Ministry of Supply
From Web to Bricks and Mortar
Men’s clothing company Ministry of Supply was founded in 2012 by three co-founders who wanted to integrate the performance aspects of athletic gear into everyday clothing like button-downs, chinos and wool sweaters. They started as an online retailer but after a series of successful pop-ups have expanded into bricks and mortar. In 2015 they opened retail locations in New York, San Francisco and Boston. They’re expanding quickly, to say the least.
It didn’t take long for Ministry of Supply to achieve success, but their method for collecting candidates was disorganized. “We would collect resumes through email, but then also post jobs on other websites,” says co-founder Kit Hickey. “We found that we had resumes all over the place and it was hard to track each one. And applicants weren’t always going through the same process. If we had a job posted on one website, there may have been a question for applicants to answer. But someone who emailed in their resume might not have had that question.”
Additionally, as their company began to rapidly grow, Hickey and her co-founders also hired some employees that didn’t work out. “I think that a lot of the hiring mistakes came because we didn’t have structure, or people were just making one-off hiring decisions without really thinking through all the steps that we wanted to screen on,” she says.
Easy, Accessible and Plug-and-Play
Needing a solution to standardize, streamline and structure their hiring, Ministry of Supply began exploring applicant tracking systems. One of their criteria for ATS software was easy integration with their website. “We knew we wanted to have job postings on our website, but we also didn’t have a ton of development resources,” says Hickey. “So we wanted something that was pretty plug-and-play.”
Another thing they were searching for was an ATS that many team members could access, “and something that was flexible enough so that different people could customize their experience,” says Hickey. Because multiple employees would be working with the ATS, Ministry of Supply also needed software that wasn’t too complex. “We were looking for something that was really easy,” says Hickey. “Something that had everything we needed but wasn’t overly complicated.”
In addition to Recruiterbox, Ministry of Supply tested two other ATS softwares. “But honestly, for us, Recruiterbox’s biggest competition was our old process of collecting resumes,” says Hickey.
Organizing Many Moving Parts
Ministry of Supply began using Recruiterbox before they expanded into bricks and mortar, but it’s proved invaluable to that side of the business. “We started hiring a lot of people,” says Hickey. “Different people were involved in different parts of the interviewing and hiring process. The store managers are the ones who screen resumes, and myself or one of my co-founders does a case interview.”
When it comes to staffing for retail, there are a lot of moving parts – more so than in most industries. Staffing needs are highly seasonal, and many employees are doing part-time, temporary or summer jobs.
“One of the big factors in hiring for retail is scheduling,” says Hickey. “Sometimes we may have applicants who are really, really strong but they’re in their last semester of school so maybe they can only work Mondays. Being able to flag those people and know that we should check back with them once the semester’s over has been really valuable.”
To this end, Hickey and the Ministry of Supply team find Recruiterbox’s note-taking function especially helpful. “Sometimes you’ll interview someone and he’s a perfect fit but his hours didn’t align with our needs,” she says. “If our hiring needs change, then we can go back and look at the notes from our conversation.”
All in all, Recruiterbox has added some much-needed structure to the way Ministry of Supply hires. Hickey and her co-founders looked at the predetermined stages in Recruiterbox, like the telephone interview and resume screening. They asked themselves which stage were necessary for them, and which team members should be involved at each stage.
“We really value collaboration, so it was really important that a lot of different members on the team could engage with applicants at certain points in the hiring process,” says Hickey. “Now we have a cohesive process. Everyone knows to archive applicants. Everyone goes through the resumes again every month or so with a pair of fresh eyes to see who’s in the pipeline.”
Thee only challenge to implementing Recruiterbox was getting all team members to use it. “I think as a startup, any time you try to implement structure or procedures or process, people can get a little skeptical,” says Hickey.
But now that everyone’s on board, hiring mistakes are a thing of the past. “Definitely by having a more structured process in place, it helps us get the best candidates,” says Hickey. “Recruiterbox forced us to go through the necessary steps and really have a much better process. It’s really helped with who we hire.”
“The way Recruiterbox has added structure to our hiring has been invaluable to us. Now we’re able to have a better process. And in the end we get better applicants, because we’re being more rigorous with every part of that process.”