Swarovski worked to get the right talent in the door from the start to create a stronger workforce and happier customers, and increase bottom-line results.
As a producer of cut crystal, gemstones and created stones, Swarovski has approximately 1,300 global locations, with nearly 300 in the U.S. and Canada. When it learned U.S. retail stores terminate 70 percent of sales consultants within their first year, its HR team revamped its in-store talent acquisition strategy to improve turnover ratios, time to hire and overall quality of hire — essentially getting the right talent in the door from the start to create a stronger workforce and happier customers, and increase bottom-line results.
After reviewing the assessment tools in place, HR concluded the behavioral competencies measured did not optimally align with the competencies and skills required for sales consultant success. Another flaw was system use at the end of the hiring process, which negated time spent recruiting and interviewing candidates since it offered no explanations for why a candidate wasn’t a match and no insight to improve efforts to target new hires in the future.
Swarovski chose an assessment system that could be centrally managed — which was essential given its 250-plus decentralized hiring managers throughout the U.S. and Canada — and seamlessly integrated with a third-party applicant tracking system as needed so the scalable platform could support retail expansion across North America and beyond.
To start, Swarovski conducted focus groups with on-the-floor sales consultants and store managers, immersing itself into the in-store experience to understand the job role and company culture. This enabled the team to more accurately define and weigh the competencies required for new hires.
Assessment tests were moved to the front of the hiring process — before a resume was even exchanged — to verify that competencies exhibited by the candidates were a match. This meant store managers could focus on candidates who were the most probable fit for their store.
The Web-enabled assessments included written responses and online simulations with a virtual game-like interface that mirrored the Swarovski in-store environment. Candidates faced role-play questions in six simulations, emulating typical Swarovski customer interactions, which helped store managers gauge how effective candidates’ responses would be in real-life sales scenarios.