HR Excellence Awards 2009: Most Innovative Use of Technology - Asda

Having launched an online job application website in 2002, processing 45,000 applications a year, in 2008 supermarket chain Asda realised it needed to take its recruitment proposition to the next level.

One problem was a high number of aborted applications, while there was a need for greater information on first and second-round applications.

Working with Criterion Partnership, Asda developed 'Supersifter', an integrated online application system that reduced to two the number of clicks job seekers had to perform to navigate from job search to application. Incorporated into the system were tailored assessments for more than 400 jobs, as well as SMS and Web 2.0 functionality in a bid to appeal to young applicants.

Since the site has gone live, Asda's recruiters have been able to use five reports specific to each candidate type to assist in the assessment process. This has helped cut numbers reaching the interview stage from an average of 10 per vacancy to three or four. Cost per hire has been cut by 88%, delivering an annual saving of £2.6 million.

The candidate experience has also improved. The number of incomplete applications has been reduced from 25% to 8%. Candidates are now able to sign up to text alerts which update them on the progress of their application, and are encouraged to create a 'My Asda' home page on the site.

However, the real winner in the project has been business efficiency. Asda has reduced the average time elapsed from a job advert being placed to the selection of a candidate by 84%, from 32 days to five days. Asda's careers and job application website recently won the 'Best Employer Website' gong at this year's RAD awards.

Judges' comments

"Asda was prepared to step out of the normal business model. Rather than tweak an existing product, it designed a totally new one. Everything suggests it's working," said one of the judges.


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