Digital tools will help you win the retail recruitment race in 2020

Jane Bianchini

Alcami Interactive founder and chief executive officer Jane Bianchini.

Retail businesses are changing fast and rapidly embracing online and omni-channel operations to stay on top of the competition. As we approach 2020 and a new decade, the recruitment process will evolve to become increasingly digitised in order to secure the skills that are essential to modern business needs. 

Recent research from InMoment has found the most important thing brands can do to improve Australian customer experiences is to deliver ‘better service from staff’ (50%). This is especially important for Australians, who rank it higher than US (42%) and UK (30%) consumers.  

Winning the race for the best staff is therefore critical for all retail businesses, and ensuring your brand resonates with potential candidates will become increasingly vital. Thankfully, modern tech solutions are meeting these recruitment challenges head-on, putting brands back in the shop window and helping them to create a competitive advantage.  

Identifying the obstacles 

Startling turnover rates, intense competition for local talent and seasonal spikes in staffing demand are just a few of the many modern recruitment challenges costing retailers millions of dollars annually.

Seasonality is a considerable recruitment challenge as it requires multiple employees over a short period of time — referred to in recruitment as ‘high volume hiring’. During these times, competition intensifies, as does turnover, as regular staff may also quit because of the increased workload. Attrition and dropout rates remain high for retail roles and candidates renege on job offers all too often, meaning recruiting the right people at scale is challenging. 

Tackling this quantity challenge is only half the battle — there’s still the issue of quality. Interpersonal skills and customer service become the key differentiators. Some people are naturally born to provide great customer experience and these are the candidates you need to be able to identify in your recruitment process. 

With these pressures to recruit quickly, and in mass, businesses must be mindful not to neglect the need to foster diversity and inclusion. The ideal retail workforce should reflect the diversity of its customers and optimise the hiring process to attract diverse talent accordingly. Eliminating bias has been an inherent issue in the recruitment industry, but it’s an issue set to be tackled in 2020. 

In this environment, innovation and the latest technology are paramount to having success in hiring the right staff, in volume and faster than your competitors.

Clearing the hurdles 

Modern digitised recruitment tools, including digital interviewing, resonate with the new generation of job applicants.

Australia’s retail industry, for instance, is the second largest industry in the country, the most staff-intensive and has a 32% majority demographic aged 15 to 24. This is a generation of tech-natives with an expectation for convenience and an attraction to innovation.

Digital interviewing can hand freedom of time and location back to the candidate, creating a far more convenient experience. And for the retailer, the business can maximise the engagement by branding the candidate portal; it’s a win-win for improved brand perception. 

Whereas resume-based processes gave recruiters one shot at assessing interpersonal skills, these skills can now be reviewed in far greater detail, ensuring the level of talent business will need in 2020 and beyond. 

A candidate’s affinity and comfort with the technology is an early indicator of suitability to the evolving digital focus of modern businesses. With the lines continuing to blur across omni-channel touch points, establishing a recruitment process that embraces tech literacy will become increasingly more important. 

Significantly, embracing tech advances in your recruitment process can provide the diversity and inclusion solution to ‘blind hiring’. Customisable abilities to turn the camera off, digitise voices, provide both written and audible questioning and level the playing field through question response times, will ensure bias is marginalised. 

Winning the race 

Recruiting the right people has always been a core business challenge, requiring speed, insight and a brand advantage over the competition. This hasn’t always been a challenge that businesses have been equipped to win. 

Advances in recruitment technology are finally providing opportunities to evolve from inconsistent CV-based interviews. In 2020, businesses will have the ability to identify and prioritise the skills that matter most to building strong teams and customer relations. This will be automated and processed at speed, with consistency and greatly reduced bias. 

For the candidate, it’s a convenient process that gives insight into a brand’s innovative culture. A modern recruitment process is the first opportunity to connect a brand with a new generation of talent, leading to far more engaged candidates in the year ahead. 

Ultimately, in the next decade’s recruitment race, it’ll be the tech-savvy that see the opportunities with 2020 vision. 

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