Are you just starting out in the world of recruitment or HR and feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of job applications you receive?
When faced with dozens of candidates for every job you’re advertising, it’s tough to know where to start when it comes to assessing CVs and applications. After all, it can be tricky to tell from a CV whether someone is truly a good fit for your organisation or not.
Webrecruit has compiled the tips below to help you screen applications quicker and more effectively and, most importantly, find those first class candidates.
1. Consider how many candidates you want to progress to the next stage
Before you start assessing applications, it’s helpful to have a rough number of candidates in mind who you wish to progress to the next stage in your recruitment process, whether that’s a skills assessment, a telephone interview or a face-to-face interview.
This number should help you keep focus if you are overwhelmed with high quality CVs or, on the other hand, you haven’t received the calibre of applications you would have liked.
Industry benchmarks suggest that around 1 in every 5 interviewed candidates is offered a role so it’s worth bearing this in mind when thinking about the number of candidates you wish to interview.
2. Pay close attention to the essential criteria you set out in your advert
When it comes to assessing candidates, your essential criteria should be your starting point every single time. You would have thought carefully about your essential requirements when compiling your job advert and this should be the benchmark you use to gauge whether a candidate is suitable or not.
It’s important not to reject candidates based on criteria you haven’t specified – for example, if you’re hiring for a marketing role, it’s unfair to reject a candidate for not possessing a CIM qualification if you haven’t stated the candidate needs one in the job advert.
3. If you’re inundated with qualified candidates, look at desirable criteria
A large percentage of your candidates might possess all the essential skills and qualities you have been looking for – great! However, this doesn’t help you when it comes to whittling down a shortlist. At this point, it’s worth looking at your list of ‘nice-to-haves’, otherwise known as desirable criteria.
Your desirable criteria might be a qualification, skill or experience in a particular area which would be helpful to the role; for example, if they had previous experience of using a specific type of software that your business uses.
Honing in on any desirable criteria should help you to narrow down your shortlist to a suitable number of candidates to interview.
4. Watch out for typos, grammatical errors or general lack of care
If a candidate’s CV is littered with spelling errors or grammatical mistakes it indicates that a lack of care has been put into their application. Additionally, if a candidate hasn’t provided a cover letter or has submitted a generic, un-tailored cover letter, this can show a lack of research or effort.
It’s likely you’ll want to reject candidates with clear errors in their application, unless they’re an exceptional match for your role.
5. Review candidates promptly
While identifying a ‘good fit’ candidate is important, it’s equally important to assess candidates promptly. The best candidates will likely be snapped up quickly so it’s vital that you’re reviewing applications within a couple of days of receiving them.
Recruitment technology, such as an applicant tracking system, makes it easier to keep up to date with new candidates. For example, Webrecruit ATS can send you daily email alerts informing you of how many new applications there are to review.
And while we’re on the subject of technology…
6. …use an ATS to make shortlisting quicker
Stop logging candidate details and outcomes in spreadsheets and shortlist candidates quicker using an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). With the click of a button, you can mark candidates as Shortlisted, Possible or Rejected, or move them to Interview stage. This allows you to easily view, at a glance, which stage of the recruitment process candidates are at and how many outstanding candidates you have to review.
Additionally, an ATS will allow you to create application questions for each job that candidates will be required to answer. While we recommend asking no more than seven questions per role, they can be a great way of asking candidates for information that can be unclear from their CVs.
Looking for an easier way of shortlisting candidates? Book a demo of Webrecruit ATS.