Retailers have adjusted their marketing practices to account for changing consumer habits, and they should adopt a similar approach when recruiting new talent.
Recruiters from every industry know how difficult it can be to find right-fit candidates when hiring, but the retail sector poses a unique set of challenges. According to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), 27% of UK retail employers say they do not have enough applicants with the requisite attitude or motivation to fill their positions. That’s nine percentage points higher than the UK average of 18%, contributing to the retail sector’s high turnover rate.
While there are, of course, a number of elements at work here, one key contributor to this problem is the fact that online job boards have made it easy for candidates to apply haphazardly to multiple positions, often without seriously considering the unique expectations and cultural considerations that surround each one. To combat this phenomenon, recruiters must encourage candidates to become more informed about their company before applying, which in turn will increase employee retention and productivity.
Use Engaging Content to Set Realistic Expectations
Beyond making it easier to find and apply to many jobs in a single sitting, digital technology has also made it harder to pay serious attention to detail. In fact, the average internet user’s attention span has fallen to eight seconds, an approximate 33% drop since 2000. Retail marketers recognise how this phenomenon has changed consumer behaviour, and have started leveraging video content and innovative social media campaigns to keep their target customers thoroughly engaged. A similar approach should be adopted by retail recruiters competing for the attention of digital job-seekers.
Many retailers still rely solely on text-based job descriptions to relay the particular duties of an open position, but because attention spans are shorter than ever, these dense walls of text don’t effectively convey job responsibilities. Adapting to these changing expectations, forward-thinking retailers have already developed a wide variety of employer branding initiatives to show prospective employees what it’s really like to work at their companies in more engaging ways. These initiatives range from employee testimonial videos (see below) to interactive career path maps, both highly effective tactics in communicating day-to-day responsibilities and other vital considerations to potential employees.
If retailers can develop engaging content to educate prospective applicants about their workplaces, it’s likely that each candidate will become more thoroughly informed about the nature of the position for which they are applying — in other words, that the number of right-fit applicants in the initial talent pool will increase significantly.
Digital consumption trends have fundamentally altered candidate expectations and preferences. If retail recruiters want to attract more considered applicants and reduce the number of wrong-fit hires and the resulting churn, they need to adapt their strategies accordingly.