As employers continue their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, many face the same two challenges: Applications are up and talent acquisition teams are lean, which leaves a smaller team to sift through mountains of job applications.
At the same time, the pressure to find and hire the best candidate is high. After all, top talent can help speed a recovery. And, while the hiring process needs to be fast, it can’t leave out top candidates. So, let’s examine strategies for managing high candidate volumes that can help employers stand out during the Great Rehire.
Challenge: Our organization needs to scale quickly to make a large number of hires, but our team doesn’t have the bandwidth to handle the volume.
One key pillar of value for HR outsourcing solutions – like RPO; on-demand or project based RPO; or Total Workforce Solutions – is the ability to scale seamlessly as hiring demands shift. Conversely, in an internal talent acquisition team, it can be difficult – if not impossible – to scale up quickly to handle a higher number of hires and then scale back down when hiring volumes shrink. Consequently, many organizations find themselves initially making a large volume of hires to staff up new locations or during a peak season, but then hiring volumes return to normal.
What’s more, businesses in industries hard hit by COVID-19 will see especially high numbers as the economy continues to recover. For these organizations, RPO providers – specifically, on-demand or project RPO solutions – can help fill the gaps by providing focused support based on the needs of individual organizations.
For instance, at PeopleScout, we bring expertise and insights from across our client base, as well as the people needed to handle hiring spikes. Our industry-specialized flex team of recruiters can be activated on short notice, and our global delivery centers provide 24/7 support and recruiting capabilities that enable a faster recruitment process.
An RPO provider can also provide broader solutions – like bringing technology expertise to add automation or virtual interviewing solutions; or providing talent advisory services to improve employer branding, assessments or job posting strategies.
Challenge: Our team is too bogged down in repetitive work; the process of screening candidates and scheduling interviews takes too much of our recruiters’ time.
COVID-19 has exposed technology gaps for many employers. In the early days, many scrambled to implement virtual hiring solutions so that they could keep their talent acquisition functions moving. Now, as the pandemic passes the one-year mark, employers face a different challenge: Is their technology built for scale?
When facing high candidate volumes, recruiters can easily get bogged down in repetitive administrative tasks. For example, they might get caught in a game of phone tag trying to schedule interviews; answering simple questions from candidates; sending emails to keep their talent communities warm; and sourcing candidates for hard-to-find skillsets. As a result, that leaves little time for higher-value activities, like communicating with top candidates.
However, robotic process automation (RPA) can lift some of the load. This technology utilizes bots to replicate human actions for time-consuming, but straightforward administrative tasks. And, while it can be used to screen résumés, it can also go far beyond that.
For example, RPA can be used to deploy chatbots to answer simple questions from candidates 24 hours a day. A chatbot can also be used in automated candidate screenings to ask questions about a candidate’s skills, education and experience – either online or via text. Best of all, in addition to saving time for the recruiter, this technology also improves the candidate experience by allowing them to get answers more quickly and feel as though they’re driving the recruitment process forward.
RPA can also be used to automate emails, social media posts and other employer branding campaigns. Right now, many organizations are building candidate pipelines and keeping talent communities warm as they prepare to make hires. In this way, RPA can be used to send messages to these communities – keeping candidates engaged and keeping your company top of mind.
Interview scheduling tools can also prove to be a significant time-saver for recruiters. As an example, with Affinix – PeopleScout’s proprietary talent technology – recruiters can avoid the back-and-forth of scheduling interviews with candidates by automating the process instead. Specifically, a recruiter can sync their calendar with the tool and provide candidates with a link to schedule the interview at a time that works best for them.
These tools can then be combined into a virtual solution that spans from recruitment marketing tools all the way through onboarding. And, as the recovery continues, many employers are finding lasting benefits from adopting these strategies.
Candidate Generation & Assessment Strategies
Challenge: We’re seeing high applicant volumes, but we want to make sure the people we hire are interested in the role for the long-term; we’re worried about high turnover as the economy improves.
As employers hire in 2021, they face a mountain of applications. This includes both candidates who are excited about the role and see it as a long-term step in their careers, as well as candidates who are looking for the role now, but don’t necessarily want to stay in the role or at the organization for the long haul. But, how do you differentiate between the two?
One option is to adjust your candidate generation and assessment strategies to attract and hire the employees with the passion, purpose, and mindset that best match for the organization and the role. For instance, to showcase an honest and authentic employer brand, write honest and authentic job postings. By tailoring your employer brand and job postings to attract only candidates who are truly qualified and interested in the role, you’ll save recruiter time by eliminating the résumés of candidates who aren’t qualified or aren’t excited about the role.
As an example, one PeopleScout client previously wrote job descriptions with an overly positive view of their open positions – without mentioning the more challenging elements. And, although they received a high number of applicants, as those applicants moved through the process, many realized that they didn’t want the job. Meanwhile, others accepted the job, but the turnover rate was high, which was expensive and wasted time for both the recruiter and the hiring manager.
In response, PeopleScout worked with the client to make the job postings more realistic about the challenges, in addition to providing a real preview of what the job would look like. In the end, the client received fewer applicants, but turnover in the role dropped significantly. The client also saved hundreds of hours in hiring manager and recruiter time.
Employers can also adjust their assessment process to identify candidates who can succeed and grow in the role by evaluating their passion, purpose and mindset. This means assessing candidates to find out if the candidate has the enthusiasm for the work; finds purpose in the role and at the organization; and has the right mindset to grow and learn.
Bringing It Together
Combining these strategies in the right way for your organization can help manage the high candidate volumes we expect to continue during the economic recovery from COVID-19. Furthermore, many of these tools and strategies will continue to show their value when unemployment is low. RPO providers and on-demand or project-based RPO can help manage yearly hiring spikes; technology tools will continue to free up recruiter time; and job posting and assessment strategies that guarantee the right cultural fit will continue to result in better talent and higher-performing teams. And, for talent leaders in 2021, solutions that deliver immediate results and lasting benefits will drive success.