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High-volume hiring: How you can make it work

On a typical morning in the ‘recruiting world’, you pour yourself a cup of coffee, turn on your PC and log into your ATS or email. You quickly go over new applications for open roles and move on to your next tasks. But what if you ran into 200 fresh applications for five job positions which must be filled soon – within a month or less? Would you able to retain your daily routine in such a high-volume hiring mode?

high volume hiring

High-volume hiring – also known as mass recruitment – refers to filling positions on a larger scale than normal, in a shorter time frame. A business usually needs to hire employees en masse due to rapid growth, new opportunities, and expansion to new markets or regions. Seasonality is also a factor, e.g. in hospitality where demand for new workforce can fluctuate wildly depending on time of year.

For recruiters and hiring teams, managing high-volume hiring can be hard, especially if you’re new to it. To overcome some of the common high-volume recruiting challenges, such as finding top talent promptly with the minimum possible cost, you need to calibrate a well-coordinated hiring process from job posting to onboarding new hires. This is not always a piece of cake, especially when hiring many employees at once for different departments and roles.

In this guide you’ll find bulk hiring techniques and tips for each phase of the recruiting funnel. Pick those that complete your current recruiting practices best to reach your goals without compromising quality and candidate experience.

Plan carefully and make technology your friend

Firstly, whether you are creating a high-volume hiring strategy for future use (see seasonality example mentioned above) or you’re facing urgent hiring needs due to unexpected forces (as happened in healthcare sector during the COVID-19 pandemic) there’s one thing you certainly need to have: A good plan. If you’ve recruited in bulk with your team in the past, get together and comb through all your hiring methods and procedures that succeeded.

A kind reminder; automation and tech will prove to be life-saving – perhaps more now than ever. Use your ATS and other tools to automate time-consuming tasks such as scheduling or communicating with candidates and teammates (e.g. follow-up communication email) to free up time for other more valuable tasks.

With these two handy tips in mind, let’s now move to the core guidelines.

1. Define skills and evaluation process

With urgent hiring needs and lots of applications to choose from for multiple roles, it’s important to understand the value each new employee can bring to your business. That’s why you should thoroughly discuss with hiring managers and team what background and must-have skills the ideal candidates should have before moving to the job posting.

Name the top three role responsibilities and what abilities are necessary to nail them. Ask yourselves; What will the new employee’s KPIs be? What values and strengths are essential to thrive in each job position? After you spot these factors, recall them during the next steps to make sure you attract candidates that fulfill all the essential criteria.

Next, create a plan of how you’ll evaluate applications and candidates, and divide roles among colleagues. Who will conduct the interviews and who will provide feedback for assignments? This will save you lots of time you would otherwise spend communicating back and forth with your colleagues or important details getting lost in translation. With so many activities loading at the same time, it’s easy to lose track of who decides what.

Remember, the more detailed your plan, the more benefits you’ll reap along the way. Try to picture the obstacles you are likely to hit going forward and potential solutions for each, to avoid nasty ‘surprises’.

2. Optimize candidate-facing content

When advertising high-volume hiring jobs, develop your content strategically to attract as many skilled candidates as you can within a set time frame. You can start by optimizing your content: Firstly, make sure to mention job responsibilities and requirements in job ads as thoroughly as you can. Avoid leaving space for loose interpretation; with high-volume hiring jobs, time is precious – you don’t want to waste time trying to explain or re-explain aspects of the job to hopeful candidates.

Plus, describe the company values and culture in the brief so that potential candidates not only have a clear idea of the role, but also of the company, before they apply. Dare to be creative; share interviews of employees describing daily work-life and habits. Finally, include perks and benefits and photos of your latest get-together or event to show what your company is really made of.

If you hire often at scale, optimize your careers page and job descriptions based on Search Engine Optimization rules and design pages that convert. This way, you increase the probability of candidates landing in front of your job openings while searching the web or even individual job boards. You could also make these pages easy to navigate by dividing the distinct roles into categories.

3. Mark your sourcing strategy

Now that you’ve created the ideal candidate profile and you’ve described it in the job ad, and with a polished careers page ready to shine, it’s officially sourcing time. Let’s face it; it’s not easy to find hundreds of suitable applicants through just one platform. You need to scout through different channels and make it easy for candidates to apply in simple steps, with easy-apply and mobile-friendly solutions.

Post on job boards and social media

First off, post job ads on multiple job boards to expand your outreach. Find also niche job boards based on industry to attract targeted candidates (e.g. TeachingJobs for teaching positions in the US). A bonus: diversifying the job boards you’re posting to also leads to a more diverse range of candidates.

Don’t stick to the same ol’s; search candidates through social media like Facebook, Instagram, and more. You can also run high-level social media campaigns targeting suitable candidates based on detailed requirements you’ve set and share this job opportunity with them.

Boost employee referrals

Good people tend to know good people; all you need is to convince your employees to introduce and refer skilled professionals for your roles. This is even more helpful with high-volume hiring when you need to reach out to more candidates in less time. Your employees know your brand and culture and have a stronger idea of who would be a good fit for a role, with the required skills and work ethics that would fit in nicely. Systemize the referring process as much as you can and offer participation incentives to make it more attractive to employees.

Keep your talent pool updated

If high-volume hiring is common for your business, keep your talent pool filled to the brim with potentially good candidates anytime you spot them and you’ll thank yourself later. They could even be candidates you’ve rejected in the past as they did not meet all the criteria at that time – but perhaps they’re a great fit now. You can also use AI-powered solutions to source passive candidates and add them in your talent pool for future (or current) reference.

4. Screen en masse (and efficiently)

To save time when screening tons of applications, use a resume parsing solution to find the relevant applications for you and disqualify the unsuitable ones based on criteria you have set. In this way, you’ll more quickly filter in those applicants who tick all the boxes.

But if you follow the ideal candidate profile method mentioned above, you might trip over your unconscious biases and miss out on great candidates from diverse backgrounds. To avoid this trap, stay open-minded; don’t put overly strict requirements for the application selection phase, but instead focus on finding the silver lining. Sometimes learning capability is a stronger asset compared to experience.

Following up, structure your next screening steps so that they are equal for everyone; ask the same questions and hand out an assignment and/or a pre-employment assessment tool (e.g. a GAT) that will reveal the candidates’ real abilities. Data will always show you a clearer image if you treat them wisely, especially when things are moving fast and you need to hire people as quickly as you can.

Utilize video interviews

When you have many applicants to review in a minimum time frame it’s difficult to organize interviews at your company’s premises or when you’re hiring remotely. That’s precisely when you can make the most of one-way video interviews. Ask candidates to self-record themselves answering the interview questions you’ll submit to them. You can then evaluate them at your own convenience and sync with your colleagues – who likewise are working in their own schedules – to share feedback online later.

Be mindful of the questions you ask; if you’re using an assessment tool and an assignment avoid asking the same questions twice. You’ll not only save time but also learn as much as you can for the candidates before you qualify them for the last round, the interview with the hiring manager/executive.

Screen at your own pace

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Secure candidate experience

One of the biggest challenges in high-volume recruiting is maintaining a good candidate experience. When you have to screen people quickly, after rejecting a candidate during the assessment phase you might forget to follow up with them and move on to other more urgent tasks. This can potentially hurt your brand reputation as these candidates may share their opinion, both online in sites like Glassdoor and offline with friends and peers.

It’s important to remember that even rejected candidates are potential strong assets in your talent pool in the future. Don’t get lost in the noise; follow your hiring process steps and candidate experience strategy diligently and reap the benefits in the long run.

5. Automate documentation and onboarding processes

New hire experience is equally valuable to candidate experience. When hiring and onboarding people in bulk, many nuisances will appear; you’ll have many documents to file, lots of questions to answer and many people to train – and each of them should be treated uniquely. Tech automation can help massively with this.

For example, an HRIS system such as BambooHR will help you obtain and organize all hiring documents. Onboarding software such as Click Boarding can help you keep the planning of onboarding activities and trainings in one place and prepare new candidates for success (both tools are integrated to Workable’s own recruiting solution).

Train wisely

When training new hires en masse, don’t forget to make the sessions as personable as possible. Each of them will have their own learning style and pace; apart from organizing skill training sessions, build guides that explain key aspects of the tasks and include Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to help them figure out the basics. You could also create buddy or mentoring systems to boost their confidence while they learn how to perform their tasks successfully.

6. Analyze recruiting metrics and repeat

Now that the hard part is over and you’ve finally onboarded new employees, it’s time to reflect and report. Analyze key high-volume recruiting metrics such as source of hire, time to hire, and conversion rate to understand what worked well and what should be improved in the future.

What source did you get the most candidates from? How successful were your pre-screening methods based on candidate drop-out? Understanding these metrics thoroughly will not only benefit your mass recruiting efforts but your hiring as a whole.

Happy hiring!

Yes, happy indeed; as already explained there’s no need to overly stress about high-volume hiring – just make sure you have a rock-solid plan to tackle all challenges. Again, sit down with your teammates, discuss openly and plan your strategy step-by-step. And most importantly, don’t forget to reflect back on your wins and drawbacks when hiring is over – it will definitely contribute to your future high-volume hiring success.

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