Some weeks back I published my thoughts about the traditional applicant tracking system and how that technology is no longer sufficient to support organizations’ complex recruiting needs. This is particularly true when trying to take a one-size-fits-all approach to hiring processes. Having identical hiring processes and requirements for professional hires as for low-complexity, low barrier-to-entry roles will inevitably result in lost candidates, frustrated recruiters and hiring managers, and low application-to-hire conversion rates. It doesn’t have to be that way. The right technology can support a hiring process that is purpose built for the segment it is intended to attract and hire.
The type of role that generally falls into the volume hiring category is one that is not complex and has few barriers to entry. Front-line retail, quick service restaurants, hospitality, warehousing, customer service, and even some non-clinical hospital roles, like environmental and food services, exemplify what would fall into this category. These roles generally are paid hourly, have no education requirements beyond high school (if even that), generally require no specific prior experience, and are notable for high turnover. Still, many organizations apply the same requirements and techniques to the candidate attraction and application process for these roles as they would for a corporate or back-office role, and that will almost always result in unfilled jobs. Often, organizations have invested in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) or other supporting technology that either cannot be configured to support differing requirements and workflows, or that simply has not been configured to do so.
The following are critical to successful high-volume, low-complexity hiring, and all can be accomplished or aided by technology that exists in the market today:
- Programmatic advertising — Programmatic ad platforms use software to buy digital advertising, optimizing bids and placement automatically to drive the best ROI. It is important to understand that the best ROI does not equate to the highest volume of candidates. The goal of advertising jobs is to make hires. If posting on a particular job board yields the most applications but the lowest volume of hires, it is not the most successful source and is often the most expensive, particularly when using a pay-per-click bid strategy. If a source results in only one candidate, but that candidate is hired, it is far more valuable than the one that yielded 100x more applications and few-to-no hires. A programmatic advertising platform can automatically place ads in places that lead to the best return. In fact, I assert that by 2024, one-quarter of all organizations will be taking advantage of “programmatic recruiting” capabilities that ensure optimal sourcing channels are used for each open job, including effective cost management. This is critical when there are too few applicants or even too many. The golden ticket is the right volume, at the right time, of the right candidates, and the most direct path to that result is automated and supported by artificial intelligence (AI) and is one of the most underused tools in the volume hiring arena.
- Mobile application — It is critical that organizations’ career sites and application processes are mobile-optimized, and preferably mobile-first. Your next delivery driver or cashier isn’t sitting at home on a laptop or desktop. She is out and about with her phone, and that is where she will find your job and apply to it.
- Shorten the application and abolish the resume requirement — If a candidate can’t complete your application from her phone while on her 15-minute break at her current job, your application is too long. Contact information and a few short pre-screening questions verifying she meets the minimum requirements for the job are all that are necessary at this point. If a resume is a requirement, drop it immediately. Even if she has one, she likely doesn’t have it on her phone, and you don’t need it anyway. If your current ATS does not allow for this, it is time to shop for a new one. It is that important.
- Interview self-scheduling — If you are fortunate enough to get an applicant who meets your requirements and wants to work for you, allow her to schedule an interview directly within the application process. Not only is she less likely to go to work for a competitor with an easier process, but you will have just cut out the most time-consuming administrative portion of the process for your recruiters or hiring managers by eliminating the back-and-forth emails or phone calls.
- On-the-spot offers and onboarding — One of the biggest challenges in volume hiring is the no-show rate. Not only are applicants far more likely than ever to “ghost” an interview, but it has also become relatively commonplace to no-show on the first day of the job even after an offer. One of the best ways to combat this is to welcome your new hire into the fold immediately. A qualified candidate should leave the interview with an offer, including pay rate, start date and first schedule. Wherever possible, the onboarding paperwork should be completed before your new hire leaves the interview site. A series of carefully crafted and timed welcome texts or emails should already be built and in the queue, ready to deliver, automatically. The more embedded your new hire feels in your culture, the more likely she is to show up on day one. Your tech stack should be able to facilitate all of this. This holds true even where background checks or other pre-hire requirements prohibit a firm offer prior to completion. The more a new hire or finalist feels engaged and welcomed, the greater the likelihood they will work for you and not your nearest competitor.
High-volume hiring can be daunting, but with the right technological approaches in place, it does not have to be. By tailoring processes to the target audience, automating repetitive tasks and using data to make informed decisions, organizations can streamline their high-volume hiring process to make it more efficient and effective. This does not always require new investment. Platforms often have capabilities beyond the existing configuration and implementation. Organizations struggling to attract candidates for these business-critical volume roles should examine their current processes, discuss options with their existing technology partners, and then, if necessary, be willing to invest in new software that will improve results.