Understanding The Candidate Journey When Recruiting in Retail

Understanding The Candidate Journey When Recruiting in Retail

Recruiting top talent in the retail industry can be a challenge, especially with so many job opportunities available. This labor market is unlike anything we’ve ever seen – some companies are laying off, and others are growing. 

Currently, there are 15.5 million people in the retail sector, with about 594,400 openings for retail sales workers projected each year, on average, over the decade. Most openings result from “the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.” Also, according to LinkedIn, retail salespeople rank fifth in jobs on the platform with the most demand overall.


Recruiting in Retail

No two candidates will have the exact same experience with the hiring process, and that holds particularly true in the fast-paced environment of retail recruitment. 

Understanding the candidate journey helps with this, as no two applicants will go through the same process. To elaborate, the candidate is unique, the company is special, and the tech stack the company uses is dynamic – making all parts of the process distinct and individual. A company’s pain is particular to them, so companies need to revamp strategies to fit it best.

From the job seeker’s first encounter to their first day on the job, each step of the journey must be carefully considered. This is huge because hiring professionals don’t know what step in the candidate journey they are going to find the company, making understanding each stage essential. 

Read on to explore every step of the candidate journey and why they’re crucial to attract, convert, and retain top retail talent.


Awareness Stage

The awareness stage of the recruitment process is all about building a strong connection with potential candidates. In this volatile job market, candidates are seeking more than just a job – they want a sense of purpose and connection to their work and their employer. This is why nurturing a greater relationship with candidates has been identified to reduce turnover, quiet quitting, and poor fits – all of which cost the employer valuable budget and time.

One way to build this connection is by optimizing the brand. By understanding and fostering the most unique elements of the company, hiring professionals can create content to showcase this to the world, such as on careers sites, social media, and employer profiles. 

Tip: 70% of job searches started on Google, which is how many job seekers find out about the company. This is why it’s crucial for companies to showcase their company and brand, and ensure their open roles are being indexed properly.


Consideration Stage

During the consideration stage of the recruitment process, candidates take the time to research, evaluate their career goals, and explore multiple potential employers. 

At this stage, candidates are determining which company aligns best with their values, interests, and skills. They are looking to envision a career at an organization and are seeking answers to key questions, including whether the company culture matches their expectations. This stage is also critical to highlight the value of the role or organization.

Tip: This is where the strength of the company’s brand comes in and reviews on company profiles (such as Indeed, Glassdoor, and Comparably). Ensure social media platforms and employer profiles are up-to-date, so companies make a lasting impression on potential candidates and differentiate the company from competitors.

retail recruitment


Information Search and Alternative Search

In the information and alternative search stages, candidates look for additional information about a specific opportunity, organization, or role. This search can be done with Google searches, social media platforms, employer profiles, etc. Sharing stories about employees, company achievements, and showcasing a day-in-the-life of retail talent can help hiring professionals attract candidates.

Companies need to be present for those candidates actively seeking opportunities, since it guarantees that they’re sharing the most relevant content prospective candidates are seeking.

Tip: In today's digital age, social media, paid ads, and keyword campaigns have become essential tools for companies to attract top talent. These offer an excellent opportunity to showcase the organization's benefits, mission, and culture. 


Action Stage and Conversion Stage

In the fast-paced and customer-focused world of retail, a user-friendly application process can make all the difference in attracting quality candidates and ensuring that a business is staffed with the best possible team. Making it easy for applicants to apply is a critical aspect of a positive candidate experience. Simplifying the application process by streamlining application forms, integrating screenings and assessments, and implementing mobile application capabilities can increase the number of applications received. 

Most companies have an 80% drop-off rate during their application process. Many candidates in the retail industry are not going to spend a half hour filling out an application. Also, no candidate wants to provide their information more than once. Ensure a seamless application experience by having a process in place to ensure the company saves the information for the future. 

Tip: Take the time to apply to a position at the company to test the process, ensuring that the career site is optimized to be user-friendly and mobile-friendly. This helps ensure hiring professionals are meeting their candidates where they are – since many candidates in the restaurant industry often use their mobile devices to browse and apply for jobs.


Reflection and Offer Stages

With the highly competitive retail industry, job seekers often consider multiple jobs simultaneously. The longer a company waits to reach out to a candidate, the more likely the candidate will move forward with another company. It's crucial for hiring professionals to be proactive in their approach to recruitment and move quickly to engage with candidates who show potential. They need to be highly responsive and have the necessary tools and processes in place to move quickly through the hiring process, enhancing the candidate experience. 

Creating a positive candidate experience in the reflection and offer stages involves clear and prompt communication with candidates, conveying respect for their time and effort in applying for the position.

Tip: Retail hiring professionals should invest in implementing hiring events into their recruitment strategies. It’s a great way to connect directly with talent, making hiring talent on the spot possible.

retail recruitment strategy


Recruiting in the Retail Industry 

When mapping out the candidate journey, keep in mind that:

  • 48% of candidates sharing that content related to a prospective employer’s values was the most important when researching jobs. It illustrates the power of content at this stage in the candidate journey.
  • Hiring professionals should take the time to nurture their own database and retarget owned media. This helps foster a connection with job seekers. 
  • Recruiters can use tactics like implementing texting to create a transparent, interactive, and engaging recruitment process. Texting lets candidates ask questions, learn about company culture, and build more personalized and informal connections. 
  • Implementing automation for communication, such as personalized welcome emails or phone calls, helps lead to a great candidate experience, increasing loyalty and advocacy. 


Moving Forward

It’s important to remember that recruitment marketing is an ongoing process, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Each step in the recruitment process (and in the candidate journey) will need to be reviewed and optimized as needed to ensure it provides the best experience for the candidate and employer.

Partnering with a recruitment platform such as Recruitics is a great way to ensure your recruitment processes work optimally. We have the team, strategies, and tools for end-to-end visibility of the talent acquisition pipeline and candidate journey. This enables your retail company to make data-driven decisions and optimize the recruitment process to attract and hire top talent.

Reach out to the Recruitics team today to learn more about how we can leverage our industry-leading iON platform to target candidates!

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