The Gap Is Refining Its Recruiting Story, Systems, and Sites

GAP Inc. is partway through a major project to explain who it is, why people should work there, and how each of its brands and the countries it operates in are different.

When Nick Boyd, head of talent candidate supply and attraction, got there, the company’s career site wasn’t too good, wasn’t too mobile, and wasn’t too global. The company took a look at what was happening: are we telling our story well? Could people really see why they should work at this company? How’s the job search?

The answers were something like, in order: no, no, and clunky.

“We knew we had to get it right,” Boyd says. “The career site was the No. 1 place where people get information about us.” They may not be coming in the front door; about 60 percent of visitors, Boyd says, go in via a job description.

Boyd says the Gap didn’t have a really centralized brand that worked across all of its parts: Gap, Banana Republic, Intermix, Old Navy, and Athleta. (Regarding the latter, Morningstar says it is “the sweet spot of the activewear trend and could become the fourth power brand for the company, giving management a strong new growth driver.”)

Anyhow, on top of all that, Boyd says, it wasn’t really resonating emotionally with people. And the company didn’t have a strong sense of who its talent competitors were and how it was different from them. Global content was limited.

A new site is aimed at changing that. It’s heavy on visuals, videos, and content in general. It’s rolling out in multiple languages and countries, with more to come. In fact, its mere existence, Boyd says, with 10 country and seven language searches, will encourage various countries to want to increase the amount of interesting content they have for their locations.

The Gap, with TMP helping, had to pull this off in spite of its multiple talent-acquisition systems. Those include a Taleo applicant tracking system, in some countries the use of Catsone, and, yes, in some locations paper applications.

All this, with 6,000-plus jobs.

The Gap will be rolling out a blog in April, with more content produced in house about its own company, versus outside links. It’s watching Google Analytics to see what people are clicking on, to alter the site accordingly. It wants to add a TB 360 tool to capture people who don’t apply for a job, but click around and leave. It hopes to place ads on other sites (Facebook, for example) for people who have a cookie indicating they were a Gap career site visitor.

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All this goes on while — something you’ve probably heard about via the CNBCs, Barron’s, Fortunes, and so on — shopping malls and the whole in-person retail experience are under fire. People are buying online, sometimes on Amazon, and when they buy in person, they want a real reason to do so.

This means a Gap employee needs to be more tech savvy. You might reserve an item and pick it up in the store. Or, an employee may need to quickly see if a product’s available in another store, using a handheld device. Or, employees may need to be more consultative, offering personal advice that’s not offered online, building a relationship with customers.

“The role of the store is changing,” says Boyd. “The role of the store employee is changing.”