Retail Jobs Most Competitive in Canada: 7 Steps to Stand Out

by Barb Agostini in Rethink Recruiting on August 3, 2011


Canadian retailers continue to experience difficulty attracting and retaining talent. Not only are they competing with other retailers for candidates, but other industry sectors too; not to mention the new players entering into the Canadian retail marketplace. Just take a look at the following facts and you’ll realize just how competitive the retail talent pool is:

  • In Canada, more retail jobs were posted online than any other industry segment in 2011.*
  • In July 2011, 61% more retail jobs were posted in Canada than July 2010.**

So, how does your offering compare? Not sure? First, check how you measure up in the following areas and then follow these 7 steps to stand out.


1. What’s Your Story?
You’ve got to communicate what makes your offering different, more interesting, and/or more advantageous than other seemingly comparable opportunities. Every recruiter, hiring manager, and employee should be empowered to communicate your employment brand to their extended networks and be provided tools to promote the brand on- and offline – think ERPs, social strategies, in store signage, mobile messaging, and beyond.


2. Great Minds Think Alike
Not sure where to look for great talent? Look to great performers within your organization and conduct surveys with incentives. Determine how they found out about the opportunity and why they chose you. Find out what sites they visit for recruitment information, where they spend their time online, whether they check their smartphones or tablets for job opportunities, what social media sites they visit, whether they blog or follow bloggers (which ones), and other fun information relevant to your industry, i.e. “What’s your favourite season for fashion?” or “What’s your favourite sport/team?”

Set up these surveys to aggregate data based on career level, years of experience, location, and/or other relevant information, and use this data as a source to build out a recruitment strategy, start conversations, and stay connected with your internal talent. Don’t forget to incentivize participants with a survey-end draw.


3. The Getaway Experience
Check out your careers site. Now, think about the last time you planned a trip somewhere. You researched and researched for the perfect spot, perfect season, perfect hotel, pools, flights, amenities, et cetera. It’s amazing how much we have access to when it comes to booking a one-week trip somewhere. We expect this.

Now, look at your careers site. What’s the candidate experience like and what information can they access in order to make the important decision of whether or not you are right for each other. Everyone, I hope, would agree that choosing a career or job is a much more important decision than where you’ll spend a few days on vacation.


4. All or Nothing?
If candidates get to your site and there aren’t any opportunities that match what they are looking for, what options do they have? There are more ways than ever before to build your talent pipeline with individuals that have already shown interest in working for you and your brand.

Build a talent network to capture key pieces of information, invite individuals to keep up-to-date on opportunities and job-related content by following your careers-specific Twitter page. Invite them to explore your Facebook Careers page or jobs tab, check out what current employees have to say on YouTube, and/or read and comment on your recruiter blog. Encourage and engage your current employee base to join and contribute to conversations, upload photos, and connect.


5. Yellow Brick Road or Red Carpet Treatment?
How’s your application-to-offer experience? Great candidates are often lost or become disengaged throughout the recruitment process. Top talent have many opportunities available, so every candidate touch point should be positive to reaffirm they’ve made the right choice in applying to work for your organization. Conduct an internal check of the end-to-end experience: the online application process, the confirmation email, phone screening questions, shortlisting steps, interview scheduling & questions, final assessments and the offer/rejection process.


6. Simplify
There are so many tools, vendors, upgrades, downloads, and off-the-shelf products that can save you time and/or money. The “do it yourself” method isn’t always the best and most cost effective. Instead, look at SurveyMonkey, MailChimp, WordPress, Hootsuite, BackCheck, Talemetry, or other products and services that allow you to streamline administrative processes and/or assist with developing foundations for strategy. Identify what you need to get done, then determine the tools or vendors you need to do it. 


7. ROI
You’d never buy a lottery ticket and not check the numbers. That would be like investing in sources, tools and other resources and not tracking if the investment produced the desired result. Start by defining your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – the organizational goals you are measuring, the progress towards these goals, and whether you’ve had any success yet. Once KPIs are established, appropriate reporting should be implemented using available reporting tools such as Google Analytics, Hootsuite Reports, ATS/HRIS reports, and/or other internal resources in place to understand traffic drivers, job performance data, source effectiveness, social content engagement, and/or whatever measurement is most valuable to your organization. From this point of intelligence, you will be in the position to repurpose spend, reinvest, shift resources, change and evolve.


** Source:

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