As the retail frenzy created by the holiday season winds down, let’s take a few minutes to reflect on what could have simplified this busy season.
Perhaps no kind of recruitment has quite the same challenges as recruiting for the retail industry. Seasonal changes, high turnover, managing brick and mortar vs. online shopping, the economy… there are many variables that impact a recruiter’s ability to fill their talent pool with qualified applicants.
Retail companies are major employers in our economy. About 4.6 million Americans work in retail sales, while 3.4 million work as cashiers. Together, that accounts for almost 6%
of all employment in the United States.
At the same time, we’re seeing AI-enabled recruitment
and the automation of recruitment processes taking the world by storm. Can these advances help to re-invent retail hiring?
By evolving current strategies and adopting new ones, retail stores can transition from the challenging place they were once in. This new shift has directed them towards an efficient recruiting process that’s able to keep up with demand while surfing the waves of consumer changes.
Let’s take a look at just HOW AI and automation are changing recruitment in retail.
24/7 Application Availability
While retail applicants have been able to apply online for some time, recruiters for retail couldn’t be online around the clock to answer questions candidates might have as they moved through the process. This is particularly important in retail because the shifts can vary wildly. “Help wanted” doesn’t really explain to the applicant if the role is full-time, part-time, seasonal or offers flexibility with school. Automated responses, career site chatbots
and helpful AI application can answer all these questions on a Sunday or at 3:00 a.m.
Capturing More Interest and Widen the Potential Pool of Interviewable Applicants
Last holiday season, Retail Dive reported
, “Retailers are understaffing stores – and losing sales.” Retail is by its very nature, a “right now”, boots-on-the-ground kind of job. If someone passed a store and wanted to work there but had difficulty getting through the lengthy application, they would give up, or worse, hit the store a couple blocks down.
AI technology is expanding the channels in which candidates are able to engage. Websites and emails are no longer the only ways to collect their information. Instead, mobile text messages, applications like WhatsApp & more are playing a part in the collection of candidate data. When you can capture information from an applicant with a text or an email, you’re more likely to keep them active in your talent pool.
When AI-enabled recruitment platforms capture your candidate information via website, text or applications, they input that directly into your ATS, creating a talent pool you can draw from. AllyO uses interactive, engaging drip campaigns to nurture candidates who aren’t yet ready to apply and proactively promote openings that might fit the candidate no matter when they applied.
Screening and Assessing Talent
Retail workers need to be dependable, great communicators, have a positive attitude, be a team player, be self-motivated, be great problem solvers and employ great customer service. And those are just the impact skills that are predictive of success. Retail positions are becoming tech positions, which means candidates will need the skills to work with POS systems, scanners, tablets and even (at times) complex logistics.
According to a recent Indeed survey
, these new requirements may be contributing to the skills mismatch. 70% of retail employers reported having difficulty finding in-store candidates with the appropriate technical experience, while 82% of retail employers expressed difficulty finding candidates with appropriate cross-functional experience. Each store has different retail processes, money handling processes and management protocols. This means retail workers have to be screened quickly and efficiently. With the average job receiving over 250 resumes per position, this can be daunting for a recruiter trying to hire from headquarters or a beleaguered manager who still has retail duties to attend to. Not only do AI-enabled recruitment platforms determine great at screening criteria by integrating with your ATS and scanning employee records, but these platforms can also use Natural Language Processing (NLP)
to assess candidates while chatting with them, and screen out those who won’t be a good fit for the role. This information can be given to the interviewer (again without intervention from recruiting) to help them prep for the candidate visit.
Scheduling for the Future
It’s a chatbot and calendar world, we’re just living in it. Scheduling a good time to speak with a candidate is one of the most difficult things about retail hiring. Most of the time, someone has to be on the floor. If you’re hiring, chances are the store is already short-staffed. Now instead of trying to coordinate multiple meeting times between the candidate and store manager, you have an automated process that reduces administrative headaches, making for a more efficient and pleasant candidate experience. Plus, when candidates ghost these automated messages, they can be entered into an engagement workflow.
Maximizing New Hire Happiness
It’s hard to deliver world-class customer service when new hires are continuously turning over. Give a personal touch at scale through conversational AI and check-in to see how new hires are feeling about their job every 30, 60 or 90 days. By performing these check-ins, you’ll be more aware of how your employees feel about their job and the company as a whole, and be able to alleviate challenges that may cause a new employee to quit.
Employees leave their jobs for many reasons – new opportunities, bad management and timing are only a few at the tip of the iceberg. Just because they have left, doesn’t mean that they won’t want to come back. Use a boomerang hiring strategy to re-engage past top performing seasonal employees.
In short, AI-enabled recruiting is giving recruiters and floor managers back what is impossible to recover: time. Platforms that use AI to enable recruitment processes can search to find matching candidates, reduce drop off on career sites, make contact with the interesting candidate, schedule interviews, conduct preliminary interviews, assess resumes and present the top candidates to a hiring manager. In the fast-paced world of retail where boots on the ground mean sales, that is a really good thing for candidates and HR leadership alike.
Does saving this kind of time sound like something you need in your recruitment process? Check out the 30 things you can do instantly by implementing AllyO. Sign up for a demo today
to see how much time and money you can save!