Recruitment is traditionally seen as a smaller scale, more intimate process- candidates vying for a single role, lobbying their specific skill sets and making their case to be the best fit for an organisation. In many cases, however, the need to source talent can be more frenetic in pace, with demands for high volumes of recruits being driven by an expansion in business or the opening of a new site.
High volume recruitment places unique demands on organisations and their HR teams. Even the most seasoned HR professionals may find themselves baulking at the pressures of sourcing potentially hundreds of new employees. With the search for high numbers of employees often being entwined with significant shifts in the wider organisation, the pressure to get positions filled may often leave HR teams feeling as though they are compromising on quality.
Importance of a volume recruitment strategy
Regardless of how cheap and unskilled your requirements for new employees may be, the consequences of mishandling or rushing the process has the potential for organisations to be locked into a constant cycle whereby they are forever hemorrhaging staff and returning the costly and time consuming recruitment process.
We wanted to look at the issue of high volume recruitment through the lens of HR and gather together some top tips to not only allow organisations to source high numbers of employees on demand but also how to hire and onboard talent en masse in a way that doesn’t compromise on engagement and reduces the risk of employee attrition.
How do you deal with High Volume Recruitment?
Being in hiring mode is a positive thing not only for an organisation but for the wider job market who is set to benefit from an influx of opportunities. As seasoned as your HR teams may be when it comes to recruiting and onboarding new talent, the demands of recruiting talent en masse make it a unique beast which can give even the most veteran HR professionals pause.
Demands for high volume of talent often needed to be filled yesterday and any delays in acquiring a new workforce can ultimately dictate the success or failure of any process of organisational growth or development.
We’ve put together 5 key tips to help guide HR teams through the process of high volume recruitment and to understand how sourcing talent en masse doesn’t necessarily mean compromising in quality.
1) Communication is Key
Any mass hiring initiatives represent a significant logistical challenge for an organisation. Being entwined so often with wider organisational shifts, it is imperative that when sourcing high volumes of talent, HR teams aren’t operating in a vacuum and are aligned closely with hiring managers and other functions of the business.
Hiring managers and HR teams should get together and clearly define overarching goals and what they wish to achieve from any programmes of mass hiring. Alongside this, agreeing on a predetermined set of requirements which will help your new hires hit the ground running in their new role. Having a clear understanding also of the specific goals that new hires should aim to achieve will help give you a good understanding of who is working out from your crop of new talent.
The ability to be proactive and forward-thinking about your ongoing goals will help you greatly in informing and refining your hiring strategy. Having a clear understanding between your HR teams and Hiring managers around what will qualify as success will greatly help you focus your efforts when hiring en masse.
2) Quality over quantity
While this may seem counter productive given that your specific remit for high volume recruitment is to fill positions as quickly as possible, it is still important to remember that regardless of time constraints, the long term success of any mass hiring initiatives cannot be guaranteed without some concessions to the quality of employees you are bringing in.
As keen as the wider business may be to fill key positions and kick start the process of driving their ongoing business strategy, rushing the hiring process will only lead to organisations inevitably bringing onboard a crop of unsuitable talent, leading to high employee attrition rates and locking them into a constant, spiralling cycle of recruitment.
Take some time to shore up the earliest parts of the recruitment process- ensure that you are crafting well defined and well-written job descriptions which clearly set out your expectations of any candidates. This is key in helping you attract the right sort of talent you need to achieve your goals and also serves as a way to filter out unsuitable applicants at an early stage, easing some of the burden of your HR teams.
Data gathered by Linkedin suggests that a job posting represents most people’s first interactions with an organisation. With the old adage that you only get one chance to make a first impression in mind, when creating job descriptions, be mindful of how it reflects your organisation as a whole and how those interacting with it will perceive your brand.
3) Responding Rapidly
One of the greatest challenges of any recruitment cycle is the ability to reply swiftly and effectively to applicants. Being able to maintain clear lines of communication between candidates is not only critical for ensuring an efficient hiring process but also serves as a reflection of your organisation and how you will be perceived by candidates. Leaving applicants in the dark is the quickest way to paint yourself as an organisation that doesn’t value communication and employee engagement.
The challenges of keeping on top of communication between applicants is a significant task in any recruitment cycle, one which is expanded a thousandfold when taking into account the challenges of high volume recruitment. In order to effectively manage communication across multiple candidates, many successful organisations engaging in mass recruitment will often leverage various platforms such as Facebook or Linkedin, in order to gauge initial interest for a role. Alongside liaising with job boards or recruiters, this can be a really effective way of gaining a rapid crop of interest and also helps ensure that enquiries aren’t all passing through one gateway, allowing HR teams to divide their resources to liaise with candidates via specific platforms.
Rapidly responding to candidates not only conveys a positive impression to potential recruits but by sub dividing channels which you utilise for recruitment, you are able to quickly fill a portion of your talent pool and by meeting some of your requirements early on, you can then leverage the knowledge gained to inform the rest of your hiring process.
4) Expand the reach of your job postings
When looking at recruiting in volume, the traditional ways in which you engage with the recruitment pool may not be enough. When you need positions filling quickly, you need to get your job postings out there and in front of the right people ASAP. However, simply flooding social media networks and other sites may not be the ideal solution. Although at a base level, this sort of activity can help you feel like you are being proactive in sourcing talent, ultimately reaching out in such a manner is all so much static and is unlikely to source you suitable candidates.
As time sensitive as the pressures of high volume recruitment may be, there is still a case to be made about taking a more considered approach with your job postings and ensuring that first and foremost, they are landing in front of the right people from day one. Social media can absolutely be an asset in this case but rather than posting blanket messages across a time line, instead cultivate a list of a dozen or so key contacts and engage with them- maybe personally each message. Prioritise old colleagues or people who you know you have a good working relationship with. Buttoning down those sorts of contacts early on are far more likely to pay dividends than mass messaging.
When reaching out to people who you don’t have that previous association with, try to consider the nature of what you are trying to achieve- anyone who is active on LinkedIn or any business centric social media will be well aware of how common recruitment messages and job postings are. When faced with such a high volume of similar posts, it’s natural that people become adept at tuning them out, meaning it’s all the more difficult for you to reach your core audience. When making your posting you have to ensure that it is unique enough to stand out from the crowd- take a positive approach, praise the experience you’ve had working with colleagues or as part of the organisation overall. By focusing on the organisation you are representing rather than the job itself, you are able to offer a unique spin on your listing which will hopefully raise you above the others.
5) Watch out for Hiring Bias
Recruitment offers a unique challenge in that HR professionals are tasked with assessing the capability and long term viability of a candidate on the basis of what very often can be limited or biased information. The dangers of forming our own biases-either unconsciously or otherwise- during the recruitment process can sometimes mean that good judgement can become clouded.
Given the time constraints which often accompany high volume recruitment, it is understandable that sometimes hiring decisions may be made on a more intuitive basis. However, letting bias colour your perception of candidates will ultimately lead to poor judgement being exercised and a crop of unsuitable talent brought in. Although the instinct with high volume recruitment will be to fire from the hip and hire rapidly, ultimately the safer long term bet is to be firm with hiring timelines and to take the time to properly assess candidates.
Bias can take many forms and can be dictated by a candidate’s sense of humour, hometown or any number of random factors. When under pressure to fill roles swiftly, it is all too tempting to allow these elements to form a key part of your decision making. Hiring managers may also leverage their own bias, applying pressure to HR teams to prioritise certain nationalities, age groups or individuals.
Allowing bias to influence hiring processes can lead to an unconscious imbalance in terms of ethnicity or gender or age within the makeup of your workforce. With diversity and inclusion considerations paramount in the minds of many, even unintentional slips in this regard could lead to unwanted legal attention, not to mention potential financial punishment.
At a more basic level, letting bias colour your perception of an individual is almost always going to lead to unsuitable recruits slipping through. When you allow yourself to judge a candidate on factors wholly unrelated to work, then you lose a portion of the objectivity which ultimately helps align the hiring process with your overall goals.
Now you’re aware of some of the potential pitfalls facing your HR teams when recruiting en masse, the next step is to ensure that you have an adequate framework in place to support them throughout the process. Your HR systems are the bedrock of every aspect of your people management process and given that the recruitment cycle brings with it a hefty amount of admin heavy tasks, are you sure that your existing systems and processes are adequate to help ease the burden of your HR people?
At Advanced, we believe in the power of technology to help you achieve more. We understand how important it is to the success of your organisation that you are able to source the key talent to help drive your future productivity and profitability. We also appreciate that the recruitment cycle is extremely stressful for your HR teams and that the technologies and systems which they used has to work in lockstep with their processes and support them across every stage of the cycle.
If you’d like to find out more about how Advanced Cloud HR Software can level up your recruitment process and ensure that your HR teams have the support they need to drive forward success within your organisation, Our friendly team are always available to help you discover more.