Hiring hundreds or thousands of employees in a month doesn’t just happen — but it doesn’t have to be as hard as it’s traditionally been… on recruiters, hiring managers, or candidates.
Adam Thompson, Product Director at Phenom, joined last Thursday’s episode of Talent Experience Live to share how AI and intelligent automation can streamline vital elements of high-volume hiring processes without sacrificing a stellar candidate experience.
Missed the show? No worries. You can get the highlights below or watch the full episode on demand right here.
The Impact of High-Volume Hiring Obstacles
As Thompson pointed out, challenges within the labor market have flipped since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Then, it was about massive layoffs amid shut-downs. Now, it’s about hiring en masse, and hiring quickly, to keep up with renewed demand for products and services.
This shift means that employers are pressed to adapt — or risk losing the race to engage frontline job candidates — and the consequences of inaction are dire. “It’s no longer an isolated HR issue, it’s really an operations issue now. It’s a bottom-line business impact,” Thompson said.
To better illustrate this issue, Thompson used his own daycare provider as an example. In the last six months, they have had to send kids home 13 times, often for multiple days at a time, due to staffing shortages. Their policy is that parents aren't required to pay if the daycare can't provide child care. With a shortage of 8,000 workers in the U.S. and 2,000 in the UK, the company is facing about $500K in financial losses per day.
The grim reality? Many businesses survived initial pandemic shutdowns only to become casualties of the current talent shortage.
Customer Use Case: How a Popular Restaurant Chain Hired 1,000+ Workers in One Week Using Phenom
How To Adapt the Candidate Experience for High-Volume Roles
Traditional methods like beefing up recruiting staff, pushing referrals, and increasing wages often fail in the long term because they don’t address the root causes of high-volume hiring challenges.
According to Thompson, a recent Phenom data analysis of 250 million candidates and 2 million jobs revealed a critical finding: “What we were seeing across the board is that the majority of companies were treating their frontline workers to the same exact experience as their knowledge workers.” In reality, the two groups approach the job search very differently, and companies should adapt their application and engagement tactics.
Here's what he suggests:
1. Revisit Job Titles
The differences between how hourly and knowledge workers find and apply for jobs start with the experience on job boards. For knowledge workers, who are often on a clearly defined career path, job titles will be the same across different organizations, making job postings easier to find.
But for hourly workers, who more frequently jump from one role to another, the process is more difficult. A "cashier" at one fast-food chain may be called a "team member" at a different fast-food chain. These inconsistencies in job titles make it challenging to uncover opportunities.
“We’re seeing very large spikes in bounce rates [among] candidates who are interacting with an experience … if they can’t find what they’re looking for within two minutes, they usually bounce and look somewhere else,” Thompson revealed.
Two minutes isn't long. Companies can mitigate this issue by using job titles that are easy to search and understand, while ensuring they're similar enough to what other companies in the same field are using. An AI-powered career site and chatbot can be pivotal in guiding the candidate through their journey. Instead of forcing potential applicants to guess what a role is called, it'll offer them the best-fitting options based on their profile.
2. Eliminate Barriers in the Apply Process
Industry estimates show that the application process for frontline workers takes nearly twice as long as knowledge workers — 11 minutes versus 5 minutes, on average. Why the disparity?
A knowledge worker on a specific career path will likely have an existing resume they can upload, and the employer's system will auto-fill most of the information by parsing it. For frontline candidates, the process is more complicated. They may not have a resume, and will need to enter each field manually, often using smaller mobile devices with limited capabilities.
To close this gap, companies must reevaluate their application processes, eliminating barriers like screenings and assessments that prevent conversion among high-volume candidates. As Thompson noted, some are opting for a “really light, quick expression of interest,” for frontline job applicants, requiring just a name, email, phone number. And with video assessments for a few basic screening questions, the process is quicker and more efficient.
3. Leverage Video Job Descriptions
“We know that people don’t always read job descriptions,” Thompson noted, so when thinking of improving engagement tactics for high-volume roles, video is often a better communication path. “[It] can be what really helps [high-volume candidates] connect to the organization and buy into what the company offers.”
And, according to Thompson, the best video content features actual employees. UPS is a great example, as some of their workers have filmed one to two-minute “day-in-the-life” videos for TikTok — a great way for the company to authentically convey what it’s like to join their organization.
4. Balance Automation with Personal Outreach
Companies like Amazon who have fully automated the hiring process for high-volume roles are able to hire candidates in just 30 minutes from job discovery to job offer. This is an extreme example, but it does highlight a need to quicken the hiring process in order to maintain a competitive edge in today's job market.
But not every candidate wants a fully automated, contactless experience. If speed is everything, what can companies do to keep the wheels moving without sacrificing engagement? Offer a blend of AI-driven automation and human connection that closes time gaps and drives better engagement, Thompson recommends.
Technology like AI Scheduling can take mundane job duties — like screening and setting up interviews for jobs with standardized requirements — off of recruiters’ hands, allowing them more time to focus on candidates. As Thompson noted, “This time can be better spent in making stronger human connections … answering their questions, getting them pumped up and really interested in your organization.”
So what can HR and TA teams do today to win the high-volume hiring race?
- Offer multiple ways to interact during the hiring process such as text, email, or phone
- Tailor the application for high-volume roles so it's quick and easy
- Let the candidate choose the interview style — do they prefer to meet in person, or would they rather pre-record their interview?
- Align efforts with operation leaders who are “experiencing the pain” of not having enough high-volume workers
- Look for easy fixes like tweaking job titles, investigating new marketing channels, and cleaning up your career site
- Identify groups of candidates you need to talk to immediately — nurses, facilities management, etc. — then fast-track processes to connect with them
"Bottom line? Offer choices,” Thompson concluded. When it comes to keeping candidates satisfied, one size doesn't fit all.
Have high-volume hiring obstacles to overcome?