High Volume Hiring: Challenges & Best Practices

April 25, 2021

High Volume Hiring

Recruitment can be difficult at the best of times, and the pressure is increased immensely when it comes to high volume hiring. There are many advantages of high volume hiring: sometimes it is necessary for company growth and to take advantage of new opportunities. However, it also presents many challenges that aren't found in the regular recruitment process.

If you are looking at high volume hiring, then this guide can help you navigate the operation and learn how to do it successfully.

What is high volume hiring?

High volume hiring refers to the process of recruiting a large number of people in a short amount of time. Often this will be because of a rapid change such as seasonal rush, a new branch opening, or needing more people to fulfil the completion of a large project by the deadline.

It can also refer to recruiting for positions which attract a lot of applications, and therefore will have a more intensive hiring process to work through.

The most notable example of high volume hiring is Amazon, who hired nearly 200,000 new employees over a few months in 2020 in order to meet a surge in demand during the pandemic. While Amazon may be an impressive exception when it comes to the number of hires it can make, many other, smaller companies can also use high volume hiring to great effect.

High volume hiring challenges

High volume hiring

There are many challenges that come with high volume hiring, so regardless of if you are looking to implement it in the future or have an imminent need, knowing what you are up against and planning how to lessen disruption is essential. These are some of the most common issues faced with high volume hiring:

Knowing the job role

When juggling multiple roles at once, it can be difficult for you to know exactly what it is that the jobs demand and what the company itself is really looking for.

In many instances, high volume hiring is used for the rapid expansion of the company. Therefore understanding how the workload will work practically once the new employees have been hired can take a lot of guesswork. To streamline the recruitment process and ensure that you hire the right people, being able to create detailed and concise job descriptions is vital.

Avoiding ambiguity – when it comes to what you are looking for and what the candidate should expect – means that there will be less time wasted through enquiries and filtering out candidates who do not fit the bill.

Shortlisting candidates takes time

In 2020, the average number of applicants for a job was 42, which is already a time-consuming amount to sort through appropriately for many companies. With high volume hiring, this becomes a much bigger issue - not only with a high number of positions available, but these kinds of big hiring events tend to attract a lot more applicants.

Paying attention to applications and shortlisting the right candidates is a time-consuming job, even with recruitment tools in place. Therefore knowing your strategy for managing these aspects beforehand will streamline the process later on.

For example, having clearly defined job descriptions and role expectations will make it a lot easier to shortlist candidates as you know the skills and traits that you consider essential for someone taking on that position.

Method of application

Something that will make a huge impact on the process is the method of application that you use. If the system employed is not fit for the job then it will affect who applies, how many applicants you get, and how well you are able to deal with the applications once you receive them.

It is now just as important to consider where you source your candidates from. When high volume hiring you need to be able to traffic many more applicants than usual, so utilising all of the online platforms such as social media and employment sites is going to be key.

Since job applications are done predominantly online, the process has to be optimised in order to handle this. This may include having somewhere to upload files or use a LinkedIn profile to fill in the required information, as well as ensuring that your application platform is compatible with smartphones.

High volume hiring best practices

Use High volume recruiting tools

If you are not using recruiting tools and technology in your hiring process then it's definitely time to implement some modernity in your recruitment process. By using recruitment tools, you can streamline the process and make it much more efficient for you and the candidates.

At many stages in the recruitment process, there are benefits of tech and AI in recruiting. Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System to automate the screening early stage candidates, which can save a lot of time and resources. An ATS can filter through a much larger number of applications a lot faster than the human eye, so when properly programmed can be indispensable when it comes to finding candidates with the basic requirements.

It can also send replies, schedule interviews, and generally make the process much smoother and a more positive experience on both ends, as it provides more communication between the two parties.

Focus on Candidate Experience

The impact of a positive candidate experience cannot be undervalued, especially considering that candidates are almost 40% more likely to accept a job offer if they are satisfied with the process. While it is always important to make a good impression from the start, it can be even more influential when you're hiring a substantial number of people.

60% of job seekers have abandoned a job application for being too long or convoluted, and high volume hiring jobs are more likely to have a higher pre-start dropout rate. This means that if your candidate experience is lacking you could find it much more difficult to fill your positions.

An easy fix to this to make sure that you have clear, concise job descriptions; the minimum amount of questions on the initial application page (more information can always be gathered later); and plenty of lines of communication available to candidates.

If using a recruitment tool or ATS, you can set up automated responses to give back general feedback, which helps to encourage rejected candidates to reapply in the future for other roles and recommend friends to apply.

Identify recruiting metrics to measure

Recruiting metrics are the measurements used to track the success of the hiring process and can be used to help optimise the methods used and decisions made. Being able to see where issues are arising during the recruitment process is one of the most useful tools at your disposal, since you are then able to target and fix the problem.

Some key recruitment metrics that every company should be tracking are:

1. Time to hire

Tracking how long each position takes to fill from posting the opening to hiring someone will help you to manage and prioritise your roles when taking on high volume hiring. If you know which types of roles fill slower then you know these are the ones to focus on when thinking about the process timeline.

The time that it takes to hire for a role can also tell you a lot about the effectiveness of your recruitment process - compare job postings, sources used for candidates, and the application itself to see which ones are more successful.

2. Cost per hire

Reducing the cost of hiring new employees is always at the forefront of recruiters' minds and is one of the big advantages of using recruitment tools and technology. High volume hiring itself can also have an impact on cost per hire as lacking in staff can delay projects and expansion that ultimately has a much bigger cost to the company.

3. Source of hire

The source of a hire refers to where the candidate heard about the job. When researching where to post your advertisement it is important to remember it is not just about quantity, but also quality. There is very little point in posting on sites that aren't garnering the right kind of traffic for your job.

Try looking at job or skill-specific sites, university/college boards, workforce development centres, and where your competitors place their job openings.

4. Source channel cost

Another cost that can become surprisingly expensive if not properly managed. Placing your ad on a source channel costs, therefore, you want to make sure that you're getting your money's worth when using a certain site or platform to advertise.

Tracking this will help give immediate feedback on which source channels are performing the best and which ones can be cut to save money and resources.

5. Offer acceptance rate

This is a straightforward, but important one. By looking at the data on how many candidates are offered a role vs. how many accept it, you can tell a lot about your hiring process and the candidate experience. Pay attention to which roles have higher or lower acceptance rates and get feedback from candidates on why this might be.

Oftentimes candidates reported feeling that the job advertised was not the same job presented at interviews, or that the benefits offered did not match expectations, therefore, collecting this data can help attract and retain higher quality candidates.