Byline: Brad Barth

NEW YORK — Jobs at L.L. Bean are being filled more efficiently since the apparel retailer implemented a recruiting application that systematically scans resumes for qualifications and posts employment opportunities internally.
Bob Schmidt, employment manager at L.L. Bean, said that the solution has cut the time needed to fill a position by nearly one-third, from an average of 60 to 90 days to between 45 and 60 days. The Freeport, Maine-based company is using the solution for all areas of recruitment, from store-level positions to corporate posts.
Because the solution improves the company’s ability to match candidates’ skills and experience to available jobs, costs per hire have also dropped, said Schmidt, though he declined to specify by how much.
“Traditionally, we’d advertise in the newspaper or go to a search agency and have the job filled,” Schmidt said. Currently, the retailer has about 10,000 resumes in its database. “As that number grows, there’s more of an opportunity to search for candidates without having to do traditional advertising,” he continued.
Because the solution posts current job openings internally, L.L. Bean can draw more talent from its own labor pool and spend less on recruiting externally. Schmidt said that the company can run reports comparing how many people are hired, internal versus external, to gain a broad perspective on hiring trends.
Implemented more than a year ago, the solution is being used to fill positions at all levels of L.L. Bean’s corporate structure. In total, including the catalog operation, flagship stores, children’s stores and outlets, the company employs about 4,000 people.
The e-recruiting software, from Personic of Brisbane, Calif., works like an advanced search engine, scanning for the key words that point to an applicant’s credentials. The solution flags only those resumes that satisfy specific job skills and experience established for a particular position.
Schmidt said that the system can search for relevant information, such as previous employment and experience, education and residence. The solution is applied to both electronic and paper-based resumes, the latter of which are scanned into the system.
Any department can search for applicants using the same centralized database of resumes. Hiring managers can pull up names onto their computers “rather than having to go to another department to find a resume, or keep copies of a resume in case an opening comes up,” said Schmidt. Resumes are less likely to be lost in the shuffle this way.
Even if an applicant sends a resume to a single department, the system will determine what other departments may recruit that individual. “We’ve found folks who applied for one job, but had skills that applied to a different job, and we called them and made some hires,” said Schmidt. Moreover, L.L. Bean is more likely to retain employees because they can peruse the system for internal advancement opportunities.

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