High Volume Hiring
4 min read
September 29, 2022

The new way to hire: The right ways to source high-volume talent.

Finding the right talent may feel harder than ever nowadays, but in order to convert, employers need to know the right buckets to look in for high-volume hiring.

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There’s a major difference in sourcing for an experienced software engineer and a second shift material handling associate. In our brains, we know this. Then we go searching for the best ways to source, and we find a recruiting technology landscape that is primarily designed to source professional, individual contributor hires, not high-volume hourly candidates.

This is a problem.

The way we source high-volume candidates really hasn’t changed in decades. The primary strategy today is built around two main actions:

  1. Get the job post up on Indeed.
  2. Get the job post up on our career site.

The third step is to sit and pray someone will apply. We can all sit back and have a laugh about this, but globally, that really is the primary strategy for hiring hourly workers.

Where to source high-volume candidates.

I’m going to break these down by bullet and not number ranking, because every organization can have one source that is better than another. But there are the major high-volume hiring sources we all should be using:

  • Indeed – Okay, this is still your number one step. By a mile. Indeed produces more applicants and more hires per capita than any other product on the market. All the ATS data shows this across industry and market.
  • Employee referrals – While job boards might produce more applicants, many organizations find that employee referrals produce more hires and higher quality for less cost. The problem is that we suck at manually managing employee referral programs! Do yourself a favor and invest in employee referral automation that helps you and your employees easily leverage their social networks.
  • Google – You might need to bring your marketing peer into the room to help you with this one. While Google won’t produce giant numbers, most people still start a job search on Google, so you need to have your jobs indexed very high. The data I have shows that the cost per applicant of Google hires is far less than Indeed and other job boards.
  • Facebook – We love to hate Facebook, but they have almost 3 billion monthly active users. Like Google, the cost per applicant is very low compared to job board spend, but the numbers aren’t high. But because it’s inexpensive, you should be there.
  • ZipRecruiter – Behind Indeed, Zip probably produces the second most volume of applicants than any other job board in most markets. They are job board 2.0 if Monster and CareerBuilder are job board 1.0. Zip was the first to back programmatic advertising, which helps get more traffic to your job posting. Plus, they advertise like crazy.
  • – Another job board that has very high traffic and in many markets produces a high number of high-volume applicants. If you haven’t tested Talent and/or Zip, it’s worth trying to see if they can bring you some more volume.
  • Old school advertising – Billboards are effective in high-traffic areas that high-volume candidates travel in. Have a major competitor a mile down the road killing you in hiring? Put up a billboard across the street from their employee parking lot! Yard signs used to be super effective, but so many organizations are using them now that it’s become noise. I still like them, but you can’t leave them up all the time. Put them up for a few days and take them down. Don’t allow them to become noise.
  • Programmatic technology – I thought about putting this first because, ultimately, this one is probably the most effective as a combined strategy and spend. Most enterprise organizations are using some form of programmatic, whether they know it or not. Most shop this out to an agency that up-charges them for basically throwing their jobs into the technology, so you’re paying a premium that you can easily do on your own.
  • Marketing automation – One of the most underutilized and most invested sources we have is our own database within our ATS. We have thousands, if not millions, of candidates who have applied and said “I want to work for you” but that we didn’t hire. We should be nurturing our own database constantly. Someone who applied years ago might be the perfect fit today or just coming off another job. Extremely high ROI when we hire someone we already have in our database!
  • Geo-targeting and geo-fencing – These are higher levels of marketing technology strategies that allow you to target a specific area or location or even build a “fence” around an event, company, etc. You can also target your job ads specifically to mobile users.

These are big buckets. We can come up with a hundred more ideas on finding candidates, but most of those are producing low-volume hires. Of course, combined, they can lead up to some fairly big numbers. The key to all of this is being multi-channel. We need to advertise our jobs everywhere at once to ensure we are finding people where they are.

How to source high-volume candidates.

With high-volume hourly hiring software, you must 100% be mobile-first, which means text to apply is non-negotiable. If you don’t have it, you are not even in the game. The success of your sourcing efforts comes down to finding and converting, and your conversion needs to be super fast (which I just covered in the previous article). That only happens via text.

The pandemic gave a second life to QR codes, so if you’re asking yourself if you should have a QR code that applicants can scan, and it takes them immediately into an application process, the answer is “yes.” But, that QR Code should take them into the text to apply process, not back into your standard ATS.

The great rule of thumb is the fast-food drive-thru timing trick. Can someone scan your QR code and apply for a job in the amount of time it takes for them to pay and get their food? For the record, that’s about 90 seconds on average.

Finding talent feels like the heavy lift right now in high-volume hiring, and it definitely is, but I find so many organizations shoot themselves in the foot by forcing candidates down a process that has very low conversion. We have to make our high-volume application processes as light as possible. We can always collect larger amounts of data after we have them hooked and interested.

The next part in the series on the new way to handle high-volume personalization is here.

If you missed the previous part, the new way to do advertising vs. conversion is here.

Written by
Tim Sackett
CEO of, Senior Faculty Member of the Josh Bersin Academy
Tim Sackett
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