Talent Circles

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How to Use Social Media to Recruit in Retail

By Jessica Miller-Merrell

Using social media to recruit in the retail industry is becoming a necessity. Organizations who rely on hourly and part-time employees usually have the largest workforce so it’s imperative that recruiters seek out innovative ways to recruit through social media. With the introduction of social job boards, social media has played a big part in several companies hiring and retaining employees.

One of the best examples of a company effectively recruiting through social media is Macy’s. With over 160,000 employees Macy’s saw the need to boost their hiring efforts as they were expanding quite frequently. With help from an outside partner Macy’s was able to launch their portal site, macysJOBS.com that allowed them to send all social media recruits as well as job fairs, etc. to this site, which they were able to track their visitors. Macy’s was able to use the power of social media as a key element in their branding strategy to drive over 69,000 new hires in 2009.

Here are a few things to learn from Macy’s and their commitment to hiring retail employees through social media;

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Like Macy’s, they used social media as one element of their overall strategy. When you first start using social media as a recruiting tool it’s important to make it just an element of your strategy. By itself social media isn’t as powerful as traditional recruiting approaches. Especially when recruiting in the retail industry, you must have objectives and overall material that supports your use of social media. It needs to match up with the demand for jobs at your company as well as the specific positions you’re hiring for.

Improve the experience. Sometimes people ask why is it important to make the experience of apply for a company a good one. Some might argue that they’re only hourly employees and easily replaceable. In some instances that might be true, but looking at it on a much grandeur scale, the people you hire today will become brand ambassadors, customers, and essentially someone who is going to increase your bottom line. Retail is one of the few places where people will actually shop where they work. The experience you bring to these hourly employees who are applying, shopping, and talking up your brand comes in handy. Even if the candidate isn’t hired, if they had a good experience, they will want a job with your company.

Make it easy. You aren’t hiring someone to run and implement high-leveled strategies. Normally your hourly employee will be a cashier, stocker, bank teller, or a job that is more in demand than others with a constant flow of applicants. There is no need to make the hiring process long and drawn out. Don’t ask them 100 questions before they can work to be a cashier for your company. Make it easy to submit a resume, fill out a general application and if you need more information ask it in the interview. Rarely is there a need for a second interview in these cases. Keep it short and simple.

With 42 million retails jobs in the United States alone using other methods such as social media to start recruiting is a smart and imperative move. Although it’ll help, it’s not the end all solution and social media should be tied into your overall strategy. Macy’s was able to hire over 69,000 jobs in two years because they used social media as a strong element of their strategy, improved the experience of each candidate and made it easy.

Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs. You can follow her on Twitter @blogging4jobs

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