Give Them T.I.P.S Not Headcount!

GARY TOWERS • 24 Mar 2021

How to Increase Your Resourcing Function's Capacity Without Raising Headcount

It is common knowledge that many organisations have shed staff during the pandemic. From August to October 2020, the UK unemployment rate was 4.9%, the highest level since 2016, according to the UK’s Office for National Statistics. To compound matters, a 2021 candidate survey by CareerArc highlights that 61% of full-time employees intend to seek new jobs in 2021. With so many people expected to look for new roles post lockdown/furlough, many organisations are expecting to see a huge increase in the volume of applications.

Already in the first quarter of 2021, Jobtrain has seen an average 80% increase in submitted applications across all of the organisations using its ATS software, compared to the same period in 2020.

Jobs website, CV Library, reported that in the last 12 months the most popular role was an entry-level position as a Paralegal which received 4,228 applications. Some 3,333 people applied for a job as a Human Resources Assistant and 3,272 for a Trainee Accountant job.

This poses a long-standing challenge - how do I ensure that we spend 80% of our time on the 20% of candidates who are the closest match to our needs?

Give them T.I.P.S not headcount cropped

Handling large volumes with small recruitment teams is bread and butter to those who manage popular graduate schemes or recruit for call centres, and more applications are seen as a bonus. For those overwhelmed by this unexpected and unfamiliar volume, they may find the prospect a little daunting.

But instead of increasing the headcount in the team, give them T.I.P.S. to handle the increased volume.

T - Give them TIPS v2

Tighten your advertised eligibility criteria and selection processes

  • Don’t just post a job description. Write meaningful content that matters to the candidate, and that encourages applications of the quality that you want. Be very clear on the essential criteria and desirable criteria.
  • Utilise ‘’killer’’ questions for the essential criteria, and scored application questions for the desired criteria as part of the online application process in the applicant tracking system (ATS).
    Many candidates get into a lazy habit of firing out CVs from job boards at a click of a button, increasing volumes but not necessarily quality. But building a series of simple ‘sifting’ questions helps remove the uncommitted from the process. As an example of the effectiveness of this approach, the job ad for Christmas delivery drivers that received over 5,000 applications. By adding three simple questions – including ‘do you have a valid driving licence’ and ‘are you eligible to work in the UK’ the number of eligible applications was immediately reduced by 2,000.

I - Give them TIPSIncrease or introduce more automation

So more work is done by the recruitment technology not your people

  • Make sure it is set up to issue an automated pass/fail decision to those who complete the ‘’killer’’ questions, and/or the scored questions.
  • For communications with candidates, automate the emails or text messages, by creating templates and linking to pass/fail decisions, workflow status changes, or time-based rules. This pacey and timely response is always welcomed by candidates and stops the team from having to field too many queries.
  • Candidates should be automatically invited to pre-recorded video interviews (where they answer pre-set questions via video from their phone or computer at a time that suits them). This stage replaces the need for scheduling and carrying out a telephone interview. Combined with automatic scoring of applications, it can replace the often-lengthy process of shortlisting.
  • If a socially distanced face to face interview is permitted, or a live 2-way interview required, the interview’s availability can be added into the ATS, allowing the final handful of candidates to book the timeslot that suits them, and have the confirmation emails and calendar appointments carried out by the system.
  • Get offer letters, contracts, and joining packs online with digital experience and immersive onboarding experiences including all information the candidates need to know or complete. With 1 in 10 candidates giving ‘backword’ after acceptance , and (according to a recent article by SmallBizGenius) 26% of workers having quit a job because they were unsatisfied with the onboarding process, it is critical to handle this extremely well with successful candidates. After all there’s been a long process to get them on board and failing at the last hurdle is costly and easily avoided.
P - Give them TIPS

Pool quality candidates that you might need for future recruitment

Take advantage of the volume surplus and reduce your attraction expenditure for even longer

  • Create Talent Pools aligned to job families, skill sets or departments of an organisation. Have an automated email go to any candidate when placing them in a pool, to alert them to this fact, and with clear instructions if they prefer not to have their details held within the pool.
  • Utilise categorised or keyword searches – whether manual or automated - within the ATS to match candidates in a pool to vacancies. Having pre-assessed candidates, a pool will deliver candidates to hiring managers quicker, negating recruitment advertising. The Harris Poll’s annual survey of HR Managers in 2020, 55% said their time-to-hire goes down thanks to this practice and 42% say it reduces their cost-per-hire.
S - Give them TIPS

Start the cycle again

Measure past learnings effectively and continually refine and improve

If you “can measure it, you can manage it” they say. Easy access to meaningful reports in an ATS is crucial.

  • A funnel or throughput report will show the numbers passing through each stage of a process. Whether they are too high or too low, will inform where the pass/fail benchmarks can be loosened or tightened.
  • A bottleneck report will show the time being taken for candidates to pass through different stages of the process. This will help identify areas that may require more efficiency or expediency.
  • Explore further automation and setting SLAs. If a system is equipped with it, consider setting automated alerts to prompt colleagues as to when a deadline for a candidate related task is approaching.

When the benefits are realised, the organisation can see it’s QED - Quality. Efficient. Decreased expenditure! 

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