Case Study – Southwest Airlines

CaseStudy – Southwest Airlines

CaseStudy – Southwest Airlines

Accordingto the Harvard Business Review, Southwest Airlines has since itsinception fought against numerous odds to claim its currentlyhighly-respected status (Weber, 2015). As such, the firm’s hiringprocess seeks to ensure that only those individuals with the rightattitudes, dynamic capacities, and strong organizational skills getto be recruited, trained and retained. The firm began with a fleet ofonly three planes, but today, it is currently the largest low budgetcarrier in the US (Klein, 2012). Thus, it is imperative to present acase study of the airline taking into account its hiring process,difficulties of being hired by the company, the manner with which itvalues its staff, staff assessment practices and significance of itsassessment process to understand the airline’s success.


Asmuch as Southwest Airlines is a low cost air carrier, it is a companymuch coveted for its successive profitability trends that are onlyattributable to its great staff (Weber, 2015). It is an airliner thatcuts costs by limiting luxuries such as onboard televisions, legspace and other associated services yet its customers remain loyal.The company’s hiring process is structured in a way which helps thefirm to hire individuals with the desired attitude or greatunderstanding of self rather than skill. The airline’s founderalways sought to ensure that his employees took their assignmentsseriously but not themselves (Klein, 2012). As such, the company tooktowards ensuring that people with the desired attitudes for workingwith the airline are comprehensively trained on the tasks they arerequired to carry out.

Difficultiesof the Hiring Process

Thegreatest challenge associated with Southwest’s hiring process isthe fact that it has an enormous applicant pool. The firm registeredreceipt of more than 370,000 resumes in 2015 alone and ended uphiring only 2% of the applicants (Weber, 2015). The company claims tointerview over 100 applicants for a single position implying thatgetting hired at the airline is quite difficult. It is also importantto point out that it only seeks to hire individuals with attitudesthat are easily synchronized into those conforming to the firm’soverall organizational culture (Klein, 2012).

HowSouthwest Airlines values its customers

SouthwestAirlines champions for great customer services such thatprofitability is considered as a secondary objective (Weber, 2015).This means that the company values its clients effectively, as wellas, cultivate diverse aspects to ensure that customers feelsatisfied. To attain this end, it fervently seeks to ensure that itsstaffs are well trained and motivated towards challenging thepredominant status quo. The teams at the airlines perform assignedtasks effectively with the understanding that every member isresponsible for the successes or failures of other colleagues (Klein,2012). As such, the staffs at the airline are proactively empoweredto propel the company to greater heights of success.

StaffAssessment Practices

Thebehavioral assessment process is the most indispensable part of thecompany’s hiring process. The company deeply integrates behavioralqueries into the assessment process since the management understandsthat past behaviors predict future behaviors (Weber, 2015). Throughcareer motivation interviews, the recruitment teams are able toappropriately determine whether the candidates are fully aware of thetasks ahead in accordance with each individual’s projected careergoals. The significance of such assessment practice is to ensure thatstaff exhibit attitudes ensuring they are at ease working at thecompany while at the same time enjoying working with SouthwestAirlines (Klein, 2012).


Asthis paper has presented, numerous individuals seek to work with thisaccredited low budget airlines but only a few get the opportunity todo so. The hiring process is aimed at attracting individuals with thedesired attitude who are then trained accordingly towards ensuringgreat customer service. The company therefore has an organizationalculture that is more inclined towards an empowered employee basemotivated towards ensuring superb customer service.


Klein,G. D. (2012). Creating cultures that lead to success: LincolnElectric, Southwest Airlines, and SAS Institute. OrganizationalDynamics,41(1),32-43.

Weber,J. (2015). How Southwest Airlines hires such dedicated people. HarvardBusiness Review.Retrieved 20 June 2016 from