Recruiting Enablement Blog



Thriving at Recruiting in a High Volume World

Jeanette Leeds Maister October 29, 2020

It’s no secret: the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered one of the worst jobs crises since the Great Depression, with unemployment rates going through the roof.  The result, reported by recruiters worldwide, is a dramatic increase in the number of applications per job posting, with an over 1400% increase for some roles.

With a jobs recovery not expected by economists until after 2021, employers with job openings have an incredible opportunity to win great talent. But, how do they do this with a (smaller) team of recruiters, who now need to wade through hundreds, if not thousands, of applications per posting?

At Oleeo, we believe that Recruiting Enablement is the solution - focusing on how recruiting leaders can enable their teams to master high volume recruiting.

Volumes are soaring

High volume functions can be the most difficult to recruit for: They can get hit hard with high turnover rates, a surplus of entry-level workers, and situations where canceled interviews (ghosting) and unprepared/ casual candidates run rampant. In some cases, businesses are hiring a high volume of candidates in a short amount of time. The job market is also more competitive. Applicants are outweighing job vacancies, with increases as high as 1363% for certain roles in the four months from March to July, according to research from Search Consultancy. What this means is that recruiters are juggling competing demands as illustrated here:

Covid has turned us all into high volume recruiters -- even recruiters with a small number of openings. In the UK, the ratio of applicants applying for all available jobs has, on average, more than doubled during the pandemic when looking at year-on-year comparisons, with significant spikes on the rise under the ongoing lockdown conditions.

We find ourselves in a period of overburdened recruiting functions. Processing each role requires many steps to complete for each  - 91 steps based on our research in fact. That number has skyrocketed over the last year.

So when you combine the high volumes of applications, plus the many candidates you have in your talent bank who you want to nurture (especially when roles are placed on hold)...well clearly that’s created challenges.

And these are just some of those challenges…..but I’m sure we could all a lot more to this list:

  • Choose candidates to interview?
  • Maintain a great candidate experience?
  • Nurture your talent pipeline for the future?
  • Not let D&I fall by the wayside?
  • Reduce the administrative strain on recruiters?

Recruiting Enablement is key

Put simply, overcoming these hurdles requires recruiters to be enabled. That’s why we have created the catchphrase “Recruiting Enablement” which entails leveraging data & automation to achieve new efficiencies and better hiring outcomes.

You may have heard of the term sales enablement. Most enterprise organizations leverage sales enablement practices to be more effective at reaching customers and hitting sales goals. 

And why is that key? Well according to research conducted by CSO Insights, having an effective Sales Enablement function leads to two-digit improvements for quota attainment and win rates compared to those organizations without enablement.

Sales Enablement is most successful when data and insights fuel it. The same principles and results can be applied to talent acquisition.Organizations that leverage a Recruiting Enablement practice see improvements such as overall efficiency and quality. 

Basically, Recruiting Enablement takes the guesswork out of talent acquisition and allows companies to use data and insights to drive success or try this definition as your focus for putting it into practice:  

“A strategic, ongoing process that equips all candidate-facing employees with the ability to consistently and systematically have a valuable conversation with the right set of candidates at each stage of the candidate life cycle to optimize the return of investment of the recruiting system.

Here’s a table showing the value you can achieve by switching from a reactive recruiter to one that practices Recruiting Enablement:

Recruiting Enablement technology does not impact just one area of talent acquisition. It extends from recruitment marketing efforts to onboarding. It leverages data and automation throughout the entire candidate experience and provides intelligent workflows to move the right candidates along in the process in a more effective way. 

Recruiting Enablement is super successful when it is used throughout the entire process, from attracting talent to onboarding. Yet, interestingly, only 27% of enterprise companies are only planning to automate more than 50% of their talent acquisition processes this year, according to Aptitude Research, and the majority of those companies are just automating the application process. Here’s a funnel showing where you can apply Recruiting Enablement end-to-end:

D&I is vital

We are in an era of social change, where critically important movements like Black Lives Matter and MeToo have drawn increasing attention to companies where Diversity and Inclusion is a statement, but not a strategy, and we are in an era that is demanding systemic change. At the same time, the Covid19 pandemic has impacted our economies, demanding a level of business agility and sustainability unimagined just a short time ago. 

The case for Diverse and inclusive workforces is clear - Diverse and inclusive workforces are more profitable, outperform competitors and are more innovative than those companies that are not. D&I is key to making it through these tough times: Recent research shows that D&I efforts present a potent source of strength for organizations as they weather tough times. In the last Great Recession of 2008, companies that had a highly diverse and inclusive workplace thrived before, during, and after- gaining a 4x larger stock return than the S&P 500.

Our own research at Oleeo shows this among recruiters prioritizing D&I:

  • 63% look to training to reduce bias
  • 55% create consistent interview processes
  • 48% use bias-free job descriptions
  • 125% more companies are using AI to reduce bias this year vs last year

A really important piece to a successful D&I recruiting strategy is attracting candidates This can be done by removing gender-biased words and superlatives as well as “nice-to-have” requirements. Chances are you’re using statistically biased words in your job descriptions without knowing it.  Unconscious bias in language isn’t always clear or obvious. At the same time - recruiters need to be aware of bias in resumes when they review them. Oleeo learnt this from research with the University College London, examining the lexical, syntactic, and semantic differences in the text of 200,000 resumes/CVs.

It’s also vital to focus on delivering the right content, at the right time in the recruiting process, to specific candidates, based on profile, background, etc to personalize the process. London’s police force, the Metropolitan Police, for example created video content that showed a more inclusive and were able to increase the number of women participating in and passing the assessment by 40%.

Maintaining great candidate and hiring manager experiences

In the current climate where we are all dealing with the Coronavirus Pandemic, candidate engagement matters more than ever. This isn’t about being “fluffy” for the sake of it. It is about strong consultative recruiters flexing their emotional intelligence,  while relying on their foundation of strong technology & process.

Recruitment at its core is focused on people and what matters most to them. We all know the key factors each individual will weigh up when they think about accepting an offer; I’m sure you’d all agree that what is just as important is how you made that person “feel” & that will form part of their decision making. Covid-19 is driving us all to look at our “values”, what is really important to us & to extract more meaning from our working lives.

Consistent and transparent processes are vital.. What do I mean by that? If there are 3 interview stages then explain what they are, who they might be meeting, content and how you will set up the interviews.

Employee Brand & EVP is crucial too. Tell your stories - ask marketing to support. Equally think about your own personal brand - what messages are you portraying about yourself and can a candidate “trust” you? People may be fearful at this time, so the more thought that is put into your own profile and how candidates perceive you the better buy-in you will get. 

Think long-term as well. You might not be hiring at the moment, but it’s always the case that as humans we remember more how people behave and act in a crisis then when times are good. Put yourself in the best position possible for when you need to start hiring again as competition will be tough. Never before has it been worse to have a one-size-fits-all approach to recruiting.

So how can we overcome these issues?  Talent acquisition professionals face intense pressure to handle both tactical and strategic aspects of their jobs. 

A practice of Recruiting Enablement can automate these tactical tasks and create workflows to let recruiters focus on the aspects of their job that create more value to the organization. As I said -  the fun part - being recruiters and connecting with people - both internally and externally. 

Recruiting Enablement also ensures that candidates are not left behind or overlooked in the process and that candidates have a simple, intuitive experience. 

Did you know that, according to Aptitude Research, 1 in 3 companies state that the application process takes over 30 minutes. Talk about a candidate experience that isn’t simple!  Simple things you can do to improve this include:

  • Automate interview scheduling
  • Provide (automatically created) candidate profile books
  • Automate requests for manager feedback
  • Provide a mobile app

Make data king

In terms of how to make sure that data helps to determine your recruiting, here is a key checklist you can use:

  • Leveraging (sometimes new) data where we didn’t before
  • Applying data science to automate steps/tasks
  • Being evidence-led instead of intuition-led in decision making
  • A culture shift in recruiting / HR

For greater efficiency - remove workload/burdensome steps;
but also streamline where data science can make or aid decisions for recruiters.

For greater effectiveness - inform decisions with data, drive adoption of programs/ideas with data, improve quality of hire.

Doing this will mean you enable your (smaller) recruiting teams with tech to automate processes & data to inform and improve decision making. Listen back to our full webinar to learn more!



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