2014 Retail Social Recruitment & Engagement Report

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Which Retailers are using LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to recruit in 2014? In our 2014 report on Social recruitment in Retail we have looked at Follower numbers, activity levels and follower engagement. There are significant differences to how employers use the different social channels and despite the noise suggesting that Social recruitment is replacing traditional recruitment methodologies it would appear that there is still some way to go before that is the case. While many recruiters see LinkedIn as their primary sourcing tool, a significant number are using it for ‘data mining’ purposes only. Indeed, most employers are still relying on the traditional forms of candidate sourcing whether that be through online advertising (print is nearly dead), job board searches and the use of recruiters (in-house, managed vendor or agency). Using the social media channels, for data mining only, misses the real opportunity that social recruitment presents through educating and engaging your prospective employees over a longer period. We have mentioned in a number of blog posts recently that the market is turning. We have been in an employer driven market since early 2008 and while the balance is still, just, in favour of the employer it is changing quickly. While it is a qualitative opinion, I believe it will be a largely candidate driven market when retail recruitment hits its peak in September. As an employer if you haven’t got an engagement / employer brand strategy in place before then you are likely to find it very difficult to attract the highest calibre candidates. You may not have noticed the environment getting tougher yet, but you will, and as the economy picks up and as employment conditions improve (unemployment down to 6.8% at time of writing) you will find it harder and harder. In the last upturn leading up to 2007 candidates did less research, didn’t have smart phones and were probably not checking you out on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. So which retailers are in pole position to capitalise on what is going to be a highly competitive market? At the bottom of the page is a link to our FREE 2014 Retail Social Recruitment and Engagement report which details the top retailers for followers, activity and engagement. Here are a few highlights: Apple is the most followed retailer with Vodafone hot on their heels. As both companies are clearly likely to attract followers for numerous other reasons I think it is fair to say that IKEA are the most followed pure retailer. In reality the top 10 is heavily influenced by Retailers with extensive international portfolios. Bang & Olufsen saw the biggest percentage increase against 2013. Tesco are still the leading careers feed on Twitter which is highly impressive given that they switched their tweets off last August! There have been significant gains for Primark, Boots, Harrods and River Island. Selfridges saw a whopping 593% increase in followers versus 2013. Swaroski, Boots (again!) and Next saw increases on their Facebook careers pages. Indeed Swarovski are currently in a league of their own, with over 18’000 page likes. Once again, Selfridges enjoyed a 710% increase in followers versus 2013. I’m not sure what the recruitment team at Selfridges have been putting in their tea but it seems to be working! Its all well and good having lots of followers but without activity (updates) you can’t have engagement (shares, likes, comments, retweets etc). The top retailer for delivering regular activity was Boots with Home Retail Group (Argos, Homebase and Habitat) just behind. Interestingly the engagement levels were relatively modest and when scored it has thrown up a few surprises. The top retailer for engagement was Onestop, the convenience retailer. Their posts seemed to elicit a very positive response from their followers through some very interesting content. The report has thrown up a number of questions, the most obvious being just how ‘social’ can recruitment ever be? By its very nature it requires a modicum of discretion. We will attempt to address this, and several other points, in a future blog(s) in the weeks to come. Download the latest Retail Social Recruitment & Engagement Report
 

A Retailers guide to looking for a job in 2014

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment Looking for a job in Retail has continued to grow ever more complex throughout 2013 and promises to continue to do so in 2014. As a recruiter I sometimes forget what it must be like to be a candidate coming on to the market for the first time in 5 years. In 2008, the last peak in the market, it was pretty straightforward - you wrote a CV, uploaded it to a job board and waited for the calls to roll in. At the senior end of the market, you met a few head-hunters and kept an eye on the broadsheets. Fast forward 5 years and the recession, coupled with technology, have completely changed the landscape. According to the BBC, at the entry end of the Retail Jobs market you are more likely to be assessed by a machine than a person!  www.bbc.co.uk/news/business Unfortunately, once you have beaten the machine you will then need to perform a David Brent style dance: currys-graduate-job-applicant-humiliated ! For C-suite and Board Directors not a huge amount has changed. There are of course fewer jobs and perhaps still a few too many candidates but all in all it isn’t that much more complicated. You’ll need a good Social profile, but in terms of how you look for a job you just need to dust off the little black book and make some calls. Having said that, the one key change will be looking for a job in the press. You won’t find much in the Sunday Times - the Appointments supplement is, well, not much of a supplement these days. For those in the middle, managers up to Board level, it just gets more and more complicated. So we have compiled a short review of the various methods you can employ that will hopefully save you some much needed time for interviews and research!

 The Three routes to market

Social LinkedIn has changed the jobs market in the same way Monster, Reed et al did in the early noughties. It has become a giant candidate database for agency and in-house recruiters while at the same time masquerading as a Social hub…oh and there are some interesting stories on LinkedIn Today…no wait, I mean Pulse. In 2014, if you are a candidate, passive or active, you absolutely must have a profile on LinkedIn. Ideally it will be accurate too! There are a few things to remember:
  • If you are actively looking for a job and you don’t mind your contacts knowing this then you should unlock your LinkedIn privacy settings.  This acts as a ‘mating call’ to recruiters, think of yourself as a peacock! Just to be clear, you don’t have to accept the advances of every suitor! TWEET THIS
  • Your LinkedIn profile should match your CV. Using inaccurate job titles or forgetting a recent job move or two will sow seeds of doubt in Recruiters. Honesty is the best policy. Also, please do not spell MANAGER as Manger – it doesn’t do you any favours!
  • Keyword optimisation, or SEO, was once the preserve of tech-savvy geeks. Adding a sprinkle of keywords is now de rigueur for your Social profiles and will ensure you can be ‘found’ a lot more easily. This is particularly recommended if you are on LinkedIn to catch up with contacts, ahem, and well you might get the odd headhunt approach too…
  • I advised last year (click here for the 2013 suggestions) that getting active on LinkedIn via LinkedIn Today and the Groups would improve your chances of being ‘noticed.’ As the recruitment world starts to get busy again, and do some real work, in 2014 I think this will yield fewer results. I am not saying stop participating altogether, just don’t expect a strong ROI on your time.
  • WARNING: If you have a Line manager or a recruitment team on LinkedIn there is a strong chance that they will also notice your activity on LinkedIn. I have spoken to a lot of candidates in the past few weeks that have been specifically told to remove the LI app from their company phone/laptop or have received ‘special’ attention as a result of their online activity. Likewise, several HR clients have indicated that it is something they watch with interest. The level of awareness on LinkedIn has changed dramatically in 2013 so it is worth thinking about what you are happy for people to see.
Twitter continues to grow its user-base and as a Retail & Hospitality recruiter it offers the next most interesting opportunity to engage and identify candidates. Twitter tends to sustain longer ‘conversations’ than LI and it is easier to develop stronger relationships as a result. Also, if you are an ‘active’ candidate you can get away with a bit of banter with recruiters and employers without coming across as overtly looking for a job. Perhaps more interestingly you can research prospective employers far more effectively as people tend to give a bit more away.
  • Don’t forget those all important keywords. Company name and Job title should just about do it!
  • Follow the companies and leaders of the companies that you are interested in. It is also worth following a few industry experts and key figures too. You’ll find that there is often better content on Twitter than LinkedIn which might help with research for interviews.
  • If you are keen to follow up on a job application, you’ll find that asking a question on Twitter is a good way of getting a prompt response. Bear in mind this is all in the public domain though!
  • Overall though, it is worth bearing in mind that most Retailers have not got a dedicated twitter careers feed – in fact only 21% of over 200 Retailers surveyed: Social Recruitment in Retail: 2013 Report
Facebook / Google+ / Pinterest / Friends Reunited (only kidding, whatever happened to them?) – each of these sites have their merits but in recruitment terms they are really not worth your time. In the same report: Social Recruitment in Retail: 2013 Report we found that just 24 retailers had a dedicated Facebook careers page. Of the 24, less than a dozen were what one might describe as active. Facebook does have aspirations to become a tool for recruitment and with data that is available it may well become important in the future. A couple of points below to bear in mind.
  • Be wary of posting anything too controversial on any of the above sites. Facebook does tend to elicit more candid posts than the other sites. Employers have begun using this site for research into prospective candidates so it is worth keeping this in mind when you get home from the pub in the middle of the night.
  • Pinterest is particularly popular in the design world so if you work in fashion or perhaps buying it would be worth looking at setting up a profile. For everyone else – it should be for personal use only!
My final point is that despite the hype, Social recruitment is a long way off being the most effective way of securing a position. Indeed a recent report from recruitment firm Kelly Services found that just “11% of UK workers had got a job through social media – a much lower figure than elsewhere in the world. - See more at: http://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2013!” Adverts & Applications Actually looking for a job in 2014 will be more complex than ever before. The job boards and specialist press have taken a hammering over the recession and while not a huge amount has changed there is perhaps a more even spread of positions than before the recession. With no one dominant player you will need to cover a lot of ground. A few points to consider:  
  • I wouldn’t bother too much with the printed press. Any industry magazine of note will now have a matching job board. As for the Newspapers, well, you have better things to do with your time!
  • There are a LOT of job boards to choose from now so in no particular order it is worth checking the following….take a deep breath: Inretail, Monster, Total Jobs, Retail Choice, Retail Week, The Grocer, Drapers, Reed, The Ladders, Indeed, Jobsite, Exec Appointments, Executives on the web, guardian jobs, Grapevine, The Appointment, Property Jobs, Property week 4 jobs, MAD, Marketing Week, Personnel Today…oh and LinkedIn has jobs too (IT IS NOT A JOB BOARD….honest).
  • Set up alerts for each of the boards relevant to you and ensure the alerts go to an email account that you check daily. 2014 will be a busy year and if you don’t get your application in early the chances are you will not be considered.
  • Wherever possible personalise your applications. A simple ‘Hi, how are you?’ does wonders.
  • I would also advise against loading your CV on to the boards if you are at Middle management level or above.
Agencies Everyone loves dealing with agencies so this will be the most enjoyable part of your search! Ahem. Like us or loathe us we have survived the recession and have come out leaner and unfortunately in some cases meaner ;) than before. In Retail and Hospitality the agency count has increased significantly with lots of specialists (AdMore included) springing up like mushrooms. In fact it seems that just as one large player departs the market several new ones grow up overnight! The job boards were supposed to kill agencies, and then LinkedIn was too - well we are still alive and recruiting. We have written about how to manage your agency relationships previously (Click here) so I won’t go over old ground but there are a couple of key points to consider:  
  • Start the relationship building now. Good recruiters will spot the candidates who make an effort in advance and are much more likely to go in to bat for them if they feel valued. Recruiters are often accused of being transactional, but it cuts both ways!
  • If you are passive in your search then 2 or 3 good relationships will suffice. If you are active or ,worst case scenario, out of work you will need to get in touch with a fair few agencies. There are no dominant players in the market currently so you need to ensure you have a decent spread. Either way, start with AdMore (click here to learn a bit more about us)!
I hope this helps and as always please get in touch if you have any questions.  

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The very hungry recruiterpillar

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By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment

In the light of the office a little egg lay on a desk. One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and – pop! – out of the egg came a tiny and very hungry recruiterpillar.

He started to look for some candidates.

On Monday he ate through 50 LinkedIn invitations. But he was still hungry.

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On Tuesday he ate through one Blog (this one), but he was still hungry.

On Wednesday he ate through 15 LinkedIn company updates, but he was still hungry.

On Thursday he ate through 280 Telephone calls, but he was still hungry.

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On Friday he ate through 12 Tweets & messages, but he was still hungry.

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On Saturday, he ate through 3 Skype Interviews, 4 meetings, 75 Text messages, 5 Google + messages, 90 Voicemails, 791 Emails, 12 Inmails, 14 comments on LinkedIn Groups, 7 Comments on blogs, one comment for trade press, 5 LinkedIn status updates, 142 CV applications, and 3 new job adverts.

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That night he had a brainache!

The next day was Sunday again.

The caterpillar ate through one nice database search, and after that he felt much better.

Now he wasn’t hungry any more – and he wasn’t a little recruiterpillar any more. He was a big, well-connected recruiterpillar.

He built a small talent pipe-line, called a database, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks. Then he nibbled a hole in the database, pushed his way out and…

...he was a beautiful Social Recruiting butterfly!

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A rough summary of my last 7 days. Inspired by "The very hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. Of course, if you have kids you’ll know that already!

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5 Retail Twitter feeds that will make you smile

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development. 

I was inspired to write this blog after discovering the ‘@AreaManagerGuy’ Twitter account. Twitter is filled with great information and can provide you with an incredible amount of ideas. I have to admit though that I have become increasingly drawn to the more humourous accounts, a bit of Social media light relief. Some of these are getting increasing amounts of exposure but I thought I would highlight a few for those that are new to Twitter or only occasionally use their account:

Here are my top 5 Retail Twitter feeds to get you started:

Steve Steveson - @AreaManagerGuy

My favourite feed by a country mile. Mixing up banter with his wife alongside classic retail quotes @AreaManagerGuy says all those things that every Retail Store Manager has heard before...but couldn't quite believe at the time! The food retail equivalent of TV's Phoneshop. 3769 followers can't be wrong! @WHS_Carpet

A twitter account devoted entirely to highlighting carpet horror stories in WH Smith stores. With 2911 followers and lots of independent contributions I would imagine the joke wears a little thin at WHS HQ! Scan down the feed and you can quickly see how WH Smith has consistently kept profits up!

WaterstonesOxfordSt - @WstonesOxfordSt

 A genuine Retail consumer account with a great sense of humour. The guys behind this account manage to combine some good marketing information with lots of sarcasm. Not the lowest form of wit on this occasion.

#KeepingChristmasGoing - @Dresserman

A hashtag curated by Steve Dresser, KeepingChristmasGoing is exactly what it sounds like. A collection of observations and photos of Retailers who just can’t let go of Christmas. It has been a little light on activity over the last couple of months but is sure to build again from January to May!

Paddy Power - @PaddyPower

Like ‘em or loathe ‘em the Bookmakers are here to stay. Paddy Power have pulled off a string of publicity stunts and their Twitter feed is very edgy. If you are a Sports fan you won’t be able to help yourself but smile.

As always, if you have any favourite feeds let us know in the comments below.

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Are Tesco leading the way in their use of Social Media to engage their people?

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development. Retail has been under the spotlight in recent months and there has been a lot of criticism levelled at the industry for being too slow to adapt to changes in technology and Social Media and the impact this has had on shopping behaviour. The focus has so far been on the customer - arguably this is where all the attention should be. However, what I find interesting is the lack of attention being paid to how Retailers can use Social media to engage their people. How many times do you hear about the ‘disinterested shop assistant’ when people complain about bricks and mortar shopping?

It is widely acknowledged that many organisations are using Facebook as a vehicle for driving graduate recruitment campaigns and LinkedIn often forms the backbone of a great deal of mid-senior management recruitment. What tends to be missing is how Retailers are using Social Media to engage with their own people. There is a general reluctance to officially endorse the use of Social media for fear of what can happen when employees have access to this platform (HMV have experienced this recently).

In the modern workplace the increase in the part time labour mix has led to more, not less staff, and more varied shift patterns. As a result, communicating with this work-force has grown more complicated than ever before. How does a Director communicate directly with his/her store teams? How does an Area Manager ensure the ‘message’ is landing with EVERY member of staff?

I am not a big user of Twitter, we recruiters have clogged up LinkedIn enough without doing the same to every other platform! However, what I do use if for is keeping abreast of news and developments as they happen. It would seem that Tesco have also realised that, if used responsibly, it has the capability to deliver a message to large numbers of people in a highly efficient manner. I have been following a few of their ‘Store Directors’ recently, a Store Director, for those that are unfamiliar, is the level above General Store Manager. Typically they will manage anywhere from 10-20 stores with eye watering turnovers. It is a big job with accountability for between 5,000 – 10,000 staff. Given these numbers it must be incredibly difficult to verbally thank your people and highlight best practice. The individuals I have been following, and I believe this is common practice in the business, are prolific in following up store visits and meetings with a tweet about what they have seen and experienced (It’s amazing what you can do with a fish counter on Valentines day!).

The tweets range from a simple ‘well done’ to photos of great displays and more often than not, something personal. This public acknowledgement of a job well done must be incredibly satisfying and, while I don’t imagine every Tesco employee is using Twitter, I would hazard a guess that the tech savvy staff are sharing this in the stores. There are Store Director ‘Retweets’ of store staff, and vice versa, and conversations follow. It doesn’t feel like a broadcast, a criticism often levelled at corporate users. If Tesco, a business famed for its slick pre-agreed processes, is prepared to take its Social Media gloves off, why doesn’t the rest of Retail?

Of course there isn’t just the benefit of motivating your people through a very public thank-you; what this also creates is an opportunity for the front line staff to communicate upwards. Many retailers fail to tap in to the true value of their people because they are not engaged. I suspect that Tesco will reap huge dividends from the fact that store based staff can communicate an idea to their directors. Most employees are not motivated by cash, or indeed the fear of losing their job; what really engages and motivates an employee is having an influence on their working environment, being recognised and having the opportunity to bring their own ideas to the table.

In the future, I wonder if Social Media will be used by Retailers to generate strategy and tactics (CEOs are often mystified by the current pace of change) rather than just as a medium to market their products.

I would be interested to hear from other retailers that are using Social Media to talk to their people and how it has benefitted them. It would be great if you could share your ideas here.

By Jez Styles, AdMore Recruitment- Specialists in Retail and Hospitality Recruitment, Search & Selection, Talent Management and Career Development.