How Can HR Efficiently Screen a High Volume of Applicants?

How Can HR Efficiently Screen a High Volume of Applicants?

In the fast-paced world of recruitment, efficiently managing a deluge of applications is crucial. We’ve gathered insights from Recruitment Team Leads and HR Managers, discussing strategies from utilizing Applicant Tracking Systems to the innovative use of eight-way video interviews. Here are eight expert strategies to help you screen a high volume of applicants with precision and ease.

  • Utilize Applicant Tracking Systems
  • Combine ATS with Personalized Questions
  • Filter Applicants with Keyword Instructions
  • Implement Blind-Screening Process
  • Employ Pre-Employment Tests
  • Quickly Screen for Red Flags
  • Collaborative Multi-Department Screening
  • Use One-Way Video Interviews

Utilize Applicant Tracking Systems

An effective strategy for efficiently screening a high volume of applicants is to utilize an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This technology can significantly streamline the recruitment process by automating the initial stages of screening, thus allowing HR professionals to manage a large pool of candidates more effectively.

Here’s how to optimize the use of an ATS:

1. Keyword Optimization: Configure the ATS to screen resumes based on specific keywords that are essential for the role. These keywords should be derived from the job description and may include required skills, qualifications, and relevant experience.

2. Customizable Filters: Set up filters that align with the most critical criteria for the role, such as certain educational backgrounds, specific certifications, or required levels of experience. This helps in quickly narrowing down the candidate pool to those who meet essential qualifications.

3. Scoring System: Implement a scoring system within the ATS where candidates are ranked based on how well their resume matches the job specifications. This allows you to focus first on the top-scoring candidates who are more likely to be a fit.

4. Automated Communications: Use the ATS to send automated responses to applicants. This ensures timely communication and keeps candidates informed about their status, improving the candidate experience and reducing manual work.

5. Integration with Assessment Tools: For roles requiring specific skills, integrate assessment tools with the ATS. This allows automatic forwarding of candidates who meet the resume criteria to the next stage of skill assessment, further automating the screening process.

By effectively utilizing an ATS with these features, HR teams can handle high volumes of applications more efficiently, ensuring that only the most suitable candidates move forward in the recruitment process. This not only saves time but also helps in maintaining a high standard of recruitment.

Ana AlipatAna Alipat
Recruitment Team Lead, Dayjob Recruitment


Combine ATS with Personalized Questions

As the founder of eLearning Industry Inc., I’ve honed a strategy for efficiently screening a high volume of applicants that combines automation with personalization. One effective approach is to utilize an applicant tracking system (ATS) with customizable screening questions tailored to specific job requirements. By automating the initial screening process, you can quickly filter out unqualified candidates based on their responses, saving valuable time for your hiring team. Additionally, implementing a scoring system within the ATS allows you to prioritize candidates who meet essential criteria, ensuring a more streamlined and focused review of applications. This combination of automation and personalized screening criteria not only accelerates the screening process but also ensures that your team can dedicate their attention to evaluating the most promising candidates, ultimately leading to more successful hires.

Christopher PappasChristopher Pappas
Founder, eLearning Industry Inc


Filter Applicants with Keyword Instructions

We might be in one of the industries that receives a ton of applicants for every job ad we post online, be that remote, in-office, etc. Thousands of applicants from all over the world apply. It’s crazy! To mass filter applicants, this is what works best for us:

We require applicants to start their motivational letters with a specific keyword and/or end with a predetermined sentence. This is strategically placed within a wall of text about the company, etc. This not only filters out those who fail to follow instructions but also highlights detail-oriented and diligent individuals, qualities essential for success in our industry. For example, we may ask them to start with “Hello.” and end with “I’m a perfect candidate for this position at Kaleto.Digital.” Those who don’t pay full attention to the ad will ignore the request, and we ignore applicants who didn’t start or end their letter with the required content.

It works wonders!

Chip RadoslavovChip Radoslavov
Founder, Kaleto.Digital


Implement Blind-Screening Process

As the president of our company, one of the innovative strategies we use to efficiently screen a high volume of applicants is to implement a ‘blind-screening’ process. During this process, all identifying information—including names, genders, ages, and even educational institutions—is eliminated from resumes before they are initially reviewed.

This method helps us eliminate any unconscious bias that can result from viewing personal information and instead concentrate only on the credentials, abilities, and experiences of the applicants. By doing this, we ensure that each application is assessed solely on the basis of their qualifications and fit for the position.

We also employ a scoring system that takes into account certain job-related parameters, such as years of experience, pertinent talents, and achievements. Multiple employees grade each resume separately, and only those who pass a particular threshold advance to the next stage of the hiring process.

Cassie FieldsCassie Fields
President, Autoleap


Employ Pre-Employment Tests

Pre-employment tests are the only scalable way to screen applicants in volume.

Resume sifting and interviewing are notoriously non-scalable activities, and eventually, candidate volumes overwhelm them. For example, assume it takes 10 minutes to thoroughly screen a resume. One resume will take 10 minutes, but 1,000 resumes take 10,000 minutes, an unacceptably long time.

Pre-employment tests, however, genuinely scale with volume. Because the process is largely automated, the time needed for an HR professional to invite 10, 100, or 1,000 candidates to complete an assessment is largely equivalent, saving huge amounts of time, effort, and resources.

Naturally, when choosing an assessment provider, you need to do your due diligence, and assessment quality should not be assumed. However, the evidence behind pre-employment testing is highly robust and should be strongly considered for any high-volume selection process.

Chloe YarwoodChloe Yarwood
HR Manager, Test Partnership


Quickly Screen for Red Flags

Protect your time and energy, especially in the beginning. A mountain of resumes and candidates will wear you out fairly quickly if you aren’t conserving your energy for the right ones. Spend maybe ten to fifteen seconds tops on each resume. During this phase, you’re looking for red flags or deal-breakers. Maybe it’s a lack of relevant experience, missing qualifications, or a resume that’s just a mess. Whatever it is, if something doesn’t align with what you’re looking for, you move on without hesitation. This ruthless approach allows you to efficiently narrow down the pool of applicants and save valuable time for deeper evaluation later on.

Once you’ve made it through the initial sprint and narrowed down your pool to a more manageable size, that’s when you can afford to take a breather and slow things down a bit. Instead of speed-reading, you can afford to give each resume a more thorough review. Dive deeper into the details, and look for those unique qualities that set candidates apart.

Mike RobertsMike Roberts
Co-Founder, City Creek Mortgage


Collaborative Multi-Department Screening

Have members of different departments screen the candidates collaboratively. Each member takes a portion of the applications, scores them against predetermined criteria, and then the scores are added together. This not only divvies up the work but also brings more viewpoints into the screening process.

For our company, implementing a series of screening panels slashed 40 percent of the time that hiring managers spent on first-level reviews and boosted their satisfaction with the quality of candidates.

Sunaree KomolchomaleeSunaree Komolchomalee
Head of Human Resources, Cupid Digital PR Agency


Use One-Way Video Interviews

One-way video interviews have worked great for us when dealing with a high volume of applicants. This strategy allows candidates to record their responses to pre-set questions at their convenience. For example, we recently used this method for a large recruitment drive in Singapore. The platform enabled us to quickly identify those who fit our needs based on their communication skills and understanding of the role, without the scheduling constraints of live interviews. It’s a personal and efficient approach that lets us engage more deeply with potential hires right from the start.

Lucas BotzenLucas Botzen
Founder, Rivermate


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