5 Easy Ways to Narrow Down Your Applicants List

Being able to select the best applicant for your job posts is very important. Yet, sifting through all those resumés could be a tedious and time-consuming process.

If you think that you are laboring too much in going over every application submitted, you probably are. These 5 efficient resumé-screening techniques should save your time for more valuable work.

1. Require a unique document as part of the application process.

For many job applicants, using a template of usually a cover letter plus resumé (and just changing the name of the company or job position they’re applying for) is an approach that allows them to make instant job applications to multiple companies in the shortest amount of time. This often results to inappropriate applications that are dismissed just as quickly as they are received. It is worth making an effort to make your application process creative by having applicants complete a unique exercise. For example, you can ask them to do a video pitch for a certain product, critique or review a website, edit a document, create a sample ad, and countless other ways that cannot be achieved through a template. This is one of the most effective ways to ensure that only those who are seriously applying for the job, do go through. This will result in a lower volume but much higher quality of applicants.

2. Display a “must-have” or a “deal-breaker” criteria prominently in your job ad.

Decide on what the most important skill or requirement an applicant should possess and make it your “deal-breaker.” This will be your gentle way of saying that “if you do not meet this criteria, please do not apply.” Just make sure that you display it in the most noticeable part of your job ad. This qualification must have its place on top of all other criteria so that it catches the eyes of all readers.You will have a bigger chance of getting noticed by the most suitable applicants and will hopefully dissuade those who do not qualify at all.

3. Craft smartly-hidden special instructions. that will allow you to identify better, more genuine applicants

At the very least, narrow down your applicants to those who can follow simple instructions. This is a good indicator of an attentive applicant and that is always a good thing. Specific instructions that may be missed by those who will not read carefully will allow you to identify better, more serious applicants. One example is to ask applicants to put in an application code in the subject line of his or her email. Another example is to ask a specific question at the bottom of your application instructions and have them place their answer as the subject line of their email. You will know immediately who did not follow your instructions and can consider dismissing those resumés right away. If dismissing them feels a tad too harsh or too soon, then at least you can ask them to re-send their application correctly.

4. Conduct pre-screening tests.

Create a suite of online pre-screening aptitude tests.. Going through this hurdle will turn-off the less determined and leave you with the resolute ones. This might cost something but it will allow you to quickly decide you moves up the next step of the recruitment ladder.

5. Use video interviews

There is truly no shortage of innovative ways to create a template-deterrent job application process these days. For example, you can email your applicants a set of pre-screening questions and have them submit or upload video of their response. Putting in this added task will separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. This is also an efficient way to compare and pre-screen your applicants.

Another effective way of short-listing or at least ranking job applications is of course using the good old applicant-tracking system to automate the sifting process. It’s not exactly a unique process but then if you are using one right now that is different from this, then by definition, your method is innovative! Just remember that the end-goal of applying these creative application screening techniques is to make it quicker but still as efficient, if not more.

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