PSA Airlines: Redesigning for Recruitment Case Study

We partnered with PSA Airlines to transform their website into a best-in-class recruiting tool that conveys the company’s confident professionalism and welcoming personality.

PSA Airlines is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, with more than 3,900 employees who operate more than 800 daily flights to nearly 100 destinations. PSA is a growing company, which means it’s been adding to its team across all positions, including pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants. Its corporate website, psaairlines.com, is the front door for prospective new hires, but its web presence was more like a standard company website than a recruiting tool. PSA reached out to us to redesign the website to focus on recruitment and introduce prospects to PSA Airlines’ culture and personality.

PSA Airline's Redesigned Website
Each landing page greets users with a friendly face—a simple way to emphasize PSA’s people-focused culture.

User Experience and Content Strategy

We began the partnership with a discovery and two-day strategy workshop. In this workshop, we worked together as a team to craft a plan that would transform PSA’s website into a recruiting engine, and to define the website features that would help us achieve this goal. We collaborated with PSA’s marketing and recruiting teams to uncover audience needs, and then brainstormed how to communicate PSA’s differentiators. Using need-finding and empathy mapping techniques, we painted a picture of each audience and talked about the best features to reach them and tell PSA’s story.  

Our priority was to create a series of career-focused landing pages that would deliver key information about PSA’s job descriptions and qualifications. We also needed to reflect PSA’s personality through strong visuals, voice and tone, and showcasing its already stellar, on-brand video content. To address all of these goals across PSA’s different career paths, we designed a mix-and-match system of flexible landing page modules.

We used need-finding and empathy mapping to understand audiences.
Using the need-finding and empathy mapping information learned at the strategy workshops, we provided guidance to help PSA content authors focus the career path landing pages on key information each audience needs.

The strength of flexible landing page modules is that they allow the PSA team to customize content anytime they need to. However, that flexibility also comes with more decision-making points. To empower PSA’s content team, we created usage recommendations for each landing page module and, for one of the landing pages, provided sample copy that incorporates PSA’s voice and tone.

Design and Usability Testing

Our design team’s goal was to show PSA's warm, optimistic spirit alongside its confident professionalism. Because people are at the core of PSA’s work, the landing pages’ hero images put employees at the forefront and evoke the dream of flight, enabling prospects to picture themselves as members of the PSA team, whether in the skies or the hangar. Together, our designs along with PSA’s copywriting invite prospects to explore more.

An example of the usage guide that provided content direction
We provided PSA’s copywriters with guidance on when and how to use each landing page module, along with sample copy for the First Officer landing page that incorporates PSA’s voice and tone.

We took care to make sure that every element on the new site is a delight to use. From interactions as simple as button hovers, to more complex experiences like the interactive Crew Bases map, everything was designed with PSA's unique personality in mind. We pored over every detail to make sure the end product is as fun as it is functional.

Once we had designs for the homepage and landing pages, we ran an unmoderated click test to evaluate our works’s usability, focusing on wayfinding via the new navigation and testing how easy it was to find important information—like qualifications and contact information—on the new landing pages. Based on the results, we made a few adjustments to improve the user experience. We also gained the confidence that we were building an excellent experience.

Development

Our team brought the designs to life using Craft CMS. This user-friendly content management system enabled us to create a flexible, highly customizable site, complete with modules that could be turned on and off and rearranged to suit each career path and audience.

We also developed an interactive map for PSA’s crew and maintenance base locations using modern CSS and JavaScript. Because PSA’s flight attendants, pilots, and maintenance team are located all along the East Coast, and new team members often must relocate for career opportunities, it was important to PSA to show where prospects could choose to work. We included featured content for each location with a skyline picture and highlights about the place. When the user clicks a location on the map, the location’s photo and highlights appear alongside it. To keep the experience flexible, we also added the ability to navigate through the cards on their own, with the map’s base locations becoming highlighted as the user advances through the bases.

Another important module was the qualifications checker. Exposing this level of detail was important to PSA’s recruiters—they wanted prospects to be able to easily self-identify whether or not they have the correct qualifications before they apply, and to be able to enter the recruitment funnel even if they’re not yet ready to apply.

Because of the nature of PSA’s careers, many of the positions require a laundry list of mandatory certifications and qualifications. We wanted a clear way for prospects to self-evaluate so they don’t spend their time (and the recruiter’s time) applying for a job they are not yet prepared for. We built an interactive checklist using JavaScript that allows prospects to clearly see which qualifications they have and which qualifications they need to obtain. Users can click to check off the qualifications they have, and then, when they click the “Should I Apply” button, they are either invited to apply or invited to sign up for job alerts while they address unmet qualifications.  

Results

In collaboration with Sparkbox, PSA Airlines was able to reinvent its website into a recruiting workhorse. Through design and content strategy, we brought the faces of PSA to the forefront, showcasing the airline’s talent and operational excellence in an approachable way so that prospective applicants can truly picture themselves at PSA.