How FGL Sports Brings in the Right Candidates

With 325 stores, 14,000 employees, and 2011 revenue of $1.5 billion, FGL Sports Ltd. is the only national sporting-goods retailer in Canada. It sells an assortment of products, from athletic footwear to technical equipment, and its merchandise mix includes brand-name and private-branded products.

Angie Rainkie shares eight steps to successful job recruitment

1. Be a champion for your industry

The key to successful recruiting is believing in the business, says FGL’s director of recruitment, Angie Rainkie. “Retail is becoming increasingly seen as a viable career option with a long runway for opportunities providing considerable growth and development,” she says. While that has not always been the case, employment with large organizations with multiple banners is changing the way people used to think of the opportunities available to an employee. “I’m an ambassador for a career in retail, as I have had the opportunity to move from a very successful career in operations, in both small and large retail organizations, to leading the recruiting for field hiring across the corporate banners for FGL Sports,” she explains. “I communicate to all candidates that while academia certainly adds to one’s skill set and provides the ability to move into a more senior role, it’s possible and desirable to be a lifelong retailer, finding those opportunities for growth and development.”

2. Have the right tools

For the past five years, FGL Sports has used the applicant tracking system Hodes iQ, now known as Hodes Technomedia. This platform allows Rainkie’s team to handle recruiting in one of two ways. First, for managerial positions, recruiters run the entire recruiting process—posting jobs, prescreening candidates, and conducting interviews; they then present the district or store managers a list of fully screened candidates. But for nonmanagerial store positions—although the recruiters post jobs, and the platform directs applicants to store managers, who review and screen through résumés and arrange interviews—the software gives store managers their own dashboards.

3. Post the job request

The recruiting process starts with a district or store manager sending Rainkie’s team a request to post a job. Rainkie’s team then posts the notification to the job boards best suited to bring in candidates. “We use Monster, Jobshop, Craigslist, and a number of small niche boards specific to different markets, such as Calgary Jobshop,” Rainkie says.

4. Prescreen candidates

At the most basic level, recruiters and hiring managers need to know if candidates want to work in retail, why they want to work for FGL Sports, and if they can relate to both the customer base and the employee value proposition. Rainkie acknowledges that the temptation to prescreen via social-media sites is there—“We call this the Facebook generation,” she says—but recruiters tend to use only LinkedIn. “It takes away the craziness that you see on the other social-media sites,” she explains. “It’s basically a résumé with referrals.”

5. Perform an online assessment

A lot of organizations use online psychometric testing to determine whether job candidates inherently have the desired behavioural traits. Those traits, Rainkie says, depend on the role. “For a supervisory role, such as a department sales manager, we’re looking for the ability to connect and develop teams, [as well as for] listening and teaching skills; for a sales associate role, we’re looking for the ability to connect with a customer and tell a story about the product, which means they can they easily engage in a conversation with people they don’t know, and if they have a desire to learn.” To that end, prescreened candidates answer 80–150 questions. The system then analyzes the information and generates a profile. If the profile is a good match to the established benchmark, it is only one of the factors that determine whether the job candidate moves forward.

6. Conduct an in-person behavioural assessment

Like the online assessment, this behaviour-based interview—designed specifically for FGL Sports—pulls out key behaviour traits that Rainkie and her team feel are important for a candidate to have in order to be successful. For example, FGL Sports currently is very focused on finding candidates who live an active lifestyle. “It’s one of the critical success factors, because we have recognized that people who are active and interested in participating in sports and sports activities can relate to customers who come into our stores looking for sporting goods,” Rainkie explains.

7. Make the hire

After narrowing candidates using prescreening, online assessments, and in-personal behavioural assessments, the hiring manager then conducts a fit interview to determine who the best candidate is.

8. Adapt

Rainkie acknowledges that managers, who throughout the corporate banners of FGL Sports hire approximately 6,000 people a year, can spend an inordinate amount of time on recruiting. To take away the administrative burden, reduce the time it takes to fill a position, and improve quality of hires, Rainkie’s team is currently running two pilots in the Ontario region for Sport Chek. “With the pilots, we provide the same level of support we would in end-to-end recruiting for hiring management,” she says. “Store managers are ecstatic. All they have to do it put up their hand and say, ‘I need two sales associates who can sell skis and bikes,’ and they get a list of prescreened candidates and then only have to conduct a general fit interview.”