How employers can best deal with mass job applications

  • Largest drop in employment since 2009 Financial Crisis sees 730,000 employees fall off payroll in three months of Q2.
  • Some new vacancies are attracting hundreds of applicants in just a few hours.
  • A robust process will help you get to the best candidate whilst protecting against discrimination claims

As the many apply for the few job vacancies employers may well feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of applicants. Amanda Strange from The HR Dept Cheltenham & Stroud shares some advice for managing mass job applications.

Amanda begins: “How we manage the recruitment process is incredibly important both for the individual applicant who’s desperately seeking work and for the good name of the company. Recruitment done properly is time consuming and you want the best possible person to fill the role. 

“One way to limit the number of responses is to ensure that your job advert clearly sets out the qualifications and experience that are essential to the role. The more specific you can be the better, whilst of course avoiding any discriminatory requirements such as age or gender. This is a strong first line of defence for discouraging unsuitable applicants and protection against claims of discrimination. 

“Even with these measures in place you may be inundated, so now the sifting begins. You can’t interview everyone, even if they were all suitably qualified. Therefore, weed out those covering letters which have obviously been cut and pasted, contain poor spelling or have got the company name wrong. 

“For the ones that remain, score them against the pre-set criteria you are looking for, and as with so much else in HR, keep records. 

Decide where you draw the line on your scoring system and progress your best candidates through to a telephone interview. Prepare your questions and ask everyone the same ones, again have a strict marking policy and record keeping.

“After this stage, you should leave yourself with a manageable shortlist for face-to-face interviews. With face-to-face interviews it is helpful to have more than one person as part of the process to give a balanced view and help avoid unconscious bias.

“Don’t forget that each application, no matter how poor, represents someone who needs a job and has spent time applying to you. Inject some empathy into your process by replying to everyone – it is good manners – even if it is just with a well-crafted pre-written email.

For bespoke advice on recruitment as well as redundancy, get in touch.”

For enquiries, please contact Amanda Strange from The HR Dept, at or on 01242 850246.

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