August 23, 2002, 12:00 AM

Using kiosks to streamline retail store hiring

Some retailers are using in-store kiosks to streamline the hiring of hourly workers, reports Unicru, a provider of web-based recruitment systems for retailers such as Kmart. In some cases, retailers cut the applicant processing time by 85%.

To reduce the administrative time and costs related to high employee turnover rates, some retailers are using in-store kiosks to streamline the hiring of hourly workers, reports Unicru, a Beaverton, OR-based provider of web-based kiosk recruitment systems for retailers such as Kmart Corp. and video store chain Blockbuster Inc.


Retailers using in-store kiosks to process job applicants have cut their average processing time by as much as 85%, says Chris Reed, vice president of marketing for Unicru, adding that in some cases, "Retailers were spending a third of their week doing hiring paperwork, but they’ve dropped that from 13 hours to 2 hours."


The kiosks are typically part of a web-based system that coordinates information with back-end systems and enables a hiring manager to get near-real-time reports from the application process, enabling the manager to quickly decide on how to proceed with a particular applicant. "Within a minute or two, the manager gets a customized evaluation of the candidate," Reed says, adding that the system can be programmed to alert a manager via pager if a candidate’s application appears to meet pre-set hiring criteria. "If the applicant scores well, the manager walks up to him while he’s still at the kiosk, buys him a cup of coffee and offers him a job."


Reed adds that the kiosk system captures "about 300 bits of information" on applicants, who typically spend about 20 minutes at a kiosk filling out an application. The information can be mapped into an e-learning system, where it can help define base competency levels to measure a hired applicant’s future growth in job performance, Reed says.


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