From its humble beginnings in the Queensland outback in 1920 to becoming one of the world’s largest and most renowned airlines, Qantas has consistently demonstrated its ability to adapt, innovate, and thrive in an ever-changing business landscape.
Today, Qantas carries over 50 million passengers globally, serving more than 100 destinations across 40 countries with its impressive fleet of 200 aircraft. Michael Eizenberg, Head of Qantas Group Talent, Digital & Analytics, leads talent acquisition across Qantas. “We care deeply about two things when it comes to hiring. Firstly, diversity and inclusivity, and secondly the experience of everyone who comes into contact with the Qantas brand. Our goal is to treat every candidate like we would a customer,” said Michael.
In his 24 years at the airline, he has navigated his fair share of critical turning points in the industry. In 2021, airlines around the world continued to streamline their operations in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. And as parts of the world began to open up, a whole range of reopening challenges came into focus.
“As one of Australia’s most well-known consumer brands, you can imagine the number of job applications we receive,” said Michael. “Originally we dealt with the high volume of applications by implementing a video-based interview process, but we quickly discovered it wasn’t delivering on our values. We couldn’t be positive that candidates weren’t being discriminated against, and we soon identified it wasn’t a good experience for them,” he explained.
But reverting to screening CVs at the start of the hiring process wasn’t an option for an operation the size of Qantas. “We knew we needed to depart from using CV screens at the top of the funnel as they were inefficient at actually understanding the suitability of someone to do a job, and when you are dealing with the volume of applications we get they are simply inefficient. CVs are also inherently full of bias,” said Michael.
Michael turned to Sapia.ai, to reimagine Qantas’ hiring process for cabin crew, customer service, and ground crew roles. Qantas needed a solution which delivered a great applicant experience whilst reducing bias and increasing talent pool diversity. They also wanted a solution that allowed applicants to easily apply on their mobile phone.
Today, every Qantas applicant undergoes a chat interview powered by Sapia.ai’s Smart Interviewer. Using an SMS-style format, Sapia.ai scores candidate responses to interview questions. This approach ensures a consistent interview experience for all candidates while accurately assessing their soft skills.
“The idea of using conversational AI via text chat made sense to us, because it means that we truly can’t bring any visual bias around people’s age, gender, or ethnicity into it.
More importantly it feels friendly and familiar. We want everyone to feel like they have had a meaningful interaction with Qantas, that they feel valued and dignified in applying for a job with us, and that we see them for who they are, in their own words,” said Michael.
Scores from the text interviews are surfaced to hiring managers in real time, and they can deep dive into the questions which applicants did well, and not so well on. The entire process is integrated directly with their ATS, creating a seamless assessment experience for both candidates and hiring teams.
In high-volume hiring, the ready-made shortlist proved to be a game changer. “We have tested our shortlist and hiring data with Sapia.ai and have found that we have effectively mitigated biases that usually come into initial job screening,” explained Michael.
Qantas has received excellent feedback on the Sapia.ai chat experience. An impressive 93% of candidates complete their interviews, marking an 86% improvement over the previous video-based approach. In addition, 82% of candidates said they would recommend others to apply for a role with Qantas.
“For candidates, the experience is like chatting online to a friend on a mobile. It takes 20 minutes to complete, and they can do it in their own time from their smartphone. Essentially the technology was designed to put candidates first – and it shows,” said Michael.
After the interview, every candidate receives personalised feedback, and 96% of candidates report the feedback they are provided with is helpful and accurate. “Ghosting candidates is a harsh reality of recruiting at high volume, and we are so happy to have changed the tide on this to deliver something back that is of real value – whether candidates get the job or not,” said Michael.
To date, Qantas has screened 60,000 applicants with Sapia.ai, saving over 501 weeks of recruiter and hiring manager time. In addition, removing bias and allowing candidates to speak for themselves has resulted in much higher quality shortlists. The offer rate of using Sapia.ai to screen applicants is 80%, 2.5 times higher than traditional methods.
Michael concluded, “As an organisation, the use of Sapia.ai has meant that we are able to provide a positive recruitment experience for people applying for a customer-facing role at Qantas. This is incredibly important to us, as we want to treat every candidate as we would a customer. Our brand is built on the service we provide to everyone who flies with us. We can truly say that now, we give everyone a ‘fair go’. As an Australian company, that makes us incredibly proud.”