Today’s topic

How Lyko modernised and scaled its Candidate Experience


As a tech company whose candidate experience was years behind its consumer brand, Lyko risked damaging one of its most important assets: the love and affection of its brand's fans. Lyko needed to modernise its recruitment and TA strategy with a transparent, respectful, fair and efficient recruitment process. After a well-researched procurement process that spanned many providers, Moa signed a partnership agreement with Alva.

The deal was signed on 15 March, 2020. It happened to be the same week the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Sweden.

Starting the partnership in a time of crisis

The next day, Lyko launched its biggest ever marketing campaign, signed its contract to collaborate with Alva - and Moa spent the whole day in crisis meetings before sending everyone home from the office.

“We had to send everyone home. I was walking back home alone. And there was nobody there out on the streets (of Stockholm), just me and billboards flashing their neon lights, saying ‘Lyko - your beauty playground’,” Moa said.  

Lyko went into a hiring freeze. Yet despite Moa’s initial concerns about onboarding a candidate-assessment platform in a time of uncertainty, the collaboration went ahead. Moa valued Alva’s shared entrepreneurial and agile mindset, so the recruiting pause presented an opportunity for Lyko’s HR team to work on Moa’s 3 challenges:

  1. Improve candidate experience and capitalise on culture
  2. Implement using Machine Learning to decrease bias 
  3. Locate and roll out a hiring tool for potential

Improving the candidate experience and capitalise on culture

“Trying to apply for a job with Lyko at that time was really really hard; it was like ‘here’s an ad, send us a letter or a fax’,” Moa recalled. Customers who experienced a seamless, high quality retail experience would try to apply for a job and get lost in an outdated process. Candidates wouldn’t necessarily receive feedback, and overall had a high chance of feeling ignored, unseen and unvalued.

Lyko Case Study Image [Recovered]-02 (1)

By using outdated recruitment tactics that were not in keeping with its consumer brand, Lyko was risking its candidate experience becoming a liability to the brand.

Respect for candidates should be as high as for your customers, said Moa: “Even if you get a ‘no’, we still want you to become a Lyko fan.”

Lyko were also failing to capitalise on its biggest USP: its internal culture. “You have to live your brand,” Moa said, “and here we were with a culture that most companies would dream of, and we were not saying anything about it.” 

Implement using Machine Learning to decrease bias

Creating a great candidate experience includes both a seamless process as well as automatic feedback that helps the candidate to understand why and how decisions are made. For Moa, providing this transparency is key to respecting every person who applies to Lyko.

Respect for your candidates also comes by levelling the playing field, which is why Moa wanted to capitalise on the strengths of Machine Learning (AI) to help Lyko decrease bias in its recruiting. “Some people want a human eye to read over their application, but the truth is that we’re highly biased as humans – even a skilled headhunter,” Moa said. “Machine Learning  enables us to predict potential and it doesn’t care about age, hair, gender, skin colour or who your partner is.” 

By replacing CV screening with Machine Learning, Lyko could start tackling bias at the critical CV-screening stage. And it’s working: “Our application pool can be a homogenous group, but the candidates who reached the interview are much more representative of modern Sweden.” 

Locate and roll out a hiring tool for potential

Alva and Lyko used the relative calm of 2020 to create the strategies and processes that Moa knew were essential to Lyko’s health and growth. As an experienced CHRO, Moa knew that growth companies “need to hire people who have the potential to grow with the role and the company”. 

The data supports that. The World Economic Forum estimates that 40 percent of today’s job skills will have changed in just five years, and that an astounding 1 billion people - 12% of the world’s population -  will need re-skilling in the coming decade. Hiring for growth and learning potential is a more important metric than a list of previous experiences that may become obsolete. By hiring for growth potential, the HR team is helping Lyko  become more resilient and adaptable to shocks and pivots.

 “The only thing you can be sure of is that the job you’re hiring for will be something else in the near future.” 

Hiring for potential

For Moa, one of Alva’s main benefits is its timing of tests early in the recruitment process. This results in higher time and cost efficiency, as the candidates who are proposed for interviews have the right potential for the organisation. When we use tests at the end, as a confirmation instead of an evaluation, you can end up having invested time in a candidate who isn’t going to thrive in your organisation.

The automatic feedback that candidates and recruiters receive at the screening stage is designed to be easy to understand, with very little training needed to get recruiters onboard with Alva’s interface. This was refreshing to Moa: “there is a big fuss around tests with HR needing to be certified in the process, which tends to become a bottleneck.” 

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You can be selective and still treat candidates with respect

Throughout the spring of 2020, Lyko and Alva concentrated on redesigning Lyko’s recruitment processes, and preparing the team to scale when needed. “Cut to mid-May,” Moa recalled. Lyko’s online business was booming because of the dramatic shift in consumer shopping behavior during the pandemic.

When Rickard Lyko, CEO and founder, called Moa up and asked for 100 additional workers to meet the demand, she and the HR team were more than ready. Lyko received over 13,000 applications in 2020 alone - for only 260 roles. That’s a 2% success rate for applicants. Respecting every application and every brand fan is imperative when scaling at such speeds. Says Moa, “We get great feedback from our candidates on how we meet them and how we follow up with them.” 

The work of Lyko and Alva to align customer and candidate experience, to communicate employer brand, to roll out machine learning, and to shift hiring priorities to capture potential and growth all came to life after the seamless onboarding process.

Says Moa, “You have really lived up to everything we looked for and I’m really proud of the processes we set up together.  Our way of working really works ...  because we get the right candidates.”

Do you want to learn more about objective recruitment and the future of talent acquisition? Have a look at our webinars, where we cover a variety of topics relevant to today's HR Managers and Talent Assessment Specialists.

Moa Wictorén, CHRO of Nordic cosmetic giant Lyko, had a problem. The company was enjoying rapid growth, boasted a dynamic internal culture, and had a huge following of dedicated customers. But their recruitment process was more Back to the Future than e-commerce growth company.