Urban Outfitters

MAKES HOURLY HIRING HIP WITH  DIGITAL RECRUITING ACROSS 200 STORES

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Community, Pride,  Creativity, and Respect.

Urban Outfitters is an eclectic lifestyle retailer dedicated to inspiring customers through a unique combination of product, creativity and cultural understanding. Urban Outfitters’ brands include Anthropologie, Free People, BHLDN and Terrain. With over 200 retail stores in the US, Canada and Europe, Urban Outfitters’ goal is to foster a culture of creativity and individuality within its stores and home office in Philadelphia.

They believe passionately that the customer is constantly evolving, bringing new ideas, new outlooks and new expectations to their world. Urban Outfitters is committed to evolving with its customers while retaining fundamental values of creativity, irreverence and authenticity.

Culture and Creativity Trump All: Resumes & HR Systems Fall Short in Determining Candidate Fit and Personality

Urban Outfitters’ retail environments require talent that matches Urban’s values: Community, Pride, Creativity and Respect. Maren Korellis, Head of Field Recruitment for Urban Outfitters, says, “Our candidates are our customers across all brands”

Korellis, who has been with Urban Outfitters for 15 years, explains how the evolution of technology has enabled her team to connect with their candidates. “We are extremely passionate about connecting with our candidates through a variety of social channels and our website. We want to do more than just sell them something. We pride ourselves on inspiring people. Urban has always wanted to inspire associates and candidates to push the limits.”

“A few years ago, we moved away from paper applications and transitioned our retail candidates to apply online through our applicant tracking system. While this added some efficiency, we realized that we didn’t have the solution to identify our best candidates or understand who they really were,” Korellis explains. “Because these employees interact directly with our customers, we needed to see their emotions and personalities. A profile or a resume can show some experience but doesn’t tell me how that person will respond to a customer or present themselves on a sales floor. Those intangible qualities that are most critical to our operations couldn’t be portrayed effectively through our ATS.”

Korellis continues, “Prior to digital interviewing, our retail stores used group interviews for hiring sales associates. We would have six to eight candidates come in at once for a group interview. The retail managers didn’t feel this was an effective way to evaluate who would be the best fit for our culture. We realized this was just a quick snapshot of some candidates but, like an application, didn’t give us enough insight into their persona,” Korellis explains.

Urban Outfitters  Goes Digital

In an organization where individualism, quirkiness and creativity are praised, Urban Outfitters’ talent team was intrigued by the concept of digital interviewing as an option to modernize and personalize their recruiting experience.

“When we first met with HireVue and saw the capabilities, we knew inherently that this was something the store managers would get excited about. The ability to use on demand interviews to gain insight into the candidates was extremely compelling. We knew above all other recruiting technologies that digital recruiting would be a game-changer for our management teams to find and staff their stores with the best talent in the industry,” says Korellis.

As with all technology, adoption is crucial and different approaches work for different organizations.

“The key to adoption for us was to ensure HireVue spread like wild fire – first among our recruiters that manage recruiting for a district. We had them start using digital recruiting for executive level positions and they were immediately bought into HireVue, due to its powerful ability to gauge a candidate’s personality,” explains Korellis.

“Our Training Store Managers were enthusiastic about rolling this out to the store leadership team. They walked the store managers through how to use it, let them try it for a month to understand best practices and tweak the process, and then let the store leaders take it from there. The store managers did a fantastic job of training the team how to use HireVue and to also train on how to objectively evaluate the candidates’ answers. Once the team saw how easy HireVue was to use and the insight they could gain, they jumped on board.”

Digital-transformation

Digital Recruiting Success

Hiring Managers Returned to the Floor; Less Time Spent on Reviewing Applications

“Currently we are using HireVue on demand interviews in all of our 200 retail stores for all levels of hires, including hourly. Our store management teams are spending less time reviewing applications and interviewing and more time on the sales floor. The hiring managers are dedicating time to review the digital interviews outside of peak business hours so they don’t sacrifice critical time with our customers,” says Korellis.

Hiring Teams Better Assess Cultural Fit & Make More Informed Hiring Decisions

“For the sales associate positions, the insight that our managers gain is incredible. Creativity is something we value in our talent. For the first question in the on demand interview, we have the candidate take three minutes to complete a drawing of themselves. It allows people to be humorous, to think on their feet and to not take themselves too seriously,” Korellis explains. “A written question would never be able to predict how someone might react on the sales floor, but digital responses can determine a cultural fit. This is so crucial for us.”

"A WRITTEN QUESTION WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO PREDICT HOW SOMEONE MIGHT REACT ON THE SALES FLOOR, BUT DIGITAL RESPONSES CAN DETERMINE A CULTURAL FIT."

– MAREN KORELLIS,
FIELD RECRUITMENT MANAGER

Ability to See More Candidates, Faster, Makes for Better Hiring Decisions

Beyond the ability to make more informed hiring decisions for their unique hiring criteria, the Urban Outfitters’ team found that they were also able to substantially extend their candidate reach. Retail stores made it a standard practice to offer an on demand interview to every applicant, providing a better way to connect with their applicant pool.

“Once the stores started using HireVue, they didn’t know how they lived without it,” comments Korellis. “Some of our stores were receiving up to 300 applications a week. With the size of our candidate pool, HireVue has been a lifesaver.”

“We are unlimited with the number of candidates we can screen. Prior to going digital, if our best candidate was the 250th to apply, odds are that the hiring manager wouldn’t have even seen them. Now, because every candidate takes an on demand interview, we have expanded our candidate reach, giving every applicant the opportunity and we are truly finding the best talent.”

Reduction in Screening Time by 80%

Without the scheduling and coordinating of group interviews, store managers are able to quickly invite candidates to take the on demand interview. Most interviews are now completed in just nine hours of receiving the invitation to complete their HireVue interview. Previously, it would have taken three or four days to screen those candidates.

Urban Outfitters-80
Interview-chart

Urban Outfitters Candidates Love Digital Experience; NPS Scores are 2X Retail Industry

“We survey all of our candidates at the end of their digital experience and they tell us they love the flexibility and convenience to interview anywhere, anytime and even from their mobile device. In just six months, we had nearly 16,000 digital interviews completed and 30% of them were taken on a mobile device. Offering a mobile experience is so important to us, because we are meeting these candidates where they prefer to interact every day.”

“What’s more, nearly 90% of our candidates complete their interview outside of business hours. We are constantly receiving emails and feedback from candidates about how much they appreciate the flexibility.” Korellis continues, “In addition to the convenience, our candidates have also given feedback that they appreciate the ability to showcase their personalities and abilities via video versus on an application.”

Urban Outfitter’s candidate feedback has resulted in an extremely positive Net Promoter Score (NPS). The average NPS score in the retail industry is 28 and Urban Outfitters reports more than double that at an NPS of 69.

“The hiring team equally appreciates the convenience. They have dedicated time to review their candidates and can quickly decide who should move on to a face to face interview. They can also collaborate with the larger team and share candidates with other departments,” says Korellis. “Not only is the collaboration a huge benefit, but the in person interviews are now more personal. Because the hiring manager has ‘seen’ the candidate, the conversation is elevated and there is a comfort level that is now in place.”

Ability to Easily Staff in Remote Locations

“We recently used HireVue to staff our first store in Hawaii and the process was phenomenal. We were able to easily assess our candidates by watching their interviews to decide who we should invest in traveling and meeting in person. We did the same thing for a store in Winnipeg, Canada and it was an extremely smooth process,” comments Korellis. “We’ve found that once a candidate takes an on demand interview, they are more vested and truly want to engage with us.”

“MOVING TO DIGITAL INTERVIEWING HAS TRANSFORMED OUR HIRING PROCESS INTO A TRUE REFLECTION OF THE URBAN OUTFITTERS CULTURE. OUR VALUE IN CREATIVITY AND COMMUNITY AND OUR NONCONFORMIST APPROACH NOW BEGINS WITH OUR CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE. NO OTHER INITIATIVE HAS IMPACTED OUR HIRING TEAMS LIKE DIGITAL RECRUITING HAS,” CONCLUDES KORELLIS.

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