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Inside View: Skyscanner

Skyscanner is a leading comparison website for flights, hotels and care-hire. After expanding into the US market, they are on a recruitment drive with 250 new jobs on offer - and want to hire MBAs!

Thu Nov 7 2013

Skyscanner is a leading global travel search site that provides instant online comparisons for millions of flights, as well as car hire and hotels. The company has been in the travel business for ten years, employing a truly international (30 nationalities) team from global offices in the UK, Singapore and Barcelona, among other locations.

With 60 million visitors to their website every month and information provided in over 30 different languages, Skyscanner is looking for big business. They have undergone a rapid expansion process into the US and are on a recruitment drive.

If you want to get into the travel industry, this could be your prime opportunity. The company has created 250 new jobs – and are keen to hire MBAs!

BusinessBecause spoke to Cathy Wilson, the company’s Talent Acquisition Director, about the office culture at Skyscanner, what qualities they look for in employment candidates and how they stay competitive in a giant industry.

As Talent Acquisition Director, what does your role involve?

Defining and executing the global talent management strategy.

How you do source your candidates – and what difficulties do you come across?

We manage our business in a way that allows us to locate staff in any of our global offices, so we’ll determine precise numbers in each location based on our ability to find the talented people we need from those locations. 

We utilise a multichannel sourcing strategy tailored to individual vacancies, rather than a blanket “one size fits all” - which includes online advertising, brand and PR initiatives, and internal referrals as well as traditional databases and media.

As an online organisation we readily utilise a variety of social media and online tools including blogs and videos. More often than not we remove the blockers by being flexible about previous industry experience, offering an exceptional work environment, comprehensive benefits packages and also the support of relocation assistance for those that may need to move to be closer to our hiring hubs and commercial centres.

What qualifications do you look for in candidates, and do you actively recruit MBAs?

For our technology and commercial roles a good educational base does help but it is probably not a defining point as to whether we would employ or wouldn’t employ someone. To us it is much more about the complete package: their experience, desire, enthusiasm, their cultural alignment to what Skyscanner is all about, and their overwhelming desire to learn, increase their intellectual capability and make a difference.

With Skyscanner's recent expansion into the US, and (250 new job) recruitment drive - what qualities does a candidate need to get hired?

The US is a natural evolution for us as one of the biggest global markets and from Miami it will give us access to a wider global audience. A candidate can bring many qualities to Skyscanner and we openly encourage those with innovation, passion and a desire to be successful to come and speak to us. However it is not all about what qualities the candidates bring but also what we do with them once they have made that first step to engagement.

How would you describe the office culture at Skyscanner?

Working in Skyscanner means working in teams, and we have a very collaborative culture. We have adopted an agile working method with stand-ups, progress boards, sprints and showcases. This means everyone in Skyscanner has an insight into the work that is going on at any time and there are plenty of channels through which you can voice your opinion.  

Starting from a small team of three founders and a handful of staff, we've expanded rapidly over the last few years. We've maintained a start-up feel and our colorful offices reflect our way of working, as does the strong team culture with off-site days, office games, team lunches and and our annual company BBQ.

Who are your biggest competition and how does Skyscanner remain competitive?

Within the travel search space, we believe Skyscanner stands out by offering a truly comprehensive flight search service to enable our users around the world to find the best flights, wherever they want to go. Our flexible search options mean you can browse prices across a whole month, or even a year, allowing you to get the best deals.

We’ve seen a great take up of our flight app to the point that most visitors to our service now come through a mobile device to let customers search on the go.

We are also expanding beyond flights, into other important areas of a user’s travel journey. This year we launched our own powerful car hire search and App, and we acquired a Barcelona-based company called Fogg which is focused on making internet hotel search simpler and faster.

Tell us something about Skyscanner that not many people are aware of!

One of our key features is still something of a best kept secret for many. Skyscanner aims to provide inspiration on the cheapest destinations to visit. So our unique “search everywhere” option will crunch billions of options in no time at all, allowing you to explore every travel possibility open to you, and identify the cheapest countries to visit at any chosen time.