What is a Hiring Surge

by Pranav Ramesh
December 14, 2020
Hiring Surge Meaning and how companies can deal with

Organizations, even those who are actively hiring, often find themselves in need of a lot of people and fast. New customer demands, planned or unexpected expansion, and even world events can put businesses in the position of needing to build but not having the team to do so. When this happens, companies need to upscale their teams quickly by instituting a hiring surge.

Topics Covered:

  • What is a Hiring Surge?
  • Why Does a Company Find Itself in Need of a Hiring Surge?
  • How Should Companies Handle a Hiring Surge?

What is a Hiring Surge?

Just as it sounds, a hiring surge is when a business or organization has to hire a lot of people in a relatively short period of time. All organizations have particular processes in place to suit their normal, everyday hiring needs. However, different reasons and situations may call for rapid adjustment to those practices.

Why Does a Company Find Itself in Need of a Hiring Surge?

Depending on the organization, its hiring processes, and even the time of year, businesses find themselves in need of a hiring surge for a variety of reasons.


Every business is cyclical, some more than others. For example, most retailers know that the holiday season (usually November through early January) is much busier than the rest of the year. When these seasons are known ahead of time, most organizations adjust their hiring plans accordingly. However, when a company faces an unexpected season surge, they may have to adjust.

A software developer may not have expected their product to take off because of a particular holiday or calendar event, but if it does, they may find themselves in need of a hiring surge.

Unexpected Sales Growth

Forecasting sales is part art and part science. This makes it imperfect at best. A surprise surge in sales or use of a product may call for a drastic increase in developers. When this happens out of the blue, organizations will find themselves needing a hiring surge.

Company Expansion

As companies grow, their staff grows along with them. As unpredictable as normal sales growth can be, expansions are even harder to predict. No matter how much market fit research has been done, there will always be questions. Forecasting more staff than is needed can be costly, so organizations will often lean in the opposite direction.

New Funding

Most commonly, this affects startups, but it’s possible for any business no matter how large or how old they are. When a company suddenly has more capital, it wants to put it to good use by building new products, services, or upgrading existing ones. Regardless of where the money goes, it calls for more employees to utilize it.

RELATED: 6 Steps to Develop a Foolproof Recruitment Policy


How Should Companies Handle a Hiring Surge?

Just as different companies will face different reasons for needing a hiring surge, they will respond differently as well. The best way to fill lots of jobs relatively quickly depends on both the organization and its unique situation. Each strategy brings its own set of pros and cons, so choosing wisely is important.

Hiring Contractors

Often, the reason for the hiring surge is going to be temporary. This can be a great opportunity to hire contractors who only expect to be employed as long as the project is scheduled to take. Highly skilled contractors provide the technical skills needed to finish the task without adding long-term employees.

Some companies will look to hire contractors on their own, but they often lack the internal resources to source, filter, interview, and ultimately hire, the right people. Most partner with a reputable staffing agency to do just that.

Partnering with a Recruiting Agency

Staffing agencies are often a perfect fit for companies facing a hiring surge. Their lone business is finding and filtering people for jobs. They often have large networks of specialized, both active and passive candidates and are able to find technical talent others can’t. Because they are dedicated only to staffing, they have processes and procedures in place to not only find the right candidates but to do so much faster, often within days or hours.

Increasing Internal Hiring Team

If the hiring surge is expected to be a long-term situation, organizations will look to build their internal hiring teams. This gives them complete control over the entire hiring process, but at an increased cost, both financially and in time. Many companies will augment their long-term hiring expansion by working with a recruiting firm that specializes in contract-to-hire roles. This way, they can fill their immediate hiring needs quickly while continuing to build for the future.


When the needs of the business require a sudden increase in personnel, a hiring surge may be in order. There are multiple ways to quickly and effectively grow the team, but which works best depends mostly on the situation. Whether partnering with a recruiting firm, building the internal team, or using a contract-to-hire approach to do both, having the right plan in place is the key to effectively managing a hiring surge.


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