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How Does Southwest Airlines Screen Candidates for Culture?

What screening and assessment process does Southwest Airlines use? We are trying to screen for people who fit into that type of culture and are having a difficult time. &#8212;<i>Hope to Take Flight, recruiter, wholesale trade, Houston</i>

April 4, 2012

Dear Hope to Take Flight:

We look for individuals who seek to make a career at Southwest Airlines. We encourage individuals to explore opportunities that allow them to grow and to seek challenging positions within the company once they get here.

We hire for attitude and train for skill, and even in positions that require specific skills (such as pilots), attitude continues to be a top priority. Successful candidates should embrace teamwork, demonstrate altruism, possess a self- deprecating demeanor, take their work — but not themselves — seriously, and do what is necessary to help the company reach its goals.

There can be several layers in the interview process, including telephone and in person interviews for competitive candidates. All candidates are asked a series of questions that enable recruiters and hiring managers to drill down to a person's motivations, attitude toward others, their work ethic and their ability to be a part of a team.

We spend a disproportionate amount of time and resources finding the right individual for a job, but that upfront expenditure has helped us lower turnover and boost our chances of promoting from within, and has increased productivity.

SOURCE: Linda Rutherford, vice president of communication and strategic outreach, Southwest Airlines Co., Dallas

LEARN MORE: Hiring plans of U.S. employers are at the highest level since 2008. Also, a downloadable white paper, "Best Practices in Recruiting and Candidate Sourcing," contains expertise on finding top-notch candidates.

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