Technology unlocks smarter hiring for flydubai

Author: Cathryn Newbery | Date: 03 Nov 2015

Online assessments and video interviewing essential for unbiased decision-making and extending global reach, says Nils Hamsa

Making full use of technology is vital to ensure smarter, faster hiring decisions for organisations in the Middle East, flydubai’s senior recruitment manager, Nils Hamsa, told delegates at the LinkedIn Talent Connect conference in London.
 
“When I joined flydubai in 2013, the way we were recruiting wasn’t sustainable,” Hamsa said of a process that relied on posting vacancies on job websites and waiting for CVs to be sent in. “It wasn’t efficient or effective. For any vacancy, we received about 200 applications but our recruiters could only get through the first 50. The remaining applications were ignored and lost.”
 
Hamsa worked closely with assessment specialist cut-e to design online assessments – which tested maths and English proficiency, as well as desirable behaviours and attitudes – that were integrated into their chosen enterprise resource planning system, Taleo.
 
The platform also offers prospective candidates the chance to work through realistic job previews, which enables them to find out if their attitudes and behaviours would be compatible with working at flydubai. As well as generating results that are highly sharable through social media, David Barrett, COO at cut-e, said the short tests “optimise self-selection. They appear simple, but are very powerful in helping people understand the role. And they give instant feedback: the applicant sees an immediate reward for his or her participation.”
 
Once a candidate submits a formal application, flydubai’s system logs every interaction and test result so that the hiring manager can make a quick, informed and unbiased decision.
 
“Using psychometric testing has removed a lot of subjectivity in the hiring process,” said Barrett. “That’s especially a problem in the Middle East where employment laws aren’t as strict as they are in the EU or US. A candidate could be asked their age, gender, nationality, marital status, religion – all the questions you wouldn’t be allowed to ask here [in the UK]. You would then immediately have all sorts of stereotyping going on, which isn’t helpful if you are trying to drive a talent model based on human potential.”
 
Flydubai candidates who pass the initial online assessments are then invited for video interviews, which Hamsa said are vital to broadening the organisation’s global talent reach (flydubai currently has 3,500 employees representing 110 nationalities). During the interviews, recruiters are given a checklist to mark competencies, reducing the time they have to spend taking notes. “It makes the candidate experience more enjoyable, and the recruiter is better able to observe body language.”
 
Interview questions are dynamically determined based on applicants’ performance in previous tests and, if they are successful in securing a position, all the data collected during the hiring process is passed on to flydubai’s learning and development team to create individual learning plans. “So from day one, they have a plan that is directly correlated to the evidence we’ve collected about their strengths and weaknesses, against our competencies,” said Hamsa.
 
At a time when many employers are making it quicker and easier for candidates to submit applications, Hamsa said he “deliberately made the application process tedious and time consuming. We wanted to test applicants’ motivations: we wanted to attract the people who really regard us as their preferred employer.” As a result, said Hamsa, candidates who make it to the face-to-face assessment centres are better prepared.
 
The success of flydubai’s integrated online approach can be seen in hard numbers, too. Hamsa said they are on track to register 1.5 million job views in 2015, and have added 200,000 applications to their database this year alone. Applicant numbers are up by 265 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014, and time to hire has fallen by an impressive 15 days.
 
And it’s not just recruiters at flydubai that are reaping the benefits: 90 per cent of candidates who made it to the final interview stage said they were satisfied with the application experience.