Recruitment and HR Blog
Four ways to effectively manage an increase in job applications
The highly candidate-driven labour market is changing. There’s rising candidate availability, making it a great time to advertise job vacancies.
But this doesn’t come without its challenges. While there should be an increase in relevant job applications, employers are potentially likely to experience an increase in less relevant job applications too. And relevant or not, the more applications an employer gets, the more time they need to spend on the selection process, reviewing, shortlisting and managing those applications.
What could be the risks?
Some employers won’t have sufficient resources and support in place to effectively manage a significant increase in workload. The need to shortlist and respond to candidates in a timely manner could build up, adding to day-to-day pressures.
But not making it a priority could be a risky approach. Protecting the employer brand is so important when you’re recruiting, and you’ll want to make sure the candidate experience is second to none. But of course, it takes time to review new applications and shortlist and prioritise candidates of interest before then responding to all the applications received. If applicants are left waiting a while for an acknowledgement, it could lead to a poor candidate experience and end up damaging your employer brand and reputation.
And unfortunately, you could also end up missing out on some great candidates. Even though the market is shifting, the most recent set of ONS figures estimates there are still over a million vacancies being posted. It’s not a highly employer-driven job market at the moment. Recruitment is still fast paced, and candidates can still leave the market quickly - so acting swiftly remains vital for securing the best people.
So how can you efficiently deal with an increase in job applications?
Here are some ideas to help you manage your recruitment process – both to reduce the number of irrelevant applications, and to handle a potentially higher volume of job applications overall.
1. Write an effective job advert
Getting your job advert content right from the very start will help reduce the number of inappropriate applications you receive for the role you’re advertising. And of course, a well written advert will encourage the applicants you do want at the same time.
Be clear about the essential requirements you genuinely need. If the job boards you are advertising on support this function, add in filter questions focused on these key requirements. Candidates will then have to answer whether they do have certain skills or the experience you’re looking for, and this will act as a filter to support your shortlisting process.
2. Consider pre-employment skills testing to highlight stronger candidates
Some applicants will paint a picture of their capabilities on their CV which might not be entirely accurate. Clearly it depends on the type of role you are recruiting for but you might want to consider using pre-employment skills tests. Testing applicants' numeracy, literacy, and IT skills before taking them on can aid your shortlisting decisions and put your mind at ease with your recruiting decisions by helping to avoid costly mistake hires.
3. Use technology to support you
Having the right technology at your fingertips can make a big difference to successfully managing an efficient recruitment campaign.
You might want to think about whether an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) could help you. An ATS will hold all the CVs in one centralised place. You can use it to quickly and easily shortlist and respond to applicants and organise your interviews. A good ATS will reduce the amount of time you spend on recruitment administration, and help you communicate clearly and consistently – important for maintain your employer brand reputation.
4. Carry out screening before identifying your face-to-face shortlist
Telephone or video screening interviews might not currently be common practice in your organisation. But it is worth thinking about integrating them into your shortlisting process. Although more interviews might seem counter-intuitive by creating more work in the short term, it will ultimately save you time overall by creating a more focused shortlist that reduces the number of face-to-face interviews you need to hold.
If you need extra help – please do talk to us!
There are certainly many positives associated with receiving an increased number of job applications. Having more candidates to choose from gives you more choice. And while a higher number of applicants will make the process more time-consuming, a few changes to your approach could make a big difference to managing it successfully.
And don’t forget that we can help you through our managed recruitment campaign services. They enable you to recruit directly with your own employer branding right from the very start, but we deal with a lot of the time-consuming activity including the full job advertising campaign, CV filtering, telephone pre-screening and the face-to-face interview administration. If you’d like to know more, please do get in touch with us.