiness to handle solo flights. This strategy may be costly as Southwest Airlines will have to pay for the trainee to be available for training throughout, but it is the best way to impart on-the-field skills and knowledge on them.

Lastly, Southwest Airlines can train pilots by asking them to undertake web-based learning and development initiatives on their website. This intra-website could have pilot manuals and tests that the trainee could sit for in their free time, but meeting the required cut-off points of the incorporated tests on Southwest Airlines’ intra-website should be emphasized as a way for the trainee to pass their probation. The pilot could also learn from their homes if Southwest Airlines allows them to access the training website outside of the physical work premises. Overall, Southwest Airlines should incorporate the three training techniques mentioned.

Performance Management Systems

Southwest Airlines could evaluate the performance of their pilots by assessing their technical, interpersonal, and procedural behavior while on the job, which is specified to the employee at the time of their selection. The organization could video-tape a pilot while on several flights and then select the best to assess their performance. The video should show how the pilot handled challenges they experienced while on such as maneuvering through a rain cloud or an anxious passenger that needed their assurance. Additionally, the video could assess how the pilot landed while their fuel was low or the interpersonal behavior they exhibited when interacting with their colleagues.

Aspects, such as leadership, teamwork, decision-making, and situation awareness could be examined at the end of the year using evidence from the selected video. This video should be shown to the pilot so that they prove they prove it is reliable and valid, and the performance factors to be examined should be explained to the pilot for acceptability purposes (Weber et al., 2016). The aspects tested during the performance management session should be reflective of the company’s mission, vision, and objectives for strategic congruence, purpose, and acceptability.

The assessors should view the video with the pilot and then grade their performance. If the pilot underperformed, the assessor could ask them to share why they feel they did so, and then this feedback can be used to create better performance in the future. The pilot should regularly meet with their supervisor before the next performance review session to check if they are meeting the goals created during the previous session and to form solutions for any challenges they may be experiencing.

Employee Retention

Southwest Airlines can retain its pilots by incorporating performance-based monetary remuneration in their compensation structures. The organization can give pilots who have manifested exceptional performance bonuses every end of the year as a way to appreciate them (Efthymiou et al., 2021). The well-performing pilot can also be allowed to own a percentage of shares at Southwest Airlines as a way to appreciate their efforts and retain them. Few airlines have adopted this approach, and the possibility for the employee to seek external opportunities will diminish significantly if they are appreciated using the mentioned monetary strategies. The employee’s work satisfaction levels will also increase if they are appreciated using monetary means, even though Southwest Airlines will have to bear the costs of this technique of retaining workers.


Broach, D., Schroeder, D., & Gildea, K. (2019). Best Practices in Pilot Selection (DOT/FAA/AM-19/6). Federal Aviation Authority.

Efthymiou, M., Usher, D., O’Connell, J. F., Warnock-Smith, D., & Conyngham, G. (2021). The factors influencing entry-level airline pilot retention: An empirical study of Ryanair. Journal of Air Transport Management91, 1-10.

Sommer, K. (2014). Pilot training: What can surgeons learn from it? Arab Journal of Urology12(1), 32-35.

Weber, D., Mavin, T., Roth, W., & Dekker, S. (2016). Judging airline pilots’ performance with and without an assessment model: A comparison study of the scoring of raters from two different airlines. The Journal of Aviation/Aerospace Education and Research25(2), 1-33.


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Develop a 5- to 6-page proposal that includes the following:

A recommendation of 3 recruitment sources that are best suited to recruit pilots. Consider the number of resumes generated, the percentage of resumes likely to result in accepted offers, the time to fill a position, and the cost to fill a position.

Southwest Airlines- Recruitment Proposals for Pilots Research

Southwest Airlines- Recruitment Proposals for Pilots Research

An evaluation of common methods used to select a candidate

Recommend 3 methods for selecting new pilots. In your evaluation, consider reliability, validity, utility, and legality.

An evaluation of common methods used to train and develop employees

Recommend 3 methods for training pilots at Southwest Airlines. Consider learning and development outcomes, cost of training and development, the effectiveness of training and development, and risks.

An evaluation of common performance management systems

Recommend 1 method for performance management of pilots at Southwest Airlines. Consider strategic congruence, validity, reliability, acceptability, and specificity.

An evaluation of common methods to minimize voluntary turnover

Recommend 1 approach to retain pilots at Southwest Airlines. Consider methods for retaining employees, meeting pilot needs, and costs.

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