How Decathlon reduced time-to-hire by 76 per cent with Mercu

(Source: Bigstock.)

Decathlon, the leading global sporting goods brand, is committed to delivering an exceptional retail experience – a mission that begins with hiring the best retail staff.

The fast-moving and ultra-competitive job market posed a unique set of challenges, and Decathlon store leaders needed help with recruitment, providing a consistent candidate experience across stores, and responding promptly to new applications.

The challenge: Inconsistent candidate experience, slow response times, and high admin overheads

Before partnering with Mercu, Decathlon used emails to communicate interview scheduling and reminders with candidates. This meant that each month, the company’s three-person recruitment team had to manually follow up with over 300 applicants – an effort that collectively cost more than 100 people hours per month.

Decathlon faced several obstacles in its recruitment process:

  • Inconsistent candidate experiences across different stores.
  • Slow application processing and delayed response times.
  • Store leaders spending valuable time on recruitment admin tasks, detracting from serving customers and team members on the floor.

“We wanted to give everyone who considers joining us a unique, consistent, and sporty recruitment experience that is reflective of our brand and what we do every day,” said Arjun Mutreja, head of people – Singapore, with Decathlon.

The Solution: Mercu’s Conversational Recruitment Platform

Understanding the importance of maintaining Decathlon’s highly integrated software stack, Mercu integrated directly with its ATS. Mercu also worked with Decathlon to map the steps of its hiring flow to each candidate touchpoint to ensure they offer an engaging and personalised candidate experience.

An integration between Decathlon’s ATS and Mercu’s chat-based, AI-enabled recruitment automation platform meant that Decathlon could elevate the recruitment experience of hundreds of new applicants without changing their existing workflows.

Out-of-the-box, Mercu offered:

  • Seamless integration with Workable, Decathlon’s existing applicant tracking system.
  • Automated interview scheduling, reminders, and engagement via WhatsApp.
  • An on-demand AI assistant to respond to candidate inquiries in real-time, using Decathlon’s tone-of-voice.

“The brief from Decathlon was clear: it has to integrate into our existing workflows, it can’t be another new system that our busy managers have to learn, and it needs to automate all of the busy work associated with hiring,” said Elliott Gibb, co-founder at Mercu.

The results: A leap forward in recruitment efficiency

Since implementing Mercu, Decathlon has experienced remarkable improvements while offering a superior and delightful candidate experience compared to other employers in the market.

The impact is four-fold:

  1. Reduced time-to-hire: The average time-to-hire for retail staff dropped from 30 days to just seven.
  2. Increased interview attendance: Interview attendance rates soared by 33 percentage points, reaching an 87 per cent show-up rate on average.
  3. Reallocated human capital: Both store leaders and the recruitment team saved hundreds of hours each month on candidate outreach and admin tasks.
  4. Accessible automation: The AI assistant instantly answered over 92 per cent of inbound candidate questions.

Through the AI capability of the Mercu platform, candidates were more likely to ask questions they would otherwise not ask until they met with the recruitment team. As a result, Decathlon’s interviewing team engages with candidates who are eager and well-informed about the commitments of the role, saving precious recruiter time as well as limited interview session availabilities.

“The implementation of Mercu has been a game-changer for us. It’s not just about the time savings, it’s about the consistency and quality of the candidate experience,” said Miléna Osika, talent acquisition leader – Singapore.

“We’ve set a new benchmark in retail hiring, and the positive feedback from candidates clearly reflects that.”

Discover the Mercu Advantage

Experience the transformative power of Mercu in your recruitment process. Get in touch with our team to learn how we can help you streamline your hiring, improve candidate engagement, and achieve remarkable results like Decathlon. Learn more here