When you’re recruiting for high-volume positions in retail, your requisitions can exponentially increase seasonally or based on data like in-store sales and traffic. Retail recruiting is almost always high-volume by nature, and it takes a lot of effort to keep your recruiting funnel active. Whether you’re filling sales floor, cashier, store manager, inventory, stockroom or logistics positions in retail, it’s imperative to be able to focus on recruiting strategies that not only work, but are scalable. Having a “test and scale” mindset can help your team set stretch goals based on what has the highest return, particularly for retail chains with dispersed recruiting and HR teams.
Career fairs have been a go-to for high-volume hiring for decades. In today’s marketplace, we’re seeing a shift to the digital space so we can reach candidates through targeted online campaigns. In retail, we know our candidates are more likely to find out about our open jobs while doing other things online than they are visiting our retail locations. With online hiring events, we can reach many qualified candidates at once, and ramp up quickly as needed.
Online Hiring Events for Retail Hiring and Recruitment
A virtual career fair, or online hiring event, takes place at a certain time on a specific channel. During the session, which works similarly to how webinars are structured, recruiters and job seekers meet in a virtual space via chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, and/or text and email to exchange information about job postings.
Retailers that hire at a high-volume typically approach hiring with a combination of online and print advertising, as well as through on-site applicant walk-in hours or after-hours events. Many retailers are embracing digital hiring via text messaging, especially in retail for seasonal jobs. Considering that many entry-level retail jobs may be part-time, or second jobs for people who already work 40 hours a week, digital engagement is what works for a talent marketplace where retailers are competing for workers. Online hiring events allow you to scale what you do in-store by holding multiple online events, segmenting the events by position (setting up virtual events for managers, logistics, and sales associates separately), or even geographically reach a candidate audience that is in the process of moving within driving distance of your retail locations.
Since the goal of your hiring event is to get “face-time” with potential employees, there are a lot of ways you can approach this, but each has one thing in common: A first impression of your company that showcases your employer brand through your recruiting team as representatives of your company, standing by and available to respond in real time. It’s crucial to communicate these events across your retail locations and involve your store leaders or hiring managers in the events. This is going to be the reason why curious candidates move into your talent funnel from awareness to consideration, and the more they know about your open positions and benefits, converting them to applicants in a short period of time.
For retail online hiring events, you’ll want to ensure that you’re optimizing the event for mobile. Many technology companies offer hosting platforms for webinars and chat, and these can be used for an event-specific hosted job fair. You can also set it up via any webinar platform that allows you to present to a group of registered attendees. Using the presentation model, you can then have recruiters “manning your booth” (chat) online, answer candidate questions for a general audience, but also move the conversations into another channel for a one-on-one virtual interview.
Check out these companies who offer event hosting platforms:
Pro Tip: Check with your Applicant Tracking System (ATS), as they may have an events hosting platform feature included as part of their solution.
Now that you’re ready to host your online hiring event, here are some things to consider:
Test your platform before you set up registration. You’ll want to stage a “mock” hiring event with the technology you’re using before you can promote your event. Nothing is worse than finding out at the worst possible moment that your attendees can’t see/hear/communicate when you’re holding your event.
Provide information via email or text message upon registration that gives attendees alternate ways to communicate with your team in case they have technological issues. It’s helpful to offer a method of communication to attendees that might have to skip the event at the last minute.
Start small, then scale.Once you’ve tested your online hiring event with a small set of candidates, say 10-20 attendees based on a 30-50 registration, have a “post mortem” with your recruiting team and find out what worked, what didn’t, and what you can do better the next time with a larger audience.
Targeting Retail Employees for Your Online Hiring Event
This is another advantage of the online hiring event. You can use online ads and other tools to reach retail job candidates with your event information. The more highly targeted your campaign is, the more likely you are to reach the right job seekers and make hires fast.