How to deal with the January influx of candidates effectively


For many, the start of a new year marks a great time to start looking for a fresh start and a new job. You’ll probably find that the number of applicants for any job that you’re posting in January is higher than any other time of the year. Especially if that job was listed from around mid-December when people start taking their seasonal holidays and have time at home to look for new opportunities.

With a lot to organise, it can be a difficult task managing the influx of candidates. It’s tough wading through the huge pile of CVs and covering letters that arrive in January, especially after taking some time off yourself. Here’s some tips to help you get through the backlog.


Be ruthless: at first at least

If you’re met with a higher than expected return on your job listing, spend some time working with your gut instinct to instantly filter out the nos. Sort the CVs into piles of yes, no and maybe, working quickly through each one. You can always revisit your options later, but trusting your gut can be an excellent way to effectively remove any of the definitely not’s.

Look for unusual CVs and covering letters

Has anyone submitted something a little out of the ordinary, or taken extra care with the design of their CV? Anybody that stands out for all the right reasons is worth giving extra consideration when you’ve got a lot of average CVs to sift through.


Set an additional task

If you have lots of promising applications, it’s likely that it won’t be practical, either for you or the candidate, to call them all in for interview. To help narrow down the list a little further, construct a small task that can be completed via email or telephone, whether that’s a test or telephone interview. This gives you the added bonus of knowing that anyone you do call in for a full interview is already at least part way capable.


Quick background checks

Google can be both a blessing and a curse. Before spending valuable time on an interview situation, invest a few minutes to check out a potential candidate’s online presence. This is particularly important for those jobs that require a person to be web and social media savvy, but almost everyone leaves some kind of digital footprint these days. Checking on this can throw up any warning signals before you get to interview stage.


Measurable tasks

If you have a lot of candidates coming in for an interview, it can still be difficult to decide between them at the hiring stage. It can therefore be useful to include at least one definitively measurable task at the interview stage. Perhaps they could complete a test, if appropriate, or a small/short task that they would be expected to perform in the job role. Having something you can objectively compare between candidates can be more useful than comparing the differences between interview answers, all of which may be good but in different ways.

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