How the Retail Sector Needs to Tackle Recruiting Challenges

January 17, 2020 Aon's Assessment Solutions
This article first appeared as part of an article on HRZone

Image of a mall

The retail sector faces a number of specific challenges. Innovative retailers are taking the following steps to ensure they address these challenges and recruit the best people:

1. Data-Informed Job Analysis.

In-depth job analysis and role profiling studies will reveal the competencies and qualities you want in new recruits. Knowing what good - and bad - looks like in the role helps you to understand what you should be assessing, where you should target your training interventions and what ‘in-role experiences’ you need to provide.

2. Mobile-Enabled Pre-Assessment.

A realistic job preview (RJP) is a short, interactive ‘self-evaluation’ assessment which sits on your careers website.

It showcases the realities of the role and helps potential applicants to decide if the job and the culture of your organization are a good fit for them.

If your RJP is mobile-enabled, you can ask walk-in applicants to go through it in-store and self-assess their own suitability.

3. On-the-Spot Initial Applications.

If the job is of interest to a walk-in candidate, after they’ve been through your RJP, they can find a quiet place and complete a situational judgement test, some quick psychometric assessments and a short video interview.

You can also complete a ‘right to work’ check, to see if they are eligible to work.
All of this can be automated and integrated with your Applicant Tracking System. Their ‘initial application’ can then be uploaded to head office and approved (or not approved) within 15 minutes. If they pass, the store manager can interview them for a final check.

This is a quick and very efficient process which enables you to respond rapidly and screen all applicants effectively. It also delivers a positive candidate experience, as people feel they’re being recognized, treated fairly and quickly progressed.

Compare this to the traditional approach where a candidate has to spend half-a-day preparing for and attending a face-to-face interview.

They may have to miss a shift with their existing employer or arrange childcare. No wonder there are so many no-shows at interviews.

The ‘on-the-spot’ approach helps you to manage the process without losing the human touch.
It’s also less disruptive for store managers and their lack of recruitment experience isn’t a problem because the assessments check whether the candidates have all the qualities you need.

4. Events-Based Hiring.

For key roles, forward-thinking retailers are increasingly inviting shortlisted candidates to assessment centres which creatively reflect their brand.

The candidates can take part in practical, interactive exercises as well as situational judgement and customer-interaction role plays with live actors.

By using tablets, you can deploy video clips and conduct quizzes which can be instantly scored, plus you don’t have to worry about printing out materials for each candidate.

This helps you enhance your employer brand, provide a personalized and compelling candidate experience and identify who is right for the role.

5. Incentives for Applying.

Some retailers are now enhancing their candidate experience by offering reward points or loyalty discounts to applicants who take their realistic job preview.
The reward could be as simple as a free coffee or a discount off a future purchase - and/or it could involve offering career advice to help the individual to find a role that is better suited to them in the future.

6. Empathic Rejection.

Top retailers understand the importance of rejecting unsuccessful candidates politely and respectfully.

People will find rejection easier to take if you can explain why you’re turning them down. By providing an engaging application process - and a positive rejection process - you can retain unsuccessful candidates as customers.

You may even boost customer loyalty: if an applicant isn’t already a customer, they might want to become one.

Ultimately, the secrets of successful retail recruitment are to treat each candidate with care and to utilize technology to make your selection process as quick and easy as possible. That way, store managers can hire high quality staff with minimum disruption.

If you're interested in learning more about recruitment in the digital world, you can read our whitepaper "Improving Sales Competence by Spotting Talent Early in the Application Process"

About the Author

Aon creates smart measurement solutions with valid and innovative online assessment products. Aon is globally the preferred partner for organisations who demand the best.

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