Virgin Blue

A new airline is born

Virgin Blue announced in May 2000 that it was to launch a new Australian low fare airline service with seven daily return flights between Brisbane and Sydney.

Its aim was to venture into cities across Australia that had been neglected, poorly serviced or held to ransom by other airlines and provide more people with fun, efficient and affordable air travel.

Job seeker attraction

As soon as media attention began to put Virgin Blue in the spotlight, job seekers were quick to pursue the company in order to find out how to be first in line for the many opportunities that the new airline would present.

Interest was stronger than anticipated, and within four months the airline could see that they had quite a large problem looming. The level of job seeker interest simply didn’t abate, and at its peak, equated to around eighty kilos of mail from job seekers arriving every two days.

Bruce Highfield, HR Manager for Virgin Blue, became concerned with the enormous administrative burden that had been created for his staff, and similarly anxious about the fact that their inability to respond quickly to applicants could harm the brand.

Build or buy?

Highfield quickly realized that Virgin Blue had to get an applicant tracking system, and started working with developers to build one in-house. At the same time, an introduction was made to StaffCV. After seeing demonstrations and making comparisons with other products in the market, it was concluded that only StaffCV had the functionality that Virgin Blue was looking for.

Highfield talks of the implementation as being a ‘godsend’, particularly because it helped him keep his recruiters sane during a period of high administrative burden and pressure. The implementation resulted in administrative cost savings of $120,000 in the first budgeted period.

One of the key benefits of the system has been the ability to quickly access and shortlist the best candidates from among thousands of applicants. Highfield explains how the system provides efficiencies through use of search criteria, "One of the best things that has come out of it is we're actually able to target employees in the areas that we want. If we're looking for people in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, we can simply sort by location or in fact any criteria we select”.

The Future of Recruitment for Virgin Blue

“It's a very very clever product and I have every intention of rolling it across every function in the company".
Bruce Highfield
HR Manager – Virgin Blue Airlines



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