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Retailing has changed. To thrive in today’s digital market, retailers create a shopping experience that connects all purchasing channels – from store to computer to mobile. Now, this omnichannel approach to doing business extends to talent acquisition.

A retail company must meet candidates where they already are. So in addition to using job boards, retail recruiting now stretches across social media campaigns, mobile-optimized career sites, employee referrals, and in-store tools.

Why Does Omnichannel Recruiting Matter?

At the end of March this year, there were 568,000 retail job openings in the U.S. In order to fill these positions, retailers must make their jobs as visible as they can, in as many locations as possible. A wide recruiting reach enables companies to achieve a variety of objectives, including:

  • Piquing the interest of job seekers
  • Placing the company’s message in front of more people
  • Demonstrating that the company is invested in finding talent
  • Showcasing a fuller picture of the company

Above all, a retail organization must know its audiences and tailor its content to each target group. Organizations should select their channels and content after researching what works best for the candidates they want to hire. Below, discover how leading retailers leverage digital technology to reach talent across channels.

Social Media

Social media networks can extend an organization’s message far and wide. Posts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn enable a company to capture active job seekers, as well as talent who may not be looking.

Retailer Macy’s, for example, makes the most of its Twitter page dedicated to its employer brand. With more than 19,400 followers, the company shares articles about work-life balance, retweets employees’ posts, and promotes career opportunities. In addition, the company connects specifically with young talent via the @MacysCollege Twitter account. The page advertises full-time positions and internships, highlights events and on-campus activities, and allows interns to tweet their personal experiences with the company.

Using two different accounts expands Macy’s reach – and not simply for the sake of extension. The company uses its @MacysCollege account – as well an account on Snapchat – to reach a demographic more accustomed to online engagement. As a bonus, the effort demonstrates the company’s investment in its emerging employees.

Career Sites

A career site serves a unique purpose; it is the dedicated online space that showcases an employer’s brand and benefits. From the site, job seekers should get an idea of the company’s programs and perks, as well as a clear idea of what it’s like to work there.

Belk, another U.S. retailer, offers a streamlined online application process, plus information about seasonal openings. The company goes beyond the basics by highlighting employees’ experiences and describing opportunities for professional development. It also features its employer values, such as community involvement and workplace inclusivity.

Using its career site, Belk promotes an internship program to recruit young talent. Students work with executive-level experts, gaining not only knowledge but also insight into the company culture. By investing in career development, retail organizations foster a sense of loyalty within their interns, and interns gain valuable experience to carry into permanent positions.

Employee Referrals

A company’s current employees continue to be top assets for recruiting: 48 percent of quality hires come from employee referrals. This is likely because employees tend to refer their friends, family members, and acquaintances with similar work ethics and values.

By hiring people who already get along, a company is more easily able to create a positive and productive work environment. Additionally, unlike many channels that draw only active candidates, employee referrals can be a good source of passive candidates. And in terms of a company’s bottom line, sourcing pre-vetted candidates has the potential to save the money that is traditionally spent on advertising and job boards.

Mobile Optimization

People rely on smartphones to complete many of today’s tasks while on the go, and job seeking is no exception: 28 percent of Americans have used a smartphone in some aspect of their job search. Half of these users have filled out a job application from their mobile device.

Because of this frequent usage, it’s critical that a company’s career site, communications, and all aspects of the application process function across multiple devices. Additionally, as with omnichannel retailing, organizations should strive for a cohesive aesthetic across recruitment efforts. The look and feel of an organization’s brand should be consistent from store to website to mobile. This demonstrates that a company not only understands omnichannel principles but, moreover, progresses in-step with its candidates’ habits.

In-Store Tools

When it comes to retail recruiting, the best candidates may be your customers. They are familiar with your company and like its products, so they come partially trained and enthusiastic.

Rather than hanging a simple “help wanted” sign, a company can inspire its customers to apply with attractive, on-brand messaging. Using HR technology, walk-in candidates can apply from their own smartphones via text message or from a store’s mobile device. The goal is to make applying accessible and targeted. A retail company knows its customers; now is the time for it to know its candidates.

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