How to Build a Successful Retail Recruitment Strategy
Recruiting retail employees means appealing to the needs of hourly workers. Here are some key components of a successful retail recruitment strategy.
Retail workers make up a significant portion of the U.S. labor force. According to the National Retail Federation, 42 million jobs, $1.6 trillion in labor income and $2.6 trillion dollars of the annual U.S. GDP directly and indirectly comes from the retail industry. And reports over the death of retail have been greatly exaggerated, with more than 1 million retail stores in the United States enjoying nearly 4% annual growth since 2010.
To boost your own retail hiring efforts and attract high-quality talent, use this guide to develop a successful retail recruitment strategy:
Focus on flexible scheduling
The retail sector often has vastly different operating hours than the typical office’s 9-to-5 schedule. 24-hour supermarkets, weekend shopping centers, and appointment-only boutiques all require workers at very different hours of the day, creating a demand for labor that’s adjustable to store managers’ needs.
Many candidates seek out retail opportunities specifically because of the working hours available. Whether it’s a side hustle, a supplemental job while in school, or a full-time career, being able to work a flexible schedule is one of the most desired aspects of a retail job.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 30% of retail employees prefer being able to choose their own shifts, compared to 18% of employees in other industries. Retail workers also prefer the option to work compressed shifts or workweeks. Offering scheduling flexibility is a great way to entice candidates who are looking for work that fits their busy lifestyle.
Don’t fret about experience
Lengthy and extensive resumes may be essential to landing a C-suite position, but they shouldn’t be expected for retail roles. Retail jobs are often entry-level, requiring employers to find qualified candidates with varying levels of work experience — including none.
Instead of getting painted into a corner by trying to find employees with a lengthy retail track record, seek out candidates with the right personality. Because human interaction is often crucial when working in a retail environment, candidates with a short resume who demonstrate excellent people skills can make for a better hire than one who’s experienced but sour.
Highlight the employer brand
In 2018, McDonald’s marketed working in its restaurant as “America’s Best First Job,” highlighting the skills and opportunities afforded to employees that can prepare them for future careers at McDonald’s or elsewhere.
This initiative demonstrates a crystal clear employer brand proposition, showing candidates how working with McDonald’s could be a great stepping stone to new opportunities. Show job seekers how a position in the retail industry is beneficial to further develop one’s career, and demonstrate that your company is invested in the success of its own employees.
An enticing employee value proposition can help convince candidates that retail roles are worth applying for. Whether it’s through the products sold, the benefits offered, or the overall impact on the community, having a clear employer brand demonstrates why a candidate will have a great experience as a future employee. As soon as a candidate has expressed an interest in your brand, recruitment marketing tools like text campaigns can turn their attention into a completed application.
Keep your talent pipeline full
High employee turnover is one of the many recruitment challenges faced by retail organizations. Because retail roles are often a stepping stone for career growth, it’s important for retail recruiters to continuously source talent, even when hiring needs aren’t immediate.
Invest in a recruitment marketing strategy to combat a high turnover rate and attract candidates throughout the year. Promote your company’s employer brand on social media, invite candidates to join your talent community, and send frequent communications throughout the year.
When it comes time to hire employees for newly open roles or bring in new team members for seasonal work, you’ll have a built-in talent pool ready to be plucked for their next opportunity.
Simplify the interview process
Many retail organizations have high volume hiring needs, which means it’s important to collect as many applications during the recruitment process as possible. Removing friction from the interview process can ensure a steady stream of candidates is ready for recruitment and onboarding at a moment’s notice.
Mobile job applications make it simple for candidates to apply from their phones, and with a few pre-screening questions, employers can quickly determine which ones meet the basic qualifications. Once the right candidates have been identified, interview self-scheduling allows candidates to select a predetermined interview time to arrange their meeting time without friction. And to make the process go even faster, video interviews can reduce the amount of time it takes to assess candidates — no matter where they’re located.
Four tips to a successful recruitment strategy
- Offer flexible scheduling, one of the key desires of a retail employee.
- Hire with an eye towards personality, not necessarily work experience.
- Showcase your retail store’s employer brand to demonstrate the job’s value.
- Simplify the interview process using mobile job applications, interview self-scheduling, and video interviews to attract and hire talent as quickly as possible.