Recruiting is not an easy job, especially when you have hundreds of jobs to fill each month. Having led talent acquisition and recruitment marketing teams at AT&T (a global giant with over 230,000 employees worldwide) for over two decades, I’m no stranger to this world. From my unique vantage point in the company during this period, I had the opportunity to observe the many aspects of a typical day in the life of a high volume recruiter – the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

The role demands an almost superhuman ability to manage stress and thrive in a chaotic environment. High volume recruiters have their hands full each day: managing the sky-high expectations of applicant quality and volume, running ads across numerous job sites, pulling up performance reports from dozens of dashboards, engaging one-on-one with a large number of applicants, coordinating interviews, etc. – and all while running against time and constrained budgets.

If you’re a high volume recruiter, here’s how a typical day in your life might look: 

Ready, Set, Go!

You try to get a headstart on your day and avoid the rush hour traffic on your way to work (assuming there’s no pandemic-driven lockdown). As you grab a cup of coffee and walk into your office, your mind is racing – thinking about all the things you have to get done today.  

Responding to the overnight barrage of emails

You reach your desk, already wary of the dozens of emails that await you from a bunch of hiring managers asking for updates on the positions being hired for, with a few complaining about the insufficient number of interviews being scheduled with them. You respond to each one with patience and empathy. You also accept invitations to meet a few hiring managers who prefer to check in with you in person.  

Screening and shortlisting candidates for interviews

Next, you proceed to check all of the most recent requisitions on your Applicant Tracking System (ATS). You scan through the hundreds of applications you received, review all resumes, and reach out to the most relevant applicants. You shortlist a few and check for their availability for the interview process. You also check the calendar of the next interviewer so you can schedule the next round as soon as possible. 

Every time you think of taking a break, a hiring manager from some team sidles over to your desk to ask about how your hunt is progressing. You smile, make casual conversation at the outset, try to ease the worry lines on her forehead, and then give her an update – whether good or bad. After she leaves, either relieved or in a huff (depending on the kind of news you’ve delivered), you realize almost a third of your day has passed. After attending a couple of scheduled meetings, you finally get off your desk and go grab lunch.

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Post Lunch Blues

Troubleshooting your job ad campaigns:

Once you get back, you decide to review the performance of the job ads you’ve been running across a bunch of job sites. You realize you do not have enough applicants for a job at a particular location, while there’s another location that has received far too many applications. You curse at yourself under your breath, and begin to spend a few hours manually investigating why this happened and then fixing it. You pause a couple of campaigns, restart a couple of others, add a few different publishers to the mix, adjust your bids for each job, and more. You catch yourself thinking, “wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to automate this whole thing?”

Fielding unexpected, last-minute hiring requests:

Suddenly, you’re pulled into a meeting at the last minute and informed there’s an urgent requirement to hire over two hundred positions within a month. You are expected to deliver a large volume of relevant applicants to support this requirement within a few days. It doesn’t take you long to realize the set of job sites you’re currently relying on isn’t capable of delivering such a high volume of applicants so quickly – based on historical performance. So you decide to reach out to a few new job sites and onboard them before the deadline overwhelms you. Of course, you know this is a long-drawn process that would require at least a couple of weeks of work before you start to see applications come through. You also know there’s no guarantee these new job sites will deliver the volume you need. You wonder if there’s an easier solution to this far-too-common problem. You decide to do some research later in the day to shortlist a few job sites you can reach out to and evaluate the next day.

The Twilight Zone

Informing shortlisted candidates about their hiring status

After a short break, you realize you have a dozen or so emails from expectant candidates, asking for information about their hiring status. You go ahead and answer the emails, and let them know where they stand. You directly call the candidates who have cleared all the rounds of the interview process and been selected by the hiring managers. When you share the good news, you often hear unbridled joy on the other end of the phone. You think about how you’ve helped make a huge difference to the lives of so many people. But before you can revel in these moments, you initiate the next steps of the process – making each of them an offer, negotiating the terms of the employment, getting started on background checks, etc.

Preparing performance reports for your manager

As you near the end of your day, you start preparing for the weekly review meeting with your manager the next day. By the time you download reports from each job portal one by one to view the performance of your campaigns across job types, locations, hiring teams, and more, you’ve lost count of the number of spreadsheets open on your computer. You remember your manager had specifically requested a comparative analysis of all the job sites you’ve advertised on, in order to determine the ones that are performing well, and the ones that are not. You figure out a way to move all of the data into a single spreadsheet, normalize all the data labels for consistency, and create pivot tables to help generate tables and charts.  

You think about pitching an idea tomorrow of using a centralized platform to track your campaigns, costs, and performance in one dashboard. You decide you might do some research on such platforms at home late in the evening.

You see the setting sun glinting off of your computer screen and realize, despite your best efforts, today is another late day in the office. You save your work and finally shut down your computer to pack up and head home.  

Winding Down the Day

Once you reach home, you spend some time with your family, have dinner, and watch Jeopardy!, but not really watch it, as all the while you can’t help but think about and plan the next day at work in your head. 

Just as you hit the bed, you browse through a few articles on your phone related to talent acquisition and come across the fifth article this week that talks about candidate experience. You sigh and wonder when you’ll ever find a similar article about recruiter experience and its importance. 

Before you know it, just when it seems like you’ve been asleep for about seven minutes, your alarm buzzes . . .

. . . and yet another day begins.