Managing mass hiring

There have been several times in my HR career that I have been saddled with the task of hiring a large number of people in a short time. The last time I did this, I found myself hiring about 100 employees for a new grocery store location. Such an undertaking is stressful to say the least. Taking the time to carefully plan the hiring process can do a lot to keep it from feeling overwhelming.

Connecting with a Large Number of Candidates

We are beyond the days of placing a cryptic ad in the local newspaper’s classified section, tossing a help wanted sign in the window and waiting for applications. Employers need to employ all manner of online tools and resources to share openings with job seekers. Social media can be especially useful when trying to attract a large number of applicants in a short time. Set up specific accounts on sites like Twitter and Facebook to provide updates on hiring.

When hiring a large number of employees, it is difficult to call back every applicant who has a question, so take advantage of your social media tools and mass emails to keep people in the loop. Have a standard email message that goes out to all applicants and explains the hiring process, and be sure to include links to any social media sites that can provide regular updates.

Interview Marathons

When hiring for a new location, some people prefer the cattle-call approach where job seekers are told to show up at a specific time. These are the kinds of hiring events that result in the obligatory news story with a picture that shows a line of hopeful applicants stretching around the block. I do not always find such events effective because it skips the step of screening applications.

Instead of the cattle call, advertise that everyone needs to complete an application or submit a resume if they are interested in a job at the new location. Then screen applications, and call in candidates who meet the qualifications for a marathon interviewing day where you line interviews up back-to-back. This helps weed out those whose applications show that they are not strong candidates.

Get Creative with Follow Up

At the conclusion of each interview, let candidates know how long they will wait to hear back about your decision. Once again, it can be useful to point people toward your social media sites, so you can provide regular updates about the hiring timeline. You can also send out mass email updates to all candidates, especially if you meet with delays in the hiring process. Providing general updates through these channels will reduce the number of calls and emails you get from waiting candidates.

And remember to follow up with candidates you decide not to hire. While you may not have time for individual phone calls, at least take the time to send a quick email to let the candidate know of your decision.

Plan for Mass Onboarding

Do not forget to plan for onboarding all those new hires at the end of your mass hiring process. Plug people into hiring groups with others from their new department, so they go through new hire paperwork and orientation together before being handed off to their manager for job training. Be prepared to process the increased amount of paperwork as well. Remember to check in regularly with new hires and their managers to see how everyone is adjusting.'

Author: Stephanie Hammerwold

Stephanie Hammerwold, PHR, is the co-owner of Hammerworld & Pershing and specializes in small business HR support. Stephanie writes as the HR Hammer and is a regular contributor at Blogging4Jobs, The HR Gazette and TalentCulture, and she gives presentations on a variety of job search and workplace topics. She specializes in training, employee relations, women’s issues and writing employment policy. Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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