How to handle unexpected volumes of job applications?

The current economic climate post pandemic, has left thousands of people in the UK and around the world unemployed and in search for their new career. As an employer you are presented with a opportunity to pick from a large selection of candidates however, the challenge arises in when you are stormed and overwhelmed with hundreds and sometimes thousands of CV’s.

What should be the first steps when receiving high volumes of applications?

A well-thought-out shortlisting process will help you identify employees with the skills that you really need. Determine your criteria, decide a shortlist maximum number, If you are expecting a high volume of applicants, you can automate this process. Using keyword identifying tools, you can automatically filter candidates who don’t meet your basic criteria.

How can you avoid getting overwhelmed?

If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed by the thought of a high volume recruitment process, don’t worry, Technology can help you make it a more manageable task. Different tools, apps, and technology based processes can come in at any step of the recruitment funnel helping to pick up the slack where you need it most. Most probably, you are already using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which, is a crucial component of staying on top of your high volume recruitment process.

If you are getting lots of strong candidates and you’re excited about your prospects but, filtering through the pile of applicants can quickly feel overwhelming. Screen candidates in, not out. Recruitment technology including pre-employment assessments can make screening faster, more accurate and efficient.

How can HR make this process easier to manage when an unexpected amount of applications come through?

Give your candidates a score. Having solid cut-off points can prevent you from wasting your time with candidates who just aren’t a fit. However, it’s unlikely that all of your candidates will meet all your criteria. You can still identify your strongest candidates by giving them a score. Try a simple scoring system and score them on how they fit with your criteria, Mandatory, Essential, Desirable this is one way to score your candidates.

Is it important to respond to every one?

In short, yes. Providing candidates with at least basic feedback whenever, you have the capacity to do so improves your candidate experience. We understand that one job advert can have hundreds of applications and sometimes even thousands in the current economic climate and can result in your mailbox being overloaded. This being said, it is common courtesy to simply respond and let the candidate know the outcome of their application. It also says a lot about your brand and offers a level of protection to the brand image. Those candidates who receive a polite response will more likely have a better perception of your company as opposed to those who do not get a reply. A lot of this can be automated to sped up the process and handle large volume of applications.

What other tips can you give for HR who may have to deal with this in the near future?

Make sure your job descriptions inclusive, more interesting, appealing, and optimised for search. When the right people can find your listing and are compelled to apply, you will have better candidates throughout the entire recruitment process.

Remember the recruitment process is a two-way street. While a candidate might initially be interested in working for your business, they may lose interest if they don’t enjoy the hiring experience.

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