Textio Index Ranking Beauty retailers
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Can Sephora & Ulta catch their online competition in hiring?

In the six years since Marc Andreessen proclaimed that “Software is eating the world,” many brick and mortar stores have sought to re-invent themselves. While retailers go through this transformation, they’ve had to battle upstarts that are digital first (and sometimes only).

One of the places where this battle gets heated is in the category of beauty retail. Stalwarts of the category including Ulta and Sephora have tried to keep up in the age of Beauty boxes. Lead by Birchbox, these companies have a software first mentality, but still provide excellent beauty products to consumers at a low cost.

While Sephora and Ulta have boasted about their digital chops, I wanted to see if this transformation played out in their hiring by looking at their scores in the Textio Index. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Birchbox, the first of the beauty boxes, also came in first for hiring with an overall score of 53.

Bar chart of Textio Scores for beauty retailers

As we have seen at Textio, the language of a job post predicts who applies and often who a company will hire. So I dug in a little deeper to understand the gap between Sephora’s talk about digital and their real-world hiring. Below you can see Textio Scores and guidance for engineering roles at Sephora (left) and Birchbox (right). Both are missing an equal opportunity statement (jobs with strong equal opportunity statements fill an average of 10% more quickly than jobs without them), but Birchbox’s listing stands out for a number of reasons:

  • Good length: Birchbox was in the sweet spot at just about 500 words
  • No repetitive language: With only six seconds to impress a job seeker, you can tighten up your writing just by removing the repetitive language that plagues long job posts
  • Limited corporate cliches: Using words like “team player” and formal language like “this individual” can turn off job seekers

Textio product screen of job posting analysis featuring Above Average Textio Score, Strengths list, and Problems list

Sephora job listing for Senior Manager, Client Engineering

Textio product screen of job posting analysis featuring Below Average Textio Score, Strengths list, and Problems list

Birchbox job listing for Software Engineer
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