Home Depot Eases Application Process As Job Market Tightens

In efforts to fill over 80,000 positions during spring, Home Depot has unveiled a tool aimed at making it easy for job applicants to schedule interviews. The tool is available round the clock on just about any device and enables applicants to make an interview appointment at a time they consider most convenient for them. Since a pilot of the tool was started last year in November, around 80% of the candidates applying for jobs at Home Depot have used it.

While the biggest home-improvement retailer in the world always encounters hiring challenges during the busy spring season, this time round it is even more difficult due to a record low unemployment rate. In January the unemployment rate was 4.1%, the lowest it has ever been in close to 17 years.

Worker shortages

This has resulted in worker shortages in most industries and consequently piling pressure on wages besides forcing employers to enhance benefits. The overhaul of the U.S. tax code which saw the corporate tax rate reduced to 21% from 35% has also left firms with extra cash that they can dedicate to hiring.

From experience Home Depot has found out that lengthy applications tend to discourage some potential candidates. Among the changes made to the recruitment process include cutting down on the information asked for. Initially filling an application used to take around an hour but has now been reduced to 15 minutes. This has seen the number of applications increase by 50%.

“The first conversation with a company is really important. We want to say this is simple and easy. We don’t want to make it difficult. That leaves a bad impression with candidates,” Eric Schelling, the talent acquisition senior director at Home Depot, said.

Onboarding experience

Besides making improvements to the application process Home Depot has also enhanced the onboarding experience by introducing an associate training’s PocketGuide. This is an app for mobile devices which uses gamification with a view to assisting associates learn as they work the aisles. This cuts on backroom training as learning activities and product knowledge are provided to the associate in the palm of their hand. In this year’s spring the app will be made available to each and every garden associate while other associates will get the application later.

In its hiring quest Home Depot will be competing with rival Lowe’s which intends to recruit over 53,000 temps. That will be 8,000 more positions compared to last year.

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