How to make high-volume hiring more efficient

Viktor Nordmark
18 June, 2021

You’re starting somewhere, in the abyss of LinkedIn profile searches, in the stacks of applications, or maybe you take a plunge into your talent pool. In whatever way you choose to go about your high-volume recruitment process, let us guess, as you take your first step onto this process, does a little sigh follow it? With all due respect, it’s completely understandable considering that the sheer amount of applications would frighten even the hungriest of newly graduated HR students. Today we’ll look into why you make less informed hiring decisions when stressed and how you can simplify as well as quicken your high-volume procedures.

The allure of customer service jobs

In this article, we’ll use hiring for customer support as a continuous example, because hiring for customer service is almost always inevitably a high-volume process. Amongst the reasons for why it is so are; a) customer service often serves as the first job for students b) doesn't require extensive education nor merits c) attracts people with diverse backgrounds. On top of that, many people consider themselves friendly and accommodating, which are two valuable traits of customer service agents. Hence many deem themselves fitting the role. Being a successful customer service agent is also regarded as merit amongst many employers since it’s telling of a person’s character, e.g. it’s a great first job to have in the backpack of experience, which in itself encourages people to apply.

The pitfalls of high-volume hiring processes

For many years the standard procedure has been to receive hundreds of applications, manually screen every single one of them, call the most interesting candidates, and as the last step, conduct face-to-face interviews. Some of the issues with this approach are:

Time-consuming

You’re most likely on a tight deadline since many companies need customer service positions to be filled rather promptly. The stress in itself may result in fast decision-making that doesn’t favor anyone. As a result, you find yourself with candidates that not even you can guarantee are 100% right for the position.

Forgetfulness due to too much information

It’s easy to forget why you thought someone was a suitable candidate when you scour through numerous resumes at once. Say you have narrowed down the applications to 50, but you’re only hiring 20, how do you remember all of the candidate’s skills, traits, and experiences? You simply don’t, unless you have a photographic memory. If you don’t have a proper structure in place that can help you rank candidates as well as help you remember the in’s and out’s of a person, you risk having candidates slip through the net.

Implicit bias plays a more significant part in your decision making

Research has shown that stress-induced individuals tend to make more habitual responses: “When under stress, fast and effortless heuristics may dominate over slow and demanding deliberation in making decisions under uncertainty.” It seems as if we tend to retreat back into what is comfortable and familiar during stress, which is a big no-no if you’ve set out to increase diversity at a workplace. Because what happens is that you’ll lean back and let your implicit bias lead the way, hence risk hiring those familiar to you, instead of remaining stable with the goal in mind and open to all people throughout the whole process.

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How to improve the high-volume hiring process

Back in the 1990s, the talked-about clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson did his best to sell a hiring software named ExamCorp. It was a 90-minute psych assessment that could help managers hire the right person for the position. The managers found the software to be too time-consuming and expensive; thus, no one bought it. But as technology developed and recruiters got more accustomed to and trusting in digital tools, they’ve become not an exception but the norm. The industry of personality assessments and hiring software have boomed like fireworks in the night sky all around the globe as well as they’ve, more or less, been greeted with open arms by HR managers.

If it, back in the days, felt foreign and shady to let a computer assess a human, we may consider it normalcy today. There are few recruiters, if any, who still screen and assess people without using any digital tools for support in their decision-making. When it comes down to high-volume hiring, your challenge is the sheer amount of applications and how you quickly decide who to move forward with. To support you in this process, you have many options of digital tools. Some speak to the blessing and the curse, which is the large variety of people. Other tools allow you to screen resumes on a whim, and others help you with interviews. Let’s take a closer look.

Tools for uncovering personalities

You have all of these interesting characters in front of you on the screen, who all enable you to make a hiring decision based on cultural fit, diversity, competency, etc. But how do you find the time to fill positions based on those parameters? Conduct your own questionnaire. If you’re looking for hospitable, helpful, and patient people, you can easily conduct a knock-out questionnaire that quickly helps you discern who ticks those boxes solely by looking at the answers.

Resume screening tools

As of today, you could actually run all the applications in a resume screening tool without even having to look at them before you do so. You “tell” the software what to look for in a resume, such as a specific education, experience, and competency. When the digital screening is done, the tool provides you with the candidates that qualify for your criteria. You will gain a lot of time and a sense of relief thanks to that you can trust that the machine has done its job.

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Enhance the candidate experience

You probably won’t have time to respond to, nor reach out to, every single applicant when:

  1. the application enters your inbox
  2. the application has been looked at, and you will get back to them at this and that hour
  3. you get back to them at that hour
  4. they didn’t get the job

The predicament occurs in that you still want to show them, if not your interest, then at least your kindness by thanking them for their time. You have two best friends in these scenarios. One of them is an automated meeting booking calendar that the candidates can use themselves by booking interviews independently. The calendar then sends out automated reminders to them, which helps you avoid missed meetings. The other friend is an automated email service often found in your Applicant Tracking Software that you can “program” to send out emails when a particular action has taken place. An example of this would be when the candidate has conducted an interview and receives an email afterward which announces when they can expect to hear back from you.


Initial screening interviews

What if you wouldn’t have to talk to every one of the candidates after you’ve decided whom to move forward with based on the resumes? Instead, you could send out a link that leads to a chat with a conversational AI. In the conversation, the candidate answers questions regarding their past experiences, motives regarding the current job, wage claim, and motivation for why they consider themselves suitable for this job. After all the interviews have been conducted, you receive a shortlist of the top-ranked candidates. How does the AI know who you’re looking for? Well, you’ve programmed your wishes before you sent out the link.

What we’ve covered here is only the tip of the iceberg of helpful tools, but hopefully, it lent you some new ideas on how to alter your workflow.

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Viktor Nordmark
18 June, 2021

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