Mass Hiring 101: Strategies for Volume and Quality • Toggl Hire
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Mass Hiring 101: Strategies for Volume and Quality

Post Author - Elizabeth Thorn Elizabeth Thorn Last Updated:

In an ever-changing employment landscape where recruitment processes are becoming more complex and competitive, companies often find themselves in need of mass hiring strategies to ensure a steady supply of skilled employees.

The challenge, however, is to achieve a balance between volume and quality. While hiring at scale is essential to fill crucial positions and meet company goals, merely filling an empty seat quickly with the first candidates who come your way won’t do much for the business’s long-term success.

Instead, smart companies and savvy hiring managers must continuously refine their mass hiring strategies to attract top talent that aligns with their core values. To do that, you’ll need some tried-and-tested mass hiring strategies to help your organization attract and retain the best candidates.

TL;DR — Key Takeaways

  • Mass hiring is when recruiters need to hire a high volume of candidates at the same time, often for the same role, like 100 new customer service representatives or an entire team of developers.

  • Bulk hiring usually occurs when a company opens a new office, releases a new product, starts scaling rapidly, or starts preparing for a seasonal peak in business.

  • Barriers to mass hiring plans include managing the speed and scale of hiring, getting the right software (and using it in the best way), and getting your job ads seen by enough people.

  • Focusing on sourcing highly skilled candidates while still offering them a great candidate experience is easier with HR tools that enable your team to automate and streamline the recruitment process.

What is mass hiring?

Mass hiring is the process of hiring a large volume of new employees to fill numerous roles in one recruitment cycle. Typically, companies implement mass hiring strategies when sourcing candidates for a graduate program, filling roles to cover increased demand after launching a new product, or, in the retail sector, before the busy holiday season.

Bulk hiring and high-volume hiring are other terms for the same process of recruiting a large number of candidates in a short period. The only difference is in the scale of hiring (although, depending on the hiring manager you talk to, most might say they’re all interchangeable). While mass hiring can refer to hiring hundreds or thousands of employees, bulk hiring may be limited to a few dozen.

Nonetheless, the primary objective of all these hiring methods is to find the best candidates in the most efficient manner to meet business needs.

How Amazon successfully implemented mass hiring

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when many companies were forced to downsize, Amazon went on a hiring spree to keep up with the skyrocketing demand for online shopping. How’d they nail their mass hiring strategy? By doing these key things:

  • Streamlined hiring process: Amazon streamlined its hiring process by minimizing the number of interviews required for each role and using technology to fast-track the hiring process. In many cases, candidates received offers within a few days of their initial application!

  • Job fairs: Amazon hosted virtual job fairs to attract a large pool of applicants. These events enabled candidates to learn more about available opportunities and the company culture, initiate their applications, or even receive a job offer right there at the event.

  • Promotion of safe working conditions: In response to concerns about COVID-19, Amazon emphasized its commitment to safe working conditions, investing billions of dollars in safety measures and frequently updating employees and the public on its safety initiatives.

  • Collaboration with external organizations: Amazon partnered with various organizations to reach more potential applicants. For example, they worked with the military community, veterans groups, and workforce development programs to broaden their applicant pool.

  • Competitive compensation: To attract and retain workers during this unprecedented global shift, Amazon offered competitive wages, signing bonuses, and comprehensive benefits.

  • More leave flexibility: The company also offered more leave flexibility to their employees to ensure those with family responsibilities or high-risk individuals would have the support they needed.

As a result of these best practices, Amazon successfully hired 175,000 new employees to match the massive surge in customer demand at the time. While this is an extreme example of a company with lots of resources, the recruitment strategy used can be adapted for other companies growing rapidly.

In a candidate-driven market, you can’t afford not to optimize your hiring strategies.

Why is mass hiring important?

Mass hiring is vital for companies experiencing a sudden growth in customer demand or recent, rapid scaling. Basically, it’s an ideal hiring method for business that need to continue delivering quality, efficient services, but needs more hands, fast, to get the work done.

Support rapid growth

Mass hiring is often a critical part of any tech startup’s hiring strategy, as these businesses often grow really fast, which means they need to grow their teams fast, too. Mass hiring enables them to quickly scale their operations, meet increasing customer demands, and maintain a competitive edge. For example, a tech startup might need to double its software development team quickly if they’re going to release a new product after securing major venture capital funding or landing a massive new client.

Address seasonal hiring needs

Seasonal industries, such as retail and hospitality, rely heavily on mass hiring. These businesses have peak periods, such as Black Friday and Christmas for retailers and summer vacation for hospitality businesses, when they require a much larger workforce. A successful mass hiring effort enables them to meet these high-volume staffing demands and maximize their revenue potential during peak seasons.

Replenish post-shock workforces

Shock, in this context, refers to any shock to the industry that leads to layoffs or business disruption (natural disasters, pandemics, etc.). For example, at the start of the pandemic, certain businesses in sectors like travel and hospitality had to lay off many employees. As these industries began to recover, rebuilding their workforce very quickly became a top priority.

The 3 key stages in the mass hiring process

Familiarizing yourself with the core stages in the mass hiring process can help your team plan effectively and select quality candidates quickly.

Plan ahead for these three key stages when bulk recruiting new candidates.

1. Planning and preparing for mass hiring

Careful planning is key in any mass hiring process (or really any interviewing process, for that matter). Hiring managers have a key role to play in establishing a solid, workable process and finding the right technology to ensure everything works smoothly.

Typically, this process starts with a recruitment team meeting. You’ll analyze hiring costs, any skills gaps with existing employees, key selection criteria, and more. You’ll also need to decide on key recruiting metrics and other information you’ll use to communicate throughout the hiring process and measure your success. This might include:

Regardless of how you go about it, creating a mass hiring plan means bringing together a bigger recruitment team, focusing on putting candidates first, finding the right tools to automate repetitive tasks, developing a strong talent database, and highlighting your employer brand.

2. Recruitment and selection

With a solid mass hiring plan in place and your broader recruiting team geared up, it’s time to find the right candidates! Having the right tools and processes in place is essential to make this work.

The recruitment and selection tools you use to measure candidate quality and experience should integrate into a smooth workflow that keeps good candidates in the system from application to onboarding and beyond. Any glitches in this core workflow could cause the whole mass hiring process to fall flat.

For instance, if job seekers must first complete an automated skills test, but the skills platform doesn’t enable the team to create candidate profiles or integrate with their other hiring tools, it’ll cause massive delays and extra work (and frustration) that will not deliver successful mass hiring in the end.

Mass recruitment efforts could include:

  • Job fairs, campus recruiting, or other mass hiring events

  • Specialist job boards, like ZipRecruiter, We Work Remotely or Dice

  • Social media recruiting

  • Employee referrals

A bulk recruitment process is easier to optimize and manage if you’re able to use candidate assessment tools that help you assess candidates based on skills first to filter out unqualified candidates quickly.

Mass hiring using skills tests
There are several benefits of using skills testing as part of mass hiring events.

When assessing so many candidates, it’s helpful to automate as many tasks and steps in the process as possible, so look for hiring tools that allow you to do the following:

3. Onboarding

When your talent pool is filled to the brim after your candidate sourcing efforts, and you’ve selected the best candidates, the next stage in your efficient process is to make them an offer and get them onboarded.

To ensure everyone is grooved in from the start, the hiring manager should ensure that the onboarding process is standardized and efficient, especially for bulk hiring processes that require you to mass hire and onboard dozens, if not hundreds, of new employees at once. If not, you risk losing your new starters with a poor candidate experience and putting extra, unnecessary strain on the HR team.

Onboarding technology, like Freshteam, GoCo, or BambooHR, can help the hiring team streamline onboarding.

5 challenges of a high-volume hiring process

The steps above might sound pretty simple, especially if you’ve never had to mass hire high-quality candidates with time and budget restraints. Others who’ve experienced a successful mass hiring process will know that, while success is possible, it’s not without its challenges.

For example, when bulk hiring, it can be difficult for hiring teams to keep pace with recruiting efforts without sacrificing hire quality or dropping the ball on candidate communications, all while developing current employees and working on other internal initiatives.

Other issues you can learn from (if we compare mass hiring to traditional hiring) include the following.

These are among the most common challenges bulk recruiters face.

1. Hiring quality candidates

When mass recruiting, it’s important to strike a balance between the quality and quantity of potential candidates you’re sourcing and screening.

What qualifies as a “quality hire” may get tweaked as your team gets further along with the mass hiring activities. And that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re defining and measuring it, and relying on data and technology is how you’ll get this right.

Modern HR tools enable hiring teams to automate and streamline the recruitment process while making better decisions about candidates based on data rather than gut feelings or false information on a resume.

For example, candidate screening tools like Toggl Hire that offer skills tests can help teams identify quality candidates quickly from the numerous applicants who initially applied.

2. Managing the candidate experience

Applicants get frustrated quickly if the candidate experience is poor. If you’re not careful, you risk having top candidates withdraw their applications before leaving bad reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, which can severely hurt your company’s reputation.

To avoid this, here are a few tips to create a winning candidate experience:

  • Create a clear job description that focuses on desired skills instead of generalized responsibilities

  • Ensure timely communication between your team and candidates at every stage of the process

  • Prioritize transparency, such as detailing the “next steps” in your communication, so candidates know what to expect next in the process

  • Craft rejection letters that are encouraging rather than dismissive

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Six key components can help make or break the candidate experience: job ad, employer branding, application, selection process, offer, and onboarding. To rock these components, value your candidates’ time, set clear expectations, ask for and provide feedback, be responsive, monitor your social media presence, and offer a seamless mobile experience for applicants.

3. Finding the right technology

Mass hiring isn’t possible without modern recruitment technology, including applicant tracking systems, AI-powered screening tools, and automated interview scheduling software. With the right tools, hiring managers can streamline the process, effectively vetting large volumes of candidates without sacrificing quality.

Best software for mass recruiting
With several recruitment tools available, choose one that offers these features.

There are various recruitment tools you can choose from depending on what you need help automating or optimizing the most. Assessment tools, for example, offer an intelligent way to reduce recruiter workload by replacing time-intensive CV reviews with automatic talent assessments.

Regardless of the tool you choose, ensure it integrates into your existing workflows and that it helps you make data-driven decisions that lead to high-quality hires.

4. Bulk recruitment candidate assessment

Finding the time (and the right methods) to assess a few candidates for one job is tough; figuring out how to implement a more efficient strategy for bulk recruitment candidate assessment can quickly become chaotic or disastrous.

Traditional hiring includes multiple rounds of interviews and assessments, which allows recruiters to get to know the candidates thoroughly. There’s no way around this, as it’s a crucial part of any regular or mass hiring drive. However, there are ways you can speed up the process while still ensuring you’re sourcing only the very best candidates with the skills needed to succeed in the position.

“The skills profile will become commonplace in learning systems, HR systems, talent marketplaces, and more — and it will move with each individual from role to role, project to project, organization to organization…giving a more detailed view of someone’s capabilities and potential compared to the simple overview of a resume.”

Susie Lee, Client Innovation Officer at Degreed

Relying on skills assessment at the beginning of the hiring process makes everything more user-friendly and streamlined. Skills-based hiring platforms like Toggl Hire allow teams to use pre-built skills tests to quickly filter out unqualified candidates, automatically move top candidates to the next stage, and even leave internal notes on candidate scorecards to make hiring decisions faster.

5. Optimizing onboarding

With a large influx of new hires, it can be challenging to ensure each candidate receives the proper training and resources. This can lead to high turnover rates, as new employees may feel unsupported and undervalued. After working so hard to source so many candidates, that’s the last thing you want!

To get new hires on their feet as soon as possible, the onboarding process in mass hiring should be standardized and easily scalable. Consider providing comprehensive training materials that outline company culture, policies, and procedures. This can empower new hires to learn at their own pace and feel more prepared for their role.

It’s also helpful to conduct regular check-ins during the onboarding process to gather feedback and identify areas of continuous improvement. Remember — your candidate and employee experience all affect your brand image long-term.

3 tips for implementing a successful mass hiring process

By building a mass hiring plan before you start the interview process, your team can easily find suitable candidates, provide a great experience throughout the entire process, and onboard them easily so they quickly integrate into teams of current employees.

1. Consider the “before, during, and after” phases

Identify the appropriate time to initiate your mass hiring process, and consider the following before you get started:

  • Have a clear understanding of the staffing needs: Determine the number of workers you need to employ and for how long. Identify the required skill sets for each position and how many interviews to conduct during the recruitment process.

  • Decide on the recruitment channel: Advertise the job positions on the right channels, such as job boards, social media, or via employee referrals. Determine the timelines of when the job ads will expire.

  • Create an interview team: Who will be evaluating candidates at every step of the process? Will you hold group interviews? Who needs to sign off on potential hires? Consider these factors to avoid bottlenecks or miscommunications at every step of the process.

During mass hiring, keep the following in mind:

  • Keep track of candidates and interviews: Use a standard interview format and rating system to keep track of the interview history with each candidate.

  • Provide timely feedback: Through consistent communication with the candidates, provide feedback about their performance to keep them informed and engaged in the recruitment process.

Most teams seem to believe the work stops here, but you also need to collect feedback from your new hires after the mass hiring event to improve future recruitment processes.

Use a skills testing platform like Toggl Hire to automate candidate feedback.

2. Determine must-have skills for top candidates

What are your non-negotiables? What skills does your team currently lack? Consider questions like this to create a comprehensive list of skills and qualities that a top candidate must possess to streamline the interviewing process.

The best way to identify must-have skills is to perform a skills gap analysis to identify skills gaps in your current workforce. Hire candidates based on their ability to help you close those skills gaps while also considering soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and adaptability.

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

Don’t overlook soft skills, as 89% of recruiters say bad hires typically lack soft skills. The cost of just one bad hire? Nearly $15,000 on average!

3. Track the right recruiting metrics to measure success

Recruiting metrics can help you monitor your hiring efforts at every stage. Critical recruiting metrics to look at in a mass hiring situation include:

  • Time to fill: How long it takes to fill a position from the date of the job ad

  • Cost per hire: The total cost associated with filling a single position

  • Candidate satisfaction: Feedback from candidates on the recruitment process

Top tips to enlarge those brains Top tip:

To properly track your recruiting metrics, download our free recruiting metrics template! Once you download it, you can customize it to fit your organization’s hiring needs, but it’s pre-built with 23 metrics and formulas.

Streamline mass hiring with skills testing

Mass hiring is a time-consuming, expensive endeavor that can put even the strongest HR teams to the test. Putting a skills test at the beginning of the hiring process can help you weed out unqualified candidates immediately.

Set a higher pass threshold (we like to start with 80%) to filter those who didn’t read the job description or don’t have the basic qualifications needed to succeed in the position. Upon completing the skills test, candidates are immediately notified of their results (yay for great candidate experience!), and you receive information about those who passed.

This allows you to go from thousands of candidates to a select few shining stars within mere minutes. Your biggest struggle will be how and where to promote the job ad — everything else is on Toggl Hire.

Want to leverage the power of skills testing and hire top candidates en masse in a fraction of the time it’s taking you to hire now? See how Toggl Hire works for high-volume hiring situations, or browse our skills assessment library to see what skills testing is all about.

Elizabeth Thorn

Elizabeth is an experienced entrepreneur and content marketer. She has nine years of experience helping grow businesses and has experienced first-hand the impact of skills-based hiring in today's global, digital world.

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