What is high volume hiring?
High volume hiring refers to hiring for a large number of open positions within a specific time period. It can also refer to sorting through a large number of candidates who have applied to a single position.
A great example of high volume hiring is Amazon’s Jobs Day that took place in 2017. The company received 20,000 applications for 50,000 open positions at their 13 fulfillment centers in the US – all in one day. This is the epitome of high volume hiring. While many companies will never come close to hiring at this scale, high volume hiring is becoming more commonplace.
High volume recruiting changes depending on the size of the organization. For a small or medium-sized business, adding 100 new employees is enough to qualify as “high volume.” At a larger enterprise company, receiving thousands of applications for an open position counts as high-volume. Whatever “high volume” means to your organization, the recruitment process in a high-volume scenario requires different tools and processes to find the right candidate, maintain a strong candidate experience, and continuously keep your candidate pipeline full.
This guide will walk you through the steps and tools you need for high volume hiring, as well as how to adjust your hiring process. Here’s what HR professionals need to know about high-volume hiring.
How to manage high volume hiring
- Set your team up for success
- Align with hiring managers
- Review your advertising tactics
- Optimise your career website
- Make the application process easy
- Improve candidate engagement
- Select the right talent
- Track your time to hire
Set your team up for success
There are obvious challenges that come with high volume hiring. First and foremost, sorting through a large number of candidates for a large number of open positions is time-consuming and resource-intensive. A single job posting nets an average of 250 applicants; multiply that number over dozens of positions, and your hiring team will be reviewing resumes day and night. That’s before you even reach the phone screen and interview stages.
Optimise for high-volume hiring by setting up your recruitment team for success before you begin. This involves dedicating the right resources to make sure the process runs smoothly. A recruitment management system helps HR teams be more agile; equip your team with an applicant tracking system, a skill-testing platform, and a video interviewing tool. More and more companies are adding tools with AI capabilities to automate traffic management: resume sorting, interview scheduling, and candidate messaging. It’s only by adding some of these tools that high-volume hiring becomes feasible.
Before implementing an HR tech tool, make sure it meets your objectives. Does it make less work for your recruitment team? Does it meet your company’s expectations for providing a great candidate experience? The right tool will either help you decide who to hire or help make the hiring process smoother. At a minimum, it should make your life a lot easier.
Align with hiring managers
The first step in the process is to make sure everyone involved in the high-volume hiring process is crystal clear on the objectives and expectations. “In talent acquisition, misalignment is the root of all evil. Even the slightest disconnect between you and your hiring manager around job requirements can lead to wasted time and energy,” write the experts at LinkedIn.
Misalignment becomes exponentially more pronounced when you begin to hire at scale. Take the time to meet with hiring managers and align on two to three overarching performance goals for each open position? What specific tasks does the new hire need to do to achieve those performance goals? What specific skills and qualities will set this person up for success?
Try to get as specific as possible when working with hiring managers to define the profile they’re seeking for the open role. For instance, if you’re hiring a sales representative, the performance goal might be something like “win 3 new accounts valued at $10,000 in the Northeast region.” Their specific tasks might include things like cold-calling, email pitching, or conducting discovery calls. And, finally, the skills required are specific things: in-depth knowledge of CRM systems, for instance, or experience developing a territory sales strategy.
Review your advertising tactics
Employer branding is of paramount importance in today’s competitive hiring market. As Entrepreneur summarizes, a strong employer brand does four things:
- Recruits and retains employees
- Lowers recruiting costs
- Makes your employees your ambassadors
- Boosts employee engagement
When hiring at volume, spend time building your employer brand as well as building an advertising campaign for your open positions. The advertising campaign may need to expand your reach beyond traditional job boards. “High-volume recruiters will have to go beyond the typical large job boards and mine the state’s unemployment database, military employment and industry-specific websites, colleges and universities, places of worship, and workforce development centers,” one recruiter tells SHRM.
Your advertising tactics should include social media channels, job boards like Indeed, your own careers site, and any niche online communities in which your potential candidate might already be active. If you have the resources available, it might be worthwhile to look into programmatic job advertising. This is when a hiring team deploys software to purchase, publish, and optimize job ads, rather than doing it manually. It can save time and increase your reach when hiring for a large number of openings at once. However, some programmatic tools come with a learning curve, so many sure you budget time to learn the ins and outs of your job posting software before the high volume hiring takes place.
Optimise your career website
High volume hiring will bring high traffic to your career site. Your page must be able to handle the number of hits without crashing. Prepare ahead of time by making sure your careers page is fully-optimised. This includes making sure:
- Your careers page is mobile-friendly
- The language on your site is inclusive
- You’ve used keywords and SEO best practices
- The page architecture is equipped to handle a large volume of traffic
In addition, consider the candidate experience on your career page – this site is often the first impression a candidate has of your company. “Make it easy to search for open opportunities – particularly if you have a high volume of roles, or roles in several different locations. Take yourself through the application process, from searching for an open role to applying, on both a desktop and mobile device to see what the candidate experience looks like,” write the experts at Lever.
Approach the careers page as if you’re a potential applicant. As you view and click through the page, ask yourself:
- Can a candidate picture what it’s like to work at our company?
- Are the perks, benefits, and compensation clearly stated?
- Is it easy to search for and apply for an open position that fits my background?
- Does this careers page look and feel like our company’s unique brand?
- Are there testimonials from our employees describing the company culture?
- Are the job descriptions clear and succinct?
By approaching your careers page from the perspective of the candidate, you can optimise the user experience before embarking on your high volume hiring mission. For more on how to write a great job description, check out Vervoe’s Guide to Writing Job Descriptions.
Make the application process easy
McDonald’s made headlines by inviting job seekers to apply using a 10-second “Snaplication,” an application submitted via McDonald’s Snapchat careers page. This high volume hiring led to filling 250,000 new employees for the summer. While it seems like a PR stunt, McDonald’s tapped into a key insight: make it easy for people to apply for your open roles.
A study by the careers site Indeed found that 42% of job seekers are frustrated by being asked to fill out lengthy applications; three in five job seekers don’t finish applying, due to complex questions, overly long forms, or too many requirements. Take these steps to make it straightforward for someone to submit an application:
- Mobile-optimize your application form: 20% of job seekers will abandon an online application if they can’t complete it on their mobile device.
- Don’t ask too many questions: excessive questions deter candidates from finishing the application. Keep your questions to five or less. Use other steps in your hiring process to weed out unqualified candidates.
- Provide clear instructions: make your call-to-action clear in the job description so applicants know exactly what they need to do to submit. If you’re using an online form, tell the applicant upfront the information they need to submit, how many questions there will be, and roughly how long the process should take.
- Confirm successful submission: whether it’s an on-page popup or email confirmation, make sure to affirm that the application went through so a candidate knows they haven’t wasted their time.
The best-case scenario? For high volume hiring, have a one-click application, or an application that pulls information from LinkedIn or social media so a candidate doesn’t have to manually fill in fields.
Improve candidate engagement
Candidate engagement in high volume hiring presents a unique challenge. There are simply too many applicants to give everyone the individual attention that you would in a smaller hiring event. That being said, a poor candidate experience can be costly: Virgin Media found that inconsistent communication, outdated hiring methods, and a glitchy careers page cost the company $6 million in lost revenue.
Keep candidates engaged by providing clear communication about what to expect in the hiring process; frequent updates about the status of their application; and by using automated tools to help candidates move through the process efficiently.
Key to providing constant communication is having the right tool to automate messages from your recruitment team to candidates. Applicant tracking systems and skill assessment tools allow recruiters to auto-progress or reject multiple candidates with one click, keeping each person informed as they move through the process. AI recruiting can even automate candidate interviewing, progressing the best candidates through the hiring funnel faster than if a recruiter reviewed resumes manually. One algorithm gave an HR team the ability to evaluate 10,000 candidates in the same time it takes for an individual recruiter to assess one.
Overall, AI and other HR tech tools can turn even rejected candidates into brand ambassadors. In high volume hiring, these tools offer a way to stay in touch with hundreds of candidates through a few clicks. Strategically deploying video interview software will make your candidates love your hiring process – and save time for your recruiters.
Select the right talent
Out of the hundreds of CVs you receive for dozens of open positions, how can you discern who’s the best fit? The short answer: use a skills assessment.
A skills test will ask a variety of questions designed to mimic how a candidate will perform once hired to a particular role. A good skills test will include questions that are capable of being answered by someone who is already doing the job. Skill assessments cover a range of task-related abilities: coding, copywriting, sales, or customer service – as well as less tangible things like teamwork and leadership.
The best skill tests predict performance far better than a resume review or traditional interview. Research featured in The New York Times found “the problem with interviews is worse than irrelevance: They can be harmful, undercutting the impact of other, more valuable information about interviewees.” The best way to predict performance is to test job-related skills in context, through an immersive simulation that goes beyond the resume. Skill tests give candidates the opportunity to show off their capabilities, rather than simply describe them.
The best part? Many skill tests can be administered in bulk. Vervoe, and other platforms, make it straightforward to select a list of questions from a library of content, or design questions based on the specific needs of the role. AI then scores the results from hundreds of completed tests using a multi-layered approach: Vervoe’s algorithm, for instance, ranks candidates on how well they performed. No one is filtered out for having missed a certain benchmark. Recruiters receive an ordered list of candidates that includes everyone, so no one misses out on being considered for the next round.
Track your time to hire
The final step in high volume hiring is to learn from your process. Time to hire is a key performance metric that tells you how long it takes an applicant to move through your hiring process. This number varies depending on your industry, hiring process, and even location – Jobvite’s report on hiring benchmarks found that companies in the southern US states have the longest time to hire as compared to other regions. LinkedIn reports that only 30% of companies are able to fill a vacant role within 30 days.
Time to hire is measured from when a candidate first enters your pipeline – when they submit an application, either sourced or through a careers page – to when they accept a job offer. It’s an overall indicator of efficiency. Lower time to hire is generally better, unless you’re hiring the wrong candidates out of speed or desperation. In high volume hiring, it’s worthwhile to unpack time-to-hire in-depth to see if this approach works for your company. Consider things like:
- Hiring velocity: how much time do you spend on each step of your hiring process? Are candidates getting stuck in a particular phase?
- By role, department, or team: are there specific areas in your organization where hiring is taking longer? Are certain managers bottlenecking your high volume hiring process?
- Manual tasks: are there parts in the hiring process where you can automate communication, resume reviews, or interviewing to move candidates more quickly through your funnel?