Written by Amie Lawrence, Ph.D., Director of Global Innovation
Previously published by PSI Talent Management or Cubiks, prior to becoming Talogy.
During high volume hiring projects, HR pros face some unique challenges. Developing an effective and efficient hiring process is not easy, and being tasked with hiring hundreds or thousands of employees in a time crunch presents its own set of unique challenges. This is particularly true for entry-level positions within industries such as manufacturing, distribution centers, and call centers. In this blog, we’ll discuss three areas where human resources personnel could struggle as they work to complete a high volume hiring project.
3 Common Challenges HR Teams Face with High Volume Hiring Projects
1. Knowing the Jobs
Hiring cannot start until you understand what positions need to be filled and what to look for in prospective employees. This can be one of the most difficult stages of planning a mass hiring burst because, in many cases, the hiring needs are unique to the expansion. If the start-up is a new facility within an existing company, then a sister facility may be able to help guide the HR staff on what they need to do. Regardless, HR professionals must figure out exactly how many employees they need to hire to handle the initial workload and how to advertise and screen candidates.
In an established organization, the first step in creating an effective hiring process is a job analysis. This usually includes observing employees performing the position(s) of interest and conducting focus groups to learn more about the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) associated with job success. The selection process is then built with the job analysis as the foundation.
If there are no incumbent employees to observe and interview, there are a few methods for getting this information:
- Visit a facility with similar positions and use their employees to study the KSAs. This option is often used when the start-up is a new facility within an existing company. However, some organizations may have relationships with companies within the same industry where this kind of collaboration is possible.
- Interview a group of organizational leaders and industry experts about their vision for the jobs and what kind of work employees will be doing. This group can discuss the KSAs they feel are necessary to perform the job successfully. This success profile can be used for initial hiring and can be revised after employees are on the job performing the positions of interest.
- Another method for gathering information about jobs is through online libraries like O*Net. This site has job descriptions and task lists for a large number of occupations. This site can provide a starting point for most positions within an organization.
Once the jobs have been studied and the success profiles have been established, a selection process should be designed that measures the key success factors. There are many selection tools available to identify the best candidates, some will be discussed in the next section. A key thing to remember is that any assessment tools included in the process should be used consistently across all candidates to ensure fairness and accuracy.
2. Managing Candidates
After the selection process has been designed, candidates are invited to apply. Due to the large number of positions, those managing the hiring project see high candidate volumes but have few internal resources to handle them. One way to manage candidate flow is to leverage technology. Automating some of the data gathering and decision-making can make your process more efficient. For example, using an online questionnaire, most applicant tracking software can automatically screen out individuals who don’t meet basic qualifications. Other automated features include automatic scheduling – candidates who meet specific standards are sent a link to schedule themselves for the next stage of the hiring process. Additionally, online employee assessments can be included in a selection process to gather highly accurate information about candidates without needing a face-to-face resource. Build your process such that automation helps you to pare down the candidate pool to your most qualified. Use your personnel resources on only the best candidates.
Automation can make a process more efficient but it’s important to pay attention to how the candidate is reacting to your organization and application process. It is important to communicate realistic expectations to your candidates about where they are in the process and how often to expect to be contacted.
3. Finding Leaders
Many organizations fill leadership positions by promoting from within. In an expansion situation, leadership positions may need to be filled from the outside with little known about the individual. Leaders are key positions in a new facility or expansion because they are responsible for getting everyone up to speed and establishing a workplace culture. The ability of leaders to manage change and achieve results has a large influence on the success of a company.
One common approach to finding strong leaders is to hire leaders from other locations within the company or from similar industries. These leaders bring with them strong technical knowledge about the industry and highly relevant experience. This approach can be very effective but it is not likely to fill all open leadership positions. Therefore, recruiting and screening for leaders will be needed. In our experience hiring leaders over the past two decades, we have learned that effective leaders possess certain characteristics and skills that can lead to success regardless of industry experience. One of the best ways to identify individuals with these skills is to use leadership assessments that can provide an in-depth look into leadership competencies. These leadership assessments can also be used to identify high-potential employees who can be groomed for future leadership positions. They are also effective development tools for identifying gaps so that individuals can receive training in areas where they need to improve. All in all, leadership assessments can be a great way to find great leaders, identify future leaders, and improve the bench strength of the current leadership team.
Through my experience guiding organizations hiring for expansions, I can say with confidence that it can be challenging and stressful. The tips described above can be useful in helping HR professionals to navigate the waters of high-volume hiring. For more information on this subject, download our Guide to High Volume Hiring Success.