The 4 Best Innovations In Retail Recruiting


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Despite the recent mass retail store closures, A workforce report by LinkedIn finds retail hiring was up 4.1 percent in January 2017 compared to January 2016.

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Image source: Indigo

This increase in hiring volume will mean resource-conscious recruiting departments will need to intelligently leverage the latest innovations in retail recruiting to increase their efficiency and reduce costs.

Retail recruiting has unique challenges because it generally involves high-volume hiring, seasonal hiring, and shift work. Another challenge is with multiple store locations, many retailers use a decentralized recruiting model (i.e., each store responsible for their own hiring).

Here are the four best innovations you can use to tackle these challenges and improve the retail recruiting process.

1. AI for screening and candidate matching

The typical high-volume job posting receives more than 250 applications and on average, 75 percent of those resumes are considered unqualified. When you’re hiring for thousands of open retail positions a year, this adds up to hundreds of wasted hours skimming through unqualified resumes.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can automate the screening process by learning what the experiences, skills, and qualifications required for the job are and then ranking and grading new candidates who match the profile (e.g., from A to D).

Using AI for retail recruiting makes sense because AI requires a lot of data and retail can provide that high volume. By automating manual resume screening, Retailers who use AI for resume screening have reduced their time to hire by 75 percent. In his Forbes article on how AI is being used in retail, Bryan Pearson of LoyaltyOne notes reducing time to hire gives retailers a better chance of winning the best talent.

2. Video interviewing

Video interviewing has become extremely popular due to the convenience and time savings with 63 percent of hiring managers stating they’ve used it.

Flexibility is key for retail as hiring managers tend to have more irregular schedules compared to the average office worker. A video interview provides that flexibility because it can take place in real-time or candidates can pre-record their interview and you can watch it at your convenience.

Another important feature for mass retail recruiting is increasing efficiency. Video interviewing allows you to conduct 10 video interviews in the same amount of time it takes to conduct one phone interview.

3. VR for job testing and previewing

Virtual reality (VR) is a realistic simulation of a three-dimensional environment controlled by movements of your body. Retailers can use VR technology to create more realistic job tests to assess a candidate’s skills and personality. For example, a realistic simulation that tests a candidate’s social skills and problem solving abilities when dealing with an unhappy customer.

Candidates can use VR to experience a more realistic preview of what a day on the job would look like. This could include creating a virtual version of themselves that would interact with virtual colleagues and customers to get a better sense of the company culture.

VR fits the mobile nature of retail recruiting because it can doesn’t require you to sit in front of a computer to use it.

4. On-demand talent marketplaces

By 2020, it’s estimated that more than 40 percent of the US workforce will be part of the gig economy. An on-demand talent pool is a faster and easier method for retailers to fulfil their high-volume and seasonal hiring needs.

Access to on-demand talent can be accomplished in two ways. Retailers can create their own talent communities which requires resources to attract, nurture, and track interested candidates. If you have the marketing and recruiting resources to nurture your own on-demand talent pool, this could provide a competitive hiring advantage.

The second way for retailers to access on-demand talent is by using a retail talent marketplace such as Snagajob or AllWork that matches retail workers to your open positions. This option reduces your cost of candidate acquisition and marketing but requires you to woo candidates to work for your retail brand over your competitors.

Ji-A Min
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal, software that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate repetitive recruiting tasks. She has a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and her expertise is in data-based recruitment and HR technology. Ji-A has been featured in Forbes, TechRepublic, and Backchannel.


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