Volume Recruitment: Finding The Needle In The Haystack 

If Carlsberg did recruitment processes, there would be just one perfectly matched applicant for every vacancy, and no time wasters would apply. Back in the real world, though, striking candidate ‘gold’ can be rather more like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Volume recruitment, in particular, gets a bad rap (hands up anyone who looks forward to sifting through thousands of applications or conducting days and days of back to back interviewing!).  However, it isn’t always about reacting to employee churn; for many businesses it can play an integral part of their planned hiring strategy.  But, is your volume recruitment drive simply putting bodies in gaps, or is it putting the right people in the right jobs?  

Assessing Candidates For ‘Best Fit’

The answer lies chiefly in the process itself.  Big recruitment drives need to fulfil a few crucial goals.  Get it done, get it right, and keep it cost and time effective.  They also tend to be heavily deadline driven, so much so that it can be all too easy to focus on speed to hire, at the expense of candidate fit.  Yet, whilst many organisations extoll the virtues of candidate assessment for their regular permanent and skilled hire vacancies, they overlook its value when it comes to volume recruitment campaigns.

At great{with}talent we believe in a simple but effective mantra; person-organisation-fit.  We believe it matters at all levels within your business, for every hire, every time.  Our suite of candidate assessment tools, FindingPotential, is designed to help you do just that – find the best potential and the best fit for your business, all rolled into one.

Volume Recruitment: Reducing The Burden

Let’s take a look at how investing in candidate assessment can help alleviate some of the common challenges that come with volume recruitment (if you’re a veteran handler of mass applicant processes, these will probably resonate all too well):

  • Time

The everyday workload doesn’t stop just because you’ve got a big recruitment campaign to roll out in one area of the business. Perhaps your remit extends beyond recruitment and into HR.  Perhaps you are a line manager having to handle your own recruitment campaign alongside your ‘day job’.  And, even if you’re job is all about recruitment, let’s not forget all those other equally urgent vacancies still requiring attention in the background.  Volume recruitment rarely comes hand in hand with a nice chunk of empty diary space and additional recruiting resource.  Far more likely, you’ll be staring down the barrel of an extremely hectic few weeks as you juggle an already busy work schedule alongside handling volume applications and conducting an unending stream of interviews.

All the more reason, then, to make sure the process runs as efficiently as possible.  That translates directly into how predictive and accurate it is, because it stands to reason that the more quickly you can zone in on the candidates that are best suited, the less time you waste taking unsuitable candidates too far down the track. Early stage assessment tools, such as great{with}talent’s sifting questionnaires, provide a practical method of sifting large numbers of candidates early in the process. These sorts of questionnaires are very quick to complete, typically used early in the recruitment process and focus on personality constructs that are likely to relate to success in roles such as customer service, admin and sales.  They’re designed specifically to save you time and make your process as efficient and targeted as possible.

  • Cost

The success of your campaign rests with not only speed to hire, but also ‘best fit’.  And the trouble when either of these go adrift is that the cost of the entire process starts to spiral, either through on-going and mounting advertising and resourcing costs, or through the cost of unwanted employee churn.

Volume recruitment lends itself to a spot of budget planning better than most other ‘ad hoc’ unplanned recruitment.  That’s because it doesn’t usually come out of the blue and it is generally part of the planned roadmap for the business.  There aren’t many FD’s who would advocate a budgeting strategy geared around throwing good money after bad.  Yet that’s exactly what you do if your hiring decisions aren’t based on as complete a picture of the candidate as possible.  According to an Oxford Economics survey, in the retail sector (where volume recruitment is commonplace), the cost per replacement employee is over £20k. Yet, a little bit of upfront investment can go a long way, and access to appropriate candidate assessment tools can cost surprisingly little (take a look at our pricing structure and see for yourself).  Getting it right first time doesn’t need to cost the earth, and it is arguably a much safer outlay than paying to repair mistakes made on the back of a job only half done.

  • Candidate Fit

Mass recruitment is generally indicative of a relatively junior point of hire.  And at the more junior end of the spectrum, whether it is admin staff, sales staff, production workers, or warehousing staff, it can be hard to distinguish between greatness and mediocrity.  Especially on the basis of a cv and interview alone. More often than not, in the absence of any more robust assessment and testing, it comes down to trial by probationary period.  With the best will in the world, this just isn’t the most predictive method of hiring, which spells bad news for everyone involved.

We’re talking about recruitment en masse.  Ipso facto, finding candidates with the skills to match the role requirements probably isn’t all that hard.  But to make the difference between doing the job, and doing the job well?  That takes a balance of capability, attitude and fit.  The trouble is, no cv will present a realistic snapshot of these essential qualities.  All too often, there’s very little to come between one candidate and another.  In the search for the metaphoric golden ticket amongst all the sweet wrappers, you’re going to have to either interview far more people than time and budget permit, or risk eliminating the wrong people from the process.  And what of those who reach interview stage? The question is, how reliably does that ‘whites of the eyes’ conversation predict success? After all, it just isn’t always that easy to distinguish between truth, elaboration and (to be kind) white lies.  We’re not just talking about the candidates here.  Ultimately, the interview is a conversation between one person wanting to ‘sell’ the job and the other wanting to ‘win’ it. Those two people are only human, and the temptation to oversell the positives and overlook the negatives can sometimes be hard to resist on one or both sides of the desk. Assessment tools provide a fantastic leveller.  They are an objective means by which the candidate can gain a realistic insight into the role (for example, using Situational Judgement Tests), and the employer can use various questionnaires to gain a highly predictive insight into important factors such as motivational drivers, values, personality traits, and preferred work styles.  And because these types of questionnaires are designed to identify response bias, you can be confident in the reliability of the feedback provided in the reports.

  • Speed To Performance

Whatever the reason for your volume recruitment drive, the chances are that speed to performance will dictate success.  If you’re recruiting a team to open a new business unit, you need people who will quickly learn the ropes, operate effectively as a unit, and be ‘business ready’ by the planned launch date.  If you’re hiring a temporary team for two months, you need to attract and hire people who will learn the ropes, use their initiative and start performing effectively within days, not weeks.  Anything standing in the way of that speed to performance will quickly de-value the process of hiring.  That includes staff requiring excessive training and support, those who under perform, and those who just simply don’t turn out to be quite who you thought they were at interview.

Whether your assessment focuses on ability (numerical or verbal reasoning), personality, situational judgement, core values, motivational drivers, or all of the above, building a team that performs well together from the word go is about way more than just asking ‘Can they do the job?’  It’s also about ‘Will they fit in?’  One thing’s for sure; if you adopt a basic approach to recruiting, you’ll probably end up with a basic level of new potential.  Your business is worth more than that.

‘Best Potential’ And ‘Best Fit’

Finding the best potential is all about predicting the best fit.  It starts with reliable and valid assessment, and it carries through to a successful, cost effective and rewarding recruitment campaign. It doesn’t need to cost the earth, and it can seriously cut down the administrative burden that often goes alongside mass recruitment drives.

If you’d like more information on how we can help reduce the headache of your volume recruitment at prices that won’t make your eyes water, call us or visit www.findingpotential.com for more information or a free trial of our assessment tools.



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