Amazon is going on a major hiring spree: the eCommerce retailer will be recruiting 30,000 new part-time employees across the U.S. in 2017. This includes 5,000 new part-time recruits for remote customer service executives in Amazon's Virtual Customer Service, and 25,000 jobs in the company's warehouses across the country.
Tom Weiland, vice president for worldwide customer service, said that Amazon wants to attract people looking for flexible jobs. This includes parents, military spouses, and college students. The company has promised to offer full benefits to those who work more than 20 hours a week.
The massive hiring drive is part of the larger promise Amazon made in January about making 100,000 jobs available in the U.S. by mid-2018. Amazon expects to attract thousands of prospects over the coming months thanks to the benefits it's offering.
One lesson that small businesses can take from the Amazon example is that of the benefits of hiring part-time workers - either as a temporary measure while you look for full-time employees, or as a way to fill vacancies in a more flexible way.
This has worked for many companies who hire interns and after a period of time, offer them a full-time position due to their work performance and organizational fit.
It's unlikely that your small business will be hiring on quite the same scale as Amazon (at the moment), but recruiting talent - and hiring part-time workers - is still something that can cause a major headache. Common problems include:
A shortage of HR staff (and sometimes even a complete lack of them) to shortlist and vet candidates
Extensive time spent searching job portals
Lack of time for background checks
Shortage of employees to onboard candidates faster.
As a result, business growth gets hampered because hiring doesn't move as quickly as it's expected to be. Recruiting part-time workers can exacerbate this problem, with more roles to fill, and more applicants to screen.
If your business has been inspired by Amazon and would like to hire part-time employees but you're put off by the cost and complexity of the recruitment process, then applicant tracking software (ATS) can help. Here are some of the benefits of ATS for hiring part-time employees:
Thoroughly vet job resumes quickly: If you're hiring part-time employees instead of full time (even if it's not 30,000 workers at once like Amazon), that means more CVs for your HR department to sort through, more job postings to create, and more time spent wading through the applications.
Applicant tracking software streamlines the mundane and time-consuming process of hiring by automating the searches from different job portals and even social media networks, such as LinkedIn. It can also help you filter candidates based on key job criteria.
Test thousands of candidates at once, without phone or video calls: Once you've selected the candidates, you need to screen them. Instead of using phone or video interviews, ATS solutions can help you make skills-based tests a part of the hiring procedure, with some apps even auto-grading the tests. Greenhouse, for example, allows you to build a stage into the interview process specifically for tests or assignments. ATS systems often integrate with software that is specifically designed to create and run these tests.
This will not only help with hiring part-time employees by reducing dependence on the face-to-face, phone, or video interview process, but also remote workers.
Access previous applicants: if you're planning on hiring part-time employees at scale then a good way of saving time is by looking at past applicants that may not have been suitable due to considerations such as working hours. An ATS will allow you to keep these applications on file and then serve up recommendations when their skills and profile match a new job opening at your company.
Comply with hiring regulations: When hiring part-time workers, you have to ensure that the position you are advertising is classified as a part-time position according to the Department of Labor for the state in which the employee will be based (for example, according to hours worked). An ATS can help ensure you comply with these laws when putting together a job advert or posting this on job boards.
Aside from hiring part-time employees, applicant tracking software:
Eliminates errors made through handwritten paperwork, for example through back and forth emails between HR and the hiring manager, as well as HR and the candidates.
Automates manual processes and makes them more efficient. This suits small businesses that don't have large HR teams, but instead one or two individuals, or who work third-party HR consultants.
Improves transparency as the process of tracking and hiring candidates is visible to everyone, ensuring that no communication or update is missed by any stakeholder.
Purchasing and deploying an ATS is a huge deal for a small business, so you may want to look for a free trial, or a limited-feature free version of an app (freemium) to dip your toe in the water.
Freemium ATS solutions offer limited features for free - with the ability to pay for more "premium" features as and when you need them. Some popular ATS solutions offer a free starter version with basic features, such as job posting, candidate shortlisting and email communication templates.
Highly-rated examples of freemium ATS include Zoho Recruit, which offers a free version for one recruiter, providing basic applicant tracking and interview scheduling functionality. Breezy HR also offers a free version, which allows only one job posting.
Another option is to look for applicant tracking systems that offer free trials of all features for a set period of time. Some of the popular and highly-rated solutions are ApplicantPRO and JazzHR. ApplicantPRO offers a 30-day free trial while JazzHR has a 21-day free trial.
If you're set on hiring part-time employees, then there also are a number of other issues you need to think about beyond just the recruitment process:
How will you stay compliant with laws such as overtime?
How will you ensure that you have measures in place to monitor engagement and help you retain part-time employees?
If you're looking to invest in an ATS, here are some resources that can help:
GetApp's ranking of the top 25 ATS software solutions based on user reviews, integrations, mobile apps, media presence, and security.
Independent user reviews of applicant tracking software