For Retailers Struggling to Fill Vacancies, Focusing on Candidate Experience is Key
Retailers across the industry are struggling in the post-pandemic economy. Both small businesses and large retail chains were hit with sales slowdowns in the midst of lockdown measures, but they’ve emerged with strong reopening strategies that are proving successful. Yet even as retailers of all sizes cash in on pent-up consumer demand, a problem persists: staffing levels.
Whether it’s a result of expanded unemployment benefits, wages that haven’t kept up with inflation, or a lack of talent pools in cities, the end result is the same: there are millions of open positions and a lack of applicants.
There are a number of steps retailers can take to address this crisis, but first and foremost, there needs to be a re-evaluation of the hiring process itself. To entice job-seekers, retailers need to provide a frictionless, candidate-centric hiring experience that makes the process simple. By leveraging new tools in automation, retailers are better able to scale their hiring efforts, take the burden off of hiring managers, and set expectations for candidates that lead to higher quality hires and increased employee retention.
The Importance of Finding the Right Candidate
During a labor shortage, it can be an impulse for hiring managers to put an emphasis on speed at the expense of quality of hire. While understandable, this is a flawed tendency. By hiring the wrong candidate, not only do hiring managers have to start the process over, but there are collateral costs: getting new employees oriented, onboarded and trained is a major investment that can take its toll on a staff.
By leveraging automation, hiring managers are able to sort through and evaluate a much larger volume of applications to find the right candidate in a fraction of the time. Instead of choosing from the first stack of applicants, automation tools can perform pre-screening, initial interviews, and assessments for massive quantities of candidates. For larger retailers that deal with thousands of applicants for a position, automation tools provide a scalable solution that guarantees a fair evaluation for every candidate without bias found in traditional hiring.
Using Technology to Put the Candidate in the Driver’s Seat
The modern hiring experience stack provides a frictionless experience for candidates. In a competitive job market, it’s important that retailers make it easy for candidates to apply and be evaluated for a position, and use hiring as an opportunity to get candidates excited about the company.
Using next-generation hiring tools, retailers are able to let the candidate drive their own hiring experience. One of these tools is online assessments made to evaluate for traits the employer wants in an employee. These assessments can be done on the candidate’s schedule and, once completed, can be used to deliver an automated, individualized feedback report of how the candidate performed.
Employers can deploy asynchronous interviews that leverage video platforms to let candidates tell their own story. Because these interviews aren’t live, candidates don’t need to take off from their current jobs or fit into a hiring manager’s schedule to be heard.
Throughout this hiring experience, retailers can use these touchpoints as opportunities to bolster their employer brand. Within assessments and interviews, retailers can set expectations about the position, express corporate values, and provide additional information that lets candidates determine if they’re the right fit for the company.
Seventy-two percent of candidates will tell others about a bad experience in the hiring process. By providing a candidate-focused hiring experience that leverages technology to keep candidates in the loop, retailers are best positioned to bring on the right talent as they scale their efforts in a competitive job market.
Kelly Ann McGrath is vice president of client success at Outmatch, the industry’s first and only Hiring Experience Stack™.
Related story: Narrowing the Labor Shortage Through Positive Employee Engagement
Kelly Ann McGrath is the VP of Client Success at Outmatch. Outmatch works with retailers such as Adidas and Walmart to improve hiring efficiency with assessments, video interviewing, reference checking, interview scheduling automation, and more. This process creates an on-brand candidate experience, saves recruiters hundreds of hours and increases interview response and completion rates.