Funeral Industry News

Funeral Industry – We Only Hire Captains

August 22, 2009

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

Funeral Industry – We Only Hire Captains

When you?re looking to hire the right employees, hire only ?captains? and maybe yours can be a ?high-flying? organization as well.

One of the most difficult challenges facing growing companies today is hiring the right people. It?s not enough to hire a person with one particular position in mind. You need to consider how you will be able to utilize this person?s skills as his or her position evolves. One company that you?ll recognize immediately has a unique approach to meeting this challenge.

Several pilots from American Airlines live in our neighborhood, partly because it?s a close commute to the airport, and partly because it?s far enough away to pretty much eliminate any noise from overhead air traffic. At a recent neighborhood party, several of the pilots were discussing how their company hired and promoted within the system.

Essentially, their system is based on seniority. Pilots who have been with the company the longest are promoted to captain and fly the largest equipment and receive the greatest pay. The more junior pilots work as first officers or flight engineers on smaller equipment and at a lower rate of pay.

This system seemed to make sense for newly hired pilots with limited experience. But what happened when pilots joined the airline after 20 years of service in the military or after their previous employer went bankrupt, as was the case with Eastern airlines?

I was speaking with one of my neighbors, an MD-80 captain, and asked him, ?If you were a captain before joining American, would you be hired as a captain at American?? His answer was brief and to the point, ?American Airlines only hires captains.? As I was looking a little puzzled, he went on to explain, ?We do only hire captains, we just start them off as flight engineers or first officers. Every pilot in the cockpit has to be capable of flying the plane; and in time, most will be eligible to fly as captains.?

The hiring process at American Airlines is designed to select only those applicants that show the leadership qualities and personal traits that will serve them in the command of an airplane.

Keep this in mind as you face the challenges of expanding your workforce. The person you hire as a software engineer may end up as director of engineering. The customer service representative may become vice president of marketing. Looking at your applicants in terms of their long-term potential will help your organization be more responsive to growth opportunities.

When you?re looking for new employees, hire only ?captains? and maybe yours can be a ?high-flying? organization as well.

Ron Rosenberg helps organizations get more customers than they know what to do with and keep them for life. For a Free Special Report with 44 Proven Customer Service tips, visit