Customer Stories

How World Duty Free Aced the High-Volume Hiring Experience

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It was early 2020. World Duty Free in the UK was coming from a record year in 2019, generating £1 billion in sales primarily through shops at 25 UK airports. They were growing, innovating, developing new customer experiences and with over 4,000 employees in retail, logistics and head office roles.

The pandemic sent them nose-diving, with sales plummeting from £100 million a month to zero, forcing them to completely close for three months and furlough 96 percent of their workforce. Such was their attrition rate after several lockdowns during 2021 that, by the summer of 2022, they needed roughly 1,000 new colleagues to be back to full capacity.

With the most challenging recruitment conditions the UK was facing in years and no in-house team, World Duty Free looked to ResourceBank and Avature for help.

About World Duty Free and ResourceBank

From cosmetics to confectionery, World Duty Free is the UK’s leading travel retailer. They offer a wide selection of premium brands from store to store, striving to provide the latest products at the best value prices. Their locations include London Heathrow, London Gatwick and London Stansted.

Established in 1995, ResourceBank employs a team of HR professionals who work with clients to provide customized and tailored services that meet their business needs. Their range of services incorporates HR consultancy, market intelligence, talent testing, staff assessment and employer branding among others. Throughout each process, they strive to deliver a high-quality experience using their years of expertise.

Attracting Candidates

“We developed a careers website with an embedded Avature candidate portal in 2018, so we were quickly able to advertise vacancies there and on job boards and social media.”

– Mahj Hussain, Client Partnership Director at ResourceBank

Everyone who had previously expressed an interest in working for World Duty Free received personalized branded emails and SMS messages, while internal teams set up workflow reminders for these touchpoints through their Avature instance.

To complement their attraction efforts, they also:

  • Expanded their referrals scheme.
  • Attended several recruitment fairs locally and in airports.
  • Leveraged job boards and utilized a variety of campaigns, incorporating social media into the mix.

Thousands of candidates applied as a result of this activity. Once the attraction phase of the process was in place, ResourceBank worked to ensure candidates were assessed efficiently. After all, time was of the essence.

High-Volume Screening

With more than 30,000 candidates to process, it could have taken the team weeks to get the job done. But ResourceBank leveraged Avature automation to dramatically speed up the process and reduce screening time. One key tool that contributed to their success was the Avature timeslot portal.

It allowed candidates to book an interview with the ResourceBank team at a convenient time and linked directly to their recruiters’ calendars to avoid double bookings. Those candidates that did not respond had naturally self-selected themselves out.

During this period, 5,000 candidates were interviewed by ResourceBank’s recruiters. Streamlining this part of the journey with Avature not only helped to improve the team’s efficiency but also reduced process time by 50 percent.

Using both group assessments and one-on-one interviews, World Duty Free then assessed 1,600 candidates. To facilitate both this and the collection of feedback, ResourceBank used Avature’s Hiring Manager Portal, via which World Duty Free’s interviewers could:

  • View upcoming assessments.
  • Request new vacancies.
  • Request assessment dates.
  • Download interview schedules and candidate CVs, securely.
  • Provide interview feedback for candidates.
  • Upload feedback within 48 hours of the candidates being assessed.

Onboarding Done Right

Working within an airport environment brings many challenges, including security clearance, which can be a lengthy process. To mitigate this, ResourceBank designed an onboarding portal where candidates could easily provide the information required to onboard them quickly and efficiently. But this portal also acted as an engagement platform where they could get a taste of what was to come when joining World Duty Free.

Since its launch, over 4,000 candidates have accessed the onboarding portal. The completely paperless experience for candidates that it facilitated removed the need to send out a paper contract, speeding up onboarding and reducing the process time on offers by 50 percent.

The Results

For companies in the retail sector, their candidates and employees are also customers, which is why providing a top-notch experience throughout the process was key. If it had fallen flat, they’d not only risk losing valuable candidates but also precious customers, which could impact their bottom line as well as their reputation.

Luckily, this partnership was highly successful and the results speak for themselves:

  • 32,300 applications were submitted.
  • 5,200 interviews were held by ResourceBank
  • 1,650 interviews were held by World Duty Free managers.

This all led to 1,020 offers, smashing their hiring target while demonstrating the quality of the candidates that made it to the final round of interviews.

The feedback left from the satisfaction surveys was also impactful and a testament to the experience throughout:

  • 98 percent satisfaction after World Duty Free and ResourceBank interviews.
  • Net promoter score of 81 after World Duty Free interview.

“We couldn’t have coped internally handling over 30k applicants. Also the fantastic hit rate of two offers for every three WDF interviews and the engagement, satisfaction and feedback was excellent.”

– Geoff Hall, HR Director UK at WDFG.

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