The Arcadia Group traces its history all the way back to the opening of the first Burton menswear store at the turn of the twentieth century. But make no mistake: the retailer is a fast-moving fashion behemoth that excels in the modern marketplace.
Employing over 43,000 people, the Arcadia Group’s diverse portfolio of brands includes names like Topshop, BHS, Dorothy Perkins, and Wallis. So, how does such a operation not just maintain success, but consistently improve upon it?
The Arcadia Group’s Group Resourcing Manager, Deborah Lally, explains the role that smart recruiting plays in company growth:
“Each year, we receive well over 10,000 applications for our graduate opportunities across buying, merchandising, digital, and finance.It is a nice challenge to have, so we use LaunchPad Recruits for our graduate, entry-level roles.”
Lally puts a particular emphasis on assigning candidates to the most appropriate brands:
"It’s that next layer of trying to find someone for Topshop, someone for Wallis, someone for BHS. They each look for different personality traits, different characteristics. And looking at a CV and application questions is sometimes not enough. That’s why the amount of telephone interviews that the team needed to complete just to get down to a suitable number to bring in for the 1-to-1 assessments or group assessments was just too much. Hence, we introduced the video interview."
By leveraging new technology to optimise workflows in domains like hiring, Arcadia is able to maximise efficiency. “We’ve been using video interviews for over two years,” Lally continues. “It is a time saver and it gives you a snapshot of what a candidate is all about. It gives them a chance to shine and show their personality.
“One thing that we’ve put in place from inception is a stringent scoring method for each role, to ensure every single candidate is being marked consistently and is being treated fairly.
However, Lally acknowledges the potentially daunting nature of the video interview process, which is becoming an industry-wide norm.
“My team recently gave a presentation, and they mentioned that you could see the look of apprehension in the student’s eyes at the thought of a video interview. But I think it is something that many companies, not just retailers, are starting to use. And when you think about it, a telephone interview is the same thing - you don’t get time to prepare your answers.
“In this day and age, everyone is using social media,” Lally said. “There are pictures on Instagram. There is Snapchat. The newness of video interviewing might be the reason for the nerves we sometimes see. But I think the more and more that companies go down the video interview road, the sooner it will just become the norm. And I think, once applicants do it, they realise it’s not that bad.”
In fact, the Arcadia Group has learned the more confident, creative graduate applicants really enjoy the video interview process. As Lally explains, “If we send a CV to a manager, and they’re a bit unsure, I think the advantage that LaunchPad does have is that ability to send a video link and say, ‘If you’re unsure, take a look at this video. They spoke with such passion and enthusiasm, and their role knowledge is excellent. It’d be silly not to interview them.’”
Lally sums up the true value of the video interviewing process: “We’ve never once had pushback after sending a link to a manager. Because without video, when you’re seeing so many CVs, it can become difficult to differentiate what good looks like anymore.”