Easy, fast and personal are today’s recruitment edicts


The retail sector in Scotland is experiencing an unparalleled level of demand for new staff as vacancies rise and employers face increasing challenges to fill roles.

For some high street stores this has meant operating on reduced hours as staff are prioritised for peak periods and consolidated to flagship locations. This is having a significant knock-on impact as the high street continues to open up.

We know from our conversations with businesses and candidates that the employment dial has shifted considerably. Where previously applicants might be left on hold without any updates, this is no longer possible. The landscape places candidates squarely in the driving seat.

Because of this, retailers are becoming much more proactive at ensuring applicants stay on track, complete assessments and attend interviews. Organisations must decide quickly and make an offer swiftly after interview for fear applicants receive other overtures. The emphasis has shifted to making the process as easy as possible for candidates.

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How do employers manage this situation? Firstly, they need to reassess their recruitment processes. Most retailers have systems to cope with high volumes of applications, designed to reduce numbers down to just the qualified and most suitable candidates, often using online assessments.

The current landscape renders this impractical. Online tests can be tiresome and are certainly impersonal – given the choice candidates would far rather avoid them.

So that’s what some employers are doing: they qualify candidates over the phone by calling them as soon as they’ve applied, and, if they are suitable, aim to get them booked in for a face-to-face interview there and then.

Secondly, employers are having to do a lot more of the “sell” throughout the process. This doesn’t mean lowering the bar to entry – successful applicants still need to be qualified and suitable. But it does mean that every interaction with potential employees should be designed to heighten their interest and enhance their experience.

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Thirdly, employers need to embrace mobile technology. An application process that requires a CV along with an online application submitted via a laptop immediately rules out those who don’t have the equipment. Ensuring your process is mobile optimized is an inclusive and sensible approach because after all, these days everyone has the necessary tool to apply in their pocket.

Employers who are coping best with these difficult circumstances are those who facilitate an easy and quick process to apply and recruit. Communication is key and providing applicants with clear information and succinct steps to follow is crucial to retaining candidate interest and ultimately filling empty roles.

David Macfarlane, talent solutions director with TMP UK, is a guest writer on behalf of s1jobs.

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