High Volume Hiring: Top 3 Challenges and How to Overcome Them | Toggl Blog
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High Volume Hiring: Top 3 Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Post Author - Mile Zivkovic Mile Zivkovic Last Updated:

Hiring is tough. And when you have a job opening with hundreds and even thousands of applicants, it becomes even tougher. High volume hiring refers to a situation where you have to fill a large number of positions in a fairly short time period. This can put even the most experienced HR teams in trouble and have recruiters running in panic.

So, what are the most common challenges of high volume hiring and what can you do to solve them? Let’s find out.

What is high volume hiring?

When a company needs to fill an unusually large number of openings at a given point in time, this is high volume hiring. Whether you’re a giant such as Amazon or Google that needs to fill up a new department, or a smaller company starting in a new location, hiring so many people at once can seem impossible to do.

On the other end, there are companies that don’t have too many openings but still get large numbers of applications at once. While we can’t compare ourselves to Google, we can say that we had quite a challenge at Toggl – the average opening attracted more than 1,500 applicants. Having a fit-for-purpose high volume hiring software can significantly boost your recruitment capacity and give your team peace of mind.

In a nutshell, high volume hiring is just like regular recruiting, with ten times the people and stress. Let’s explore some of the key challenges to overcome.

Challenge #1 – lack of time

The average job opening will receive up to 250 applications. At the same time, the average time to hire is 39 days. For some more context, we’ve mentioned repeatedly that the best talent is off the job market in just ten days. As you can see, it takes plenty of time just to find the ideal hire for a single position, let alone a dozen of them at once.

When you combine all of the elements of a standard hiring process, including:

  • A large number of applicants
  • Phone interviews
  • In-person interviews
  • Background checks
  • Skills tests
  • Personality tests
  • Etc.

You come to the realization that doing all of this for 50 open positions could take months at the very least. Therefore, the first issue to solve with high volume hiring is that even with a powerful HR team, it will still take plenty of time.

Challenge #2 – the method of application

Think of the standard job application nowadays, where applicants have to fill out a form and attach a resume, perhaps a cover letter. Going through 250 of them per position can be extremely exhausting. Think about reading and sorting 250 resumes, coupled with cover letters. Even with countless articles stating that recruiters take just a few seconds to review a single resume, the truth is that handling all that material is overwhelming.

Perhaps you’re like us and you prefer to hire based on skills. Let’s say that you run a skills test for the position of a Java developer. First, you have to hire someone skilled in Java (or take hours from someone in your company) and have them set up a test. Then they have to be there as the developers crank out the code and they have to review their work.

Challenge #3 – the organization

Getting 50 applicants per job opening is nothing compared to 50 openings with hundreds of applicants each. In the first case, it’s nothing that an Excel sheet and a few folders can’t sort out. In the latter case, sorting hundreds of applications means a proper struggle for your HR team. You’re very likely to lose a great candidate somewhere in the bulk of applications. As a solution, you could try using an ATS or a CRM for hiring.

High volume hiring with ease

So, it’s clear that hiring lots of people at once is no child’s play. However, there is one thing that can save you time and money – automation. Not just any automation, though. While many companies have tried cutting corners using applicant tracking systems, they’ve shown one major fault – they reduce applicants to keywords and many times, you miss out on great people because of them.

The better alternative is to use automation for the purpose of high volume skills testing, in the screening stage of the hiring process. That way, when you have hundreds of applicants, you can filter the most of them in the first step, ending up with a much smaller pool of qualified candidates.

It may sound complicated, so here’s an example.

Our sister company, Toggl, tends to get quite a few applicants whenever they have an open position. This happens because A) they have a kick-ass product and B) they’re open to remote work, so applicants flock in from all over the world.

Each time there’s a new opening, they start with a Toggl Hire skills test for a given role. The test is comprised of questions related to the position. For example, a digital marketer will be challenged on their knowledge of conversion rate optimization, pay-per-click ads, landing page copy, SEO and other aspects. The company hiring sets the bar for passing as low or high as they want. Since Toggl wants to hire the very best, their passing grade is usually very high (80% and upwards). This makes sure only the best move on to the next round.

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The major advantage of putting the skills test in the first step of the hiring process is that you weed out the unqualified candidates immediately. Those who didn’t read the job description, who don’t have the basic qualifications, who can do some parts of the job but not at an expert level. Once they do the test and fail, they will immediately get notified about it and you will only get information about those who pass the threshold. For Toggl, that’s usually about 10% of candidates.

What you do with that 10% is completely up to you. You can look at their profile (since the test can be connected to LinkedIn), invite them for an interview, ask them for another test task, whatever comes to mind. The bottom line is, you can get from 1,500 to 150 candidates within minutes, with the software doing the screening for you.

There is one thing to note, though. The quality of the applicants will depend on the quality of your test, so take some time to come up with questions relevant to the position. If you don’t have the time, you can grab a test from Toggl Hire’s database – we have a large selection for different positions, such as developers, QA testers, marketing managers, etc.

That way, you can get from 1,500 to 10 candidates within a single day, with just one person to handle the testing and the answers. Your biggest struggle will be how and where to promote the job ad, everything else is on Toggl Hire.


High volume hiring is a time-consuming, expensive endeavor that can put even the strongest HR teams to the test. By leveraging the power of automation and tools like Toggl Hire, you can ensure that you get the best candidates in the fraction of the time compared to before.

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