Recruitment and Selection at Emirates Airline

Executive Summary

This report is dedicated to the analysis of recruitment and selection functions, taking as an example Emirates Airlines. The Emirates Group is an international UAE-based corporation that owns many brands, thus requiring highly-trained professionals in different fields to provide sustainable functioning and development of the organization. The report focuses on the definition of the recruitment and selection function of HR in general and its application by Emirates in particular.

The recruitment and selection function is considered to be crucial for human resource management of any company because all the associated processes determine the quality and professionalism of hired specialists. On the whole, recruitment and selection involve searching for potential job candidates and then predicting who of them could contribute to the improvement of the company’s performance. Recruitment and selection are closely related and precede any hiring of candidates. Both recruitment and selection use diverse methods and approaches, enabling companies to choose the best employees.

As a company, Emirates effectively utilizes its HR function of recruitment and selection. The process is well-organized and follows certain procedures depending on the field in which professionals are needed. Recruitment is provided both internally and externally as well as on an international level. This results in the formation of a multinational team able to demonstrate high performance and positively influence the image of the company.

Recruitment and selection at Emirates have certain strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. However, there are more positive features of this HR function in the company than those that cause problems. On the whole, recruitment and selection at Emirates are professionally organized and provides the company with highly qualified specialists in diverse fields.


Human resource management is integral to any organization. The bigger the organization, the greater the role of the HR department, as human resources are traditionally considered to be a valuable asset of any company that aims for sustainable development. For a company as big as the Emirates Group, with many brands and services provided on a global level, selection of staff members and recruitment is vital. The company started in 1985 with only two aircraft and has grown to serve more than 155 destinations, in over 80 countries, all over the world (About us. History 2018).

It is evident that this constantly extending network can function successfully only if it is serviced by carefully selected highly professional employees. Therefore, Emirates has its own Career Center, which provides HR services and performs a diversity of functions, including the major functions of human resource management such as recruitment and selection, orientation, maintenance of good working conditions, managing employee relations, as well as training and development.

This project is aimed at the analysis of these critical HR functions in the context of the Emirates Company. The purpose of the project is to define each HR function, analyze related operations and processes, and discover strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to recruitment and selection of employees in Emirates.

Definition of HR Function

This report deals with the basic function of human resource management of recruitment and selection. The function itself is crucial for any company because its role is to find suitable employees for occupying vacant positions and, thus, provide for the company’s functioning and development (Malik 2018). Recruitment and selection are usually treated as integrated activities because selection starts immediately after recruitment is over (Beardwell & Thompson 2017).

Still, some differentiation can be made. Thus, Beardwell and Thompson (2017) consider recruitment to be a positive process, which builds “a roster of potentially qualified applicants,” while selection is treated as a negative process (p. 149). Dowling and Schuler (1990) (cited in Beardwell & Thompson 2017, p. 149) define recruitment as “searching for and obtaining potential job candidates in sufficient numbers and quality so that the organization can select the most appropriate people to fill its job needs.”

Selection is explained by Hackett (1991) (cited in Beardwell & Thompson 2017, p. 149) as the process of “predicting which candidates will make the most appropriate contribution to the organization – now and in the future.” Still, despite different tasks, recruitment and selection are closely interrelated and combine to form one general HR function. Moreover, recruitment and selection are considered to contribute positively to talent management (Beardwell & Thompson 2017).

The recruitment approach selected by a company can be either external or internal. Still, many companies prefer combining these two approaches to provide a broader choice of applicants. Internal recruitment involves a search for suitable candidates inside an organization. External recruitment, although more expensive and time-consuming, is provided outside a company and involves the search for candidates in local, regional, national, and even international labor markets (Malik 2018). Still, there are some challenges linked to external recruitment, such as a problem with the evaluation of both the specialist and technical skills of candidates.

The success of recruitment and further selection depends on the recruitment methods used by an organization. One of the recently developed methods, stimulated by rapid IT development, is the use of the Internet, which empowers recruiters through the use of corporate websites, as well as social media (Beardwell & Thompson 2017). Although this method is relatively new, it is one of the most popular general recruitment strategies, especially in the sphere of external recruitment.

Advertising is another popular method, which is conducted through diverse media, including press, radio, TV, as well as specialist publications. Further possible recruitment methods include the use of notice boards or cooperation with educational institutions, which prepare specialists in the necessary field. Finally, companies can refer to the external assistance of organizations such as job centers, employment agencies, or career services.

Selection begins after candidates are recruited using one or more recruitment methods. Since the recruitment stage provides a sufficient pool of applicants, the task of the selection process is to evaluate the candidates and conclude about their suitability for the suggested positions (Beardwell & Thompson 2017). The first step in selection is shortlisting. It is usually conducted on the basis of provided CVs or application forms, and candidates are divided into different categories such as probable, possible, and unsuitable. For those applicants who pass the shortlisting, such selection techniques as interviews, tests, assessment centers, and social media can be applied (Beardwell & Thompson 2017).

Interviewing is the most popular selection method, which can be conducted in a variety of formats. Tests are used during selection to measure certain qualities that an applicant is expected to have to comply with the demands of a position. It is important that the tests are reliable and valid in order to provide high-quality testing. Assessment centers imply more serious tests and assessments that are needed to be passed by individuals or groups.

These tests are aimed at the evaluation of particular competencies and skills vital for a position, as well as the potential for a candidate’s development within the company. Finally, social media can be utilized not only as a tool for attracting candidates but also for their screening. Profiles in social networks provide information about candidates that are not included in CVs and contribute to an overall evaluation of a candidate’s personality.


The major method used to collect data about Emirates Airline is a literature review. The selected HR function was studied with the use of specialized literature on human resource management. It enhanced the understanding of the basic concepts and provided a background for further analysis of the company. HR operations and processes in the context of the selected topic of recruitment and selection are investigated based on information provided on the website of Emirates, and specifically its Career Center. Referring to the official website enabled the use of first-hand information with regard to the peculiarities of the company’s recruitment and selection process.

Analysis of the Current HR Operations and Process

Emirates is a large, complex business, which requires a broad range of specialists to serve both customers and employees. The major task of Emirates’ HR department is to look for talented professionals who can contribute to the continual growth of the company. Also, it is important to consider peculiarities of recruitment and selection that are characteristic of international companies (Edwards & Rees 2017).

Currently, the Emirates HR department selects and hires pilots, cabin crew, engineering specialists, airline and airport operators, corporate and commercial staff, specialists for customer services, and individuals for specialist roles. Emirates practice both internal and external recruitment. When a vacancy appears, it is first advertised internally to allow current employees to apply for promotion. After the internal recruitment is completed, the company announces any remaining vacancies externally. It is a sound approach because focusing on only one recruitment method can potentially leave out talented professionals, while simultaneous application of both internal and external recruitment contributes to the selection of highly professional candidates.

In the UAE, HR issues are regulated by two major laws such as the UAE Labor Law for private companies and the Federal Law, which addresses government companies. Since Emirates Airline is a semi-governmental company, it makes an exception from the general rule and is guided by a sub-section in the Federal Law dedicated to similar semi-government companies. The law provides exceptional guidance that corresponds to the nature of business.

Operations and processes related to recruitment and selection in Emirates depend on the position in focus. Thus, recruitment and selection processes differ for pilots, cabin crew, or other professionals hired by Emirates. For example, the company, which is the largest operator for the Airbus 380 and Boeing 777, has a need for highly qualified pilots (Let all your passions fly 2018). Emirates has strict demands for its pilots, and HR managers are expected to check the validity of the provided documents from select specialists to ensure that they will provide high-quality services and guarantee the safety of passengers.

The recruitment process for Emirates pilots is as follows. First of all, candidates can apply from any location in the world. Also, they complete an online personality questionnaire, which is available to candidates who receive a confirmation of attending the Selection Program in Dubai (Let all your passions fly 2018). Secondly, there are various tests that candidates should take. For example, future Emirates pilots have to pass through a group assessment and SIM assessment. Group assessment includes completion of some exercises, and the SIM assessment is a simulator, which allows the evaluation of “basic flying skills, flight deck management and airmanship” (Let all your passions fly 2018, par. 8).

Another challenge for candidates is the advanced compass test. Pilots are tested through the Computerized Pilot Aptitude Screening System (COMPASS), which involves six tests created to check some of the basic aptitude areas for pilots. Psychological aspects are also considered by the Emirates recruitment team because working conditions are tense and demand both outstanding physical and mental health, as well as being psychologically stable. Thus, applicants are required to pass through a panel interview followed by psychometric testing (Let all your passions fly 2018, par. 8).

The recruitment process for pilots and other professionals is transparent and organized to take as little time as possible. The applicants do not have to wait for weeks to get a notification but are informed at the end of the second day of testing whether they have been successful during the assessment process. The final stage of the recruitment process is the completion of medical tests, which are necessary for all successful candidates. These medical tests include both Emirates medical examinations and the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) medical certificate.

The positions offered by Emirates are attractive and come with many benefits, which results in a complicated selection process due to a large number of applications. For example, around 15,000 applications are submitted monthly for Cabin Crew positions, while more than 20,000 Cabin Crew are already working for the airline (Experience the world 2018). The benefits offered by the company can be seen as part of the recruitment process because they appeal to people and make them interested in working for Emirates. The company provides an opportunity to become a member of an international team that receives a competitive tax-free salary, free accommodation, as well as attractive travel benefits, and numerous possibilities for outstanding professional development.

The selection process for cabin crew follows certain stages as well. Shortlisting is held among applicants to determine a group for initial screening (Experience the world 2018). Also, candidates have to pass some assessment exercises. Finally, applicants whose screening proved they have potential are invited for an interview. One of the peculiarities of cabin crew positions is that prior experience in similar positions is not a demand.

Nevertheless, certain customer service experience will be a benefit. Another peculiarity is the high demand for healthy employees as cabin crew since the job is physically demanding. Thus, every potential employee after the interview and before joining the team is expected to complete a self-declaration medical form (Experience the world 2018). After all the procedures are over, an applicant begins a probationary period, which usually lasts for six months from the moment of being hired.

SWOT Analysis

Recruitment and selection at Emirates is a complicated process that corresponds to the peculiarities of the organization. It is designed to consider both the demands of a global business and specific features of the UAE-based company. The organization of recruitment and selection at Emirates has certain strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that can be revealed through SWOT analysis. The major aspects of recruitment and selection of Emirates Airline are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. SWOT analysis: Recruitment and selection function of Emirates HR.

Strengths Opportunities
  • Accessible information about recruitment.
  • A convenient website with regular updates.
  • Transparent selection process.
  • Internal and external recruitment.
  • Professional team.
  • Diverse employment opportunities.
  • Priority is given to current employees.
  • Recruitment around the world.
  • Work in a professional international team.
Weaknesses Threats
  • Complicated recruitment and selection processes.
  • Time- and cost-consuming selection.
  • High competition in the area.
  • Hiring UAE nationals.

Referring to the strengths of recruitment and selection at Emirates, it is important to mention that information about the recruitment is accessible to any interested individual from all over the world. The company has a convenient website that is regularly updated with job proposals from Emirates’ Career Center. Every field of employment suggested by the company is presented in detail, with all requirements of candidates, as well as the expected benefits, being listed. Recruitment utilizes both internal and external approaches, which is also a strength for recruiting in a multinational company because it opens up access to highly qualified professionals from different countries.

The selection process is transparent, and candidates are informed about the results of tests soon after their completion. The selection process is based on criteria that are available on the website, and the applicants are aware of the demands before they begin testing and interviews. Recruitment and selection are provided by a professional team with international experience, which aids the process of finding the most suitable applicants to occupy existing positions and contribute to the sustainable development of the company.

Despite evident strengths, there are some weaknesses that should be considered. Although recruitment and selection processes are well-planned and take into account the peculiarities of all positions, it is still rather complicated. For example, the selection of pilots involves multiple tests that are expected to prove their qualifications but are difficult to organize. Also, the selection at Emirates is time- and cost-consuming, which can be considered a weakness because it demands high resources. The selection process includes several stages, each of which demands the presence of company representatives. Moreover, tests and stimulators used to assess the candidates are expensive.

Nevertheless, the organization of recruitment and selection at Emirates has some good opportunities. First of all, it provides diverse possibilities for the employment of professionals with different qualifications and educational backgrounds. The Emirates Group suggests careers for pilots, cabin crew, engineers, air services teams, and many others. The company gives priority to current employees when announcing new vacancies. This provides a good opportunity to get professionals who already know the peculiarities of the company and need less training compared to individuals hired externally.

One more opportunity open to Emirates’ HR service is recruitment around the world. Organization of interviews in countries other than the UAE provides the company with a broader range of specialists applying for vacant positions. This approach is expected to ensure the hiring of talented professionals who will contribute to the organization’s growth. Finally, an opportunity granted by recruitment and selection at Emirates is to work in a professional international team, which is a benefit for employees and customers.

Finally, there are some threats faced by HR in Emirates in the process of recruitment and selection. First of all, there is high competition in the area, and the company should provide attractive work conditions to recruit talented staff. Another threat is the focus on hiring UAE nationals, which has certain pitfalls as well. Thus, concentration on local employees can prevent the company from hiring more professional international specialists, who currently make the majority of Emirates staff (Join our team of UAE nationals 2018).

Conclusion and Recommendations

Summarizing, it can be concluded that the overall recruitment and selection function for Emirates is well-organized. The company utilizes diverse recruitment approaches and selection strategies that consider the peculiarities of positions and allows for the hiring of the best candidates by the company. The following recommendations can be provided to improve the quality of recruitment and selection at Emirates and mitigate the existing threats. Firstly, the company should follow its course on transparency and openness of the selection process. Secondly, Emirates should pay equal attention to internal and external recruitment, as well as to the selection of national and international employees.

Thirdly, the company should develop new working conditions that provide benefits for employees, and that can attract the most talented professionals. Finally, it is not advisable to simplify recruitment and selection because, although these processes demand more time and resources in the short term, they result in hiring well-trained specialists who will secure the company’s success in the long term.

Reference List

About us. History. 2018. Web.

Beardwell, J & Thompson, A. 2017. Human resource management. A contemporary approach. Pearson, Harlow.

Edwards, T & Rees, C. 2017. International human resource management: globalization, national systems and multinational companies. Pearson, Harlow.

Emirates cabin crew recruitment: the questions you want answered and how Emirates responded. 2018. Web.

Experience the world as part of your career. 2018. Web.

Join our team of UAE nationals and bring pride to the nation. 2018. Web.

Let all your passions fly. 2018. Web.

Malik, A. 2018. Strategic human resource management and employment relations. An international perspective. Springer, Singapore.

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