5 Innovative Recruitment Tips from Retail and Hospitality

Our recent networking event for talent leaders in retail and hospitality was a great success. Find out our five key takeaways from the event.

On the 6th March 2018 recruitment leaders gathered from the worlds of retail and hospitality. Given that they have many challenges in common, this was an opportunity to share stories and advice on how to recruit for quantity without compromising on quality.

Our morning kicked off with the Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) story from Recruitment Manager Amy-Lou Osborn. She shared how GBK, which has 92 restaurants in the UK, has transformed its recruitment strategy. The delegates then had the opportunity to share their challenges and stories, here are some highlights from the discussion:

1. Communicating the real employer brand

Delegates agreed, a hands-on, transparent, honest insight into life at work is proving valuable to securing right-fit candidates and also effective in allowing candidates to deselect themselves from the process– therefore reducing early attrition.

Delegates saw the value of helping candidates get a real insight into the company rather than a corporately generated view. To do this tactics such as social media, ‘a day in the life of’, and work experience, are being used so companies can build a commitment to culture and brand.

One restaurant chain offers 90 minutes work experience plus a meal as an opportunity for the candidate to meet the team and test out their skills. A major high-end retailer offers ‘a day in the life’ insight into not only what happens front-of-house but what happens in the stock room too,so they can get a full picture.

2. Is the CV dead?

Most of our participants are moving away from the CV. For hospitality and retail roles it’s often more valuable to recruit on values and behaviours rather than experience. One organisation has seen a 45% increase in applications since moving directly to assessment – and the calibre of applicants has improved too.

Some companies are now going straight to video to get an impression of how the candidates present themselves (one of them has 100% attendance rate at interview). Another uses information from LinkedIn for management roles rather than asking for CVs. For one business, taking candidates directly to an online screening process has resulted in 50% fewer applications than with CVs – but has led to better attendance rate at assessment centres.

Aside from the advantages of tech-led recruitment, GDPR will have further implications for recruitment teams and certainly within the retail and hospitality sectors, the CV is of less and less relevance.

3. Application time is critical

In retail and hospitality volumes are big for frontline staff. One of our participating companies receives 100,000 applications for its 2,000 annual hires, another expects 200,000 applications for 40,000 hires. Despite the need to recruit at scale, there’s a balance to be struck when it comes to application time.

Companies are looking to hit the sweet spot between an application which is too long (resulting in drop-outs) and one that is too short (making it so easy that you get too many candidates applying who aren’t right fit).

One of our participants had reduced their application time from 15 minutes down to 2 ½ minutes, while another had increased the application time to seven minutes for managers in order to have candidates demonstrate a level of commitment.

Which is most effective for your recruitment strategy? Leave us a comment below!

4. Upping your game on social

All our participants are using social media for talent attraction in some way, one company even has KPIs around social. But none feel they have really cracked it, having experimented with managing social in-house and using agencies. Buy-in has not been straightforward but reporting on the costs of social versus job boards has helped one business change perceptions.

Instagram and Snapchat are both being used to good effect to showcase ‘a great place to work’ and companies are using these channels to reach an audience which may not usually reach their websites.

Employee generated content is most impactful and one of our participant companies is about to launch a competition in-house centred around employee-generated social content.

5. Getting organisational buy-in

One of the challenges for recruitment is that talent acquisition is not seen as revenue-generating and comparisons are frequently made to other investments.

Recruitment teams need to be able to report effectively and cost out investment in recruitment if they want to bring in new technologies. One business is working on a business case to convince the Board that tech has an important place.

A major high-end British retailer is coaching managers on how to recruit in order to win buy-in, and it took a brave approach from one delegate who told the Board they were ‘behind the times’! before they made their investment in recruitment tech.

Our participants had many more insights to share on improving recruitment and on repositioning the recruitment team as a as true partner to the business. We’ll be sharing these in future posts.

We’ll be hosting a number of retail and hospitality round tables over the coming year. If you’re in retail or hospitality recruitment and would like to join our network, please get in touch.