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4 Keys to High-Volume Hiring Success for the 2022 Holiday Season

Posted by
Dave Anderson
October 27, 2022

With inflation rising and economic uncertainty ahead, many recruiters in the retail, hospitality, and restaurant industries don’t know what to expect for the 2022 holiday season. Will high-volume hiring be a priority this year? And if so, will the talent market continue to be as competitive as it has been in recent years? 

The answer to both these questions is likely “yes.”

According to HRDrive, 65% of retail executives believe staffing/recruiting is their top challenge going into the holiday season, ahead of onboarding new employees (14%) and scheduling (8%). In another survey of retailers, 71% of respondents said they’re concerned about labor shortages this holiday season. 

In this blog post, we’ll dive into why attracting candidates is still difficult and provide four actionable tips for accelerating hiring, improving candidate experience, and meeting your seasonal hiring goals. 

Why is high-volume hiring still challenging?

Despite the economic slowdown, candidates continue to be selective about what job opportunities they move forward with. Sense research shows that candidates apply to up to 12 openings in a single job search session and devote their attention to the hiring companies that are most responsive and respectful of their time. 

Before we explore how you can capture and maintain candidates’ interest, we’ll first summarize what they want in their job search experience: 

  • Individual candidates have specific wants and needs in a job and want to know if your company offers what is important to them before they apply
  • Candidates want a simplified application process with as few steps as possible
  • Candidates will prioritize the hiring companies that respond first to their applications and progress quickly through the hiring process 
  • Candidates will lose interest and withdraw from consideration if they don’t receive frequent updates

How to hire for a high volume of roles

Recruiters in the retail, hospitality, and restaurant industries know that high-volume seasonal hiring requires speed and efficiency. But the other (often overlooked) factor is providing a positive candidate experience. Keeping candidates happy and engaged throughout the hiring process reduces drop-off and increases the likelihood they choose your opportunity over the others they are considering.

Let’s explore four specific ways your company can accelerate hiring and engage talent at scale using AI and automation.

Instantly answer questions from job seekers

Candidates today value other factors besides compensation, like flexible work schedules, training/upskilling, and benefits — and they want to know if your company offers what is important to them before they apply.

The problem is they aren’t going to wait days or even hours for a response from a recruiter. And even if they were willing to wait, your recruiting team doesn’t have the capacity to respond to every question you receive from job seekers.

Using Sense Smart FAQs, you can fill in answers in a library of commonly asked questions and the Sense AI Chatbot will relay those answers to curious job seekers who visit your careers website. You’ll generate more applicants by instantly engaging job seekers and providing them with the information they need to determine if the role is the right for them.

Make openings visible and offer a simplified application experience

Expecting candidates to find your openings on job boards, then fill out a detailed application isn’t an effective sourcing strategy when they have multiple employment options. In order to attract as many applicants as possible, you need to get your openings directly in front of potential candidates and offer a seamless application experience that can be completed in a few short steps. 

With Sense, you can advertise that you’re hiring in your brick-and-mortar locations and allow job seekers to apply by texting a dedicated number or scanning a QR code. Taking either action will connect them with the Sense AI Chatbot, which will collect their application details by asking a few simple questions about their skills and experience. 

Automate recurring recruiting tasks and boost the efficiency of the recruiting team

According to Workable, average time-to-hire can exceed 20 days for the hospitality industry and 24 days for the retail industry. Taking a few weeks to fill an open role might be fine most of the year, but during the holiday season, you need to be hiring new employees as quickly as possible. 

Sense automates the recruiting tasks that typically extend the hiring process. For example, after a candidate applies, the Sense AI Chatbot automatically screens them against role requirements and schedules an interview if they’re qualified. If a candidate is unqualified, the Chatbot will suggest other roles they’re better suited for. 

Reviewing applications and scheduling interviews are often major bottlenecks that add days to the hiring process. But with AI and automation, a candidate can apply and have an interview scheduled in just a few minutes. 

Frequently update candidates throughout the hiring process

Candidates today won’t tolerate slow and infrequent communication from recruiters. If you fall out of touch, they’ll shift their attention to another opportunity and will no longer be interested in joining your team by the time you finally do reconnect.

It’s not only important to progress quickly through the hiring process, but also to keep candidates updated along the way. Using Sense, you can send automated emails, text messages, and other communications to candidates at different points in their hiring journey. Consistently updating candidates about their status keeps them interested in working for your company and results in more accepted offers.  

Conclusion: High-volume seasonal hiring is all about speed, efficiency, and candidate experience

Using AI and automation, you can better engage talent and meet and exceed your high-volume seasonal hiring goals. Let’s recap how:

  • Use conversational AI to answer candidates’ questions and collect their application details
  • Attract more applicants with text-to-apply and QR-code-accessible applications
  • Reduce time-to-hire by automating recurring tasks, like screening and interview scheduling
  • Keep candidates updated about their hiring status with frequent, personalized messaging

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits AI and automation can bring to your hiring process? Check out our Recruiting Automation Playbook and learn specific use cases that will help you accelerate hiring, boost candidate satisfaction, and reduce acquisition costs. 

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