CAREERS: BA offers online route into jobs - British Airways has discovered that its web site can play a key role in its recruitment process and in communicating its brand image. Holly Acland reports

Internet technology is presenting companies with a new channel for communicating with prospective employees. In the past few months British Airways has shifted the emphasis of its recruitment strategy away from print advertising and is using its online resource to attract candidates.

Internet technology is presenting companies with a new channel for

communicating with prospective employees. In the past few months British

Airways has shifted the emphasis of its recruitment strategy away from

print advertising and is using its online resource to attract

candidates.



The company recruits between four and five thousand people every year

and believes that the internet represents a more cost-effective and

targeted means of recruiting staff.



’There is a cost saving but more importantly this strategy says more

about the employer’s brand than an advertisement in The Times could ever

do,’ says BA head of recruitment Tina Oakley.



The drive to exploit the internet for recruitment purposes launched in

October following research carried out by British Airways earlier in the

year. According to Oakley, this revealed that while BA is perceived as a

strong employer for career development, it is also considered a faceless

and inaccessible organisation.



By linking with the BA web site, job seekers can access information

about the company, obtain detailed information about job specifications

and communicate directly with BA through a ’Your Shout’ talk-back

facility.



’Our approach is to open up communication so that contact with

prospective candidates is more of a conversation than a one-way

dialogue,’ comments Oakley.



BA recently advertised its graduate trainee programme on the web

site.



Over 1000 of the 7000 applicants applied through the site - its highest

response to date. In the next few months, all recruitment from cadet

pilots to engineers will be advertised on the site. Press ads will also

drive prospective employees to the site.



Andrew Parsley, head of research at Bernard Hodes, the recruitment

advertising company, behind the initiative warns that the internet is

not suitable for all brands. ’Large, complex firms will get value from

the internet.



It’s like throwing open the doors of your company and inviting

candidates to explore. You could never get this from a press ad or a

brochure.’



Parsley believes that the future of online recruiting will include

psychometric testing, allowing candidates to test their ability and

match it to the job specification.



Oakley says: ’People can work out for themselves if the job is right for

them. They will also be aware of the hurdles to be overcome before being

recruited.’



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