Online recruitment processes streamline dealing with applications, Joanne Ellul discovers

When it comes to recruiting staff for the shopfloor the web is a hugely powerful tool. According to research from online recruitment agency Recruitment Genius, 61% of jobseekers search the internet first compared with just 6% who visit the job centre and 20% who contact recruitment agencies directly.

Ease of use and accessibility of the internet is the key attraction, so having an online recruitment system is becoming a vital tool for retailers if they are to manage the sheer volume of job applications effectively.

For larger retailers, online recruitment is the norm, with many of them having standalone job sites. Boots’ website - - attracted more than 2 million visitors in the last six months of 2010 and has cut its recruitment costs by 30%.

For smaller retailers though, the cost of doing so is usually prohibitive. So how can they gain maximum advantage from online recruitment? Original Factory Shop works with recruitment agency 360 Resourcing to help manage its online recruitment processes, using software that tracks applications. Even as recently as 2008 it used to advertise many of its store roles in, for instance, job centres, but by using 360 to advertise and manage such roles and applications online, it has resulted in a 42% reduction in recruitment costs.

Recruitment facts

  • 3 people work on the Original Factory Shop HR team
  • An average of 400 applications for a sales assistant job
  • 660 positions will be filled by April this year
  • There has been a 42% reduction in recruitment costs since online recruitment was used
  • 660 positions will be filled by April this year

Original Factory Shop is now moving its online recruitment processes more in-house to “help manage candidates more efficiently and deal with more of them”, says HR director Penny White. Its three-person HR team is currently being trained on the candidate tracking system that 360 uses. “You don’t need as much resources as you would without the software,” says White.

A revamped careers section on the retailer’s website, due to go live in April, will feed into 360’s candidate tracking software. Job applications will appear all in the same place in the system rather than some coming in via email from the retailer’s site while others go into the 360 software from online job boards and the agency’s own site.

“This reduces internal administration and therefore the time taken to fill roles. It will improve the candidate experience - because the retailer can make sure every candidate is responded to,” says White.

She emphasises how crucial it is that Original Factory Shop responds to every candidate. “As a local retailer, it’s important to us to be able to respond to every application. People who apply for jobs are ultimately our customers.” She adds that they hope to bring about in April the capacity to reward unsuccessful applicants by offering them vouchers to spend in store.

Responding to the large number of applicants that come through online recruitment can be managed by using the right technology. There is a downside to the ease of use of online recruitment. “It’s so easy that we get applicants that haven’t even read the job spec,” says White.