According to the 2017 Talent Acquisition Benchmark Report by the Society for Human Resource Management, the average time to fill a position is 36 days. In some cases, the process can take months from the time that you identify your candidate, administer skill tests, conduct interviews, perform background checks, and finally onboard your new employee. This time frame may work for filling one or two vacancies. However, volume hiring often requires HR personnel to complete this process on a much grander scale and a much shorter timeline, hiring multiple employees daily.
Volume hiring is often the result of a singular or unique change in the business that requires a sudden increase in the number of employees to scale up operations. For a large corporation, it may occur in response to expansion into a new business sector. Smaller companies may experience it as they prepare to open a new location or enter a busy season. In either case, the standard hiring practices that occur over weeks to identify a single candidate will not scale up to meet the need for hundreds or thousands of new hires in that same time period.
HR managers, overwhelmed by the sudden mountain of work, may be tempted to hire more staff and expand their own departments to match the workload. However, it is essential to remember that volume hiring is not a permanent change to hiring processes. This load is often temporary, albeit drastic. Hiring permanent employees for the transitory task is an imperfect solution that draws resources away from the problems at hand.
1. Lack of Time
Volume hiring typically occurs on a shorter timeline and with a more definitive deadline than day-to-day hiring. Before the new office can open, recruiters must identify and onboard numerous employees for countless different positions. These deadlines limit the time available to HR staff to accomplish their task. Additionally, taking too long to hire candidates often means that you will lose your most qualified applicants. Highly desirable, skilled applicants often find employment in far less time than the average.
2. Lengthy Hiring Process
Although many skilled recruiters can pre-screen applicant’s applications for the right qualifications in a matter of seconds, the sheer number of applications to look at when hiring for 50 or more positions is daunting. Narrowing the applicant pool based on skills and experience noted in candidate’s applications, in addition to interviews, background checks, and a variety of tests, equates to hours spent vetting each applicant. Volume hiring done successfully must find ways to cut back on time and money spent on each applicant to keep the project on track and within budget.
3. Existing Bottlenecks
During volume hiring, holdups in the hiring process are magnified and can become a significant hurdle. Now is the time to find innovative ways to streamline each step to minimize your time to hire, a key metric in volume hiring. Increased time to hire inevitably increases the cost per hire. It may also cause applicants to lose interest and may reflect poorly on your organization’s reputation.
1. Well-Defined Requirements
Hiring a full complement of employees to staff a new office is daunting, as each position is unique and demands a distinct set of proficiencies. You know you need employees in sales, advertising, management, and customer service, but you may not know how many or how to structure the organization. Patterning your hiring plan and organizational structure after a sister store or a similar department at a different location is an effective strategy to begin the hiring process.
As you enumerate the open positions, be specific about the knowledge and skillset required to fill each position. Volume hiring recruiters have experience identifying the essential qualities to look for in potential candidates, which are challenging to teach and should be inherent in an ideal candidate. Some positions may present particular hiring challenges as the required skillset is uncommon. The approach to hiring for each position should reflect the necessary skills particular to that role.
2. Understand Your Employment Market
Successful recruiting methods vary from state to state and even from one area to another within each state. In rural areas where the population is spread out, attracting high numbers of candidates will require more work upfront than in a city. Similarly, current unemployment rates will directly impact your ability to attract applicants. If unemployment rates are low, there are fewer individuals seeking jobs. You may need to expand your geographical area or change your networking or advertising strategies to reach those interested in applying.
Professional recruiters are well acquainted with the job markets in which they work, adapting to their unique employment market. They have connections and network regularly with individuals seeking the type of employment that you are offering. Tapping into their contacts can save time and money spent trying to identify candidates.
3. Manage Your Resources
Volume hiring taxes not only your time resources but your monetary reserves as well. Spending money on recruiting efforts when you are also budgeting for retail space, furniture, and inventory, can strain your bank account. Establishing and adhering to a pre-determined recruiting budget will help you preserve funding for operating costs down the road.
Experienced recruiters in your area garner data about past volume hiring efforts. They can advise you about the cost-to-hire, time-to-hire, as well as approximately how many applicants you need to acquire to fill open positions. This data, which is specific to your market, is vital when deciding where to spend your resources. If experience shows that applicants for managers are few and far between, but writers are a dime a dozen, you will want to pour more time, money, and effort into recruiting managers.
4. Ensuring Cultural Fit
Internal volume hiring often results in less face-to-face interaction between applicants and the company leaders, who would typically provide clues about the company culture. As a result, many potential employees will seek out review sites like Glassdoor for information. However, these sites may not provide the whole picture.
Allowing applicants to explore company culture through online tools is highly recommended. Podcasts, social media posts, and virtual tours can be enlightening to applicants. Making videos or holding live streaming events with current employees can be informative and illuminating. These online tools help ensure your investment in hiring and onboarding applicants will lead to long-term placements.
Volume hiring is challenging under the best circumstances. Embarking on the process without the proper tools and expectations can quickly leave you struggling to meet company needs and hiring deadlines. Experienced volume recruiters that know your employment market and the challenges you face can provide a wealth of helpful resources to assist you in meeting your hiring requirements in time to meet your business needs.