How to manage hundreds of job applications

How to manage hundreds of job applications by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Unsplash

Top tips for employers dealing with hundreds of job applications

How do you manage hundreds of job applications while managing your already busy to-do list? In a world where every job advert you post gets a lot of attention, you just don’t have the time to sift and sort through applications.

It can be overwhelming to look at the number of applications you’ve got to review. And frankly, it’s a boring task that can take far too long.

But when you get your process down, you can confidently manage and sort through hundreds of job applications in the space of an hour or so. Seriously.

So how do you do it?

1 – Rules, not feelings

So many people jump into reviewing applications and panic, resorting to a ‘gut feeling’ approach. This is where you disregard fact and objectiveness, relying on your own mood and imagination to pick your next co-worker.

Not a good call. When reviewing applications you’ve got to be pragmatic!

I would recommend coming up with a quick checklist for every single CV. Maybe you’re looking for 6 months office experience at a minimum, or perhaps they need to have used a certain kind of software.

We like to pick around three must-haves for every role we work on.

This keeps you looking at fact, evidence and experience.

2 – Don’t get caught up on the details

The thing that really takes up time when reviewing applications is detail. When you read every word, you take in too much information to really know what to do with.

You don’t need to read someone’s life story to know if they will be good at the job.

When you read the details, you’ll find yourself comparing more too. Maybe the application before said something better than the one you’re reading… or maybe they deserve a chance because they took on that unrelated voluntary position…

Before you know it, you’re spending way too much time comparing applications when you could be moving on to the next one.

Details to watch out for:

  • Job titles
  • Employment dates
  • Their location
  • Their previous role responsibilities

3 – But don’t get trigger happy

It’s easy to get into an automated rhythm with job applications. Before you know it, you’ve rejected every single applicant.

Recruiters can spend as little as a few seconds scanning a CV to know if the applicant is good or not. But if this is your first time sifting applications it’s normal to take a minute or so.

This is where your rules will help you out.

And try to keep an open mind. When doing a boring task like looking through CVs, it’s natural to switch off and get distracted. This is where your unconscious bias can take control and make hiring decisions. Not good.

4 – Look for evidence

If you’re hiring for a specialist or creative role, looking at evidence is the best way to back up your decision. So if someone includes a link to their portfolio, GitHub profile or even blog, it’s worth having a quick snoop around.

But make sure you’re looking at quality work. The best candidates will always back up their skills with evidence.

And if you’re hiring an Account Executive and you’re looking at a Graphic Design portfolio, you might have a problem!

5 – Give an optional task

On that note, why not add ‘please attach any evidence of your work’ to your job description?

Adding ‘extra credit’ optional tasks to your job description is a great way to find the applicants who actually want the job. Simply asking them to include a link to their portfolio or a paragraph about why they want the job will make sifting through applications a lot easier.

Everyone that forgot to do this either didn’t want the job or didn’t read your job description at all!

If it’s too late for this, consider sending out a similar request with a deadline. For example, if you’re hiring for a customer service role you might want to see a short introduction video so you see their communication skills. Most of your applicants won’t care enough to even think about doing this for the job. So why hire them?

6 – Plan the time

Recruitment takes time. Often, a ridiculous amount. Be sure to schedule in a few hours to scan through CVs, you’re going to need it!

When you look through applications in a rush, you don’t make the best decisions for your business.

7 – Close it down early

And if you’re getting more and more applications every time you hit refresh, there’s no harm in closing the role early.

This might mean that some applicants miss their chance, but it also makes your job a lot more manageable. Some of our roles are only advertised for a couple of days before we’re dealing with hundreds of job applicants – it’s quite normal.

Besides, I promise you that if any amazing applicants are upset the role closed early, they will find a way to get in contact with you.

8 – Partner with someone

Whether it’s a co-worker with good judgment or a recruitment platform like DigitalGrads, delegating the work will help you feel more in control.

DigitalGrads will even manage the job applications for you until you’re left with an all-star shortlist. Sign up today to start hiring the smart way.