Effective goal setting in high-volume recruitment
February 8, 2022
Viktor Nordmark
Working with high-volume recruiting takes a toll on everyone
Keeping up with the number of applications flooding in, and simultaneously, tending to all the other recruitment-related tasks requires time and effort

How do you know if the time you spend on your tasks gives you a good return on investment? Could you make it more efficient, and if so, how do you measure if your alterations have made it more efficient? Striving for efficiency is not to produce as much as possible. No, it’s making sure that you’re spending your valuable time on the tasks that give fruit. Let’s dive into optimizing your processes and set goals that support them. 

Optimize your internal hiring processes

High-volume recruitment differs from standardized recruitment because of the sheer volume of applications. It’s a high-maintenance process requiring a lot of dedication for every part of the journey. You first need to understand which actions equal time well-spent in order to set reasonable goals, for example, which digital tools you use to gather applications, how you communicate with applicants, how you administer your various tasks/projects, and so on.

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Why set goals?

The softer value of setting goals is that it feels great to reach them. It’s that tangible feeling of success. The hard value is that it helps you become more efficient in your work and shows those around you what you can achieve. Whether you work alone or in a team, it helps align the company’s vision with reality. You’ll know the exact steps you should take to reach point B. According to your set standards, goals within high-volume recruitment means staying ahead of competitors and ensuring that every applicant has received appropriate recognition. It means that you set the tone for telling someone they didn’t get the job, how the applicants were communicated to during the hiring process, and how they receive good news. Albeit sounding a tad fluffy, these are the exact reasons why someone would choose to, once again, apply to a job you’ve posted. Your success partly lies in how successful/happy you make the candidate feel, independent of if they got the job or not. 

Which goals should you set?

You might want to learn about two goal-setting methods that can help you keep track of your progress. The first is OKRs - Objective Key Results. The other is KPI - Key Performance Index. Let’s divide the goals into two parts: internal goals and the second candidate experience goals. Why? Because how you treat your candidates will have a ripple effect on your internal goals. Let’s start with goals related to the candidate experience.

Candidate experience goals

Applying for a job is an experience, and you have the opportunity to make it a great one. Every interaction they have with you and your company is of importance, because to them, this job ad is more than just a job ad. This is why it’s of utter importance that you step into their shoes and do your best to experience the world from the candidate’s point of view. In short, a great candidate experience makes the candidates feel like they’ve been seen, heard, and taken care of. It starts with how they apply and ends when you tell them goodbye or welcome aboard

Net Promoter Score-goals

NPS is a way of measuring customer’s or candidates' satisfaction. It’s a recommendation-based review system and it goes like this:  “From 1-10, based on your experience, how likely are you to recommend this-and-this to your friend?” The outcome is a score between -100 to 100. Send the survey to all applicants who partook in the hiring process. Decide on a number you would be happy with and make the necessary changes to reach a higher score if you don’t get the outcome you’d like to have. 

The online application metric

Suppose you‘re using an extensive set of screening questions in your online application as a means to conduct an initial screening. In that case, you can use the number of completed applications as a success metric. In case of high numbers of drop-offs, it’s probably wise to reconsider the length of the application. 


Yes, it might be terrifying, but by offering candidates to review you, you show that you’re open to public feedback, which increases your trustworthiness simultaneously as it lends you a proper understanding of what you can improve.

Internal goals

Time to hire

This depends on your current standard in terms of how much you do manually. If you conduct many of the hiring process steps manually, a viable goal would be to reduce time to hire with X% because you have a lot of room for improvement. 

Time to fill 

You most likely have data on how long it usually takes from job requisition to a candidate accepting your offer. Use that information to set a new goal. At this point, the candidate experience goals play a part because your time to fill is heavily influenced by how smoothly you operate the candidate experience. 

Decentralized hiring 

If you’re the HR manager for a company that runs a multi-location business and store managers are in charge of the hiring at each location, make sure that the hiring process looks the same. A goal would be to ensure that every site conducts the same hiring procedure. Once you have a bullet-proof hiring process that encompasses every location, you will see how it affects your quality of hire for the better. A second goal would be to increase employee retention for each site by so and so much. Interview each store manager to understand what makes the employees satisfied/dissatisfied at that specific location. Once you have got that information, make changes accordingly. 

Quality of hire 

If you’re not yet gathering data on how long your recruits stay at their new job (retention), you should start doing so. Even though it’s not up to you to ensure they like it at their new job, you can do your best to manage expectations. People who feel like their expectations have been met tend to be less disappointed and thereby less likely to jump ship. You can start managing expectations already in the job ad and continue doing so throughout the hiring process. Once you’ve gathered enough data to have an average retention time, you can set a new goal and test a different approach so that you’ve something to compare the former statistics with. 


A successful job ad speaks to everyone and not a particular group of people. This becomes even more important in high-volume recruitment because of how many people you want to attract. Measuring common parameters, such as genders, ethnicities, age groups, religious beliefs, and sexualities, is the first step you can take to understand how diverse your recruitment process is. A goal would then be to start measuring how many people from, for example, certain age groups and backgrounds apply to your job ad. If you find that you’re failing at attracting people from all walks of life, it’s time to set a new goal of who you want to attract. 

Another aspect of it is that you have to double-check yourself to ensure that your biases don’t interfere with your hiring decision. If you would list your last 100 hires and jot down their religious beliefs, ethnicities, and ages - would you find that they’re all very similar to each other or that they are different? Hopefully you’ll find that they’re different but if that’s not the case, you can assume that your biases are at play, e.g. you’re subconsciously hiring people familiar to you. 

Another tool to uncover unjust hiring methods is to send out a candidate survey at the end of each hiring process and with it ask how the candidates perceived the process. Angle the questions so that you find out whether or not everyone felt like they were treated the same. 

Setting goals within diversity, equality, and inclusion is not difficult. All you have to do is to find your areas of improvement, chose metrics that support those improvements, and then alter the process. 

If you’re curious to know more, we’ve written about how to measure Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion more in-depth here

We hope this has sparked your interest and given room for more ideas on improving your procedures. To dive deeper into the subject, go ahead and read: 


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Effective goal setting in high-volume recruitment
February 8, 2022
Viktor Nordmark
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