Volume hiring on a tight timeline can strike fear into even the most experienced recruiter! More often than not the fallout of failing to hire enough people causes real pain to the business, managers, and you.
Here are our pro tips.
High volume hiring is recruiting for many positions (50 or more) concurrently or in a very limited period of time. Often the 50+ roles will be of the same job type. It also implies high volumes of applicants coming through for recruiter’s review.
Volume hiring in recruitment is common in retail and hospitality, where many people have to be hired quickly for busy periods, events, and new store or restaurant openings. Graduate recruitment in large organisations is often high volume recruitment, as is hiring for nurses, other health workers and call centre staff.
During C-19 we saw the emergence of surge hiring – again, another form of high-volume where thousands of people are needed in-store or in the contact-centre within days.
Apart from the sheer logistical challenges, there are five major high volume recruiting challenges organisations face.
Roles filled by high volume recruitment often have a highly sensitive empty chair impact. A restaurant with too few servers, a shop with too few attendants, a call centre with too few people answering the phone, or a hospital ward with too few nurses, both are nightmarish scenarios.
In a perfect world, recruitment requirements can be anticipated and planned for, but that’s not always the case. That’s why a scaleable, repeatable high volume recruiting strategy is essential.
When you’re attracting, screening, selecting and hiring 250+ people at once, it’s not just timelines that can blow out.
The cost can easily go over budget too. This is where scalable processes, talent pooling and technology tools are your friends.
In many industries that need high volume recruitment, your candidate is also your customer. Often people are applying for a position because they love your brand. If they have a bad experience, you’ll not only probably lose them as a customer, they’ll tell their friends and family too.
Getting the candidate experience right at scale isn’t easy, but it’s essential. Otherwise, your marketing department will be asking some serious questions, and you’ll find it much harder to find good applicants in future.
Speaking of reputation, your employer brand and employee value proposition play a huge role in attracting the right candidates. You may also find that candidates in certain industries (like retail and hospitality) are easily swayed to join a competitor who tells a better story.
Sometimes a candidate’s decision whether or not to take a role is related to their hourly rate. But more and more often, candidates want to work for a company that aligns with their values and offers learning and development opportunities. Make sure you articulate your EVP well. Your competitors will be using their EVP to try and snaffle your candidates.
Hiring for diversity when you’re under time and cost pressure can feel overwhelming. But it’s essential that you embed diverse hiring practices in all of the hiring you do. Building a diverse team will result in better decision making, better customer service and a healthier bottom line.
Now you know the major high volume recruiting challenges, it’s time to put together the right volume hiring strategies to help you overcome the challenges, and attract and hire the best people.
Bulk hiring techniques have come a long way over the years, from Applicant Tracking Systems scanning and scoring CVs, to the explosion of recruitment Ai now available. Let’s take a look at the volume hiring best practices you can use to make each stage of the bulk recruitment process scaleable, fast and fair.
There are six major milestones in the bulk-hiring process. Discover, engage, assess, interview, decide and validate. Each stage is equally important, and most stages of the bulk-hiring process can be streamlined so that they’re highly scalable. (The Interview and Decide stages are the most time and resource-intensive, but they’re well worth the investment.)
Ensuring the right potential applicants find you is the first step in getting volume hiring in recruitment right.
Once you’ve got an applicant’s attention, you need to make sure they stay interested.
Now you’ve got a pool of candidates; you need to assess them.
Once you have the results of Ai chat assessments, you’ll want to interview the candidates whose scores and profiles appear to match your requirements.
Now you’ve got a list of fantastic candidates, you’ve met them, and you’re ready to invite some of them to join you.
To ensure your process is working, it’s essential to measure your success.
This will come from surveys sent to all candidates. It’s built into Sapia and most other recruitment software.
The elapsed between when a candidate is first contacted (in these volume hiring strategies, the assess stage) and when they’re hired.
Technology is your friend when it comes to building scalable volume hiring strategies. Here are four key pieces of technology to consider. There are plenty of tools out there, so this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Your ATS will help you post ads, screen resumes, bulk communicate with applicants and collect data. You should also use it to build talent pools and pipelines for future roles.
An Ai assessment like Sapia means you can give every single applicant a conversational chat interview. The quickest payback you will get on volume hiring is an investment in interview automation. Interview automation can truly enhance your high-volume recruitment process and help you make it more efficient (and pleasant) for everyone involved. This will help you get your time-back quickly, and release the budget for automation in other areas of recruiting.
Sapia meets the needs that challenge many of my clients today – how do they manage high volume recruitment processes in a streamlined and cost-effective way. while still delivering a great candidate experience and quality hiring decisions. With Sapia you leverage the latest in data analytics and tech to maximize efficiency & effectiveness; and the candidate experience is fresh and engaging, with great feedback! The product is great and constantly evolving!
It’s worth considering a candidate engagement survey. In this survey you can ask questions to reveal how well your EVP is resonating. Then you can compare candidate engagement scores with new employee engagement scores and exit interviews to understand if you’re delivering on your EVP.
Integrating your onboarding software with your ATS (or choosing one with onboarding included) allows you to start onboarding and engaging candidates as soon as they sign their (automated) contract. This is a dream for getting workplace health and safety and even procedural training done before a new employee walks in the door.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re doing high volume hiring in an environment where there’s elevated unemployment or other challenging factors. The good news is that as much as the world may be getting more complicated, and as much as candidate expectations are soaring, the technology to support recruiters has never been faster, fairer or more scaleable.
Establish your own volume hiring best practices and keep optimising your volume hiring strategies. It takes some time to set up, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
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Search for “Candidate Experience” on Google and you will get in the region of 2.3M results. “Wow, that’s a lot!”
Yet do the same search for “Customer Experience” and you will 56x that amount – with a whopping 132,000,000 results delivered to you. Also, have a look at Google Search trends over the past 10 years and, this is what you will see. Overall, there is very little interest in “Candidate Experience” when compared to “Customer Experience”.
The same trend exists in books. Search Amazon for “Customer Experience” and there are over 1000 books written. However, if you do the same search for “Candidate Experience” and theres a pithy 20 books.
To borrow from our recent blog on The Two Big Reasons To Prioritise Improving Candidates’ Experience In 2020: Candidate experience is defined as the perception of a job seeker about an organisation and their brand based on their interactions during the recruiting process. Customer experience is the impression your customers have of your brand as a whole throughout all aspects of the buyer’s journey. Is there a difference?
It’s all about how the human feels when interacting with your brand. Thus, it’s all about the human and candidate experience.
What could we learn from that ‘thought experiment”? We borrowed Blake Morgan’s article in Forbes as a source. Some of these quotes should be read as if your full-time role is in Talent Acquisition.
These could provide a source of inspiration for your next retrospective or “Lessons Learnt” on Candidate Experience.
“We see our candidates as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the candidate experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos
“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” – Warren Buffett
“Candidate experience isn’t an expense. Managing candidate experience bolsters your brand.” – Stan Phelps
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
“Make the candidate the hero of your story.” – Ann Handley
“Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it, they will want to come back and see you do it again, and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.” – Walt Disney
“If you don’t care, your candidate never will.” – Marlene Blaszczyk
“Loyal candidates, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” – Chip Bell
“Candidate experience better be at the top of your list when it comes to priorities in your organization. Candidate experience is the new marketing.” – Steve Cannon
“Building a good candidate experience does not happen by accident. It happens by design.” – Clare Muscutt
“Exceptional candidate experiences are the only sustainable platform for competitive differentiation.” – Kerry Bodine
“Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Candidates are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” – Ian Schafer
“Our attitude towards others determines their attitude towards us.” – Earl Nightingale
“Your mission statement may be on the wall, but your core values are displayed in the attitudes of your employees.” – Elle Clarke
“So, get to know your candidates. Humanize them. Humanize yourself. It’s worth it.” – Kristin Smaby
“Treat each candidate as if they are the only one!” – Laurice Leitao
“The key is to set realistic candidate expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them—preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” – Richard Branson
“Revolve your world around the candidate and more candidates will revolve around you.” – Heather Williams
“To earn the respect (and eventually love) of your candidates, you first have to respect those candidates.” – Colleen Barrett
“How you think about your candidate influences how you respond to them.” – Marilyn Suttle
“If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand” – Howard Schultz
“You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
“Ease your candidates’ pain.” – Hazel Edwards
“Your most unhappy candidates are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates
“Courteous treatment will make a candidate a walking advertisement.” – J.C. Penney
“Good candidate service costs less than bad candidate service.” – Sally Gronow
“Candidate service is an opportunity to exceed your candidate’s expectations.” – John Jantsch
“It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your candidate’s’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken candidate relationship.” – Mark Cuban
“Only once candidate service has become habitual will a company realize its true potential.” — Than Merrill
“Candidates don’t care about your policies. Find and engage the need. Tell the candidate what you can” – Alice Sesay Pope
“Here is a powerful yet simple rule. Always give people more than they expect to get.” – Nelson Boswell
“A lot of people have fancy things to say about candidates service, but it’s just a day-in, day-out, ongoing, never-ending, persevering, compassionate kind of activity.” – Christopher McCormick
“We have entered the era of the candidates. Today, providing candidates with outstanding candidate service is essential to building loyal candidates and a long-lasting brand.” – Jerry Gregoire
“Great candidate service doesn’t mean that the candidate is always right, it means that the candidate is always honoured.” – Chris LoCurto
“The first step in exceeding your candidate’s expectations is to know those expectations.” – Roy H. Williams
“Satisfied candidate is the best source of advertisement” – G.S. Alag
“Making candidate evangelists is about creating experiences worth talking about.” – Valeria Maltoni
“No amount of advertising can repair the damage done by failing to properly address a candidate’s concern.” – Albert Schindler
“Candidates who love you will market for you more powerfully than you can possibly market yourself.” – Jeanne Bliss
“If you want to be a good brand and have a value exchange with the candidate… you’ve got to have the listening mechanisms that can catch up to the candidate as well.” – Kelly Soligon
“People don’t just buy your products that they can see; they buy your attitude that they can sense” – Roxanne Emmerich
“Just having satisfied candidates isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” – Ken Blanchard
“Happy candidates are your biggest advocates and can become your most successful sales team.” – Lisa Masiello
“Service, in short, is not what you do, but who you are. It is a way of living that you need to bring to everything you do, if you are to bring it to your candidate interactions.” – Betsy Sanders
“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’ – Brian Tracy
“Your candidate doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Damon Richards
“When you serve the candidate better, they always return on your investment.” – Kara Parlin
“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” – Teddy Roosevelt
“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the candidate first, success will be yours.” – Ray Kroc
“Being in a curiosity mindset means being fascinated by your candidates and their reactions.” – Jake Knapp
“Treat the candidate like you would want to be treated. Period!” – Brad Schweig
“Never lose sight of candidates. Always be focusing on meeting their needs and expectations.” – Sue Duris
The good news is that for those organisations who genuinely want to improve candidate experience, it has become much easier to do so. It is now straightforward to give great experiences at scale while also driving down costs and improving efficiencies.
Alas, the win-win is easily attainable. In the Sapia Candidate Experience Playbook, read how organisations are hiring with heart. All done by creating positive experiences for candidates while also decreasing the workload for the hiring team.
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The job seeker is a human being who at some point in the process wants to talk to another human being.
B.C (before COVID-19), organisations would create those moments of connection with prospective hires through campus events, case study workshops, group assessment days and invitations to office events.
COVID-19 and forced incubation make some of this impossible and even illegal.
Organisations who have been forced to bench thousands of employees face the same challenge. Staying connected to, caring for and protecting this ‘people asset’ they have built and invested so much in.
The only experience organisations have with protecting an asset on extended leave is when new parents take parental leave and for most organisations that comes down to letting them keep their computer equipment and inviting them to the Xmas party.
Countries in the southern hemisphere are bang in the middle of graduate onboarding, and graduate recruitment and those in the northern hemisphere are about to kick off their programs.
They bring new ideas and new skills, and above all, ambition to make a difference. They are also often the most cost-effective cohort as far as output vs salary and related costs.
Have you been following the HR practices of tech companies over the last decade? If you have, you will notice that expectations of employees and candidates have shifted big time. The Netflix culture deck personifies much of it with concepts such as ‘Trust people, not policy’ or ‘Trust + transparency = accountability’.
Trust at work means your team will work all night to meet a deadline. They will be generous sponsors and ambassadors for your organisation and your products, they will refer their friends to work with you. Additionally, they will accept change in your business more readily. Your team will admit and bounce back from mistakes and failures more readily, and overall their discretionary effort will be substantial.
Trust in the workplace is a massive accelerator, and most organisations are trying to find ways to accelerate – to build product faster, ship faster, change business models faster.
Woebegone companies that believe they can keep attracting talent especially young talent with a purpose of ‘improving Shareholder returns’. Today, we look for aspirational purposes that connect us to something bigger and with which we want to identify. Check out the motto mission statements of the tech giants here and to be the 11th million (or thereabouts) person to download the Netflix deck click here!
COVID-19 has forced a lot of us to become remote workers by default. Now more companies are now declaring it is likely to become their new norm, with little understanding of what successful remote teams look like.
Zoom exhaustion is a thing. The reality of working from home for many of us has become long days trying to get small tasks done between back-to-back video calls. The founder and CEO of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg, a company with over 1000 remote workers spread across 75 countries, chose remote as the working norm for two key reasons. First, to access a broader pool of talent, and second to unleash productivity. He describes five levels of remote work maturity. Most companies now forced into WFH are at Level 1. We have just moved our way of doing things to a different location and are following the same daily routines that we always have.
Mullenwag describes Level 5 as the ‘nirvana’ for remote work where your distributed team works better than any in-person team ever could. He says his company is not even there yet.
We have missed one of the drivers of remote work productivity gains which is asynchronous work- which needs asynchronous communication. This simply means that work doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone. Productivity and flexibility for employees come when we don’t all have to get in a room or via Zoom. That means communicating in writing, not by video is imperative.
Forcing people to do video meetings also risks continuing to drown out team members who don’t thrive in a live group setting. The introverts. The deep quiet thinkers. The ones who prefer to reflect on an issue and not be forced into making a contribution because everyone else is on Zoom. Again, written communication solves for this.
It’s quite simple, if you want a fully functioning remote team written communication is the way to go. It has to be the way you define a business problem, debate the key issues, and fast track from idea to execution.
Jeff Bezos cottoned on to this years ago. Amazon requires every meeting to be guided by a six-page memo laying out all the key issues. Everyone, regardless of their title, has to read every word. Bezos turned written narrative into a competitive advantage, recognising that writing clearly requires clear thinking. Effective written communication is a foundational building block of a successful remote workforce. GitLab, another fully remote organization with over 1000 employees across the world highlights this fact in their Remote Work Playbook (page 19).
This ‘new productivity hack’, how you write, whether via text, Slack, Wiki or on Google docs also impacts your hiring processes. At what point do any of us test for written communication skills when hiring? If you want to hire people who can work autonomously, be productive and who can collaborate you need to test their text communication. This calls for a radically different approach to talent acquisition.
Mullenweg worked that out early in Automattic’s remote working journey and all their job interviews are via text. The other obvious benefit of this approach is it means there is far less room for bias. In contrast, put someone in front of a camera for a video interview and the bias risk is amplified. Hiring going forward has to test for written communication. This is not something you can ignore anymore.
If you speak to C-suite about why it’s taken so long to permit remote work, the word trust will come up a lot. Bottom line, managers don’t trust that people will actually work when at home, creating instead an unproductive culture of ‘presenteeism’. To manage the risk of hiring ‘slackers’, the other thing you have to test for is motivation.
Other personality traits that relate to good remote workers include discipline. The advantage here is that we stop Big ‘P’ personality-based hiring. We have all made those hiring mistakes – inclined to the person who tells a good story. In a remote work environment, self motivated employees, big talkers and non-doers get discovered quickly!
What may not be known to many people, is that testing for written fluency, clarity of thought, motivation, discipline, can all be done via text analysis in the hiring process. Testing should not be just limited to the skill of writing. It should also test the motivation behind expressing something in writing. That requires more effort and thinking than speaking it out. If someone is not motivated to express themselves in writing when a job is on the line, you can assume what it might be like once they are on the job.
The power of Natural Language Processing (NLP) based machine learning models that can tell you all of this immediately is here today. From just 300 words, we can infer writing skills, personality traits and job hopping motives. This means there is no excuse for not hiring for the key skills required for remote work right now.
Noam Chomsky, a pioneer of language studies said it best –
“Language is a mirror of mind in a deep and significant sense. It is a product of human intelligence. By studying the properties of natural languages, their structure, organisation, and use, we may hope to learn something about human nature; something significant, …” (Noam Chomsky, Reflections on Language, 1975)