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Top Tips from Interlink Recruitment

Ten tips for handling a high volume of job applications

21st September 2020, 11:04 am

If you’ve hired for a job role within your business recently, you probably experienced an unprecedented high volume of job applications. The job market continues to be significantly impacted by the pandemic. Such is the impact, businesses across the region are seeing literally hundreds of applications for job vacancies.

So, how can you cope when your Inbox is overflowing with CVs for just one job? As well as being a burden on your time, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. We share some of our best practice recruitment tips, to help you manage a high volume of job applications.

1. Be clear in the job specification
Before you start advertising any job roles you have, make sure to sit down with members of the team to identify the skills and experience you’re looking for. Then, clearly list everything, so it’s clear who you want to hire. The more detail there is in the job description or specification, the less likely those without the relevant experience will apply. Even if you’re in a rush to hire, this is important to do. The danger of being too vague in your job advert, may encourage an even higher number of applicants.

2. Use strong language
If you really value your time when it comes to sifting through CVs, use strong language in your job adverts. There’s no harm in being direct when it comes to outlining the candidates you’re looking for. Instead of saying for example, ‘you should have three years’ experience’, make it clear that applicants, ‘must have at least three years’ experience.’ This can be the difference between receiving a high number of CVs without the relevant experience, to receiving several high-quality CVs matching what you’re looking for.

3. Set parameters on job boards
If you decide to use job boards to advertise your job vacancy, then take the time to use the parameters available. These make clear the specific skills or years of experience you are looking for before applicants see the main job description. You can also set questions at the time of posting your job advert. Then, when CVs come through, you can see clearly who does or doesn’t have the experience you are looking for.

4. Apologise if you can’t reply
At times like these, and when you anticipate receiving a high number of applications, you can manage candidate’s expectations with a line of text in your job advert. It’s natural to feel awful if you can’t physically reply to every single applicant to thank them and give them feedback on their unsuccessful application. But, if you add a sentence apologising in advance for not being able reply to every application due to high demand, you can help to soften any blows.

5. Grade your applications
This is particularly helpful if you’re not the only team member making a decision on applications. It makes it easier to prioritise those CVs which best match the skills and experience you’re looking for.
It also helps identify relevance, especially in situations where skills and experience are transferable.

6. Keep your own list of specific skills
Back when you sat down and made a list of skills and experience, make sure to keep a saved document of these for the selection process. If you’re not using job boards and CVs are coming directly into your Inbox, it’s harder to get a snapshot of an applicant’s experience. If they haven’t mentioned it in the covering Email, then do a search for the skills in the document and prioritise those with relevant matches.

7. Set time for shortlisting
Face the facts – if you are hiring through these difficult times, recruitment is going to be a little more challenging than usual. Put time aside in your diary, be it half hour or an hour a day to go through applications, so you’re not left facing hundreds at the end of the week!

8. Choose relevant job boards
There are a number of places you can advertise jobs. Yes, usually the aim is to fill a role as quickly as possible and use the most popular job sites. However, during this turbulent job market, we recommend spending time finding the most relevant places to advertise your vacancies. Whether it’s manufacturing or marketing, by being a little more ‘niche’ with your advertisement you can help attract more relevant candidates.

9. Reduce your job advert lifespan
Yes, the shorter time your job advert is out in the public domain, the fewer applications you will receive. Whether it’s on your own website, or a job board, opt for a shorter ‘go live’ time. If after that time you still don’t have the quality of candidates you are looking for, you can always list the role again. And it’s worth posting on your social media when a job vacancy has been filled, to prevent any more applications coming through.

10. Use a recruitment agency
If it’s really too much for you to handle, then consider working with a reputable recruitment agency. Professional recruiters will advertise your role, screen all incoming applications, and only send you a relevant, shortlist of candidates. While we at Interlink only deal with legal and accountancy recruitment, we can always recommend local recruitment businesses who specialise in other sectors.

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