HR Voicebot at Decathlon: firsthand insights from the Decathlon’s recruitment leader

Anna Sopova

With 70 000 employees and 1100" shops worldwide, Decathlon is not a newbie to mass recruitment. Many of Decathlon’s hires in Poland happen in two cities - Łódź and Gliwice, where the company’s distribution centers are located. With a massive number of applications arriving daily, the company wanted to ensure that all the candidates are taken care of. To support the candidate experience, they’ve implemented Apifonica’s Voicebot. 

We asked Decathlon’s Employer Branding & Recruitment Leader to tell about their experience with the Voicebot. Here’s what they say.

What was the recruitment challenge you tried to tackle with the Voicebot?

There was a significant increase in activity in our logistics centers and, consequently, the increased need for the workforce. We were looking for a solution that would allow us to speed up the process of candidate selection.

From my experience, quite sometimes, people apply even if they don’t match the requirements. And some candidates don’t move on after the phone interview because they find out that the job isn’t what they thought. Vociebot addresses these issues, saving us a lot of time. 

At the start of the recruitment process, Voicebot provides the necessary details about the job, so the candidate can decide if they want to apply. Also, the questions that the Voicebot asks during the interview help us understand if the candidate has the necessary skills for the position. 

What was your number one reason to choose the Voicebot? 

The decisive factor was the time our recruiters saved on CV selection and subsequent phone calls. Sometimes we receive thousands of applications in a short time. And we do our best to review and respond to each. 

With the Voicebot, we see fewer applications, but they all match the profile we are looking for. From the first test, we noticed a significant improvement in the relevance of applications and thus less time spent browsing the CVs.

What were your doubts about starting a project with a Voicebot? 

We had no fears. The Voicebot was recommended to me by a company we work with daily, the eRecruiter. They explained to me how the Voicebot could be helpful for us and showed me the results of Voicebot implementation in other companies. So we decided to test it and see for ourselves.

How did the implementation of the Voicebot go? Was it time-consuming, and what kind of involvement did it require on your side? 

It was smooth and fast. On our side, we prepared a script - questions and answers that the candidate hears when the Voicebot contacts them. Mr. Bartosz - our supervisor at Apifonica - provided us with sample scripts, so we knew exactly what and how to prepare.

Script preparation took less than 2 hours. 

The next step was to synchronize the Voicebot with the eRecruiter platform. The eRecruiter is where we store all the CVs; it tells the Voicebot to whom it should call. This process took about 20 minutes. Next, Apifonica recorded the voiceover and set up the whole system for us.

We closed the entire process in two weeks.

How do you rate the integration of the Voicebot with the eRecruiter system?

It works smoothly, and we haven’t experienced any technical issues. The only thing to mention, we have to send information to our supervisor each time when we launch a new recruitment campaign. There is no full automation yet, and new recruitments are turned on manually. As far as I know, this should change soon, and this stage will also be automatic.

What outcomes do you see or expect? What is the most significant value for you?

The greatest added value to the recruitment process is faster CV selection. Our recruiters contact only those candidates who accept our key terms of employment and match the profile. 

At the same time, Voicebot supports our team in the field of candidate experience. Each person who sends us an application can count on the Voicebot contact, even when the feedback is negative. We want 100% of candidates applying to our company to receive feedback - and the Voicebot makes it easier for us.

What would you advise to recruiters who, like you, face the challenge of mass recruiting and are in doubt whether a Voicebot is a good solution for them?

It’s worth the risk! Voicebot turned out to be very helpful for us, especially when we had to recruit a certain number of employees in a short time. It saved us a lot of time at the first stage of recruitment - CV verification.

The advantage of the Voicebot is that each employer can adjust the operating patterns for themselves, so the information they collect about candidates is always relevant.

How was the reaction of the candidates to the Voicebot?

The feedback we received from the candidates only confirmed our belief that the new recruitment technology that appears on the market is worth trying. The most common reaction was a positive surprise with such a quick response. From some, we hear: “I have participated in many recruitments, but none of the companies contacted me that fast after I applied.” 


The focal point for Decathlon’s business is innovation, be it in product design or business processes. “Mass recruitment meets innovation” would be a good description of Decathlon’s hiring practices in Poland.

Since the Voicebot can interview hundreds of applicants simultaneously, the hiring process gets much shorter, and the hiring decisions are made much faster. A better experience for candidates, better efficiency for the company. Isn’t that the true purpose of innovation - to make life simpler for everyone concerned? 

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