How to Maintain a Positive Candidate Experience (Even When Dealing with High Volumes of Applications)

The job market is tough for candidates at the moment. Demand for jobs is high and thousands of new people are entering the job market on a daily basis; for some, this will be the first time in decades.

Adding to this, you just need to glance at social networks, such as LinkedIn, to gain an understanding of their frustrations:

“I’ve applied for 20 jobs this month and not had a response to any of my applications.”
“I was told I’d hear back from the employer in three days and it’s been over a week.”
“I don’t even know if the jobs I’m applying for are still available.”

On the flipside, HR teams from hiring companies are struggling to keep their heads above water as they’re swamped with applications.

Take the Manchester-based restaurant, for example, that received over 1,000 applications within 24 hours for a receptionist role advertised last month, according to the BBC.

With so many applications to review, it can be overwhelming for HR teams and hiring managers. However, just because the candidate market is active, it’s important that you don’t let the candidate experience suffer.

Candidates applying for jobs with your company will remember how you made them feel; if they spent two hours putting together a detailed application for you and don’t hear anything back, it doesn’t reflect well on you as an employer.

We recognise the challenges experienced by HR and recruitment teams when dealing with high volumes of applications; here are our top tips to make sure the candidate experience doesn’t slip.

Reply to every candidate

This might sound challenging when dealing with hundreds of applications but communication really is everything; every candidate who applies to work for your company should receive an application confirmation and an outcome.

Manually churning out emails can be extremely time consuming, which is why we recommend taking advantage of technology. Recruitment software, such as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), will send these emails on your behalf, so when you move a candidate to your ‘Unsuccessful’ stage, they will be automatically sent an email letting them know.

Webrecruit ATS allows you to set up on-brand email templates and workflows so you can control exactly what communications are sent to candidates and when.

When you’re satisfied you’ve got enough applicants, close your role

If you’ve received enough high quality applications in the first week of advertising your vacancy, close the role, both on your ATS and on any job boards where you’ve posted the role.

Remember that most job boards display adverts for 4-6 weeks as standard so if you’re closing your role before then, you will need to manually make sure that it’s removed; don’t just wait for it to run its course.

Leaving jobs advertised for longer than you need to means that there will likely be more candidates you need to disappoint and doesn’t create a great experience if you need to instantly reject them because you’ve already filled the role.

Set expectations at the earliest stage

While your application levels are high, it’s important to adjust your communications to set candidate expectations.

For example, you could tweak your application confirmation email to state that you’re receiving an increased volume of CVs but all applications will be responded to.

Setting timescales and sticking to them is important; however, make sure the timescales you set are realistic. If you usually assess applications within three days, consider changing this to five days or a timescale that is more appropriate for your company and current work volumes. This will also deter candidates from chasing up applications before this time has passed.

Stay on top of new applications coming in

Just because there are an increased number of candidates on the market, it doesn’t mean that they will be waiting around for long. Keep on top of any new applications and if you decide to progress someone for an interview, don’t just hang around. As always, there’s a chance they will be snapped up by someone else!

Application notification emails generated by your ATS can help you keep on top of any new applications you’ve received on a daily basis, allowing your hiring to stay on track.


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40 thoughts on “How to Maintain a Positive Candidate Experience (Even When Dealing with High Volumes of Applications)

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