Walmart Mexico and Central America is an organization made up of 35,000 employees, hiring around 17,000 new associates each year.
Critical to the communities it serves, Walmart was previously hiring for these roles in an extremely manual way and was just beginning to transform its hiring process when a global pandemic hit.
A pile of resumes and a poor candidate experience
Before using Vervoe, a lot of the recruitment process for Walmart involved candidates popping into stores to drop off their CVs.
Resumes would be added to a physical pile, and when it came time to fill a position, the hiring managers would start at the top, flip through, and stop when a candidate seemed to fit the bill — everyone else would get overlooked.
“They would screen people until they found someone that would suit the need,” said David Castro, Talent Acquisition Center of Excellence Leader at Walmart Mexico and Central America.
“It was a very poor candidate experience at the time.”
Walmart had thousands of candidates and a very small team to process them — a good problem to have, according to Castro.
The company had started the process of updating its HR processes, implementing chatbots, CRMs, and more. But they needed a tool to help them automatically filter candidates without screening good people out arbitrarily.
That’s when they found Vervoe.
Finding an AI-powered platform that identifies top performers
Having identified the pain points they needed to address, Walmart’s procurement team started looking for a solution.
“We knew more or less what the solution would need to look like…initially, we were just trying to reduce times of our SLAs,” Castro told us.
While reading a blog on talent acquisition, Castro saw someone mention how Vervoe has helped Australia Post improve their hiring and liked what he read.
So, David moved fast, testing the product by sampling the skills profiles of the best talent currently on Walmart’s team.
“[We] created standard profiles and assessments for each one, and quickly, and coincidentally with the arrival of the pandemic, we were able to scale our operations,” said Castro.
“At Walmart, scale is the issue. When you have to hire 17,000 people per year, you need to have the right technology to support your team.”
“Using Vervoe, we get to give everyone a fair chance, evaluate them according to their skills, and rank them so that we can be sure that we’re always hiring top-tier candidates.”
With these scores, the team created a barometer to help them define what an ideal associate would look like, teaching Vervoe’s machine-learning AI grading what to look for, balancing automation, ethics, and efficiency.
“The fact that you could go in, grade [assessments] yourself, and teach the AI what really matters most for the company…that’s part of the things that we liked about Vervoe,” said Castro.
Using automation to provide a great candidate experience
Walmart uses a combination of scenario-based question types, including video, open-ended prompts, and multiple-choice.
“While doing this, they are engaged and we are setting the right expectations for them so there’s no surprises,” Castro told us.
“When we have candidates answer questions through video, it gives us the chance to understand how they will react in a specific store scenario, and helps us understand if they can perform the tasks given.”
Using Vervoe to automate the right aspects of the hiring process now means recruiters don’t overinvest time looking at candidates that don’t possess the skills required to succeed in the role.
“So, you apply to Walmart now, and you will get tested, you will get ranked, and we will select the best candidates for the role,” Castro said.
“At the end, for the recruiter, they’re selecting only the top candidates while Vervoe is doing all the hard work. It represents us being able to sustain our promise of guaranteeing opportunities for everyone because you get a shot.”
Building a pipeline based on skills, not background
The Walmart team has also received a lot of support from Vervoe in helping to craft skills assessments that specifically target the company’s needs.
This has allowed them to open up roles to people of all backgrounds and experiences because they can confidently test their abilities to master relevant skills.
“Instead of looking for people that maybe had a lot of degrees and a lot of years of experience, we focused on things that really mattered most for our retail operations. We select those people and use them as the baseline from which the AI learned,” Castro said.
“That has helped us improve a lot of our efficiency numbers, retention, and overall employee satisfaction.”
Hiring candidates faster, watching them stay longer
Aside from the initial process of teaching the AI what to look for, Walmart hasn’t had to do much to keep seeing great results.
According to Castro, Vervoe has helped Walmart decrease its time to hire from 14 days to 7 and dramatically reduce attrition.
“Our attrition numbers are [now] single digits on our retail operation, and that’s amazing,” Castro added.
He also believes they’d need more than double the amount of recruiters to achieve the same results without implementing Vervoe into the hiring process.
“We estimated that instead of using 34 recruiters, we would need about 78 recruiters to do that job,” Castro said.
Taking high volume hiring into the future with Vervoe
What started as a mission to reduce the times of their SLAs has led Walmart, Mexico and Central America to a solution that’s completely transformed the way they hire and has seen them continue to scale their hiring during the pandemic.
“As a critical industry during the pandemic, we were able to stay open because we always had the right amount of staff to provide service,” Castro said.
“We were facing very high attrition…and it was critical to stay open. And we were able to fulfill the store needs because of that tool.”
“I don’t see how we could have achieved such great results during a pandemic without a tool that would allow us to scale on that size. So, I think that’s a great story to tell.”