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O2 fishes from a different pool

Mon, 22 Feb 2016 | DeeDee Doke


Asking in its adverts if candidates want to be a DJ one minute and a teacher the next, mobile phone service provider O2 is “fishing from a different pool” for a new type of employee to staff its new-look stores.
As it aims to step up the frequency of its customers’ visits and provide a more “connected” experience, O2 is recruiting newcomers from industries such as fitness, hospitality and music who love both technology and “delivering a stand-out, hands-on customer experience”, according to Bridget Lea, O2’s general manager for stores.

O2 wants to “turn the stereotype [of both mobile phone store and employee] on its head”, Lea told Recruiter. “We felt we weren’t leading from the high street; we wanted to interact with customers in a radically different way.”

Customers typically visit a phone shop every two years to arrange new contracts and obtain new phones. O2 wants to increase the regularity of their visits, potentially by helping visitors learn about and play with new technology, from virtual reality to new connected devices. The new store clerks will offer roving tutorials and help customers build their own “connectedness” through interactive ‘inspire’ zones.

To recruit new staff for new concept stores in London and Manchester, O2 went out with non-O2 branded ads asking the DJ/teacher question. Online testing scrutinised candidates’ behavioural, communications and creative styles. A video interview followed. Assessment centres took place in two pop-up shops with a variety of scenarios in which paid actors interacted with candidates. The pop-up experience was intended to look for personality and if candidates could “educate [customers] in a not sales-like way”, Clare Dunning, HR business partner, told Recruiter.

She said fewer than 40% of the new recruits came from current O2 mobile shop staff.

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