6 Key Strategies for High-Volume Recruiting

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For businesses that need large numbers of frontline workers, recruiting is an ongoing effort; you need to source quality, qualified frontline personnel to keep daily operations running smoothly. This is known as high-volume recruiting, and without the right recruiting tools and strategies, it can be a difficult—and time-consuming—undertaking. 

We’ll break it down for you, starting with the top challenges you’ll face in high-volume recruiting and wrapping up with key strategies and metrics you can track to make your recruitment process easier for everyone.

What is high-volume recruiting?

Hiring more than 500 people annually is considered high volume, though in some areas, more than 250 hires annually can also be considered high volume.

Typically, you’ll see these numbers in industries with greater demand or turnover, like retail, restaurants, and massive manufacturing facilities with employees numbering in the thousands. High-volume recruiting also happens when companies are staffing new facilities.

What is the difference between high-volume recruiting and other types of recruiting?

Recruiting can be broken down into several categories—like executive recruiting, which focuses on hiring the right candidates for the C-level.

High-volume recruiting, which is most often seen in frontline recruiting, is another subtype that refers to recruiting many candidates in a short amount of time. It’s sometimes confused with corporate recruiting, but corporate recruiting focuses less on large numbers in smaller windows and more on filling smaller numbers of specialized positions.

Common challenges in high-volume recruiting

Because it involves a vast number of candidates, high-volume recruiting is a challenging business. You’ll find the three biggest challenges to surmount below.

Tons of applications

When hiring 500 or more people, that means 500 or more job applications to go through, right?


Consider your applicant-to-hire ratio, which measures how many applicants you receive versus how many hires you make from that talent pool. Applicant-to-hire ratios are seldom 1:1, and even an ultra-low 2:1 ratio means sifting through 1,000 applications to make 500 new hires.

Poor candidate experience

High-volume hiring is already challenging, but applicants reporting poor experiences can make it even harder. When candidates have a bad experience with a company’s hiring process, they’re extremely likely to withdraw from that opportunity and look elsewhere. Worse, they may tell their friends and colleagues, leading to a decline in reputation and fewer applicants overall.

Manual, repetitive processes

Speed is key when your business needs to bring in high volumes of new employees quickly. Outdated manual processes slow down the hiring process, which leaves your business with productivity gaps as it takes much longer to bring in the number of employees needed to keep things running smoothly. 

6 key strategies for high-volume recruiting

Your recruitment process must incorporate efficient high-volume recruiting strategies when hiring in huge numbers. Use the six strategies below to bring in more high-quality candidates and amp up your high-volume recruitment process to better handle larger numbers of candidates.

1. Provide easy access to job applications

A job seeker’s time is valuable. Candidates often apply to multiple jobs at once, so few will have the patience to put up with long, complicated application processes. If your applications are hard to find on your website or consist of multi-page forms, candidates may lose interest and move on to apply at another company. 

This is why you need to make your job applications easy to access. Avoid the temptation to incorporate long, unwieldy forms into your application process: Provide candidates with a path of least resistance to apply for your open positions to make them more likely to complete and submit their applications.

Similarly, more of today’s applicants are mobile users than in years past. As a result, they’re more likely to complete the application process if they can apply via QR codes, text-to-apply, SMS, social media, and other options not tied to an email address. 

If your career portal is mobile optimized, this makes it easier for mobile users to apply wherever they are rather than waiting until they can sit down in front of a computer. You should also make sure that your website’s career page is easy to find and doesn’t force applicants to jump through hoops just to submit their applications.

2. Showcase the job where the candidates will see it

Jobvite’s 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey provides these statistics:

  • Sixty-nine percent of applicants search job boards and career sites for openings.
  • Nearly half of applicants hear of jobs through word of mouth.
  • Forty-one percent search for jobs on social media.
  • Thirty-seven percent hear about jobs through professional networks

If you want to bring in high volumes of candidates, you need to place those jobs where people will see them. Start with job boards like Indeed and Simply Hired and social media such as Facebook—which can be a great way to get your job post in front of thousands of qualified applicants at a time. (Tip: Did you know that almost 5 billion people use social media? Leverage it to meet your applicants where they are.) You can help word-of-mouth spread by implementing a referral program for your employees. Not only does this get the word out about your open positions, but it’s also a great way for employees to bring in new candidates from their networks, which increases your candidate quality.

3. Use a recruitment automation tool

You need the right tools for any project: You wouldn’t try to build a skyscraper with a hammer and nails, right? 

That same logic applies to high-volume recruitment—and in this case, the heavy equipment that HR professionals use includes platforms like Emi, which streamline the process so that your hiring managers and recruitment team can handle huge numbers.

With Emi, you can automate job postings so that when you have open positions, the platform sends job descriptions and other details to your preferred job sites and social media platforms. It can also help you sort and filter applications, searching for specific keywords to narrow your talent pool to the best candidates. Other tools help you evaluate your campaign’s efficacy, make onboarding easier, and more.

4. Optimize your job descriptions 

There are several reasons why it’s crucial to optimize applicant-facing content. For starters, just like with great marketing campaigns, optimized recruiting campaigns can increase your reach to pull in more qualified talent.

Optimized content also helps prevent a lot of headaches. For instance, job seekers may apply to a vague job description only to find out midway through the interview process that the job isn’t what they were hoping for. Be clear about job duties, expectations, benefits, and salary in your descriptions to prevent timewasters like this.

Other things, like clear screening questions, can help you filter candidates quickly between those who gave desirable answers and those who did not.

Optimized content also helps you improve the quality of hires because it helps paint a picture of company culture. As candidates look through job ads and postings, they’ll often pre-screen themselves based on whether they think they’d be a good fit for the culture. Thus, it's important to showcase your culture—and showcase it accurately.

5. Enhance candidate experience

Think of job searches the same way you think of shopping. If you’re a job seeker, you’re essentially shopping for a job, so many of the same principles hold true. And when you’re shopping, a bad customer service experience is one of the quickest things that will make you look elsewhere.

The same thing happens when job seekers have a poor application or hiring experience. Even though you’re juggling quantity, your hiring strategy can’t skimp on quality. Provide a personalized experience, be diligent about answering applicant questions, and be sure applicants can easily access everything they need to apply and follow through on interviews; that’s how you hire with empathy.

6. Track and evaluate metrics

The modern business world runs on data. Just like you need marketing data to sell products effectively or accounting data to make sure budgets align, you need to keep track of hiring metrics. This keeps the talent acquisition process running smoothly and helps you continuously refine and improve that process to produce better results.

In fact, there are several essential recruitment metrics to track, each important enough that we’ll expand on them more below.

Top metrics to monitor the success of your high-volume recruiting process

Metrics are a crucial part of your strategy; they help your hiring team improve so that you can make better hiring decisions—and make those decisions more efficiently. You’ll find some of the top metrics to track below.

Applicant-to-hire ratio

We discussed this a little bit above, and it’s an important metric to track. If you have a high applicant-to-hire ratio for your industry, it’s time to look at your sources, application process, or interview process to see what you can do to balance this ratio.

Candidates by source

This measures the number of candidates that each source pulls in, allowing you to double down on your most productive sources. 

Hires by source

Similarly, you can use this metric to pinpoint the most productive sources. Be sure to compare this with the number of candidates by source, too.

You can do so by creating an applicant-to-hire ratio for each source, which can be incredibly revealing. For example, if one source gives you a ratio of 100 applicants for every hire, and another source gives you two applicants for every hire, you can then decide whether a 100:1 applicant-to-hire ratio is worth your time.

Conversion rate

Similar to your applicant-to-hire ratio, the conversion rate tells you how many candidates convert to hired employees. High conversion rates are great, but low conversion rates indicate that you need to search for things like lengthy or complicated hiring processes that turn candidates away. Keeping an eye on drop-off points in the hiring funnel can help you identify where there may be issues that you can resolve that hopefully leads to more conversions.

Applicant-to-interview ratio 

This number tracks how many applicants proceed with an interview. You can use it to discover important details about your application process that may be causing people to drop out before the interview.

Interview-to-hire ratio 

Use this metric to evaluate the interview process itself. Suppose you’re interviewing a lot of candidates but making very few hires. This could mean that you're selecting too many interviewees, or there could be another issue, like a complex interview process that turns people away.

Candidate satisfaction score

Use surveys and similar tools to generate a candidate satisfaction score. Once you know how happy people are (or are not) with your application and hiring process, you can identify and fix problems within the process.

Candidate rejection reasons

Be sure to speak to candidates who reject job offers to learn why they decided not to join your team, and log the reasons that they give you. These insights can shed light on elements of the hiring process that you may need to fix.

Similarly, talk to your interviewers and hiring managers about candidates they decided not to move forward with on their end, and make notes of their reasoning. If your company rejects large numbers of candidates, this may help you identify patterns and adjust your processes to screen candidates more thoroughly. You’ll save time on your end and for candidates who otherwise would not have been hired. 

Applicant funnel stages

Your applicant funnel should have three stages:

  • Screening: Screens applications and resumes to select the best talent to proceed with the interview process
  • Interviews: Your HR team’s opportunity to meet with candidates and select the best of the best
  • Offers: Sent out after HR has selected top talent from among the interviewees

Keep track of the number of people going through each stage. The numbers can be revealing. For instance, if you have a lot of rejected offers, it could mean something undesirable about the job itself. Or another example may happen when you have large numbers of people failing to follow through with the interview process, which could mean that the interview process has problems.

Time to hire

Longer times to hire can spell bad news. At the least, they’ll cost your company more in human resources hours—and since many job seekers want to go from seeker to new employee quickly, a long time to hire can turn away qualified candidates.

Cost per hire

This measures your spending on labor hours, marketing materials, advertising costs, training, and more. Keep track of this metric so that you can keep your costs down. 

Improve your high-volume recruiting strategy with Emi

High-volume recruiting is tough—but automation with Emi will make your team’s workflows much easier. You can use Emi to stay on top of key metrics and important data, and it’s also an ideal applicant tracking system designed to help you automate everything from job postings to communications. You can even use it to schedule interviews and handle other time-consuming manual tasks.

If you want to learn more, give Emi a test drive with a free demo, which you can request here.

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