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How Iceland transformed its recruitment process

Iceland, the UK’s leader in frozen food, has sales of over £2.7 billion, employs over 22,000 people and operates over 900 stores across the country. For the past 12 years, Iceland has been ranked by the Sunday Times as one of the ‘Best Big Companies to Work For’.

With the growing success of the business, Iceland needed to modernise its manual store recruitment processes and bring its existing online system for recruiting managers up to date with current best practices. The company needed an applicant tracking system that would enable it to process an increasing volume of job applications more quickly, improve data security and empower hiring managers with greater visibility across the recruitment lifecycle.

It’s all about the people

Iceland chose Recruit from a shortlist of three companies to support its increasing demands for talent and its high volume recruitment drives for seasonal store workers.

The easy-to-use and flexible system went live in June 2017 to Iceland’s recruitment team of 16 users who are responsible for the recruitment of head office positions, area managers, store managers, senior supervisors and other middle and senior management roles. Next it was rolled out to over 2,000 users including store managers across 900 stores, ahead of Iceland’s busiest recruitment drive in the lead up to Christmas.


Ringing the changes

Recruit has helped Iceland to bring its recruitment processes up to date in the competitive landscape in which it operates and has totally transformed how it handles its store recruitment. The replacement of in-store job posters and printed application forms with an online system which store managers can access via desktop or mobile phone has streamlined and speeded up recruitment while providing greater visibility across the recruitment lifecycle.


“On average, we’ve halved the time to recruit candidates from 6-8 weeks to 3-4 weeks from advertising an appointment and have much improved the candidate experience we provide as well as the quality of candidates we receive.” – John Crossland, Retail Recruitment Manager.


“Since the system went live, the number of job applications we receive has risen from 5-10 applicants to around 40 per role in the first two weeks of advertising a position. In the two month lead up to Christmas we received over 163,000 applicants and had 2,954 offers accepted. We would never have received or been able to process this level of applicants without Recruit. The new system has raised the bar and store managers can now cherry pick who they want to hire.” – John Crossland, Retail Recruitment Manager.


Recruit has been integrated with NSL Checking, Iceland’s Right to Work screening system and mandatory screening can now be completed in one click, further streamlining the recruitment process.

GDPR was also an important driver for Iceland in moving its recruitment online, and the new system has helped Iceland to improve security around the data it collects.


Supporting future business growth

As well as empowering hiring managers and improving recruitment efficiencies, Recruit is helping to support both short and long-term business growth.

Iceland plans to open 53 new stores this calendar year, each employing 20-30 members of staff. Recruit’s self-scheduling feature enables Iceland to plan when resources are needed and effectively schedule interviews on set days, maximising the use of management time. The system also has talent banking functionality enabling Iceland to keep good people in its system for relevant vacancies, for example, six months down the line.

Iceland is currently working on Phase 2 of the implementation which includes designing Management Information reports for head office, putting videos into job ads and examining the quality of hires against turnover figures.

“The reporting functionality is going to give us much greater visibility into the effectiveness of our recruitment processes. We’ll be able to take an in-depth look at the average time it takes us to screen, interview and fill roles and understand better the implications for the business. We’ll be moving from a world where this just wasn’t possible before to a world where we’ll have the information we need to do things better and quicker.”- John Crossland, Retail Recruitment Manager.

The company also has longer-term plans to streamline its recruitment processes and reduce management time spent on administration with the integration of Recruit with its in-house personnel system in FY2021. The move will save over 100 working days per year alone in management time spent on entering new starter’s details into its personnel system.

“The project has been very successful and it has been a pleasure working with the Kallidus team as they are always forthcoming with solutions. They have provided a helping hand every step of the way while educating us to be self-sufficient. I wouldn’t want to be doing the next phase of our implementation with anybody other than Kallidus!” – John Crossland, Retail Recruitment Manager.

“Recruit ticked all of our boxes with its comprehensive functionality. It also looked really good on a mobile phone. But it was the Kallidus team that really stood out when we were making our decision because of their down to earth approach and openness. They listened to our needs and the relationship has been a true partnership with Kallidus supporting our vision and passion every step of the journey.”

John Crossland, Retail Recruitment Manager.

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