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3 tactics to create a high-volume hiring strategy

High-volume hiring is no longer just a seasonal challenge. Companies across the world are facing labor shortages and increasing competition for talent. Job opening activity is up, but application activity remains low, . Whether you have hundreds of open positions or thousands, you’re likely feeling this pain and looking for a solution.

Organizations like FedEx Express and PetSmart have a high number of open roles at any given time. They need to balance attracting many applicants with quality candidates that are more likely to get hired.

At our virtual conference, iCIMS customers Brandon Tolbert, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at FedEx Express, and Dani Laven, Manager of Talent Acquisition Operations and Employer Brand at PetSmart, shared their strategies to overcome current market challenges and maintain high volumes of hires.

Watch their session, The Secret to High Volume Hiring? Hint: It Starts with Your Brand, in our on-demand library.

In this post, we’ll share their advice on how to:

  • Clearly define your employer brand
  • Learn about your candidate’s behaviors
  • Define unique KPIs that match your organization’s needs

Clearly define your employer brand

A clearly defined employer brand can be the cornerstone of a successful high-volume hiring strategy in today’s competitive market.

FedEx Express is a reputable brand that has been around for nearly 50 years. But with today’s hiring challenges, they’ve found that it’s more important than ever to remind people who FedEx is and what they do. As they go to market, they remind people of the contributions FedEx Express has made during the Covid-19 pandemic, like being on the front lines to provide PPE support and being the very first company to deliver a Covid vaccine in the U.S.

Although these accomplishments are just a small part of what FedEx Express does, they find it incredibly important to remind applicants of this bigger purpose because it helps them identify how they might fit into a role.

Tolbert said, “Everyone, I believe, wants to be a part of something bigger. And we want to make sure that people that are looking for our jobs … realize that’s just a launching pad for a career with us, and they can have a meaningful impact on the world.”

In a year and a half where many people haven’t felt connected to their jobs, a clearly defined employer brand can make all the difference in attracting candidates who want to work for a company that shares their values.

Learn about your candidate’s behaviors and preferences

When it comes time to communicate your employer brand, it can be helpful to take a step back and look at your value proposition from a candidate’s perspective. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own “corporate lingo” and deliver a mission that misses the mark with a candidate who wants to hear it in language that they understand.

Laven knows a thing or two about understanding candidate preferences and behaviors. In 2021, PetSmart executed a complete career site refresh. During the process, they took a step back and decided to start almost completely from scratch. It was important to PetSmart to spend time talking to candidates and associates to understand how they absorb content. This helped PetSmart deliver an effective career site and employer brand message that engages candidates in a familiar tone.

This message on the company’s career site is a fantastic example of how to communicate employer brand value through language that reflects a candidate’s vocabulary and tone.

 

Additionally, the channel or format of your message is important to consider.

When PetSmart built their new career site, they tried to add a lot of different elements that would resonate with candidates however they wanted to learn or absorb information. If job seekers want to learn more about the story of a cashier, they can easily navigate to the blog and hear all sorts of stories about real employees who have grown their careers as cashiers. If they are interested in IT and want to meet the PetSmart leadership team, there is a video series that allows that conversation.

By taking a step back to put yourself in your candidates’ shoes, you can learn how candidates will be most receptive to your message and then present it to them on their terms.

FedEx Express is in the process of adding iCIMS Video Studio as part of their hiring playbook. When an applicant gets to their career site, they’ll see a quick video of an actual courier, handler, or whichever job they’re applying for, and be able to get a real sense of what that job is and whether it’s a fit for them.

Tolbert said, “We’re excited about using this technology to really enhance that applicant process and get people on the right path right from the beginning.”

See how iCIMS customer Hilton leverages user-generated video on their career site.

Some more scalable ideas to help you communicate your value to candidates are:

  • Add extra details about the job and your company to the job description
  • Use website recruiting chatbots to make it easier for candidates to find out about the skills required for the role
  • Start a text campaign to spark a conversation with passive candidates about their values and job search goals

These tactics can help you facilitate a hiring process that converts quality job seekers and is a natural deterrence for those that may not align with the culture and the role.

Define the unique hiring KPIs that match your organization’s needs

How do you measure the efficacy of your employer brand-focused strategy?

Just like your employer brand, measuring success is not one size fits all. Each organization needs to set unique KPIs and look at data based on its unique hiring strategy.

PetSmart partners with iCIMS to measure their KPIs and take a much more detailed look at what their candidates are doing on their website. They’ve recently noticed an increase in top-of-the-funnel traffic but decreased conversion rate. While this might initially seem like a cause for alarm, this is a positive for PetSmart.

They’ve found that candidates are doing more research, causing them to visit a site multiple times before converting. Those who hit the apply button are qualified, motivated, and more likely to get hired. Overall, this allows PetSmart to hire at a much higher rate.

Laven said, “Taking a look at applications per hire has been a really interesting metric. Working in a high-volume retail space, our hiring managers or store leaders are used to looking at dozens of applications to make one hire. So when they’re seeing six applications for one hire, it instills this panic. But those six people – who have hundreds of other employment choices – are choosing to apply. We’re able to really shorten the workload for everyone and have six quality [applicants] as opposed to 600 not quality.”

FedEx Express measures many of the same KPIs with an additional focus on the efficiency of the application itself. They’ve spent a lot of time in the last 18 months revisiting their application process to make it streamlined and keep candidates engaged. Simple things like a completion bar help candidates know how much time is required to complete an application, keeping them engaged until it is complete.

Read about four more talent acquisition KPIs to influence your hiring strategy.

Face your high-volume hiring challenges head on

Organizations like FedEx Express and PetSmart can teach us a lot about tackling high-volume hiring challenges through their experiences. Watch their INSPIRE 2021 session, The Secret to High Volume Hiring? Hint: It Starts with Your Brand, in our on-demand library, to hear more about their successes using employer brand-focused strategies.

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