I remember when I was approached by a very anxious client partner to staff a large IT project for a retail client, I was very new to bulk hiring and had only worked on individual search.
We needed to staff the deal by the end of the quarter, which was less than 60 days away, and he was extremely nervous. He had some people on bench that could be deployed to work on that project, but it wasn’t enough.
I knew we needed a strong plan of action, but first I knew I needed to understand any challenges and hurdles that could act as blockers. I learned that, in the past, it was very difficult to conduct a large number of interviews during the week due to the extremely busy schedules of both candidates and hiring managers.
What about a Saturday interview day, I thought? We could host it at a hotel near the project (because we didn’t have an office near the project), and I would fly out Friday afternoon to setup for the event on Saturday morning.
From there, I learned a lot about the value of planning and buy-in from leadership.
Let’s Break this Down into Steps:
- Identify the needs and work backwards from there.
I knew I needed to bring on at least 30 people, so to calculate the number of interviews I needed to conduct, interview areas, interviewers and more, I worked backwards based on an interview-to-join ratio of 30%.
I figured out based on the above that I needed to plan to have 100 interviews. We would arrange the interviews from 9-5 with an hour lunch break at noon. That left 7 hours to take interviews. One hundred interviews divided by 7 hours equals just over 14, which means I needed 15 interview areas. We’d also decided we’d have a two-person panel in each interview. So 15 interview areas multiplied by 2 panelists comes to around 30 panelists.
We would need a space that could hold 100 people with a check in table in the front. We would need at least two people to check in candidates as they arrived.
- Set a date and advertise like a marketer.
We posted on our company site, LinkedIn and Twitter – and also used a Monster Blast to advertise our events. Monster Blast is a service offered by Monster where they send marketing emails to the candidates on their database that matched the job description. If you don’t want to pay for this kind of service, you can also create your own marketing email to candidates in your ATS or to those in a resume database, like Mighty Recruiter’s. However, I would recommend that you review every single candidate before sending any emails. You don’t want to send emails to candidates who are not a match or have previously told you that they are not interested in joining your organization.
We also partnered with our vendors and sourced our own candidates. No to mention, word of mouth referrals helped spread news of the event. When I spoke to candidates, I asked them to tell their colleagues and friends.
We received over 200 resumes for the event. We had a very good response rate for the low advertising budget we had. Advertising costs were less than $1000, including the cost of job postings and the Monster Blast.
- Screen the candidates.
If you have over 200 resumes, you may feel overloaded – so ask for help. Three recruiter/sourcers can clear up the entire list in less than three days. As you qualify the candidates, set up a group spreadsheet and schedule the candidates for time slots (related article: 10 Critical Phone Screening Interview Questions). We didn’t have an ATS system. Everything was done in Excel and our applications were paper. As you schedule, send the invites to the candidates letting them know of their appointment time and a copy of the application. Keep track of everyone and do multiple checks to make sure you don’t miss anyone. Two days before the event, call all the candidates and remind them. You want to minimize no-shows.
- Collect feedback and create a positive candidate experience.
Check every candidate into your log when they show up. Take their application and hand the interview forms to the panelists. I would always ask the panelists to mark the next steps on the forms. In most cases, the candidate is either a “select” or a “reject”, and you can make offers on the spot. In some cases, the candidate would need another round of interview to determine the fit. After receiving all the feedback, email and call all the candidates that attended the event thanking them for their time and letting them know the results (even if they weren’t selected). Bulk hiring doesn’t mean you that you provide any less of a candidate experience. Try to always provide the best candidate experience, as it is important to your employer brand and your bottom line.
Keep in mind, the results vary from one bulk hiring exercise to another. Replication can be difficult since there are many factors and variables that you have to keep in mind. For instance, you may not have the budget to hire out an external venue, but you could replace in-person interviews with video interviews using Skype or GoToMeeting to save costs.
Whatever you decide to do, stick to the four basic elements of the plan, and you should be well on your way to success!