Airside recruitment – our top tips


The ResourceBank RPO team that provides outsourced recruitment to the World Duty Free Group has been shortlisted in the “Best Embedded Recruitment Team” category at the Recruiter Awards 2015. We’ve asked the team to share with us the unique challenges of airside recruitment and to outline what steps they’ve taken to overcome these challenges and deliver an award-winning recruitment service.

Working 3 months ahead for Security Clearance

Recruiting in airports may be one of the most strategically planned recruitment processes we have at ResourceBank.  Before they can work “airside”, employees need to go through a meticulous referencing and CRC process that can take up to 3 months. This of course adds a significant lead to the process.  Employees for a new store opening  need to be sourced, assessed and offered and accepted 3 months before the store is due to open – so we need to have an accurate resourcing plan for all our new projects, as well as seasonal recruitment campaigns.

Flexible resourcing for Seasonal peaks

Some UK airports have a significant peak of passengers during the holiday season – for example Manchester airport had 2.6m passengers in August last year compared to 1.3m in January – so airport employers need to have a flexible seasonal workforce.  For the summer season 2015 we have already screened and assessed nearly 1,400 candidates.  To ensure we have candidates in a very short time-scales, large recruitment campaigns are held where up to 60 candidates are assessed in a day. One of the sites has already offered over 130 candidates alone.  Through working with World Duty Free for eight years we have built up a pool of candidates who like working the peak periods and often will return every year  so having a  flexible talent pool is a very useful investment.

Exciting candidates & keeping them engaged

With the three month lead time for security and referencing clearance it can be hard to firstly attract candidates then keep them interested and engaged with a role they won’t start until a few months later. There is also the added challenge that a lot of candidates will not be aware of World Duty Free as a store because it’s not as easily accessed as other high street retailers.. To give candidates a better idea of what it’s like working within the airport multimedia content is sent to them giving an insight into the world of a role with World Duty Free.

Its about service

Airport environments are completely different to any other retail environment that candidates may be used to.  Each customer has a flight to catch and may have only 5 minutes or 3 hours if their flight is delayed so it is important for airport employees to be able to adapt their approach to suit. The recruitment process for World Duty Free is based on the candidates demonstrating they have the right personality and strengths to deliver exceptional customer service in frequently stressful situations.  We receive in excess of 35,000 applicants per year and have introduced an online talent screener which measures against World Duty Free values and customer service and has enabled us to identify the best candidates much quicker than in the past.

Love the airport

Working at an airport is not an easy task.  Because of the near 24 hour operation of the busiest airports, employees will work shifts that can start at 3am and need to be able to deliver exceptional customer experience standards at all times throughout their shift.   We will identify candidates who are not fazed by challenging logistics arrangements – and through our years of experience we can identify candidates who will “love the airport” – who will thrive in the environment and continue to deliver service that delights passengers and helps to grow sales and profitability.

At ResourceBank we are proud of our partnership with World Duty Free and are confident of our ability to deliver excellent, high quality solutions to recruitment within airports. If you are responsible for recruiting at airports within the UK then we’d love to talk to you and share our experiences.

You can read more about our partnership with the World Duty Free Group here.

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