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IKEA Recruitment and Selection Process

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Commerce
Wordcount: 3759 words Published: 18th Jul 2017

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Ikea is a furnishing company whose vision is to create a better everyday life for the most people possible by offering a wide range of well-designed and functional standardized home furnishing at low prices so more people have access to its products. It was created 60 years ago in Sweden and traces of scandinavian culture are quite noticeable when looking at the company’s management style. The company has expanded throughout the world and has become a global player in the furnishing industry.

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As far as Human Resources are concerned, the company adopts an extremely familial policy and takes good care in enabling each employee to exploit all of his or her capacities. As a matter of fact, IKEA has built its identity on a very strong nurturing management style that allowed to company to clearly stand out from its competitors on that level.

IKEA and Human Resources

Ikea’s human resources teams are responsible drawing in and inspiring workers and creating a bracing environment in order to favor innovation and dynamism. The success of IKEA depends on the continuing development of IKEA’s human resources policies and thus managers’ greatest efforts are indispensable to succeed on that path.

Human Resources are present in all parts of the company and in every country where the company is established. They look after recruitment and training as well as they are also responsible for keeping and strengthening IKEA’s culture, which is based on a specific set of values that help them develop and transform their vision and beliefs into a fact. With that end in view, recruiting and selecting candidates are two key aspects to keep up with the organization’s reputation as it is important for the company to make sure that each and everyone of the candidates will be able to bring an added value into IKEA’s family.

This report aims at analyzing how the company manages to attract suitable candidates by describing its recruitment policy. The second topic that will be treated is the selecting process, meaning the way that the company manages to pick the best person for the job.

I. Recruitment

1. General overview at IKEA → ISABEL

IKEA is a company known internationally, and so are their values. it is a big enterprise that has all kind of job positions to be filled. The IKEA of Lille recruits around 100/150 people every year. Because IKEA is a well-known brand, it is obviously not very difficult to attract candidates for a job offer. However, the recruitment process aims at providing the company with the best suitable candidates by targeting appropriately these offers to candidates with relevant profiles.

IKEA’s reputation is a key point for its recruitment process; as said by their Recruitment and Competencies Development Manager when we interviewed her: “Applications are usually spontaneous. They either come through our website or applicants bring their CVs directly to the store. But sometimes they come in response to an offer.” In most cases, companies need to seek out their prospective employees.In this case, applicants tend to apply they wish to work for the company. This, linked to the fact that IKEA’s turnover is very low can give us an overview of how successful IKEA’s recruitment process is.

2 & 3. Recruitment policies and methods

Recruitment at IKEA did not seem to be an issue. The HR Department of IKEA receives about 7 CVs every day, and 200 every month, most of them sent by e-mail through the IKEA recruitment web page, which clearly facilitated the process for applicants. In addition,external channels such as Pôle Emploi and local partnerships with associations and schools are also used at times. For instance, IKEA is starting to develop partnerships with Business and Communication schools in the area of Lille.

IKEA’s policy is to build a long-term relationship with its employees and help them develop themselves both on the professional but also personal level.  Therefore, one of the aspects of recruitment at IKEA is that they tend to privilege internal recruitment when a position is available. However when there is no potential within the body of employees, the Recruitment Officer that we met said that she has to go and search the candidates elsewhere, and this is where external recruitment comes in. Many directors nowadays started their career with part-time jobs at IKEA when they were still students and managed to climb up the company’s ladder thanks internal recruitment.

We were told that there is a floor manager for every department (kitchen, bathroom, living room, etc.), and when they feel like they could use one more salesperson in his department, they report their needs to the HR Manager who takes care of the recruitment and selection. With time and experience, the job analysis and information gathering are not necessary anymore, because the HR managers know exactly what type of people the floor managers want, especially for shop-floor workers.

For managers, the question is trickier: when internal promotion is possible, the problems don’t arise, candidates usually fit the job description, but when there is a need to go through external channels, the specifications and necessary competencies are stated very clearly, although IKEA employees do not have a typical profile.

II. Selection

1. General practices and culture at IKEA → ISABEL

Selection represents the process of differentiating between applicants with the goal  to identify those with greater probability of success in the job, therefore for an enterprise such as IKEA it is crucial to keep on with an exceptional and reliable process in order to succeed.

What makes IKEA’s selection methods efficient is the fact that it is not based on the curricular information of the candidates, but rather on the “motivation, capacities, skills, values and personality” as said by the Recruitment and Competencies Development Manager. IKEA does not look for the typical profile, it is interested in people that share its values, people who can be inspired by the company to do greater things, people that bring something more to the company and helps it grow even more.

IKEA’s method is composed by several steps which will be explained below such as phone interviews, individual and group interviews or personality tests.

2. Procedure and Methods

Procedure and Methods:

Steps for shop floor workers:

Steps for managers:

The HR manager does not look for particular skills.

·         First the candidates apply by mail and/or by the website of Ikea. Click here

·         Then there is a pre-selection made by the HR department and based on CV and application form

·         The candidates pre-selected have a phone meeting with the HR department.

·         The candidates receive a mail and they know if it is negative and positive to continue the selection process.

·         When it is positive the applicants have a meeting generally only the HR manager.

·         If the HR manager valid, there is a meeting with the floor manager.

·         And finally for only permanent contract, the applicants have a meeting with the manager of the department.

When there is a manager position to provide, the HR department focus on the internal candidates and they prefer promote the actual employees instead of external recruitment for managers’ positions.

·         First the candidates send their CV (only for external candidates)

·         There is a pre-selection based on CV.

·         The external candidates will have a phone meeting in order to be pre-selected.

·         The external candidates receive a mail and they know if it is negative or positive to pursuit the selection process.

·         The candidates have a meeting with the HR manager.

·         If they pass the meeting they will have one with the Department manager

·         They will also have a recruitment day in an assessment center with personality test, exercises in group, etc…)

·         The candidates selected have a meeting with the CEO of the shop (e.g.: Ikea in Lomme)

·         And finally the candidates have a last meeting with the national CEO of Ikea.


The entire process take place within two or three weeks. There is no feedback for the negative answers by mail (step 4) but the candidates can ask for a feedback.

The process for a position with responsibilities it longer and more difficult. For a manager position the decision of the HR manager is followed by 4 others interview whereas for a shop floor position there is only 2 interviews after the HR manager’s decision.

(Je mettrai les bullet point en nombre pour montrer le nombre de step)

3. Final Decision

The final decision is a shared decision between all the members that have been part of the process. This decision can only be achieved with a consensus and it is very important that no doubt whatsoever are remaining when selecting a candidate. As the decision process involves several people, it is supposed to be a guarantee that the candidate who is selected is a good fit for the company. In addition, this plurality of point of views are also necessary to ensure the fairness of the selection process.

III. Beyond recruitment and selection

1. Fairness and Ethics

When we met the Recruitment Officer at IKEA, she told us that she and the other interviewers were all experienced and intended to be as fair as possible, asking open-ended questions and reformulating so that they do not misunderstand what the candidates say. The selection methods used are diverse and the exchanges are multiple, which improves the fairness of the process.  

However, she repeated that Human Resources remain Human Sciences, and are not accurate every time.

2. Strengths and weaknesses of the model


Shows a real identity based on clearly stated values

Several selection methods

Multiplication of exchanges

No typical profile

Possibility for anyone to apply

Feedback in case of rejection when asked for it, debriefing for managerial positions

Preference for internal promotion

Recent review of the whole process

Employees retention plans

Training for new employees

Appraisal meeting after a few months


–  The applications and policies are more or less standardized and thus sometimes don’t correspond when applied uniformly to all employees. Policies don’t always match individual needs and requirements.

– Standardized policies  with universal appeal, that do not account for local culture and management differences

3. Suggestions → GREG

IKEA has settled for an employee-centered policy which enabled the company to have a high satisfaction rate for their employees. Therefore, the recruiters take a really good care selecting people that would fit perfectly in the model of simplicity and conviviality they promote. However, the standardized model that IKEA has been relying on for decades doesn’t allow to take into consideration all the local differences in terms of management. Indeed, that model, as nurturing as it could be, might not fit in every IKEA stores throughout the world. Assimilation is one of the major challenge that the company has faced and consequently, IKEA’s Human Resources would certainly benefit from a higher customization of the model according to cultural differences. As a matter of fact, a more intense consideration of local management styles would definitely enable the company to get the maximum of each and every employee.

Conclusion → IRENE

We can conclude saying the success of the company, the fair treatment of employees and  the good working conditions of IKEA makes the company receive quite a lot of applications. As a matter of fact, it is undeniable that IKEA’s HR policies have been one of their strengths for a long time although sometimes on the antithesis of their reduced-cost motto. The concept of IKEA’s one big global family has been running almost perfectly under the governance of its paternalistic founder Ingvar Kamprad. Good recruitment and selection methods are indispensable in the company as it enables IKEA to keep an equilibrium among its employees. The futur on the organization is based on those activities and this is why recruiting is not at all about filling positions but rather about finding people that can help the company progress and go one step further.   


On the aim of recruiting, IKEA has preference among existing employees (which means they like their employees to feel valued)when there is a new vacancy although they also use external recruitment methods and they are trying to improve them , rising the number of possible applicants through partnerships with business schools and associations.

About selection, IKEA uses different methods and steps for selecting the right candidates which means that for IKEA selecting the right candidates is a really important decision that will affect the long-term success of  the company

Ikea is a furnishing company whose vision is to create a better everyday life for the most people possible by offering a wide range of well-designed and functional standardized home furnishing at low prices so more people has access to its products.


Ikea was created 60 decades ago in the south of Sweden, from all wood and materials come from, by a young man who wanted to start a business.

It was in the 1920s when its founder, Ingvar Kamprad, started to sell furniture and matches to his neighbors and he discovered it will be cheaper and more profitable to buy them in Stockholm and then sell them in Sweden.

Afterwards, in the 1940s-1950s he started to develop IKEA as a furniture retailer but it was in the 60s-70s when the IKEA company started to be known and opened new stores in Sweden until 1980 when IKEA expands globally to new markets such as USA, Italy and France.

Since then, it has been growing and entering into new markets with its standardized and functional bedroom, kitchen and home furniture taking the form of what we know today as IKEA.


As most of the products of the company are made with wood and other materials that affect the environment, IKEA is concerned with the sustainability of the planet so they work and produce their produce in a responsible and eco-friendly way investing on renewable energy and energy efficient technology to help the environment and diminish the impact on it. IKEA has what are called ‘action-based’ values to protect the environment.

IKEA and Human Resources

IKEA companies needs down-to-earth, straightforward people who want to help them fulfill the IKEA vision – to create a better everyday life for the many people. Their Human Resources teams lead the work of attracting and inspiring co-workers and creating a stimulating and enjoyable work environment. They are keenly aware that the continued success of IKEA businesses depends on the continual development of IKEA co-workers.

Human Resources works in all parts of the company and in every country where they have markets. They look after recruitment and training, benefits management and succession planning.

Human Resources is also responsible for safeguarding and strengthening the IKEA culture, which is based on a specific set of values – values that help them develop and transform the IKEA vision into reality.

Recruitment and selection are two key aspects of Human Resources.

Recruitment aims at attracting the suitable candidates



How many vacancies does the company have to fill in every year ?

The recruitment is defined and readjusted every months in function of the needs and the results of each department of IKEA, but they recruit about 100/150 people every year in Lille.

How and who can apply ?

The applications are usually spontaneous. They either come through the internet website or applicants send their paper CVs directly to the store. But sometimes they come in response to an offer.

They also use the external channels such as Pôle Emploi (the French Governmental organization that links the demand with the offer in the labour market) and local and regional partners such as associations and schools. IKEA is starting to implement partnerships with business and communication schools in the area of Lille.

What’s the typical profile of the candidates ?

There is no typical profile. The company and the jobs is so diversified that it is not possible to set a typical profile for candidates. They have very variate backgrounds and competencies.

What is the selection process, how do you break down the process ?

Shop Floor Employees

When the HR people receive the CVs, a first pre-selection is made. Those who passed this step go through an telephonic pre-selection, before doing an individual interview, either with the Responsible of Human Resources or directly with the HR and the manager at the same time. For the CDI (Contrat à Durée Indéterminée, or permanent contract), the interview is done with the head of department.

However, during the high recruitment periods, for example during the summer, the interviews for the employees are done in groups.

Duration -> 2 weeks

Negative answer -> max 3 weeks

Managers, Direction

First, there is an interview, then a personality test is performed, and the candidates have to participate to an Assessment center (tests), and finally they meet the Store Manager and the Functional Manager.

How many stages does the selection process comprises ?

About 6.

How many of the applicants become candidates ?

They receive too many CVs to count them all, but on the level of the interviews, about 1 on 2 or 3 persons are selected and can continue with the selection process.

What do you base yourself on for the selection ? More on the CV or on the personality ?

The CVs are used to start the conversation, but then what matters more is the motivation, the capacities, skills, values and the personality

What are the typical questions that you ask the candidates ?


What are the selection methods ?

CVs, Phone interviews, individual/group interviews, personality tests, Assessment center, meetings

Are the HR people free to choose anyone they think fits, or do they have to follow some rules/standards ?

No rules or standards

Who takes the final decision ?

The HR people do not take the final decision, however, if they say no to the CV, or after the phone interview, or after the first individual interview, it’s over for the candidate.

Who is involved in the selection process ?

HR people, manager, head of department, Store Manager, Functional manager

Do you organize a selection day ?


Preference between internal selection vs. external for higher positions ?

This depends on the structure of the company. They try to promote internal promotion, but when there is no potential within the employees, they have to go and search the candidates elsewhere, in the schools and universities for examples.

Many directors now have began their career at IKEA when they were still students, working a few hours a week at IKEA.

Do you outsource your selection to another company ?

Only for very specialized or technical jobs.

What are the differences between the selection methods to recruit shop floor workers and people with higher positions (management, direction) ?

(see above)

How many people drop out of the company after a short period of time ? (people who were hired for a long time and decide that they don’t want to stay) How many quit before the end of their contract (Short term contracts vs. long term contracts) ?

Very rare cases.

Do you train people after they are hired ? (to make sure they stay in the company)

Depending on the job, the newly hired staff has a trail period of 1, 2 or 4 months renewable. During this period, they have time to be trained and integrated in the company.

Have the HR policies and the selection methods changed in the past years ? If so, why ?

Everything was written down 5 or 6 years ago, and they reviewed everything 4 months ago. In fact, the Human Resources rules and traditions are lost with the expansion of the companies.

Do you think the selection methods are fair and ethical ?

The interviewers try to be as fair as possible, asking open ended questions and reformulating so that they do not misunderstand what was said according to their own view. However, Human Resources remain human sciences, thus they are inaccurate.

The multiplication of the exchanges make it quite impossible to be unfair.

Do you have comments or suggestions that you think could help us write our report ?

Feed back is given when asked for. Always.

For the managerial positions, a debriefing takes place obligatorily.

They send a standard message in case of rejection, no time to do personalized answers.

Juliette ….

We met the Recruitment Officer.

Recruitment and competencies development Manager.

At IKEA, the HR department help their employees to develop.

Part time = 32% of the employees


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