The ultimate plan for retailers to win the talent war for seasonal hiring this year

| Ameya Deshmukh
Talent Acquisition
The ultimate plan for retailers to win the talent war for seasonal hiring this year

High volume recruiting for seasonal retail positions is challenging, but the right strategy will ensure you’re successful. In this article, I’ll give you the ultimate game plan to ensure you meet all of your seasonal hiring goals and have the best people in place for a knockout holiday sales season. The methods you’ll learn will show you how to build awareness with recruitment marketing, optimize your applicant pool, and strategically deploy recruiting automation to do the heavy lifting.

Executing this plan will differentiate your brand and ensure you beat out competitors for the talent you need in the immediate holiday hiring season and beyond.

Build awareness:

Hiring for seasonal temporary positions places sudden demands on retail recruiting teams to fill hundreds or even thousands of positions in a short time. It’s also made more challenging due to competition from other stores that are looking to bring on the same candidates.

One way you can get an edge over your competitors is by building your employer brand. Executing a recruitment marketing campaign will help your employer brand stand out and convince candidates that it’s worthwhile to take a seasonal position with you.

When’s the best time to execute your holiday hiring recruitment marketing campaign?

Data from Indeed shows that both searches and job postings for holiday work kick off in earnest early September and peak in November. Ideally, you’ll want to have started recruitment marketing activities before then, but regardless of when you start investing in your employer brand is guaranteed to help your entire company become more effective.

Conducting recruiting marketing activities is critical during holiday hiring. When candidates begin searching in earnest for seasonal positions you want your company to be the first retailer they think of.

Need some pointers on creating a recruitment marketing campaign?

Get expert tips from employer branding experts to create your recruitment marketing plan.

Acquire a large pool of applicants:

You’ll want to automate as much of your talent pool building as possible. Most retailers use a combination of print, radio, and online advertising to promote open roles and entice people to apply. These advertising methods are effective for reaching a seasonal hiring workforce audience. But you’re looking to do more than build awareness at this point. You want people to take action and apply!

Inconvenient application experiences are going to be your biggest roadblock to acquiring a large pool of applicants to select from. Here are some strategies to reduce application friction to get more out of your job advertisements.

Enhance print and radio ads with text to apply

First off enhance your print and radio advertising material with a text-to-apply shortcode phone number and keyword. Combine your shortcode number and keyword with a call to action statement. An example call to action that works well is “Text “jobs” to 98233 to apply for open positions!”

Use your call to action in any print or radio marketing material you create. Include it in your in-store signage, in flyers, mailers, and any other forms of physical advertising you may do. Text-to-apply will enable candidates on the go to complete applications using text messages.

It’s convenient, quick, and easy! Candidates for retail and other similar hourly positions love using text message-based applications. Let’s not forget about our online advertising though.

Simplify your web-based applications

Purchase job ads on well-known job boards like Indeed and Monster. Also, use local listings on social media. Facebook has launched job listings. Since you’ve been executing a recruitment marketing campaign Facebook’s job listings will become even more effective.

In the job listing itself be as transparent as possible by sharing compensation, benefits, and hours upfront. Also, make sure to check your job ads for any gendered language and other kinds of language that introduce bias into the application process. Doing this will make your job ads attractive to a broad demographic of people which is exactly what you want for seasonal positions.

Which brings us to the final moment, the moment where most applications go wrong by making common blunders like forcing applicants to create an account, upload a cover letter and resume, or having too many fields. You’re looking to hire a seasonal temp retail employee! Most of these fields are unnecessary and are getting in your way and your applicant’s way.

Just get the basics: name, email, and phone number. Don’t fret, your recruiting team isn’t going to have to call and leave a million voice mails, or send droves of text messages, or strain their eyes following email threads. You’re going to use recruiting automation to do the heavy lifting.

Create a positive candidate experience for your talent pool

You should know that going through a bad candidate experience can cause candidates to stop purchasing goods from the employing company. In one famous case, Virgin Media’s disgruntled candidates stopped doing business with the company and cost Virgin 5.4 million dollars a year in lost sales. The good news is after Virgin Media fixed their candidate experience, their losses stopped and they even gained new customers!

Following steps 1 and 2 from this guide will generate a talent pool that’s too large for your recruiters to engage in a timely manner. Without recruiting automation, you run the risk of creating a bad candidate experience for many of the candidates in your talent pool. Furthermore, without automation, you run the risk of losing many of the best-fit candidates.

Using recruiting automation will ensure that your efforts thus far have not been wasted, protect your employer brand, and help you create a positive candidate experience. Chatbots are one form of recruiting automation that you may wish to consider. Many of the Fortune 500 and SIA Top 100 staffing companies are using recruiting chatbots today to help them engage their talent pool, build increased efficiency, and deliver positive candidate experiences.

How recruiting chatbots can help you achieve your seasonal hiring goals

Most recruiting chatbots are capable of 2-way conversations. They can screen candidates, answer FAQs, return a shortlist of qualified candidates, and schedule interviews directly onto your hiring managers or recruiters calendars. Most chatbots also offer ATS, CRM, and other forms of HRIS integrations. Using a recruiting chatbot to handle early-stage recruiting communications will free your store managers to focus on interviewing candidates and getting their new hires up to speed for the holiday rush. Because recruiting chatbots are able to rapidly engage, screen, and schedule candidates in real-time seconds after candidates apply, your store managers will have access to a greater quantity and quality of candidates.

Create the best experience possible with CAI

Since 85% of candidates report that they never hear back after applying to a position, deploying any kind of recruiting chatbot will help you improve the candidate experience. However, many different types of recruiting chatbots are available on the market today. Almost all of them are able to engage, screen, and schedule. But, they all create very different experiences. Bots and enhanced bots create a very robotic hiring experience for candidates. When communicating with candidates they rely heavily on Y/N questions and multiple-choice questions. This can create a robotic and impersonal hiring experience which is less than ideal.

Conversational AI is a highly advanced type of recruiting chatbot that does not need to rely on Y/N questions or multiple choice questions to communicate with candidates. A CAI is able to have dynamic and personalized 2-way conversations with candidates. Communicating with a CAI feels just like messaging with a real recruiter. This creates a more positive, friendly and human experience for your candidates. A CAI also creates a better experience for your recruiters and hiring managers. It’s able to complete most screening and scheduling conversations within 5 to 8 minutes after the first engagement. This ensures the best and most engaged talent makes it to your recruiting team.

Learn more about the unique capabilities conversational AI offers retailers to help manage candidate communications and become more efficient with hiring.

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