Love him or loathe him, if there is one thing new Prime Minister Boris Johnson is indisputably successful at, it’s generating headlines. And he did exactly that by garnering plenty of column inches for his recent pledge to fight crime by recruiting 20,000 new police officers.
There is very little opposition to the idea in principle – certainly not from an anxious public or overstretched officers – but concerns around the idea centre around the logistical practicalities of selecting, vetting, training and accommodating that volume of new starters in a relatively short period of time. As the College of Policing diplomatically put it, it is “not just getting people through the doors.”
The timeframe for this recruitment drive is over the next three years, with the campaign to begin in earnest in September. But while that seems like a large project to complete in a relatively short period, it’s nothing out of the ordinary for certain parts of the job market where rapid recruitment is commonplace.
Seasonal employment is probably the most obvious example, with retailers creating thousands of temporary roles to keep pace with festive customer demand, but there are a range of other circumstances where quotas need to be filled quickly – it could be a company expanding regionally or internationally, or fulfilling a particularly large customer order or project.
While the majority of jobs won’t have the same onerous onboarding requirements as the police force, each large-scale recruitment drive presents its own challenges. Anyone who has been responsible for recruiting in their role can tell you what it feels like to be inundated with applications for individual roles; times that by a few thousand and you start to get an idea of how huge the hiring headache can be where multiple roles need to be filled.
Technology has made this process a lot easier, with applicant tracking systems and recruiting software meaning that hiring managers are less likely to drown in a sea of CVs. It has allowed for a streamlining of the recruitment process, from posting jobs and managing candidate profiles, to assessing skill suitability. Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and an explosion of online job boards have also helped make the world of work feel like a smaller – and more navigable – place.
Boris will be hoping his latest grand plan has more legs than some of its failed predecessors (garden bridge anyone?), but away from the front pages, advancements in technology are helping savvy recruiters plug similar-sized gaps with the minimum of fuss.