Retail trade is Australia’s second-largest employing industry, which brings significant and unique recruitment challenges.

Keeping such a labour-intensive industry staffed is often a time consuming, labour-intensive, and expensive exercise – but one worth the investment.

Having the right customer-facing staff is key to providing an excellent customer experience. Recent research has found that the most important thing brands can do to improve Australian customer experiences is to deliver ‘Better Service from Staff’ (50 percent) – something especially important for Australians, ranking higher than US (42 percent) and UK (30 percent) consumers.

Thankfully, modern tech solutions are meeting retail’s recruitment challenges head-on, finding the right candidates digitally and engaging them with customers in physical stores. The real challenge for retailers, is identifying the issues and knowing the solutions.

Retail challenges

Startling turnover rates, intense competition for local talent and seasonal spikes in staffing demand are just a few of the multitude of recruitment challenges costing retailers millions of dollars annually.

Seasonality is a considerable recruitment challenge for retailers as it requires multiple employees over a short period of time – referred to in the industry as ‘high volume hiring.’

During these times, competition intensifies, as does turnover, whereby regular staff quit over the increased workload. Attrition and dropout rates remain high for retail roles and candidates renege on job offers all too often, meaning recruiting the right people at scale is testing.

Tackling this quantity challenge is only half the battle, there’s still the issue of quality. Unlike most industries, retail doesn’t require specific qualifications or experience.

Whilst this makes the industry amazingly accessible, it does make identifying the best candidates difficult. Inter-personal skills and customer service become the key differentiators. Some people are naturally born to provide great customer experience and these are the candidates you want on your team. Advanced tools for evaluating your candidates desired skills, therefore, become essential.

With these pressures to recruit in mass and fast, retailers must be mindful not to neglect their obligation to diversity and inclusion.

The ideal retail workforce should reflect the diversity of its customers and optimise the hiring process to attract diverse talent accordingly. In this environment, innovation and the latest technology are paramount to having success in hiring the right staff, in volume and faster than your competitors.

New tactics

Candidates are used to consumer-grade experiences when engaging a brand from a job seeker perspective, getting the application process right cannot be underestimated.

In a recent Alcami Interactive poll, 23 percent of workers believe candidate experience reveals more about brand culture than customer experience. One in four jobseekers have either entirely stopped purchasing (12 percent) or purchased less (11 percent) from a brand because of a negative candidate experience. Additionally, 30 percent of candidates would consider becoming a customer of a brand if they had a good experience.

Modern digitised recruitment resonates with retail applicants as 32 percent of Australian retail trade workers are aged 15 to 24. This is a generation of tech-natives with an expectation for convenience and an attraction to innovation. Digital interviewing hands freedom of time and location back to the candidate, creating a far more convenient experience. For the retailer, the business can maximise the engagement by branding the candidate portal – it’s a win-win for improved brand perception.

Digital interviewing provides a management platform for vacancies, questions, responses, candidates and assessments that is missing from manual CV based recruitment. The process automates the screening phase without dehumanising the candidate experience. Ultimately, the recruiting company increases time savings, decreases turnover and enhances culture.

The process comes into its own where diversity and inclusion are concerned. Customisable abilities to turn the camera off, digitise voices, provide both written and audible questioning and level the playing field through question response times; provides the solution to ‘blind hiring’.
Digital interviewing automates manual tasks, minimises bias and delivers more engaging, consistent and fair experiences. This ultimately raises the bar for in-store customer experience. It’s time retailers stopped missing out on hidden talent, omitted by manual CV based processes – put simply, it’s time for new tactics.

If you need some guidance shaping the process for your hiring needs, get in touch with us at Alcami Interactive to request a personalised demo.