2023 wrap-up: 5 high volume hiring lessons we learned this year

Author Sean Behr Date 12 Dec 2023

2023 was a pivotal year for high volume hiring. Recruiters who were fed up with inefficient processes finally took action and adopted new ways to hire. Automation and AI evolved from futuristic what-ifs to absolute necessities. And on the other side of the hiring table, applicants were privy to a faster, more seamless path to work, while still receiving the human touch.

But there were still lingering issues in the hiring space. These include a continued desire for faster speed and the question of how recruiting teams are getting the most out of AI. 

In this post, we’ll reveal the top 5 hiring lessons we and our customers learned as we navigated a truly transformative year in high volume hiring.

2023 written with a sparkler

1. Dissatisfaction with current hiring processes

A 2023 report from Morning Consult and Fountain found that two-thirds of respondents were not “very satisfied” with their hourly hiring system. This survey sample reported spending too much time on manual tasks—like conducting interviews, reviewing resumes, and reaching out to candidates—all of which negatively affect their time-to-hire. 

Despite the high rates of dissatisfaction, the decision to implement new tools or adopt a new process altogether is a big one that involves multiple stakeholders and rounds of discussion. But we predict that in 2024, this seemingly heavy lift won’t be as big of a hurdle in the race to win talent.

2. Time-to-hire is still the biggest hiring headache

We’ve seen an onslaught of speed-driven innovations in HR tech, but frontline recruiting teams still report time-to-hire as their biggest pain point. Even though automation lifts an enormous weight off recruiters’ shoulders and helps move candidates at a more swift pace, recruiters are constantly searching for ways to hire even faster.

3. Applications surged in key industries

Application volume surged in certain frontline sectors: According to Fountain data, application numbers were highest for call centers and the warehouse operations and logistics sector, while the latter saw much higher hiring rates. Meanwhile, in the summer of 2023, job applications for food services and restaurants reached their highest number since early 2021, suggesting a full post-pandemic rebound.

Recruiting teams adapted to this influx in applications by increasing their reliance on automation. But there is still a gap between recruiters’ ideal hiring process and having the know-how to make it a reality.

4. High volume hiring teams still aren’t sure what to make of AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) has created a frenzy of emotions among professionals, ranging from excitement to fear to pure confusion. There is still a lot we don’t know about AI’s capabilities. Compliance issues and the risk of bias can make companies a target for legal action. This might cause some HR leaders to want to delay making AI a part of their process until they have tangible proof of its efficacy and regulation in other sectors. 

Even after adopting AI, hiring teams may not be set up to succeed due to a lack of or poor training. A report from Korn Ferry revealed that 40% of senior executives say their HR teams lack AI-related knowledge and skills. Hiring managers with limited resources and even more limited time may not be equipped to facilitate a training program to help their teams adapt.

Read more about how to use AI recruiting software to your advantage.

5. Sourcing has stalled

Hiring teams are still finding it difficult to capture the attention of the right applicants. Many teams feel the more money they invest in their sourcing efforts, the higher their return will be, when the root of the problem may be hidden within the hiring funnel itself. 

What’s more, sourcing is usually an entirely separate activity from the rest of the hiring process, which only adds to the complexity and time commitment of this ever-important step.

two hands holding sparklers

What high volume hiring teams learned in 2023

Companies that hire high volumes of frontline workers learned a great deal about hiring in 2023. Lessons included how to use automation to slash time to hire, how to effectively implement AI, how to use data to improve processes, and how to keep candidate engagement a priority in an increasingly automated world.

Below, we highlight some of the successes of our customers from a range of industries.

Bojangles: Leaning into automation

By taking advantage of automated messaging, enhanced candidate engagement, and direct integrations with multiple job boards, Bojangles saw their time-to-hire decrease from around 30 days to just 5.8 days.

“Choosing Fountain as our ATS has helped streamline our hiring process, minimized our days-to-hire, and created a hands-off automated application and hiring process, enabling us to find and hire frontline talent efficiently and effectively.” —Jacob Salvo, Senior Director of Talent Management at Bojangles

Get more insight into Bojangles’ hiring success.

Fetch: Increase in candidate engagement

Fountain AI coupled with the workflow rules the Fetch team had in place allowed quality candidates to move through the workflow in as little as 8 minutes. After implementing Fountain AI, Fetch also saw a dramatic increase in candidate engagement—going from an average of 0.5 messages to 5.5 messages during the application process.

Learn how Fetch hires delivery drivers in under eight minutes.

Marsden Services: Visibility and analytics helped optimize hiring

Marsden Services noticed applicants were getting stuck in one of the drug screening stages. This Marsden client wasn’t particular about the results, so the Marsden team stepped in and adjusted the workflow.

“Because of analytics, we modified our 10-panel screen to a five-panel by removing the particular drug screen, resulting in time savings and cost reduction,” said Roger Swartzendruber, VP of Human Resources at Marsden Services.

See how Marsden Services cut their time-to-hire by almost two-thirds.

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What this means for high volume hiring in 2024

In 2024, we’ll explore all that’s possible for the future of hiring. We see the next year as an opportunity to work with high volume hiring teams toward a common goal: to fill roles faster and optimize operations. In our e-book, the 2024 Roadmap for High Volume Hiring, we dive deeper into the lessons we learned in 2023 and explore how these learnings will inform next year’s top 5 high volume hiring trends. 

Download a copy of the e-book today: 2024 Roadmap for High Volume Hiring.

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About the Author

Chief Executive Offier

Sean Behr

Sean Behr is the CEO at Fountain and has served in leadership roles at STRATIM (acquired by KAR), Adap.tv (acquired by AOL), and Shopping.com (acquired by Ebay). Behr also advises, mentors, and invests in entrepreneurs and early-stage companies.