How to manage an increase in job applications

Written by Simon Benford-Blows

The job market has changed dramatically recently. There has been a surge in the number of job applications, making it a prime time to fill vacancies. However, even though this is a positive change for employers and recruiters, it doesn’t come without its challenges.

At the moment, there’s so much discussion in recruitment about the huge numbers of applicants for each job, the burden this creates on talent acquisition teams, and risk of negative candidate experience. So, it’s no surprise that this is the most challenging time many recruiters will have in their careers.

We spoke to Adam Gordon CEO of candidate ID and he shares some of his thoughts and commented by saying, “Protecting your employer brand is really important, so making sure candidates have a good experience throughout their whole journey is vital. Not only does it take time to respond to all of the applications received, but also to review new applications, shortlist and prioritise candidates of interest. If candidates are left waiting, this could lead to a poor candidate experience.

Not only has there been an increase in job applications, but an increase in irrelevant applications due to a surge in job searches.”



So how do you manage this increase in workload effectively?

Over the last few years, employers and recruitment companies have progressively released their reliance on advertising to generate applicants and instead are much better managing their talent pipelines.

There might well be more candidates available at this time, but the total addressable market is the same size as it was 12 months ago. What that means is, if you’re advertising rather than direct sourcing and managing pipelines, you’re currently going to be doing a lot more work for the same outcome.

Adam goes on to say, “Employers and recruiters taking the best approach, in my opinion, are setting up simple and very effective decision tree workflows which ask potential candidates a lot of questions and automatically stream them based on their answers to those questions AND their behaviour online.

This is automated, simple to implement, and saves vast amounts of human assessment time.”

If you are overwhelmed with the number of job applications you’re receiving, our recommendation is stop advertising and start pipelining! You can do it today and to be fair you probably have loads of suitable people in your ATS/databases already.

Talent pipelining can help through the use of forms and progressive profiling to stream people automatically into different pipelines and segments. There are alternatives to this such as AI sourcing solutions, the caution is that some of which at the moment are untested when it comes to bias.

Simon Benford-Blows Head of RPO at Pertemps comments, “The smartest way to strip out the increasingly large manual workload associated with applications overload is being able to identify “best fit” talent. You can do this by using technology to:

1. Prioritise applicants that are a best match and most engaged
2. Automate communications to those that are a not a good fit

Even though we’re now in an employer driven job market, recruitment is still fast paced, and candidates can leave the market as quick as they arrived. Being able to identify and secure the best people is made possible by acting quickly. “

Here are 6 steps that will save Talent Acquisition teams and recruiters a LOT of time by reducing the
workload coming from too many applications:

1. Move all your existing ATS candidates into simple folders or a talent pipeline system
2. Email information about new jobs to each pipeline when they go live
3. Encourage interested candidates to answer some questions using forms which will determine their potential for the role
4. On your careers site or recruitment agency website, make sure there’s a prominent form which encourages people to sign up for your talent pipelines to access future opportunities
5. Over time, use social media and job board display advertising to build up your talent pipelines
6. Look to, share useful, relevant content with people in your talent pipelines so they are informed
and inspired continuously

Adam Gordon goes on to say, “This isn’t complicated. What is complicated is dealing with 300 applicants for every advertised role. It’s a big candidate service risk and a huge waste of time. By taking the right approach and investing in the right technology, you can save yourself a lot of time. In order to keep up with demand, recruiting technology is essential. It is important recruiters are equipped with the right tools to handle the increase in job applications.”

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