Retail Recruiting: How to Consistently Convert Hyper-Local Candidates

Retail Recruiting: How to Consistently Convert Hyper-Local Candidates

Emily Smykal

retail recruitingRetailers face an interesting challenge when it comes to recruiting. They may have stores across the country—even the globe—but their fate often rests upon their ability to hire local workers for each location. And those local hires need to be consistently high quality, matching the retailer’s values and brand.

This challenge is amplified among chains that are impacted by seasonality and economic growth, as well as those that are expanding rapidly. When you add to that the fundamental shifts in recruiting today, many retailers might see long lists of hurdles ahead.

But these issues, from job seekers’ rising digital and mobile expectations and the way they search for jobs, to the devices they use to do so and the way recruiters identify, engage and attract candidates should be seen as opportunities to carve out a competitive advantage.

Finding the right approach to these challenges can give retailers a huge leg up on the competition, and help solve the problem of hiring the best local candidates. In this post we’ll cover four key elements that should have a role in any modern retail talent acquisition strategy.

Optimizing For “In-the-Moment” Applicants

We know consumers love a streamlined and intuitive shopping experience online, and candidates now expect the same from the job search process. A next-generation candidate experience includes many features, and retailers can put them to good use when it comes to “in-the-moment” applicants—ones that are ready to apply on the spot and expect to be able to do so.

Potential retail workers often do not have a lot of experience, and hiring them doesn’t necessitate the sort of long, drawn out application process found in other industries. Making forward-thinking improvements, such as consistent and engaging branding across all channels, with easy connections between social media platforms and the ability to apply via mobile can help attract applicants.

And a more streamlined application process, with features like multiple options for resume uploads and responsive web design, can help optimize the apply flow. By making minor tweaks to the experience, as well as improvements to the user interface, we’ve seen some companies cut their average time to complete an application by more than 75%. This is particularly important for mobile users, who may want to work at your store but don’t have the time at the moment for a lengthy application.

Encouraging In-Store Applicants

Optimizing the search and apply process on all devices is something we’ve discussed before, and it’s worth prioritizing. By next year more than three-quarters of applicants are expected to search for jobs on a smartphone. A solid mobile experience can capture higher numbers of potential applicants, and reduce your mobile drop rate.

If a retailer has a fully optimized, responsive career site and apply process, they can even encourage on-the-spot, in-store applicants. Shoppers and visitors to stores—who often would make good workers—are in some cases being instructed by existing staff to apply on their phone, while on location. This kind of efficiency and speed will not only impress candidates, but will increase application completion rates.

Providing the Option to Opt-In to Job Alerts

Another way retailers can bring their candidate experiences up to speed with their consumer experiences is through job alerts. Many shoppers get notifications from their favorite stores about sales and new products. Recruiters can do the same thing with new job listings.

Calls-to-action can be embedded throughout career sites, and they’re particularly useful for attracting local talent. Candidates near a store can opt-in to job alerts, and when something becomes available in their area, they’ll get a more personalized and relevant notification about the job than if they simply searched online. Think of job alerts as ways to instantly boost your talent pool, segmented by location or other interests.

Showing Up In Search Engine Results Pages

By now, more than half of all job seekers start their search with Google. So if retailers want potential workers to opt-in to job alerts and apply on their mobile-friendly sites, they need to be easy to find first. Unfortunately for your career site, job boards have much more authority among search engine results, and candidates are more likely to end up there.

Most career sites are built on out-of-the-box applicant tracking systems, which are not typically optimized for search. So investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help boost your profile among local candidates as they search online for retailers with vacancies in their area.

SEO not only gives lasting returns, it would also give retailers higher credibility online, something local applicants will surely notice as they browse job search results on their devices. After all, not many people click past the first page of search results. If your career site and job postings show up near or at the top of a local candidate’s search, they’ll be much more likely to check out your offerings.

Becoming the Standard for Candidate Experience

There’s a mix of recruiting strategies and technologies that apply to every industry, in their own unique ways. Retail is in an interesting position, because most of the industry’s potential candidates are the same set of increasingly tech-savvy consumers. Certainly, digital strategies and the accompanying experience for consumers have been modernized time and time again, so what’s the holdup with the candidate experience?

Retailers are in the position to become the standard for today’s candidate experience. If you’re interested in learning about what it takes to build a leading candidate experience, check out our new eBook by clicking the button below.

One crucial aspect of modern recruitment marketing is job alerts and nurture campaigns. Check out our new eBook, “The Role of Job Alerts in a Modern Recruitment Marketing Strategy,” to learn more.

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