Unexpectedly high number of job applications at Hyundai's Alabama plant makes the automaker shorten application period.

Hyundai got a little more than in bargained for when it decided to hire 877 new assembly plant workers at the start of May. The South Korean automaker has seen a deluge of almost 20,000 applicants for the jobs to date and is now busy sorting through all of them.

The new hires are needed for a third shift at Hyundai's Montgomery, Alabama vehicle manufacturing plant as the automaker tries to expand production capacity by nearly 20,000 vehicles, says The Detroit Free Press. The original deadline for the applications was Saturday, June 2, but Hyundai stopped the process on May 18 due to the unexpectedly high volume of hopefuls.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama did say that applications received after May 18 may not have time to be processed, but will be kept on file for any future openings. About 6,000 to 7,000 of the applicants will make it to the assessment stage.

Starting May 14, Hyundai started screening potential hires six days a week, for 13 hours a day. Each will last 1.5 hours, during which applicants will take a multiple-choice test and meet with two Hyundai team members and a contract worker for a short interview. About 1,500 have been interviewed already, with the next step being a hands-on assessment and a six-hour training course for those who make it through.

Those selected for the third shift will begin formal training in August, with the aim to begin assembly on three shifts by September 4. Hyundai assembles the Sonata and Elantra sedans, and the Santa Fe crossover at the plant.

The large amount of applications are a reflection of Alabama's high 7.2 percent unemployment rate in April.