- Home Depot will allow applicants for more than 80,000 jobs to self-schedule their in-person interviews, according to a company statement. The company's new self-scheduling tool can be used on any device and is available 24/7 to job seekers who submit an application.
- Candidate numbers are up 50% since the companies apps, Mobile Apply and Text-to-Apply, were introduced, says Home Depot. So far, about 80% of candidates have used the self-scheduling tool, according to the home improvement retailer.
- The company also recently introduced PocketGuide, a mobile application that trains associates via gamification while they're on the shop floor. New associates learn about the company's products and other information with a hand-held device. The app is being gradually distributed to store departments during the year, Home Depot said.
Big-box retailers were once seen as employers who paid low hourly wages, fostered high turnover and offered workers little more than discounts on store merchandise. That image might be changing; Lowe's, perhaps Home Depot's biggest competitor, is making changes to how its own brick-and-mortar staff operate and improving benefits.
The tight labor market and record-low unemployment may be driving the industry-wide HR focus on employee engagement. Traditional retailers appear to be committed to attracting, engaging and retaining workers and investing in the technology that can make it happen.
Giving job seekers the tech tools to make the hunt for work more convenient and personal is smart. The majority of job hunters in a recent American Staffing Association survey deemed the recruitment process "too impersonal" and that it left them feeling as though their resumes were being diverted into a mysterious "black box." Interview scheduling is one way to improve the transparency of that process.
Likewise, gamification can be an engaging way of getting new hires quickly up to speed. In Home Depot's case, PocketGuide helps to minimize the time and cost of traditional training. The savings can be significant for large employers with thousands of jobs to fill. In other retailers' busy seasons, namely the holidays, HR departments have relied on similar measures to quickly prepare seasonal hires to take needed shifts.