4 Actionable Strategies for Handling Increased Job Applications

4 Actionable Strategies for Handling Increased Job Applications

In the last month, applications per job ad have increased 8.6% (source: SEEK).

As a result, many small business owners are finding themselves overwhelmed by the volume of candidates they are receiving. Managing this surge efficiently is crucial to ensure you don’t miss out on top talent due to a cluttered recruitment process.

Here are four actionable strategies to help you effectively screen and manage the influx of applicants.

By the way, if you’re finding that you’re not attracting enough applicants, perhaps it’s time to consider if your job ads are being written effectively. Check out this blog post on how to write a job ad, or this one about how to build a competitive employee benefits package. Ok, now onto the four strategies.

1. Streamline Your Criteria

Sharpening your job criteria can significantly decrease the time spent reviewing applications. Focus on these elements:

  • Essential Skills and Experience: Clearly define must-have skills and experiences in your job ads. This discourages under qualified applicants and helps you quickly identify top candidates.
  • Role-Specific Questions: Include a few role-specific questions in the application process. Responses can quickly indicate which candidates have a serious understanding of the position and the necessary expertise. For example, if you’re recruiting an Accountant, a role specific question might be “Can you walk us through your process for preparing end-of-month financial reports? Please include the tools you use and how you ensure accuracy and compliance with financial regulations.”
  • Prioritise Quality Over Quantity: Rather than casting a wide net, target your recruitment ads to specific platforms known for quality candidates in your industry.

2. Conduct Initial Screening Calls

Instead of deep-diving into full interviews with a large number of candidates, implement a tiered interview process:

  • Brief Screening Calls: Start with a 10-15 minute phone call. This initial touchpoint can help you gauge the applicant’s communication skills, enthusiasm, and suitability for the culture of your company.
  • Focused Discussions: Use these calls to ask about specific qualifications or discuss answers to the application questions. This helps further filter candidates before committing to longer, formal interviews.
  • Efficient Scheduling: Batch calls and set specific times for these screenings to streamline your calendar and maintain productivity.

3. Utilise Skill-Based Assessments

Incorporating skill-based assessments into the application process is an effective, low-effort strategy to manage a high volume of applicants. Here’s how it helps:

  • Automated Filtering: By embedding simple, role-specific assessments in the application form, you can automatically filter out candidates who do not meet the basic skill requirements for the position.
  • Focused Applicant Pool: This approach ensures that only candidates who have demonstrated the necessary skills and competencies advance in the recruitment process, significantly narrowing down the pool.
  • Efficient Screening: Skill assessments can range from multiple-choice questions to practical tasks, depending on the nature of the job. This not only saves time in reviewing applications but also highlights candidates with the best potential for the role.

4. Implement an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can be a game-changer for businesses drowning in applications. And they aren’t out of reach for small businesses, with providers like our partner, Scout Talent, who offer a lite version of their ATS (designed specifically for small businesses) for only $150 per month. Here’s how an ATS helps:

  • Automated Screening: You can set up filters and keywords to automatically screen out candidates who don’t meet essential criteria, reducing the initial pool to a more manageable size.
  • Organised Candidate Profiles: Keep all applicant information in one place. This makes it easier to track, compare, and revisit applicant profiles during the hiring process.
  • Communication Efficiency: Use automated responses to acknowledge every application and keep candidates informed of their status, enhancing your company’s professional image.

Dealing with a high volume of applicants doesn’t have to overwhelm your small business. By implementing strategies such as automated screening, refining job criteria, and utilising skill-based assessments, you can efficiently manage the surge in applications. These approaches not only save time but also ensure that you focus on candidates who are most likely to succeed in the role.

If the task still seems daunting, remember that Recruit Shop is here to assist. For a low-cost flat fee of $2495 +GST, our team can handle the recruitment process for you, from advertising the job to delivering you a shortlist of qualified candidates. Let us help you streamline your recruitment so you can focus on what you do best — growing your business.

Call Recruit Shop today!