How to Filter Through Applicants Easily

If you have recently posted a position you’re hiring for, applicants may be quickly adding up. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have so much interest in the position, but it can also be an incredibly daunting task to filter through a large stack of applicants.

You may need someone quickly, but you don’t want to rush the hiring process. It’s important that you choose the right person for the job. So how can you effectively filter through applicants?

How to Filter Through Applicants With Ease

Every employer has their own way of doing things, this includes the hiring process. Some have fairly extreme methods, such as deleting any individuals from the last wave of applicants. Others will toss applications that are too long or applications that don’t look appealing.

Although this strategy works for some, it increases the chances that you’ll throw away a potential gem employee. To avoid this, try some of these tips when filtering through.


Toss the Generic Applications

As you are first flicking through, get rid of any applications that are not tailored to the position you’re hiring for. You can assume that they’re not serious about this particular position. You can tell when a CV is targeted to any position. You will want to see specifics. 

Look for little hints that they did not take the time to focus in on the specific position. For instance, you may have requested applicants to have experience leading a team. If the CV does not mention this requirement, toss it.

 Focus On Required Skills, Qualifications, and Experience

As you’re filtering through, focus solely on the skills, abilities and qualifications that you specifically requested in your criteria. If you wrote a clear set of criteria, applicants should have read your ad closely and applied accordingly.

Those applicants that do not display these criteria get tossed. If they did not list these skills, abilities, and qualifications in their application then they’re probably not right for this specific position. If you come across any applications that do not possess those exact skills, but display some interesting qualifications, place that application to the side. They may not be right for this position, but they may be valued within another upcoming position.

As you’re looking at skills and qualifications, focus in on their work experience. Was their last job related to the position you’re hiring for? Is it at least in the same industry? The information on their application should be relevant to the advertised position. Focus on their career thus far. Does it seem to be on an upward trajectory, or does it appear to be descending?

You have now probably cut your pile by at least 50%. The remaining applications should be clearly presented, show correct spelling and grammar, and be easy to follow. Now that you have trimmed some of the fat, you can filter back through with a new focus.

 Interests and Hobbies

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Many applicants will include a little bit of personal information regarding their main hobbies and interests. This can provide you with information that displays their ability to fit in around the office. Perhaps you have a working environment where everyone gets on extremely well. You will want this to continue with your new hire. Just see if there’s anyone that stands out.

Interests and hobbies aren’t just important for social aspects; they may uncover something that is related to the position. Maybe you’re an environmental company and the person takes a large interest in camping, fundraising, and gardening. This already tells you that this applicants enjoys nature and gets involved. They could potentially bring some fresh ideas to the table, offering some new insight. 

 Mandatory Application Form

A great way to get the answers you’re after is insisting that applicants fill out a specific form you created. Since you will have created this form, you’ll know exactly where to focus. You can quickly find details regarding their education, experience, employment history, skills, and more.

An added benefit of application forms are the questions you can ask. A CV will not provide you with this direct, detailed information. You can ask them specifically what they think they can offer the company, where they see themselves in three years, and any other question you feel is relevant. 

Get Some Help

If you make a checklist of exactly what you’re looking for, get someone to help you. If you have a partner for instance, they can take half of the stack. You can sit together filtering through, four hands are always better than two.

Hiring someone doesn’t need to be a nightmare. Approach your stack of applications with a clear image of what you’re looking for. If you focus on selected items, you can filter through applications easily. You will speed up the process without skipping over a potentially excellent employee. Use a system that works for you and you should have no problem finding the perfect fit. 

Photo credit: Flickr 




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