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Event Insights

Volume Recruitment Tactics for Retail & Hospitality

Holly Rooney

Volume Recruitment Tactics for Retail & Hospitality

At our most recent roundtable for our retail and hospitality community we talked about the challenges that in-house recruiters are facing as the sectors undergo digital disruption and industry-wide transformation.

The session focused on sharing ideas on how to move swiftly enough to engage the right candidates in such a fast-paced market. For example, we heard from one participant that 67% of candidates for volume roles are off the market within 10 days.

The delegates suggested tactics to solve volume recruitment challenges in three key areas:

1. Recruitment automation for volume roles


“Store managers are responsible for sifting through applications and it’s too much of a time constraint”


A number of the delegates raised the challenge of raising brand awareness, and consequently, increasing the number of candidates applying to their roles. On the other hand, some delegates faced an entirely different challenge.

For some global household names, the number of candidates applying to roles creates a challenge in itself: How do you effectively manage these volumes whilst creating a great candidate experience and also focus on strategic, value-add recruitment activities? The group reported bottlenecks within the recruitment process, particularly when manual intervention was required. This was impacting not only metrics like time to hire, but also candidate engagement.

Methods shared that had helped alleviate some of these challenges included:

  • More targeted attraction for example using Facebook to target specific audiences or demographic groups.
  • Moving to values, behaviour and personality-based screening over experience and current skills-base and using ‘killer questions’ to speed up screening.
  • Using recruitment automation to apply automatic benchmarks and to create a consistently great candidate experience at a local and national level.

2. Changing hiring manager mindset


“We face the challenge of store managers effectively ‘going rogue’! They collect CVs in store and follow a completely different process”


Getting hiring managers on board with recruitment transformation projects has been a recurring theme at each of our roundtables. It was on the agenda back in January and this time we shifted the focus on to changing mindset.

Our community has been doing some great work on changing expectations internally, this has been especially challenging for those operating franchised business models, where an increased number of stakeholders adds complexity.

Successful tactics for changing perspectives include:

  • Demonstrating to the business, using the latest recruitment analytics, why application numbers isn’t always meaningful as a core recruitment metric.
  • Putting a process in place to help managers stay on board with the process (using emails, checking whether candidates have been reviewed).
  • Using online screening and assessment processes to create consistency for candidates globally and importantly, making it easier for hiring managers to manage and engage with candidates.
  • Highlighting that paper-based processes are a data-risk. Post GDPR, all communications with candidates need to be GDPR compliant. Moving to paperless processes through an online talent acquisition platform overcomes these issues.

3. Creating the right ‘on the job experience'


“Peer to peer experiences enable us to get to know the candidate. Plus, it provides the candidate with a valuable and more realistic experience of life on the job”


We discussed the role and purpose of realistic job previews and trial shifts - that range from twenty minutes to six hours in our participants’ organisations. The format of trial shifts has been a hot topic recently in the media and our delegates discussed a range of challenges with differing perspectives: How long should a trial shift be? Should candidates be paid for trial shifts? What skills are we looking for during a trial shift?

Here’s how our group are using them alongside online job-experiences and realistic job previews in the online hiring process.

  • One restaurant chain found that the most successful peer-to-peer experiences are those designed for the benefit of the candidate, where candidates could directly understand the realities of the role, and the business could assess candidates in a more natural environment.
  • Others reported that alongside a trail shift, a realistic job preview as part of the hiring process helps to bring more right-fit candidates through the process. One restaurant chain found that including an RJP in the online recruitment process created a reduction in its application-to-hire rate from 20:1 to 8:1 meaning more right-fit candidates are moving themselves through to the next stage.
  • Realistic job previews are a vital part of the recruitment process - whether as part of the online candidate experience or in the form of trial shifts. They help candidates make the right decision about a role and support recruitment metrics including attrition.

We hope you found these insights from our community helpful. If you’re an in-house recruitment leader in the retail and hospitality industry, why not join our next meet-up.

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