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Next: Online Volume Recruitment

NEXT Online Volume Recruitment


Next is a multinational clothing, footwear and home products retailer with over 590 stores in the UK, making them the largest clothing retailer in the country.

They attract a huge number of applicants and see significant volumes of candidates applying for their entry-level retail positions, including Sales Consultants and Stockroom Assistants.

The busiest recruitment period for Next is between October to January, when hundreds of Sales Consultant and Stockroom Assistant positions become available for seasonal staff vacancies.


  • Improved overall recruitment process for all candidates
  • Fully bespoke online assessments for seamless candidate journey
  • Built to concurrently sift a huge number of applicants (150,000 in 3 months)
  • Reduced the cost of up-front candidate sifting
  • Fully integrated with the Next Applicant Tracking System


Aiming to refresh their previous recruitment process and responding to the challenge of a significant increase in applications for their retail roles, they needed to identify assessment methods, which would improve sifting and accuracy of a large volumes of candidates, while maintaining a fair and positive candidate experience.

The main aims for Next were to find the best ways to integrate these assessment methods into their online application process and in turn:

  • Increase calibre of candidates assessed by stores
  • Increase success rate and quality of hire
  • Adopt an efficient value for money overall approach

Our Approach

Next chose Criterion Partnership based on our significant experience and working relationships with clients in the retail sector as well as our online volume recruitment and selection assessment expertise. To provide a fit for purpose and elegant online recruitment process, Criterion Partnership identified the need to introduce an objective, role-focused sifting of candidates at the application stage.

This approach would be achieved by:

  • Introducing a set of rigorous online assessments at the early application stage
  • Seamlessly integrating the online assessments into the applicant assessment process
  • Communicating a positive, engaging candidate journey and client brand

Criterion Partnership conducted extensive in-store job analysis (using various techniques including focus groups and interviews) with current Sales Consultants and Stockroom Assistants, as well as their Managers, across different UK regions. This gained an insightful and thorough understanding of the demands and challenges of the role as well as associated qualities, motivation and culture fit attributes to identify high-quality candidates for Next.

The Results

Based on our research, we designed bespoke role-specific ability tests and personality questionnaires, alongside online scored application forms in time for the nationwide Next Retail 2013 Christmas staff recruitment.

To further improve the candidate experience, we worked in partnership with Next to build a fully bespoke web skin which seamlessly connects the Next Applicant Tracking System to the Psycruit online assessment system. The combined work resulted in an improved candidate experience and efficient up-front candidate sifting, characterised by:

  • A seamless candidate journey
  • An engaging, topical and efficient assessment suite
  • Confidence in the Psycruit infrastructure to concurrently assess large numbers of candidates (over 150,000 candidate assessments between October 2013 to January 2014 period alone)
  • Cost effective & value for money assessments

Following up confirmed an increased quality of hire, shown through a positive relationship between candidate assessment scores at the application and sifting stage as well as performance in the role. As a result, Criterion now work with other parts and levels of the business including Next Distribution, Directory and Head Office, to roll out and support Next recruitment strategies.


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