Talking with Ryan Bridgman on high volume recruitment

“To deal with high volume recruiting, companies need to target the right candidates with the right message”

Ryan Bridgman, Regional Director UK and Ireland for Jobrapido – on everything you need to know about high volume recruiting: which industries are typically impacted, how to focus on quantity without losing quality and why Programmatic technology is a great solution to overcome the challenges of high volume recruiting and finally how the COVID-19 emergency may impact how recruiters hire and the roles they may require in the future .

Recruiting managers frequently need to recruit several positions at the same time. But the situation can get complex when an organization needs to recruit significantly larger volumes of employees over a relatively short time-frame – the framework commonly referred to as high-volume recruiting. The term stands for the process of hiring a great number of employees in a short amount of time: the quantity can vary from hundreds to even thousands of positions in any given time slot. This invariably creates challenges for HR professionals.

Today we met with Ryan Bridgman, Regional Director UK and Ireland at Jobrapido, to talk about the complex world of high volume recruitment and look at the core challenges, efficient strategies, future trends as well as examining working solutions that technology brings to the table.

  • High volume recruitment is a key topic for many recruiters. So, what does this term really stand for, and what are the industries where this approach is particularly in demand?

R.B. I always prefer saying “high volume high-quality recruitment”. Historically some organisations have focused on large hiring volumes without necessarily understanding the importance of scaling whilst maintaining a high degree of quality. I really want to put an emphasis on the quality part – recruiters today often have the challenge of recruiting high volumes of candidates (sometimes in areas of acute skills shortages) within tight deadlines and all whilst ensuring the quality of these hires (as well as regulatory compliance where relevant). It isn’t easy.

In terms of where we see this across the market – the answer is that it happens across a wide range of industries. This typically happens at certain times; when a company undergoes exponential growth, during peak seasons (so-called ‘seasonal hiring’ where as an example in the period leading up to Christmas we typically see volume recruitment for retail, delivery and hospitality professionals), throughout emergency situations (as during the recent coronavirus outbreak), during organisational transformation (as an example when transitioning to an ecommerce business from a high street retail business) and also on a continual basis if the industry dynamics require a constant flow of candidates for certain kinds of roles. You also see one-off volume recruitment events, such as when an organisation opens a new location.

  • Speaking of that: how does high volume recruitment fit into the global picture of the coronavirus outbreak? Which industries are the most affected?

R.B. Businesses hate uncertainty. What happens initially is that many areas of the recruitment market literally shut down and wait for clarity to reappear as to what happens next. We have seen this already. On top of this, huge swathes of the market have been mandated to close their operations (e.g. most retail and hospitality businesses).  On the flip-side there are certain segments that experience a sudden rise of requirements over and above seasonal norms. This includes supermarkets, logistics and delivery services. Sudden, unplanned bulk recruitment is required to address these requirements.

At some point, organisations (and therefore recruiters) will start addressing the new reality once clarity starts returning as to what this is, and we will see more planned recruitment. And again, it is probable there will be continued increased demand for delivery services, but also increased appetite for (as an example) e-commerce positions is likely to materialise. The latter category is particularly relevant because one of the permanent outcomes from the COVID-19 crisis is likely to be the acceleration towards e-commerce from bricks-and-mortar shopping. People have been virtually mandated to use e-commerce to obtain goods and services as a result of lock downs. For some consumers this may be the first time they have had to use this platform so extensively and for some the convenience and choice that e-commerce provides may result in these individuals becoming permanent devotees to this type of shopping. Online buying may become the “new normal” for them. Consequently, I believe we are going to see E-commerce, delivery and logistics, food couriers etc become continuously required even once the pandemic is over.

  • Apart from the challenge of maintaining a high level of quality, which are the other difficulties that recruiters may run into while hiring in high volumes?

R.B. Recruiters have a huge responsibility as they essentially engage and recruit people who help the organization achieve its goals. Typically, recruiters working in a planned recruitment cycle have more time and resources compared to when they suddenly have to ramp up their recruitment volumes, especially if they are not used to doing this. In such a case, their main restriction is time which is a huge pressure: for example, you certainly can’t postpone Christmas. Ensuring quality of hires within defined, non-negotiable periods of time is a significant challenge that HRs have to embrace when hiring in high volumes.

Another challenge awaiting recruiters who hire in high volumes for certain categories of roles is the competition in the market for these skill-sets. A volume recruiter is unlikely to be the only organization recruiting these skill-sets at any given time and there are going to be plenty of competitors that are after the same talent pool as they are. As an example, think about the demand for delivery personnel in the lead – up to Christmas. So, there is a lot of complexity involved in high volume high-quality recruitment.

  • Quality can be viewed from different perspectives: on one hand, recruiters are interested in hiring the people with the right competencies for their organisation. On the other hand, quality also represents the optimal candidate experience. Recruiters need to present their employer brand effectively to the right audience.

R.B. Absolutely, the quality of the candidate experience is very important. Additionally, for certain positions you also have regulatory compliance requirements and obligatory background checks that provide additional pressure on time and resources. For example, you often see volume recruitment around sporting events, (e.g for security personnel), or in financial services organizations when they are opening call centres and HRs need to recruit these people in high volumes very quickly and often include a proper background screen as part of the process.

  • In peak seasons, different companies in the same industry are looking for the same type of candidates. So, it becomes a “war for talent”. How can a company stand out as a potential employer?

R.B. We live in a digital age, where information is readily accessible to everyone, including data around organizations an individual might decide to work for. So, whilst I would say that a vast majority of the population are not continuously looking for new jobs, they are continuously open to identifying and learning more about those organisations that fit in with their personal values. So essentially their job-search filter is always on. So, if organizations are targeting the right audience with the right, relevant message and articulating their Employer values, they have a big advantage as it enables an employer to stand out and show why they are an appropriate fit for a prospective employee.

Today, Programmatic technology makes it possible to send the right content to the right person at the right time on the right platform. It is not just about reach – it is about correctly targeting the right people with information that is relevant to them. Because ultimately, it will come down to people making a choice between different employers based on the information they have on them.

  • Speaking of providing the right content: certainly, Programmatic stands for relevance and facilitating the right match between candidates and potential employers, but how can the company better broadcast its values and its message on a classified level? How do you write a good job ad?

R.B. I often ask companies that struggle with getting enough candidate engagement: “If I were your target audience, why would I work for your organization?”. And often, I get a response about good benefits, great culture, internal company growth – all these really good things. But then I ask: “And when do your candidates find this out?”. And the answer is often – at the interview. Sadly, that is a bit late. So, with regards to your job adverts rather than posting a lot about your selection requirements, you should talk more about why your organization is unique, articulate why you are worth working for. If your ad is just a simple list of demands, it may not give a good first impression of your organization, particularly in the modern competitive market. 

Different demographics have different values: for example, we see with Millennials and Generation Z that they do not typically look for one job for life. They often see themselves changing jobs every 2-3 years. They want to be a part of dynamic companies, socially responsible, technologically agile. Unfortunately, some organizations, don’t take account of this and do not manage to align their corporate values with the personal values of different demographics. So, as a recruiter, you really need to sell your organisation to those groups

  • Can we go further into the topic of Programmatic recruiting, especially in terms of hiring in high volumes? What are the benefits that Jobrapido can bring to the clients in this sense?

R.B. Jobrapido provides an Amazon-type experience when it comes to looking for jobs. Literally, we take the work out of looking for work. What does this mean? For employers, it means serving the right content to the right candidates at the right time and on the right platform, ensuring that your messages broadcast to the people who are more likely to engage positively with your brand and be a good fit for your organization. We do this by active campaigning using an artificial intelligence and in-house recruitment marketing experts, combined with the ability to be extremely granular in our targeting (a solution we created called Smart Intuition Technology). We create rich data profiles of our candidate community, continuously learning about where they are in their employment journey and what they are most engaged with. This provides what is called intent data. Consequently, we can serve them content that is appropriate and relevant. This relevance provides an enhanced candidate experience. Relevance is key, and true Programmatic has relevance at its core.

Building on this, we go one step further providing  organizations with commercial models based on outcomes that really matter to them, such as cost per completed application.

  • The pool of the candidates on Jobrapido is really, really vast. Are there a lot of candidates that are suitable for the types of positions currently requested in high volumes?

R.B. Globally, we have over a hundred million candidates in our communities across a wide spectrum of the recruitment market, with a vast range of skills and experience. This pool is growing rapidly too. We use technology to continuously populate our community with a candidate pool based on what employers are requesting in that particular moment so it is not a static audience. This technology enables us to satisfy the demand of employers and candidates, both in terms of quality and volume at any given time based on market dynamics. We literally provide recruitment on-demand.

  • In your experience, have you observed any trends in high volume recruiting?

R.B. The world has changed: technology has come on board and radically transformed the way businesses operate. From a commercial perspective, companies have to adapt to rapidly changing market dynamics and ensure that they have the personnel in place to do that. For example, I have noticed growing high volume recruiting demands from high street retail organizations that are bolstering their online e-commerce facilities and typically need a lot of customer service and tech people to align themselves with these strategic objectives. The migration from offline to online has happened rapidly and will continue to happen.

And, as I said before, the coronavirus outbreak will profoundly influence some industries in the near future. We are going to see higher demand for employees in delivery services, E-commerce, there will be more request for drivers, food couriers.

  • One of the important topics regarding high volume recruiting is Cost per Hire. When there so many positions to cover, the HR department surely has to think this question through and optimize Return on Investment in the best way possible?

The cost per hire (or rather the cost of a quality hire) is a very interesting topic. Historically, when it comes to recruitment marketing, ROI tended to be focused on what the actual cost of placing an advert is. Today, more and more recruiting marketers have adopted the techniques used by consumer marketers – for instance, understanding conversion metrics and the ultimate impact on the hiring process. For me, the biggest factor that provides the difference between a good cost per hire and a poor cost per hire is actually the conversion and the engagement rate of your marketing messages. That is why it is extremely important to ensure you are targeting the right audience with the right message. And, as we touched on earlier, this is where Programmatic comes into play. 

Are you a recruiter eager to take on board candidates with the best skillsets on the market to really match your requirements? Then check our siteJobrapido is a global job search engine with a pool of high potential jobseekers. We can offer you the most competent targeted candidates on demand.

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