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Arsenal’s goal of online recruiting success

June 2014 | By Matt Bodimeade
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With the domestic football season at an end, now is the time for most clubs to start mulling over their summer signings. For Arsenal FC, it will be a period to invest heavily in new talent.

And it’s not just on the pitch that the club will be looking to recruit. With over 3,000 members of staff required to help operations run smoothly on a match day, the club has recently designed a sleek new online recruitment portal.

The portal provides information about a range of opportunities with the club, through either direct employment with Arsenal or other opportunities at Emirates Stadium through external contractors.

Karen Ann Allchurch, HR director at Arsenal, told Recruiter that one aim of the portal is to make the recruitment process “very visible, very transparent. It shows what actual live vacancies we have, and it enables us to start talent banking”.

Allchurch says that the portal has helped Arsenal to “streamline the responses they receive” which means they are able to more easily shortlist potential candidates. “Having a portal doesn’t remove the need for agencies, but it does mean you can be a bit more selective with which roles you do use agencies for. 

“We would always use headhunters for more senior roles; we obviously wouldn’t post the ‘manager’ position on the website, and then cross our fingers that someone would apply for that role, but it does mean we can focus some of our budget elsewhere.”

Having spent three years at First Choice Airways as head of HR, and a further three years at easyJet as head of hr operations, Allchurch has spent the past four years as HR director at Arsenal, establishing a growing HR function at the club.

“When I first joined we were doing all sorts of recruitment: from local newspapers, to some of the big websites, but a lot was being handled by agencies and what their recommendations would be.

“It doesn’t mean that we don’t do that anymore, but I can’t think of anything recent where we’ve gone hardcopy, everything is really online, and less reliant on [getting the traffic from] other websites. We’re actually filling jobs directly from the website now.”

The strategy is still in the early stages, with the website having only been active since the start of the year, but according to Allchurch, the portal has attracted “thousands and thousands” of applications, with recent statistics showing approximately 1,000 people a day logging on to the site.

The next phase will be to work on a new applicant tracking system (ATS), which is set to be up and running in the next few months.

Matt Bodimeade

• For more football recruitment news, see The Challenge (p26 in June 2014's Recruiter).

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