How One Airline Treats Every Applicant Including Those They Can't Hire

In a recent episode of the We’re Only Human podcast we heard from Carol McDaniel a talent acquisition executive from Delta Airlines. As we listened, she began to talk about how they treat every one of their applicants…including the ones they don’t hire. That was music to our Rejobify ears.


From around 10,000 job openings per year they receive 1 million applications. They wanted to find a way to touch all the applicants and have taken steps towards doing just that.

She calls their candidate strategy “Designing for the Disappointed.

“We named it that because when we think about the number of people, a million plus people, that apply for jobs here at Delta every year, for fewer than 10,000 jobs, we are disappointing 99% of the people who throw their resume in the wishing well and say, ‘I'm hopeful I can get a job at Delta’. We're disappointing so many. So, what is that experience like, and how can we make that better?”

They knew that many of them are disappointed, and they will share that disappointment often. So, how could they do better?

“We will hire anywhere up to 11,000 flight attendants a year. So, that equates to thousands upon thousands of applications. So, one of the things we implemented was Hirevue, video interviewing tool for our flight attendant candidates because it really helps us get a sense of if we're looking for language of destination or for making sure that they can articulate safety instructions, things of that nature. “

However, she continued…

But, one of the things we learned really quickly is that one of our pillars I mentioned earlier is the gift of reciprocity. How do we give back in order to move forward? So, one of the things we implemented fairly quickly is we partnered with a third-party to do an assessment of our flight attendants. It helps us get through all the volume by putting an assessment in place, but every single person who takes that assessment, whether they move forward in the process or not, receives what we call a Talent Card back. It identifies some of the key things that we found out about you during the assessment process that were really wonderful, like strong leadership or stellar customer service.

It's a true survey assessment that's been done for them, and they get to take that with them, and they can use that either the next time they apply with Delta or use it when they apply elsewhere because these are their strengths.

Thats pretty cool! They give each and every candidate something of value that they can take with them so they can improve their skill-set. So kudos to Delta for their reciprocity mantra of giving back. We hope more employers continue to change the way they reject all applicants by giving back in some way.

In the audio she summed it up with this: “…on the candidate side, what a great experience. I didn't get the opportunity, but I received this great feedback about me that I can now change my approach to applying for another position or include these key attributes that Delta found so intriguing about me.”

The candidate experience is changing and that’s why Rejobify exists. To give back to those you cannot hire.