Recruitment campaigns in the retail sector attract on average, per role, twice as many applicants as any other sector in the UK, so with this in mind, it’s odd that around 35% of all retail sector employers highlight finding talented employees as one of the biggest challenges that they face. With so many applicants applying for retail vacancies surely there shouldn’t be an issue with finding the right talent? Surely having queues for your vacancies can be almost as beneficial as having queues at your tills?
The problems with high volume recruitment
There are two main issues that can arise for businesses who receive a high volume of applications; the first is associated to the cost of managing such a large number of applicants and the second is the negative effect it can have on the quality of candidates.
Companies in the UK that volume recruit spend just short of £3 million on their staff procurement every year (Overcoming Retail Volume Recruitment Challenges). On average, half of all shops in the UK receive between 51-100 applications for each vacancy they post, which means it is likely that a large percentage of great candidates are falling under the radar. These could be your future managers!
The retail stigma
There is a negative stigma attached to working in the retail sector whereby many looking from the outside believe the sector to offer poor pay and a lack of development opportunities, this alone could deter good candidates from applying. To overcome this issue it is key that you provide a full and descriptive job description that covers not only the role itself, but the benefits to working for the business and the development opportunities that are available.
Additionally, managing a high volume of applicants is not only time consuming, but also costly, both in terms of staff time taken to process the applications and also resources used. A great way to reduce the number of applications to deal with, and also filter out those who are serial applicants (apply for any job without really reading the job description – hoping that they land an interview) and not necessarily serious about working for you, killer questions can be introduced to your application process. Killer questions filter out the unsuitable candidates that do not meet the minimum criteria and will leave you with only those suited to the role.
It is normal for those in the retail sector to find that the number of applications received in an average month is much higher than that of the norm for other sectors, but seasonal hiring requirements, such as during the Christmas period, can send this figure way north of the average, even for the retail sector. The number of staff working in shops over the festive period can nearly double when compared to average staffing numbers. Furthermore, and slightly more surprisingly, summer roles are on the increase, with around 50,000 summer jobs opening the three months before September (Managing Seasonal Retail Recruitment Spikes).
The key to managing this effectively is to ensure that you have the right, up-to-date processes in place; an outdated paper-based system is certainly going to be damaging to not only the quality of the candidates that you find, but also your employer brand.
It can sometimes take an outside view for you to realise the areas causing the most damage to your recruitment process and potentially your employer brand. You can get an online or over the phone recruitment health check for freeto help you to understand where your process is currently falling short. You can request your health check by clicking here.