“Treat people who don’t get jobs as well as people who do” – Richard Branson

by Nicola Middlemiss07 May 2015
Business tycoon Richard Branson has shared a personal anecdote which, he hopes, will serve as sage advice to employers everywhere.

“This is a really lovely story shared with me by Sam Cox,’ he wrote, on his Virgin blog. “She was sorting through some old paperwork when she found a letter from yours truly written in 1998.”

Sam Cox had recently applied to work as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic but did not get the job – Branson wrote to her saying she should not be discouraged from reapplying with Virgin or another airline in future.

The full letter reads:

“I am sorry that you have been unsuccessful with your application to Virgin Atlantic but I wanted to give you some words of encouragement for you to reapply in the future.
When I was travelling on a rival airline’s flight, I was so impressed with one of the Cabin Crew that I asked ‘Why don't you come and work with us at Virgin?’ She replied, ‘I tried but I wasn't successful through the interview process.’       
This just goes to show that even those that I feel would be great working  with us at Virgin don't always manage to get through our interview process  (often because of the sheer number of people who apply). It is for this reason that I encourage you to keep trying and not to be disheartened.

As a small gesture the next time you fly on any Virgin route, I'd like to offer you a £20 voucher to put towards a flight or some duty free when flying with us.
Wishing you every success for the future.”
Branson revealed that he used to send this letter, along with the voucher, to anybody who wasn't successful in a cabin crew interview – but why should other employers do the same?

Well, the Sam Cox in question actually ended up being Branson’s personal assistant some years later.

“We enjoyed some wonderful years working together and now Sam is thriving in a challenging new role outside of the group,” Branson said.

“Companies should treat all people well,” he added, “staff, customers, those applying for jobs, those who have only just heard about the company. You never know when your paths will cross in the future. Plus, if everybody treated everybody else how they would wish to be treated, the world would be a better place.”


  • by John 7/05/2015 11:51:38 AM

    How true. All part of managing an organisation's reputation. Doesn't Virgin do it well!

  • by Lisa 7/05/2015 1:19:12 PM

    Virgin won the recent Ranstadt award for most attractive employer. No surprises why. Time after time Sir Richard Branson nails it in terms of his people.

  • by NotLikeAVirgin 7/05/2015 2:39:32 PM

    If Richard Branson's companies treated their customers respectfully, I wouldn't be shaking my head right now after reading that tale.

    I booked a flight with Virgin Australia and paid 12 weeks in advance. 6 weeks later, Virgin cancelled the flight. They offered me alternative flights which do not fit my schedule. I asked for my money back and they say no, under no circumstances will they refund my money. I have to choose another flight. They say they won't charge me a rebooking fee. Is that supposed to be a joke? THEY cancelled the flight! But they don't have any other flight that fit my schedule. I have had to buy a ticket with Qantas.

    So I contacted a Virgin Australia supervisor, who got back to me with a special offer. Virgin will refund my $155 fares, if I pay an $80 administration fee. Huh? They fine ME because THEY cancelled my flight!

    Virgin Australia's policy is contrary to Australian consumer law. To get my money back, I have to go through a whole process. I'll go through that process, but for each hour of my time I have to work to overcome this travesty, my admiration for Richard Branson's empire reverses towards disdain.

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