World Duty Free

ResourceBank has had an amazing impact on our company. They’ve proved they can deliver during periods of intense pressure”

ResourceBank manages the recruitment of all retail staff for World Duty Free (WDF) UK. Having changed the assessment process to identify candidates with exceptional personality and aptitude, WDF has won awards for customer service and increased revenues ahead of budget.


WDF first outsourced recruitment to ResourceBank in 2007 when the business needed to recruit more than 150 new team members for the opening of its new ‘flagship’ store at London Heathrow Terminal 5.  Due to project delays and the lead time for security clearance (then 3 months), all candidates had to be assessed, interviewed, security checked and offered within 12 weeks.  ResourceBank RPO responded to the challenge—implementing a dedicated resourcing team which recruited all 150 team members on time.

Geoff Hall, Head of HR at World Duty Free commented, “In a very short timeframe, the ResourceBank team gained a thorough insight into our business and recruitment requirements, set up and managed the World Duty Free careers website ( and provided us with excellent candidates. The efficient processes which they set up helped to improve the candidate experience and it soon became very clear that ResourceBank was helping us to employ better quality candidates whilst reducing our retail recruitment costs”.

The Airside recruitment challenge

WDF is the UK’s leading travel retailer with stores at 21 airports throughout the UK.  Delivering exceptional customer experience is at the heart of everything the business does, but increased traffic in summer seasons as well as major events such as the Olympics means that effective candidate resourcing is a logistical challenge. In addition, World Duty Free stores compete for talent with leading department stores such as House of Fraser and John Lewis.  However, WDF is at a disadvantage to these brands because their outlets are “airside” and each candidate requires security clearance.  This can take up to 3 months – a particular challenge for summer peak seasonal recruitment. The airside nature means that candidates need to be regular international travellers to have a significant experience of the brand – and few retail candidates can afford this travel.  Resourcing for WDF thus needs to attract and engage potential candidates as well as managing high volume recruitment campaigns at certain times of the year—putting onus on efficiency and process effectiveness .


Recruiting Talent delivers revenue growth

In 2013, WDF identified the key individual behaviours and competencies that they wanted from every member of staff throughout the organisation in order to maximise customer service and business growth/profitability targets.  We re-wrote assessment and interview procedures to ensure that all recruitment was focussed on identifying and bringing in individuals who demonstrate these values rather than fit for specific jobs.  However, as we receive around 35,000 job applications each year, we required a method of screening these candidates as efficiently as possible.

We identified, tailored, trialled and implemented an on-line Talent Screener system which asks behavioural questions of each applicant and scores them for match with the WDF values and their focus on the customer.  On volume positions such as Customer Service Assistants, the Talent Screener has been very effective at ranking the most suitable candidates high and enables us to prioritise those and filter out candidates with low matches.  It also allows us to identify those who have potential for leadership roles.

Since the implementation of the Talent Screener, the time to process new applicants has been halved – providing significant efficiencies and improving the speed of response to candidates.  Prior to the Talent Screener, we relied on subjective views of customer service culture through CV and screening to  filter/rank candidates prior to interview  but now  the Talent Screener is an objective measure of cultural fit, a wider range of candidates are being put forward, increasing diversity and improving the quality of candidates hired.

Despite the changes to processes and the volumes, the embedded recruitment team received the highest ever customer satisfaction scores from hiring managers (100%) and candidates. The quality of candidates hired has improved significantly (in terms of retention and performance) and has had a direct positive impact on the customer service provided by WDF (helping them to the “Airport Retailer of the Year Award” in 2014) and an increase in UK sales by 6.9%.

Geoff Hall concludes,

“Appointing ResourceBank in 2007 was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We would never contemplate taking back the responsibility for recruitment – we have utter confidence in the abilities of the RPO  team and we cannot understate the importance of their role in delivering the success we have had over the last two years in particular.”

New careers website

A new careers website for World Duty Free has increased the quality and quantity of candidates applying for jobs with the UK’s leading travel retailer this year. The new website was launched in March 2016 and has helped the business, which operates retail stores at more than twenty UK airports, to hire more than 500 new team members for permanent and seasonal roles so far in 2016.


Visit the new careers website at