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Staffing up for the holidays has often been a struggle for retailers in the past. This year, it's likely to get worse for all types of businesses because of the low unemployment rate in the US, which was sitting at just 3.7% in October 2018 compared with 4.9% two years prior and 7.2% five years previously. High employment is driving retailers to new lengths to make themselves more attractive to potential employees: They're improving their wages, benefits, and even scheduling systems. In addition to these efforts, businesses should work to better their recruiting and hiring processes to make the most of the candidates available.

Turas Group, a staffing agency that works with franchisees of the top 50 restaurant brands (based on 2017 US sales) — including more than 10 Chick-fil-A units — sought to improve its hiring operations. This led it to work with Fountain, an automated hiring platform, on a pilot starting in August 2018 to help staff Chick-fil-A locations. Business Insider Intelligence recently spoke with Fountain’s CEO Keith Ryu about how Fountain’s automation has helped Turas Group handle more applicants and make the most of the available labor pool.

Challenge: Turas Group needed to find more candidates for Chick-fil-A locations and communicate with all of them, while making the process more efficient. Not only is it time-consuming to get candidates to submit their applications, but 90% come in without a resume or LinkedIn profile, which means employers need to screen many from scratch, Ryu said. And 50% of the candidates who say they’ll show up to interviews don’t, meaning that businesses need as many applicants as possible to optimally fill their open positions. That, however, requires them to communicate with and gather information from far more candidates, which is time-consuming and potentially expensive.

Strategy: The staffing agency partnered with Fountain to use its hiring platform, [...]