With an estimated 1.62 million people unemployed by September, and redundancy levels at a record high, it’s no surprise that recruiting has become a complex process. Applications for job vacancies have swelled making it difficult for employers to deal with multiple CVs when recruiting.

The current situation

It’s estimated that 9.6 million workers are furloughed and that UK unemployment is likely to reach 2.6 million by the middle of 2021, according to the government’s economic watch dog. This means 7.5% of the working age population. With retail chains collapsing and the high street suffering, these are unprecedented times for UK employment.

We’ve seen an influx in applications for many of our client vacancies unsurprisingly. Many of these candidates have not been suitable, but during these desperate times are applying for anything and everything. For our clients, this isn’t an issue as we are on hand to sift through and identify those who should go through to the interview stage. However, for a business owner with limited time and resource, recruiting for a role which attracts double, even triple the usual amount of applications can be impossible and overwhelming to manage.

Recruiting during the pandemic

If you’re thinking of using a recruitment agency, here’s our guide on getting the most from the partnership. However, if you’re managing it in-house here’s our advice on managing multiple CVs…

Be clear in your recruitment advertising

Stipulate exactly what you are looking for and what the role involves. Specify the level of experience required, and ask for examples of how candidates have demonstrated their skills in this particular area. By being clear at the job advert stage, you should discourage candidates who would not be relevant to the role.

This will also help manage expectations (and disappointment) from potential candidates if you’re able to justify why they weren’t shortlisted.

Use the job description in the next stage to help you filter down candidates. Don’t be afraid to close the post sooner if you’re becoming overwhelmed with applications. Read our guide to creating a job description and drafting the perfect recruitment advert.

Develop a scoring system

The easiest way to manage multiple CVs and applications is to develop a simple scoring system (for example, 1-3). Mark applications from 1 – 3 based on the criteria set out in your advert, looking at their experience, skills and any other relevant competencies.

Shortlist no more than 10 candidates

These are the candidates that you will progress onto telephone interviews for the next stage. Remember that not all 10 will potentially set up the calls; we have also experienced high volumes of applications and lots of no-shows for interviews. These are unprecedented times, and candidate behaviour is not always as expected.

Manage candidate expectations

Even if you receive thousands of applications, it’s good practiceto let candidates know if they haven’t heard from you by a certain date then their application is likely to have been unsuccessful, depending on how they apply you could set this up as an autoreply or put this on the job advert. For candidates who you’ve had a conversation with even just a phone call basic email to inform them they have been unsuccessful is good etiquette; there’s nothing more frustrated from a job seeker perspective than a tumble weed response when they have taken the time to apply for your role.

Conduct a telephone screen

The first stage of interviews should be conducted via a brief phone call with some basic questions. These questions should focus on some more practical aspects of the role including salary expectations, their ability to travel (if required) and help you gage their phone manner. You will be able to quickly idenfity candidates who match your requirements we recommend that you aim to whittle the pool down to no more than five candidates who will progress to the next stage. Remember to refer back to the job description at all times to ensure you’re shortlisting in line with your criteria and avoiding any bias.

Invite the second stage for a video interview

During the current climate, video interviews are the norm and most candidates are now comfortable with this. Read our guide to remote recruitment tips for employers for tips on preparing for remote interviews and what to consider. If government restrictions allow you may also want to invite the candidate for an informal coffee or tour of the office so they have a better understanding of the business.

Issue job offers and contracts

Once you’ve found your candidates you can go ahead and issue job offers and contracts of employment. If your team is still working remotely then you will need to consider onboarding remotely (read our tips here).

We’ve also turned this blog into a checklist which you can download, or if you would like help with your recruitment get in touch to see how we can help.