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CQFA came to VidCruiter back in February 2021 to find a better solution for their pilot admissions process, which would be used by the applicants only four weeks later. We talked to Nicole Rioux, CQFA Students Selection Process Coordinator and Aviation Instructor to learn more about the story. Nicole has been working in HR for 20 years and joined CQFA in 2013. She currently overlooks the entire admissions process and teaches final-year flight students.
CQFA is a pilot training school located in Saint-Honoré, Quebec. It’s the only public flight school in Quebec and the only school that offers three specializations – students can train to become airline pilots, bush pilots, and helicopter pilots.
Being a pilot is an ambition for many, so CQFA gets a lot of interest in their program. “We have more than 450 applicants every year, but we only have 40 spots,” Nicole explains. CQFA was using a paper-based process with many stages in the admissions process. “It’s important to make sure that all our applicants are really into the reality of an aviation career early on and it starts with the strictness of the process”.
The admissions process was lengthy, both in terms of the number of admission steps and kilometers traveled. “My team was traveling to Quebec City and Montreal to meet the applicants, conduct tests, and I was here in Saint-Honoré doing the same thing. It felt like an old-fashioned way to test our applicants.” It was a long way for the CQFA team to travel for multiple visits, and it could be an expensive trip for the applicants too. “They’d have to come to CQFA a few times so it’s a lot of money for them to maybe have a no as an answer.” Due to the program’s capacity limits, only about 10% of applicants that made the
journey would be placed in the school. The CQFA would see a few dropouts each year during the selection process, simply because applicants didn’t have the free time to make the journey.
Besides the challenges of meeting in person, the amount of paperwork Nicole had to go through was a full-time job. “We had boxes and boxes of documents and exams. It was way over 40 hours a week to go through it all and make sure the paperwork was correct. I couldn’t focus on the other steps in the process”.
CQFA knew that an online admissions process would help them save time and work. They’d previously tried another online admissions platform, but it wasn’t able to support their needs. “We had to test 410
applicants all at the same time and the platform crashed. So I lost everything – it was really bad. We had
to find a new partner because we knew the solution was to go online,” Nicole explains.
VidCruiter built an online admissions solution for CQFA – only four weeks before the beginning of the
2021 admissions period. “ It was crucial that I was confident in the process, with the knowledge that the
team would be there for me.” Nicole added that timing was extremely tight, so it was important to be able
to get in touch quickly, “I sent questions over email, sometimes Friday night, and Jeff [from VidCruiter]
had an answer for me in a matter of minutes. It was very helpful because I could then easily continue to
work on the documents and the process.”
CQFA now uses VidCruiter’s online proctoring service, pre-recorded video interviewing, automated scheduling, and live online interviewing.
With VidCruiter’s online proctoring services, CQFA applicants can take tests wherever they are, rather than traveling to meet in person. To ensure the tests are conducted fairly and discourage cheating, applicants record themselves taking the test. They’re also timed, and multiple tests exist to limit applicants from being able to share answers. Applicants are also able to upload their necessary documentation to the platform, rather than produce paper copies at an in-person interview.
After prerequisite testing, pre-recorded video interviews allow applicants to introduce themselves to CQFA without the need for a face-to-face interview. Applicants videos’ are fairly rated using a structured rating guide. This allows CQFA to evaluate each applicant based on the same criteria. Applicants can be then invited to schedule a live online interview at a time that worked for them, based on Nicole’s team’s pre-set availability.
Moving their admissions process online has significantly improved CQFA’s admissions process, both for Nicole and the applicants. “Applicants were really happy, particularly those who went through the traditional process before. They told us it was much easier for them considering they used to have to travel many times in the past.”
Nicole no longer needs to spend 40+ hours a week on admin tasks, like paperwork. “It’s really efficient. I can just go to my account and find everything I need there.” All documentation is automatically organized on the platform for each applicant.
Pre-recorded video interviews have significantly reduced the need to travel. Applicants now only need to
come to CQFA once if they’re picked as a finalist. Additionally, pre-recorded video interviews give CQFA
deeper insights into the potential students early on in the process and the opportunity to re-watch video
answers for clarification.
A big result for Nicole was being able to put the confidence in VidCruiter to look after her admissions process. “I’m really picky. I like to have good partners. For me, it’s a really big thing to say, ‘Okay, I trust you and we can move on’. We have a good reputation in North America, so it has to be almost perfect. It was a big challenge to hand off our process but we did and I’m really satisfied”.
CQFA now plans on exploring other VidCruiter tools such as the applicant tracking system which will help them to track, manage and hire applicants through a centralized process.
A streamlined online admissions process
Far less traveling required
Significantly less paperwork
More time for other tasks