Praxis: 1,200 vacancies per year, but no recruiter

DIY Praxis has 1,200 job vacancies a year, but no one who is fully dedicated to recruitment and selection. How does that work?

It is sometimes said that, at a good firm, everyone is a recruiter. At Praxis, they’ve taken this on board. The DIY chain has 3,600 employees and no less than 1,200 vacancies each year, including seasonal employees. But they have no official recruiter. Not one. Not in any store. Nor at the head office. Head of Personnel Development, Merel Vollenberg explained why at the latest Recruitment Tech Event.

DIY firm does its own recruiting
“We are a DIY firm, so we feel we should also be able to do our own recruiting”, says Vollenberg. But there’s another reason, she adds. Namely, that the job market for the DIY stores is very localised.

“70% of our candidates simply walk into the shop when they’re looking for a job. People who work for us also like to be able to cycle to work. So there isn’t much point in launching a national recruitment campaign.”

There was a centralised policy, up until about two years ago, Vollenberg explained. But it failed in practice.

“We used to get the applications in at head office. We’d then send 5 candidates on to the store manager. But what did the store manager then do? Simply selected the first person that walked in. They’d met them, you see. But we didn’t want the first person, we wanted the best person. There was a complete mismatch between the job market and the way we recruited people.”

Customer intimacy strategy
In 2015, we decided to take a change of course. “We didn’t want recruitment to be centralised any more, but bring it closer to the stores. Which is also a better fit for our strategy, focused around customer intimacy. Through offering better service, this differentiates us from other building markets. Of course, people play a huge role in that promise.”

Shop managers aren’t professional recruiters
The decentralisation happened, and store managers now take care of filling vacancies in their own stores: from recruitment through to appointment. “But a store manager’s job is a pretty busy role”, comments Vollenberg. “Plus, a store manager is not a professional recruiter.” So how do you get the right people in the stores? That’s where the technology comes into it, Vollenberg explains.

No more paperwork faff
“Technology has helped us decentralise the process and give the store managers the tools to select the right people. Together with a handful of store managers, we designed a toolkit containing simple recruitment tools, such as a poster with a QR code and the standard job ad copy.” Going forward, all responses need to be collated in a single system, says Vollenberg.

“So no more faffing with paperwork; we want that to be a thing of the past.”

Decentralised templates
A system was procured in the form of HROffice Recruitment, to which all store managers have access. Posting a vacancy, forwarding candidates on internally, it all takes place in the system.

“We develop the tools centrally, but our managers can use them in a decentralised way, with the help of templates.”

Automatic screening in the fraud register
Managers are also supported with selection. “There is a pre-selection questionnaire in the recruitment system, listing questions such as: when are you available? Are you prepared to undertake further training? Are you aged 18 or older? The answers are entered into the system”, explains Vollenberg. Furthermore, automatic screening in the retail fraud register takes place.

Four skills tested in the Jobscan
“Lastly, we developed a concise digital assessment together with LTP. It’s known as the Jobscan and can be applied for all roles. Whenever a candidate is invited for a second interview, they take the test. Candidates are tested on four skills, which results in a 6-page report for the store manager.”

The questions presented on a tray
The report not only contains the results of the test, but also the questions the manager can ask in regard to the test during the interview. “It also tells you whether the candidate has potential for further growth”, says Vollenberg. “And we use it for each and every candidate.”

Despite initial scepticism, the test soon went down well with most store managers. “We did a pilot on 11 stores, and discovered that those stores were sharing login codes with other stores. And what more could you wish for than illegal use like that?”, says Vollenberg, full of satisfaction.

More good decisions
The fruits of the labour? Vollenberg: “The most significant impact has been on staff turnover rates within a trial period of before the end of a contract: this has fallen from 29 to 10 per cent. Far fewer are leaving prematurely. Which suggests that better choices are being made more often.”

This article featured on the Werf& website on 30 November 2016. Read the original (Dutch) publication here.

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