The use of a new online recruitment system has given Sainsbury's and its potential applicants information about management jobs for the first time, a senior HR executive at the supermarket chain has admitted.
Before the company used technology to recruit staff, information about management vacancies "could have been described as one of the best-kept secrets in the world", revealed Jane Basley, res-ourcing manager at Sainsbury's.
Applications were made on an ad hoc basis, creating a long recruitment cycle and inconsistencies across the store estate, she said.
Speaking at a roundtable event in London last week, Basley said the new system, from technology firm Changeworknow, has "given us management information to improve future decision making - for the first time in our lives".
She added: "Before [the implementation], we had no idea where people came from - for example, if they had seen an ad in the Evening Standard or a local newspaper."
Following the highly publicised difficulties with Sainsbury's 3bn investment in automated supply chain systems, Basley admitted that selling the new system to the board had been a challenge.
But after three months of "courtship" and tough meetings with Changeworknow, Sainsbury's management agreed to the investment - largely because the system can run independently, she said.
In addition, Basley said, the company has made a long-term commitment to online recruitment. "It has been our day job to make sure this works," she said. "It is not a quick fix."
The system, which went live last October, is currently used for internal and external management recruitment and internal head office appointments. By the end of the month, it will be extended to external head office appointments and store staff recruitment.