Today we look at the recruiting process at Etech, which is one of the world’s leading providers of “intelligent sales, service and technology solutions specializing in inbound and outbound voice and live chat.” Elisabeth Grimes is the Recruiting Leader and was kind enough to share her background, recruiting ideas and firsthand advice on managing an absolutely astounding scale and pace of recruiting.

If you’re responsible for large-scale recruiting efforts, or regularly manage sourcing duties in settings where you’re sourcing dozens to hundreds of candidates at once, you’re going to really benefit from Elisabeth’s insights (found through years of recruiting at that enormous level).

Some background: Elisabeth manages A LOT of recruiting duties

Elisabeth got into recruiting by first working in an executive recruiting firm, where she found herself recruiting executives, project managers and high end salespeople. After working her way through Etech’s operations side as a sales coach, operations lead and account leader and then working as a project manager for the company, Elisabeth worked her way up to her current role as the Leader of Recruiting for Etech’s US and Jamaican centers.

She currently oversees recruiting in seven contact centers. Yes, seven! Let’s get into some questions and answers to see how one woman manages all of that recruiting across teams, locations and roles.

Can you give us a description of your responsibilities?

I lead recruiting teams that are responsible for sourcing hundreds of people per month to work in our various centers. Our centers range in size and require anywhere from 10-15 to 150+ new hires per month. There are recruiting teams at each center that are made up of one to two people. Also, I am responsible for advertising and sourcing all of our non-agent positions across the company.

What are your timelines when you have so much to do?

Not much. One week-10 days notice to fill a class happens often. Two weeks notice is preferred and any more than that is a godsend. One to two people are responsible for handling all of that volume. At times, we may receive requests for an entire month but throughout the month those change, as there are additional classes added or removed as needed.

The recruiting team’s goal is to source candidates, which means advertise, prescreen and schedule for in-person interviews. My team does not interview though. The operations teams and other departments acquiring new employees conduct those, so we can focus on finding the best new candidates. Hiring managers from our operations team know what works for them and by conducting the interviews themselves they can be more invested in their hires because they interviewed them personally. The recruiting team is also responsible for completing all pre-hire paperwork with those hired as well as setting up class lists for our trainers and providing all necessary paperwork to our HR team for orientation day.

Are there any unique challenges that you face with this volume and such tight deadlines?

There are certain recruiting challenges we face in exaggerated ways. Not having enough time, or having requests that might seem too large or back-to-back requests every single week are just a few examples. The most unique challenges are probably those that come along with having high turnover and a fast-paced hiring rate. We’re constantly qualifying people. Some of these applicants are repeat applicants or former employees, who might not necessarily be eligible for rehire today but may in the future. When processing hundreds and hundreds of candidate profiles, keeping those cases organized is very important.

Ok, so you get a request for 100 qualified candidates by the end of the month, what do you do next?

Our requests come through our internal online hiring request system. The request goes through our training department and operations director before reaching us. That process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few days if higher priority requests hit the pipeline too.

Once the request is approved and reaches us in the recruiting team, we go immediately to our pipelines. Our sourcing efforts never turn off, so we turn to applications who have come into our recruiting software before looking outward. When applicants come in, we tag them with certain desirable skills or experiences such as bilingual, overnight shift only, excellent typing score, etc.

We might need specific skills or fluency in different languages. So for an example of a role that requires new hires to be fluent in multiple languages, we might have pipelines already filled with bilingual candidates. Once we exhaust those applicants, we move to job boards and social media.

Indeed typically works well for receiving quantity. Social media delivers good results, but it can be hit or miss on volume. Certain areas and certain centers will receive positive social results. But then those same centers will fluctuate in the quality and quantity of responses from month to month. There’s no single “sure thing” for us, but our top three candidate sources are:

  1. Employee referral
  2. Online job boards
  3. Social media

Screening your volume of candidates sounds like an incredible undertaking, how do you approach it?

  1. We review the application.
  2. Applicants take aptitude tests.
  3. We review scores, if they pass…
  4. We call them for phone pre-screens.
  5. Every candidate is asked the same, standard set of questions. All of our recruiters across each of the call centers use the same list of questions to ensure consistency as some of our programs are located across multiple centers.
  6. Certain recruiting campaigns require extra questions added to the standard list on specific skills or job requirements, however we standardize these across all centers hiring for these programs (again, to be consistent).
  7. Since we’re hiring mostly phone-based sales people, the phone screen serves a built-in performance test. If they don’t do well with us, they probably won’t do well on the job.
  8. If the applicant passes the telephone pre-screen, we then schedule in-person interviews with our hiring managers.

You don’t conduct the interviews, but you facilitate them for the sales teams?

That’s right. We schedule the interviews around our operations team’s schedule, so as to have as little impact on day-to-day oversight of front line teams. Each hiring manager is given a packet that familiarizes them with the candidates they’ll be interviewing. Once the interviews are finished, they complete standard forms that let each interviewer tell us “yes” or “no” to hire. If the candidate is not a good fit for the program that they are interviewing for, the hiring leader may recommend them for another program in the center if there are openings available.

If not hired, we make a note in the candidate profile and file them away. If they are hired, we note their position and handle all of their on-boarding steps and paperwork. We organize the incoming candidates into classes that will onboard them to the company and specific teams.

These kinds of roles tend to have some drop-off even after candidates accept the job offer. Some candidates might not show up to their classes. For the ones that do, they are transferred to the internal employee system of our company and then they are handed over to the HR department. We then move on to sourcing candidates for new requests.

Is there something you would like to tell other recruiters? A piece of advice?

Document. Document. Document. Document everything. If you don’t document what you’re doing, nobody knows what you’ve done. Have the ability to go back to pull up everything you’ve done. My team is very small and we help each other out. If one center does not have current hiring requests, they may assist another center in another city or state that does. Documentation is important because everyone working to fill the class knows the exact stage of each candidate.

Where do you think recruiting is headed? What’s the future of recruiting?

Recruiting continues to require that companies use the latest technology that ensures your ability to reach the right candidates in ways that make them comfortable. Getting the right applicant tracking system in place early in your recruiting process is key. You need your tools to integrate with job boards, provide insight to everyone on the recruiting team and be simple enough to quickly pick up and use. Remember many applicants are using mobile devices to search for jobs as well as apply. We recently cut our application in ½ as we found that many mobile users were not completing applications due to the length.

Where does most of your time go during your day?

I spend most of my time in my recruiting software, tracking the progress of our teams and making sure everyone is moving efficiently, meeting with recruiting team members for coaching and development, or meeting with our internal hiring partners. Our recruiters are spending their days in the recruiting software as well. They’re reviewing applicants, pre-screening, setting up interviews and documenting their work.

Do you have any advice for managing the organizational challenges that take up a recruiter’s day?

Again, I can’t stress this enough, document everything. You put standard processes in place across your team to stay organized. If you keep your team organized and working efficiently, you’re not doing double work. Document your work.

What do you wish someone told you when you started in recruitment…

The volume is seriously high and the deadlines are tight, prepare yourself for it.

High-volume recruiting demands exceptional organization and sourcing

We’re so thankful that Elisabeth shared her process and insights with us. High-volume recruiting is an incredible form of recruitment that demands a specific approach to sourcing and validating new candidates. Tons of applicants, tons of hiring requests and the expectation for fast turnover might not be your exact recruiting experience, but there’s still much to be learned from her advice.

Documenting your work is helpful for independent recruiters and larger teams alike. Standardizing question sheets and setting up clear steps to move through your recruitment process can save you time and alleviate stress, whether you’re looking to source two candidates or two hundred. No matter your scale, we think Elisabeth’s great recruiting ideas could help your process. We hope they help!