Too Many Applicants - It Can Be More Dangerous Than You Think

Having too many applicants in your candidate pool seems like a great problem to have. You have job openings and plenty of folks eager to fill those jobs for you because we’re still at about a 7.6 % unemployment rate nationally. But what you may not have considered is how many of those applicants are actually qualified to fill your positions. At first mention, this may not seem like an issue for you because hey, statistically you’re guaranteed a good fit with a large pool, right? Wrong. The truth is that having a sizeable number of applicants and no way to mitigate those candidates is privy to increased hiring headaches, wasted time, and eventually, high turnover.

So, what am I saying here? I’m saying that having a large pool of applicants and no way to manage them is like going “up the creek without a paddle.” And since, according to SHRM, the cost of replacing an $8/hour employee is $3500, being paddle-less is likely to cost you a whole lot more than just your time and your sanity. What you need is a plan of attack and if you don’t use applicant tracking software like ApplicantPro that automates this process for you, here are my suggestions to implement into your hiring process to target that “diamond in the rough” future employee:

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  1. Know Your Target Audience - This is a common theme in both my webinars and my blog posts, but I’m going to keep hammering it into HR minds because the potential is limitless; research the type of candidates you want to target. The best way to do is this is to talk to the top performers in the position or department you’re looking to hire for and write a job ad that would appeal to them. Ask what they like about the job, what drew them in, how they found the job ad, etc. Also, use keywords that your ideal candidate would use. This takes a bit of practice, but put yourself in a job seeker’s shoes and determine keywords they would likely search for when job hunting in places like Indeed.com and Careerbuilder.com.
  2. Filter for Minimum Qualifications - This tends to be a bit easier to do if you use hiring software, but you want to create application screening questions that will either disqualify candidates or help assign weight to their answers so you’re not wasting your time by interviewing someone that should have been eliminated early on. I’ll give you an example of a “knock-out” question first: if you’re hiring a bartender for instance, then you know that whoever you interview will need to be at least 21 years of age when you hire them. So, on your application, you’ll ask something like: “will you be at least 21 years of age on 7/18/13″ and whoever answers “no” will automatically be eliminated. A “weighted” question helps you assign a percentage or score to an applicant’s answer based on the question. For instance, if you’re hiring for a sales position and it’s important that you hire someone with experience, your question would be “how many years of sales experience do you have” – less than 1 year, 1-3 years, or 3+; you can assign a score to each answer. Less than 1 = 0, 1-3 = 3, and 3+ = 5; you will have the ability to rate that applicant and determine if they’re worth interviewing. You can also take this a step further and practically triple your odds of hiring the best fit by using a Hiring Assessment like Selective Hiring. Something like this creates a performance benchmark and rates your candidates based on their compatibility with your top employee.
  3. Track Your Results - You’ll never know what works and what doesn’t if you don’t have any way to measure your current hiring process. One of the best and free tools to use for monitoring your career site traffic is Google Analytics. If you already have a company website, it’s likely that you’ll already have something like this setup. Talk to someone in your IT or Marketing department to start logging traffic to specific job ads building a comparison report of how the wording of one job ad compares to another, how many visitors clicked your application, etc. You’ll also want so create some kind of tracking process for monitoring both applicant and employee sources; that way, you’ll know which job advertising mediums yielded the most qualified job seekers.

I hope you found these few suggestions beneficial and that you’ll adopt them immediately to take full advantage of an oversupply of job candidates. If you’d like a more detailed understanding of this approach, register for my free, HRCI approved webinar Too Many Applicants or contact ApplicantPro’s support team to learn how to simplify your hiring process today.

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