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Under Armour Global Retail Recruiting

Under Armour revolutionizes hiring and modernizes the candidate experience; Reduces hiring time for its retail stores by 35%

With an idea to build a superior T-shirt, Under Armour was born. In 1996, Kevin Plank turned that idea into a new industry that changed the way athletes dress forever. Focusing relentlessly on product innovation, Under Armour revolutionized performance footwear, apparel and accessories. From humble beginnings in Plank’s grandmother’s basement, in less than two decades, Under Armour has grown to over 8,500 teammates globally with over 130 retail stores.

To date, Under Armour has had 17 consecutive quarters with an average of 20% continual revenue growth. In 2012, a retail store was opened every other week. With a business focus of growth opportunities in footwear, women’s apparel, international expansion and retail, Under Armour shows no signs of slowing down.

Recruiting Challenges Prior to Going Digital

Overwhelming Applicant Pools

Under Armour’s rapid growth is reflected in their culture. “Our culture is often referred to as ‘lightning in a bottle,” explains Troy Barnett, Director of Corporate Services Technology at Under Armour. “We are an extremely fast-paced, high energy, young and athletic culture. Finding the right cultural fit for our organization is key to our talent acquisition priorities.”

Barnett joined Under Armour in 2007 when there were fewer than 1,000 teammates. The recruiting process at that time was in its infancy. The procedure was cumbersome with resumes and applications not being tracked or monitored properly. Retail operations launched in 2010 with the first branded retail store in Annapolis, Maryland. In 2012, when Under Armour launched its applicant tracking system they were flooded with an average of 30,000 resumes a month.

Long Cycle Times Impact Store Staffing

The hiring process became drawn out because of the huge applicant pool. “To go through all of those applications and begin the process of putting them into the pipeline to start the screening and interview process, took longer than a company growing at our rate could afford. The entire process from posting a requisition to hiring a candidate was taking too long to effectively service our Retail team,” Barnett explains.

The long process to get people hired and onboarded impacted Under Armour’s ability to have their retail stores fully staffed, ramped and ready to operate. “The managers at our retail stores needed a way to be able to find the right talent quickly and efficiently,” said Barnett.

Staffing challenges became imperative during three peak hiring seasons – summer, back to school, and the holiday season – when management needed to hire several hundred associates and have them ramped for crucial retail seasons.

Barnett comments “At Under Armour, we pride ourselves on innovation. A few years ago, our recruiting process was extremely manual and our volume of applicants was overwhelming – not an innovative experience for our candidates or our hiring team."


Selection of a Digital  Recruiting Solution

Barnett commented, “Like most organizations, Under Armour had all of the ‘must have’ HR technology in place – transactional solutions for sourcing, applying, tracking and onboarding, but those tools didn’t revolutionize and modernize our recruiting the way we needed it to. I knew there had to be a more modern and innovative way to transform our recruiting function that better matched our brand.”

“We looked into digital recruiting as a way to bring innovation to our recruiting process and importantly, empower our store managers and give them a tool for finding and hiring the right talent quickly,” explained Barnett.

"After reviewing HireVue and seeing how innovative, powerful, and easy to use it was, we made it our top HR priority, above any other initiative. We approached every level about moving to a digital process – from the C-Suite to our retail managers – and explained how easy this solution was for not only the internal team but also for our candidates. After seeing how easily branded, and intuitive HireVue was, we implemented HireVue for both on demand and live interviews.”

On demand interviews give managers the ability to create an interview with pre-recorded questions and invite those candidates who meet the requirements to introduce themselves via video. The candidate completes the interview on their own time via a webcam or on their mobile device. “With on demand interviews, we’re empowering our retail managers to make their own hiring decisions and providing them with a tool to review their top candidates quickly and hire only the best,” said Barnett.

Under Armour Revolutionizes Hiring and Modernizes the Candidate Experience with HireVue

Digital Recruiting Becomes Crucial to Retail Operations; 35% Reduction in Time to Fill; Improvement in New Hire Quality

“The biggest impact we’ve seen since implementing digital recruiting is in our retail stores. The on demand interviews empower the store managers to own their own store and make informed hiring decisions,” said Barnett.

At Under Armour, digital recruiting isn’t just a tool to replace a phone screen. The insight they are getting into their applicants is so powerful that the in-person interviews are spent with only the best candidates.

“The manager reviews the initial resume from our ATS, sends candidates a HireVue on demand interview with a variety of question types and when they meet with them face to face, it is more of an affirmation of who they’ve already determined will be a top quality candidate,” Barnett explains. “A resume or even a phone screen doesn’t tell the full story. We found that after a phone screen, the person that shows up isn’t the person you thought you were getting. Now with being able to see the candidate right away, we get a true sense of who they are and if they’ll be a cultural fit for us.”

“The value is not just in the increased speed to hire, which has easily been reduced by 35%, but in the quality of hire as well,” said Barnett.

Anywhere, anytime interviewing proves beneficial across job families

The corporate team of 1,400 teammates located in the Baltimore headquarters has also embraced digital recruiting as part of their process. On demand interviews are being used in the recruiting process across all job families and live interviews are being used to reduce travel.

“We recently interviewed a C-level executive who was attending his child’s soccer match and stepped away and into his car to conduct the interview with our senior leadership team. The interview was conducted and recorded on his iPad from his car – seamlessly allowing the interview to be shared across the team. Now that’s digital recruiting. That’s the world we live in today. The convenience and collaboration HireVue provides is something we value as much as our candidates do,” said Barnett.

underarmour-net-promoter score

Candidate and Hiring Team Feedback

“Now the innovation in our products and company are reflected in our hiring process,” said Barnett.“The candidates have completely embraced it. We weren’t sure at first if we could get hourly hires to use this technology, but they actually prefer it. They are so tech savvy that this is how they operate on a daily basis.”

“We are also dedicated to tracking and improving Under Armour’s Net Promoter Score for our candidate experience. Because our candidates are our customers, leaving candidates with a positive impression is critical. The retail industry has an average NPS of a 28, but Under Armour is proud to have an NPS of nearly three times higher at 70.6,” explains Barnett. “Candidates love digital interviewing and the Under Armour brand, and that NPS number tells us so.”

“Our recruiting team also loves digital recruiting. We’ve shown them that we are embracing technology to give them the tools they need to hire the best talent in the most efficient way and they are telling us they are finding more qualified candidates with ease.”

Retail District Manager Mike Piazza covers 13 stores in the Southeast and has found digital recruiting to be essential to his process. “Digital recruiting is an amazing tool that helps speed up the hiring process, ensures we are getting quality talent, and allows you to connect and engage potential candidates. With the amount of stores I cover within four states, having this tool is critical,” says Piazza.

Lee Ann Fallon, Senior Director of Retail Stores and Operations recognizes the value that digital recruiting brings to her retail operations.

Fallon explains.“HireVue streamlines the initial phase of hiring to quickly identify qualified candidates and get them in the process faster, while also relating digitally to today’s hires. We are excited to leverage this technology to capture the strongest possible candidate pool.”

Troy’s Advice

“Digital recruiting is here to stay – and it needs to be a top priority of every organization out there who is looking to attract the best talent in their industry. There isn’t a reason not to embrace this technology. It’s not a ‘tool’ or a ‘process’ that will slow you down like transactional HR technologies can be. It’s also not just something that impacts a single recruiting metric, but rather impacts the direct business objectives within an organization. Digital recruiting not only transforms recruiting process, but overall assists with larger, corporate digital transformation efforts,” concludes Barnett.