Here’s an inescapable truth all retail companies must face: traditional recruitment and hiring processes have become outdated, and are incapable of meeting the unique needs of modern retailers.
We’re talking about challenges like:
- Seasonal demand
- Hiring for multiple locations
- Varied schedules for hourly employees
- Making sure managers don't hire just their friends & family (very common in retail)
- Hiring needs changing daily (as opposed to an industry like manufacturing, which is more consistent)
- Accounting for diversity
- And more
According to Deloitte’s most recent Retail Industry Outlook, a full 70% of retail executives surveyed said labor was their number one challenge. The report also said that hiring and retaining employees has been a “lingering issue” for retailers – one which is not expected to subside any time soon.
Chances are, your organization has not remained untouched by this troubling downward spiral. More and more retailers are struggling to hit hiring goals – while overspending on their recruiting efforts, and suffering from recruitment processes that are too slow to compete in today’s modern retail landscape.
In order for retailers to escape this trap, they must find a way to hire faster, more consistently, and more cost-efficiently.
Fortunately, there is already a proven solution – one that retailers need only tap in to in order to begin reaping its rewards: Recruitment Automation.
Throughout the rest of this guide, you’ll learn:
- What Recruitment Automation is
- Why it’s being called the biggest retail recruitment shift in over a century
- How it can help your company drastically reduce cost-to-hire, time-to-fill, and help you crush hiring goals – consistently – each and every single month
- Why Recruitment Automation isn’t meant to replace HR and TA professionals – but rather to enhance their efforts so they get more done in less time, spend more time building relationships, etc.
- How it can help your team virtually eliminate soul crushing busy-work, so everyone can focus on their core competencies which they excel at and enjoy
- Why job applicants feel Recruitment Automation creates a better overall candidate experience – and how to leverage that for additional success
- A simple way for any retail organization to tap into the power of Recruitment Automation – quickly and easily
- And more!
Don’t let this unprecedented shift pass you by.
What is Recruitment Automation Software (And How Can It Help?)
Recruitment automation refers to the use of technology, tools, and software to streamline and optimize various tasks and processes involved in the hiring and recruitment of new employees. It involves the automation of repetitive and time-consuming tasks, allowing HR professionals, recruiters, and hiring managers to focus on higher-value activities such as interviewing, onboarding, and training making. Recruitment automation can include a wide range of activities throughout the hiring process, including many of the topics we will dive into throughout this guide like:
- Candidate sourcing
- Experience matching
- Automated screening
- Rapid background checks
Recruitment automation software is more than just a tool—it's the game-changer the retail hiring needs. Picture a world where recruiters and Store Managers are free from tedious, manual tasks that often lead nowhere. Instead of shuffling through (or worse, misplacing) paper resumes, store managers and HR professionals can focus on making strategic decisions that benefit the store’s bottom line. Automation takes the headache out of coordinating interview schedules, giving you more time to connect with candidates on a meaningful level. On the store level, Managers are left with more time to focus on worthwhile tasks like training or building staff morale.
Even addressing pain points like diversity becomes easier with the advanced algorithms behind recruitment automation. This technology assesses candidates based solely on their skills and qualifications, avoiding biases that can creep into manual evaluations. By keeping candidate details anonymous, automation ensures a fair and inclusive hiring process—a match for today's demand for workplace diversity and equal opportunity.
In short, recruitment automation bridges the gaps traditional methods struggle with. It's a game-changing force that reshapes hiring, making challenges easier and opportunities more real. This guide is your roadmap to embracing this transformation, making your retail hiring more strategic, efficient, and rewarding.
The Evolution of Recruitment Automation Software for Retailers
The retail industry is changing fast, and so is the way retailers find and hire new employees. With the rise of new tools like chatbots and conversational AI, retailers are able to speed up the recruitment process and adapt to the challenges presented by the post-pandemic workforce.
The rise of chatbots and conversational AI has been helpful in improving candidate engagement and communication. However, as retailers seek to harness the full potential of their hiring processes, it's essential to recognize that these conversational tools are not enough.
Enter the world of recruitment automation software. This software doesn’t simply end at quick conversations; it's about redefining the entire hourly hiring journey from application to scheduling interviews to onboarding. It goes beyond initial interactions, seamlessly incorporating automation into every stage of the recruitment process. It's the answer to the challenges of retail hiring, offering agility, efficiency, and adaptability in an industry where change is the only constant.
In the competitive world of retail, embracing recruitment automation is now a strategic imperative. Even in 2018, 35% of talent professionals and hiring managers were already saying that AI was the top trend impacting their hiring practices. One year later, a report stated that early adopters of AI-powered recruiting software had reduced their cost per screen by a whopping 75%, and turnover had reduced by 35%. As retailers navigate the evolving hiring landscape, sticking to outdated methods is not an option. To remain competitive and thrive in a swiftly changing environment, the adoption of recruitment automation is a must. Not only will it accelerate the business, but a successful software implementation can help accelerate the careers of the change agents responsible.
Going Beyond Conversational AI: The Power of Recruitment Automation
Conversational AI has sparked some excitement in recruiting, promising smoother candidate interactions and quicker responses. However, the limitations of conversational AI become evident when it comes to the complex reality of retail hiring. While it facilitates initial engagement and provides automated responses, it often fails to deliver the holistic transformation needed to optimize the entire recruitment process.
Recruitment automation seamlessly integrates with various stages of the candidate journey—from attraction, to screening to interview scheduling and onboarding. This comprehensive approach ensures a streamlined and efficient process, freeing up valuable time for Managers, Shift Supervisors, and Recruiters for other important tasks.
Additionally, recruitment automation is built on intelligent algorithms that assess candidates based on skills and qualifications, providing experience matching that conversational AI and chatbots most often aren’t capable of. This addresses the critical aspect of unbiased candidate evaluation. While conversational AI may excel in surface-level interactions, it lacks the depth and adaptability to navigate the intricacies of retail hiring.
Basically, while conversational AI offers a stepping stone, recruitment automation provides the whole solution. It not only engages candidates, it manages the entire process and overcomes the specific challenges of the retail industry. This leads to more agility and operational efficiency, which is necessary for success.
As retailers embrace the power of recruitment automation, they step into an era where hiring isn't just about conversations—it's about strategic advancement. Let's explore the core features of recruitment automation software together and see how they fit your unique hiring challenges.
The Current State of Hourly Hiring in Retail
Retailers are faced with the challenge of managing seasonal demands, diverse schedules, multiple locations, and the constant need to uphold excellent customer service. Without the proper systems in place, and a reliance on outdated, manual methods like traditional recruitment, retail businesses will continue to face overspending throughout the talent acquisition process. Additionally, further changes in the labor force have resulted in more unfilled job openings than unemployed workers with experience in their respective industry. This means that even if every unemployed worker with experience in retail were employed, only 75% of vacant jobs would be filled.
To address these unique demands, retailers need efficient recruitment solutions and strategies capable of providing the agility required to stay competitive in this fluctuating environment. In the section below, we dive deeper into how automated solutions can help retailers solve the numerous and persistent challenges in their industry.
What Are The Current Hiring Challenges for Retailers?
In the retail industry, staffing needs are constantly changing based on the fluctuating levels of customer activity. Balancing staffing levels is paramount, often requiring Store Managers or Keyholders to make adjustments on a daily basis. This helps retailers maintain optimal customer experiences and operational efficiency, decreasing the potential for reduced opening hours, bad reviews, a damaged reputation, or lost revenue.
It is also important to recognize the diversity that exists within your retail environment.This includes not only the variety of products or services you offer, but also the diversity of your customers and workforce. The challenge of nurturing a diverse and inclusive team while ensuring fairness in the hiring process adds layers of complexity that traditional retail hiring methods struggle to address.
In this guide, we will address the main challenges faced by retailers when hiring hourly employees. Additionally, we will provide insights on how to solve these challenges using recruitment automation software.
- Seasonal fluctuations: Retailers experience spikes in demand during certain times of the year, requiring rapid hiring and training of temporary staff.
- Varied schedules: Retail operations include a wide range of shifts, making matching available candidates for each shift challenging.
- Diverse hiring needs: From front-end sales personnel to inventory handlers, retailers require diverse skills, often across multiple locations.
- Ensuring fair hiring: The need to avoid biases and ensure a fair selection process is paramount.
- Centralized vs. decentralized hiring: Balancing the need for consistent hiring practices across multiple locations while accommodating the needs of each specific store.
- Competition for candidates: Multiple retailers may compete for the same candidates, increasing the pressure to secure top talent.
Navigating Retail Hiring Challenges
Should hiring decisions be made centrally or at individual stores? This question might not have an easy answer—it's about finding the right balance between respecting each store's identity and following consistent hiring rules. This has left many retailers unsure of which path to take.
Unlike fixed roles in other industries, the fast-paced nature of retail often requires quick changes to staffing needs. Being able to adjust staffing quickly to keep things running smoothly is a challenge traditional hiring methods simply cannot meet. Traditional recruitment processes aren’t equipped to handle the agility that retail requires, leading to missed opportunities, stretched resources, and less-than-ideal experiences for job seekers as well as customers.
To fill these gaps, retailers—whether a Convenience store, Jeweler, or Hardware store —can benefit from leveraging recruitment automation software. It turns hiring from a burden into a strategic advantage, helping retail leaders transform their approach to hourly hiring with little effort.
The Business Impact of Traditional Retail Recruitment
Traditional retail recruitment methods, that rely on manual processes and complicated administrative tasks, not only hinder efficiency but also have broader business implications. Slow hiring processes can result in:
- Missed opportunities: Prolonged hiring cycles lead to lost candidates who accept offers elsewhere. If a retailer isn’t able to interview, screen, and follow up with candidates in a timely manner, they lose out to the competition.
- Poor candidate experiences: Lengthy and complicated processes can leave candidates frustrated, reflecting negatively on the brand.
- Overburdened managers and staff: Store Managers and HR professionals are consumed by time-consuming tasks, hindering their ability to focus on other critical operations.
- Inefficient resource allocation: Valuable time and resources are spent on repetitive administrative tasks, rather than strategic talent acquisition.
- Lost revenue: Understaffing issues lead to reduced store hours, insufficient personnel to assist customers, and inventory management problems, all of which contribute to operational inefficiencies and directly impact revenue.
- High recruitment costs: Traditional recruitment methods are an expensive and time-consuming approach that demands excessive staff, resources, and time to hire candidates. The prolonged hiring cycle, which is characterized by extended time-to-fill metrics, leads to an increase in recruitment expenses, which significantly impacts the bottom line.
Must-Have Features of a Retail Recruitment Automation Solution
To successfully streamline their hiring practices, retailers should seek a recruitment automation solution that caters to their needs. The following features are essential to retail recruitment automation, empowering and revolutionizing the way retailers attract, select, and onboard talent. With each feature, the process becomes more seamless, strategic, and efficient, allowing retailers to stay up-to-date with the evolving workforce dynamics and gain a competitive edge in the retail landscape without sacrificing time.
Automated Screening: Unbiased Selection for Optimal Fit
Automated screening eliminates human prejudices or biases and streamlines the candidate evaluation process. This ensures that only the best-fit candidates advance in the hiring journey, allowing retailers to focus only on a pool of candidates that aligns with their specific requirements.
The use of automated screening also significantly speeds up the hiring process by skipping the time-consuming manual screening stage, allowing companies to quickly move candidates to interviewing and onboarding.
Additionally, by anonymizing candidate information and assessing candidates solely on their skills and qualifications, automation can eliminate the biases that may creep into manual, human-driven evaluations. Fairness and equal opportunity are no longer aspirational goals; they're realized through automation.
Frictionless Application Process (Quick Apply): A Seamless Start
The journey begins with simplicity. A frictionless application process reduces drop-off rates and enhances the candidate experience from the start. With a quick apply feature, candidates can breeze through the application in under 2 minutes, a great improvement compared to the industry average of 15 minutes. This fast process makes sure a higher volume of applicants complete their applications.
Availability Matching: Aligning Schedules for Efficiency
In the complex world of retail scheduling, availability matching becomes a powerful tool. It aligns candidates' availability with the specific shifts you're looking to fill, allowing you to prioritize applicants whose schedules already match your needs. The result? An efficient and fast hiring process that lets you focus on candidates who fit your scheduling needs.
In-App Interviewing: Embracing Seamless Interactions
Say hello to the future of interviews. In-app interviewing brings candidates and hiring teams together virtually, which speeds up the selection process. This feature not only saves time but also creates more opportunities to connect with potential hires.
Automation makes it easier for interviewers to manage a higher volume of interviews during those busier times. With the interview process becoming less time-consuming for Managers and/or TA professionals, staff will be free to work on business-critical and revenue-generating tasks.
Experience Matching: Precision in Skill Alignment
Experience matching is a technology-driven solution that aligns candidates' skills with job requirements. This feature ensures that each hire brings the right skills to the table, reducing training time and enhancing overall team performance. It also means retailers or talent acquisition professionals won’t spend countless hours interviewing job seekers whose experience isn’t a match for the position that needs to be filled; they’ll only speak with candidates equipped with the skills that match what they’re looking for.
Further, the diverse skill requirements of retail operations span from sales to inventory management. Juggling this array of skills across multiple locations can be overwhelming. Here, recruitment automation software becomes the enabler of efficient selection. The experience matching feature ensures that candidates' skills align seamlessly with the job requirements, allowing retailers to build teams that possess the exact skills needed for success.
Automated Scheduling: Coordination Made Effortless
In today's fast-paced world, candidates and hiring managers alike have busy schedules with multiple appointments and priorities to juggle. Retailers can benefit from an automated scheduling feature that offers relief from the stress of manual scheduling coordination and endless back-and-forth messaging. With this feature, candidates can easily schedule their interviews right after they complete their application and screening, based on the hiring manager's calendar availability. This saves time and minimizes drop-off rates, ensuring that interviews can be set up quickly. The result is a smooth and efficient hiring process that provides a positive experience for both recruiters and candidates.
Rapid Background Checking: Expedite the Screening Process
Background checks are an essential part of the hourly hiring process, but they can be time-consuming and add time to your time-to-fill. Any recruitment automation software worth its salt will provide integrations for third-party, rapid background checking that will accelerate this process without compromising accuracy or compliance. Retailers can swiftly assess candidates' backgrounds, ensuring a secure and reliable workforce while also protecting the candidate’s data throughout the screening process. The quicker and more seamless this process is, the faster an employee can move through the hiring journey and become a contributing member of your team.
Secure In-App Texting: Collaboration at Your Fingertips
Secure in-app texting bridges the gap between candidates and hiring teams, enabling direct and transparent communication. This fosters collaboration, eliminates the need for multiple channels, and keeps interactions secure within a single platform.
Further, retailers benefit from easily communicating with candidates in a single app without needing to exchange email addresses and phone numbers. This ensures a seamless conversation that candidates and hiring managers can refer back to.
Data-Driven Candidate Insights: Making Informed Business Decisions
Eliminate the guesswork in your hiring process with recruitment automation and advanced predictive analytics. By analyzing your hiring data, you'll have a clear idea of the number of candidates you need at each stage of the hiring pipeline. This will help you identify and eliminate potential bottlenecks before they become problematic, ensuring you have the right amount of staff without overspending. With recruitment automation, you can track important metrics such as campaign effectiveness, response rates, and candidate conversion times, allowing you to adjust your recruitment strategy as necessary.
Make smarter decisions with real-time data insights. From real-time salary expectations to candidate sentiment and recruiter performance evaluation, you will always have valuable information at your fingertips. By using data to guide your recruitment strategy, you can become more proactive and make better-informed decisions every step of the way.
Thanks to recruitment automation, you now have an unparalleled view of your recruitment pipeline. You can quickly see important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), such as your cost per hire, time to fill positions, and offer acceptance rates. With this information, you have the power to make better, more informed decisions every step of the way.
Built-in Compliance and Regulation Features
Navigating the complex legal landscape of hiring can be particularly challenging for retailers. Recruitment automation offers "bias-busting" technology designed to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organization. These built-in compliance and regulation features not only help you adhere to legal requirements and industry standards but also significantly reduce the risk of human error, ensuring you remain compliant throughout the recruitment process.
This dual benefit not only safeguards your brand’s reputation but also streamlines your hiring process, contributing to a reduced time-to-hire. With recruitment automation, you can maintain a foundation of trust while expediting the recruitment process, establishing your brand as both a compliant and responsible employer.
What Are The Potential Benefits of Recruitment Automation for Retail Hiring
Making the case for any software investment is going to require proof of the potential for Return on Investment (ROI). When it comes to recruitment automation software, there’s a lot of data out there to prove these solutions offer plenty of benefits for retailers looking to optimize their hourly hiring processes. For the sake of time, we’ve compiled them for you and have outlined them below.
Streamlined Efficiency: Accelerating the Hiring Process
In a world where time is very valuable, recruitment automation has become a game-changer for quick and efficient hiring. It significantly reduces the time-to-fill roles, enabling retailers to quickly respond to their always-changing staffing needs. This newfound efficiency minimizes vacancies, ensures operational continuity, and prevents revenue loss due to understaffing.
Automation's swift and efficient hiring process ensures that staff can be onboarded rapidly, meeting surges in weekly and seasonal demand head-on. Seasonal fluctuations will no longer catch retailers off guard; automation empowers them to respond promptly, maintaining operational excellence even in the busiest of times.
Enhanced Candidate Experience: Reflecting Positively on Your Brand
Recruitment automation places the candidate experience at the forefront. Even for candidates who don't ultimately join the team, the process reflects the retailer's dedication to respect and consideration. This positive experience resonates beyond the recruitment phase, potentially turning every applicant, whether hired or not, into a satisfied customer who perceives the brand in a favorable light.
Data-Driven Insights: Guiding Informed Decisions
Recruitment automation's impact goes beyond the surface, diving deep into data-driven insights. These insights guide evidence-based decision-making, facilitating smarter hires and improved long-term outcomes. Armed with comprehensive data, retailers can fine-tune their strategies, adapt to changing trends, and enhance their overall recruitment approach.
Compliance and Consistency: Meeting Legal Standards
Ensuring diversity and avoiding nepotism concerns in hiring can be tricky, especially for retailers with many stores. Using automated systems will help retailers stick to legal standards and unbiased hiring principles, keeping their hiring processes consistent. This not only reduces the chance of biased actions, but it also fosters inclusive hiring practices, nixing any risk of favoritism before it might start.
Agility and Operational Efficiency
Agility is the cornerstone of retail success, and recruitment automation provides the agility retailers need. The retail industry is dynamic, with staffing needs fluctuating constantly, especially with seasonal demands. Recruitment automation allows retailers to swiftly adjust their workforce, ensuring operational excellence without the labor-intensive work that manual processes bring. This agility transforms retailers into nimble and responsive entities, poised to capitalize on opportunities in a rapidly evolving market.
Automating workflows can also go a long way to helping retailers enhance operational efficiency. As manual and time-consuming administrative tasks are removed from a Manager’s daily list, they can be more productive and focused on strategic initiatives. Additionally, this resource optimization means retailers can operate with a leaner workforce, when necessary. Which leads us to the next benefit…
Doing More With Less: Cost Savings and Enhanced Agility in Retail Hiring
Leading recruitment automation solutions can help retail recruiters do more with less, making their recruiting efforts more efficient while also saving retailers time and money. Specifically, recruitment automation software speeds up the recruitment process, making lighter work of hourly hiring for retailers. In turn, retailers will experience enhanced agility, operational efficiency, and remain competitive. This also allows recruiters to focus on building relationships with candidates, helping to keep the candidate pipeline full to meet hiring needs.
Without the added stress and time requirement of recruiting, store managers can focus on other important tasks of running a successful retail business, like inventory management, customer relations, meeting revenue objectives, etc. Managers can also spend more time training staff and building a stronger team. Traditional retail recruitment can’t offer this flexibility and often leads to wasted time, stressed out employees/managers, and poor experiences for candidates as well as customers who will feel the impact of understaffed stores firsthand.
The Benefits of a Fast, Automated Recruitment Process in Retail
A streamlined and efficient recruitment process is the cornerstone of hourly hiring success in retail, offering a range of benefits that optimize the hiring journey, including:
- Reduced time-to-fill. A fast recruitment process ensures that roles are filled more quickly, minimizing disruptions and maintaining uninterrupted retail operations
- Reduced recruitment costs. Automation cuts administrative expenses and frees resources for strategic tasks.
- Maintained customer service. Adequate staffing guarantees better customer experiences, reinforcing brand loyalty.
- Meeting seasonal demands. Efficient recruitment allows retailers to scale faster during high-demand seasons, meeting customer needs seamlessly.
- Minimizing opportunity costs. Fast hiring prevents revenue loss from unfilled roles and missed business opportunities.
- Competitive advantage. Automated hiring processes guarantee that talent is secured before competitors have the chance to do so.
- Flexibility and agility. Streamlined processes adapt quickly to changing needs, minimizing disruptions.
- Employee morale. A faster recruitment process minimizes the time employees have to spend on time-consuming manual tasks, thereby reducing stress and improving workplace morale.
- Streamlined workflows. Every hiring stage is accelerated and simplified, boosting overall efficiency.
- Lower attrition rates: Well-matched hires lead to longer employee retention, reducing turnover.
- Improved candidate experience. Positive interactions enhance brand perception, whether candidates are hired or not.
- Better workforce planning. Data insights guide informed decisions for optimized future hiring needs.
- Enhanced employer brand. A respectful and quick hiring process strengthens the company's reputation as a sought-after employer.
As the retail industry continues to shift and evolve, businesses need a hiring process that matches its pace and agility. Retailers who understand the need to evolve processes and solutions to meet these challenges will undoubtedly gain a competitive advantage and build a strong foundation for future success. The transformation from traditional recruiting practices to the optimized, automated processes outlined in this guide will ensure business agility, enhance the candidate experience, and elevate the careers of HR and TA professionals who implement recruitment automation software.
Recruitment automation isn't just a technological upgrade; it's the key to becoming and staying competitive in a fast-paced retail environment. The power to unlock a streamlined, efficient, and responsive hourly hiring process is at your fingertips. Embrace the future of retail recruitment with Appyhere's cutting-edge solutions, and position your retail business at the forefront of hiring success.