Rachel Robins |

So what’s the story?

In this series of blogs, we’re taking a look at different industries to discover how in-house recruiters are attracting talent. In this post, we turn to take a look at the Retail & Wholesale Sector.

Unlike most other sectors candidate scarcity is less of an issue for Retailers – affecting less than 50% of businesses taking part in the Candidate Attraction Survey 2017. However, lower than market average salaries is a concern for 38% of the Retail / Wholesale sector.

In Retail employees are often dealing directly with customers so recruiting the right candidates is essential. The industry can experience high turnover, so emphasising a company’s brand and values to attract candidates could have a major impact on results.

The Retail sector encompasses a diversity of businesses, from household-names in the high street through to supermarkets, specialists and online - covering numerous work settings such as local retail branches, head office and distribution warehouses. Typically they offer a large range of roles - from graduate programmes to head office roles, branch customer facing roles and skilled specialist roles covering, full time, part time, seasonal and shift work, – so there is a great deal to do in attracting the right quality and quantity candidates. You can read more on the subject of volume recruitment in a previous blog.

Which channels work best in sourcing retail candidates and what can be improved?

Let us take a look at the sector sourcing quadrant from the UK Candidate Attraction Report 2017 and discover which sourcing channels are providing the best quality and quantity candidates.

The chart below shows that in-house recruiters in this sector are proficient in using their Professional Social Networks to generate successful good quality and quantity candidates. Both Pay Per Click and PSL/Agencies deliver a similar level of decent quality and quantity candidates, yet PPC is only used by 8% of respondents in this sector, so this is something retailers could look to explore as with a dedicated effort results could be much higher.

Another area that could benefit from a review is the company careers site or section of the main website. Used as a sourcing tool by 100% in this sector for attracting candidates to apply directly, the results appear to have room for improvement. While they provide a relatively good quantity of candidates, the quality of candidates could be better.

As mentioned, lower salaries are seen as a challenge by 38% in this sector, so attracting the right candidates could pose a challenge, especially if volume recruiting. However, a number of Eploy customers are using their careers sites to address this by building values, brand and career path journeys into their sites to engage candidates and demonstrate how vacancies could fit their life, right at the start of the journey.  

Social media just isn’t an effective sourcing channel yet it has the second biggest channel usage after website (89%). Not anywhere close in achieving results is Print. It appears print is dead – in Retail anyway.

ATS/CRM/Talent Pool is used by just over half of respondents (53%) and isn’t doing a bad job sitting just above the mid-point axis. However, there are likely to be many more opportunities for talent pooling, candidate attraction and engagement to attract talent. Take a look at how you are using your ATS/CRM to manage your talent pipelining strategy. Being in a position where you have a target list of pre-screened, engaged candidates ready for your approach will assist you no end with proactive recruitment. 

One channel storming ahead is Professional Social Networks which are delivering a high quality and quantity of candidates, sitting in the top right-hand quadrant.

Hiring Process Workflow

Once you understand the channels that work for you to deliver the desired quality and quantity of candidates, review your hiring workflow to ensure it is optimised for your precise recruitment processes. Manage relationships at every part of the recruitment journey - losing good candidates throughout the application process is a common problem that requires steps to prevent this.


  • Conduct a review of the channels you use and the success of each in attracting the right quality and quantity of candidates.  How do these compare to the quadrant above?
  • Audit your careers site. Can you easily access site analytics to understand candidate behaviour? Look at what the analytics are telling you and the areas you might need to improve on. Are your brand values and career path journeys featured for candidate engagement?
  • Keep your online applications simple to keep prospective candidates on your site, don’t redirect to a random site/domain – this is a common mistake.
  • Who is your typical audience and has your careers site been developed with the audience in mind? Can candidates see where they may fit into the business?
  • How easy is it to register with you? Built in CV parsing to auto-populate candidate information within your ATS will help to keep candidates attention as will social sharing and unfinished application reminders. 

Want to know more?

Take a look at the Ladbrookes Coral Group case study and read how they revolutionised their candidate attraction and candidate journey in a bid to attract more quality and quantity candidates. They were losing 80 – 90% of candidates through the candidate journey and changed their strategy that saw a 61% improvement in candidate dropout rate to exceed their hiring goals. Not bad when you consider their 750,000 annual career site visitors!


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