multiple applicants

When Many Apply For the Same Position

Depending on how the job market is going, you’ll find there are times when quite a few people apply for the same position.

This of course will vary from area to area, and it also will be influenced by how you are promoting a particular position. If you’re posting the job offer on just your web site, you’ll likely see considerably more applications if you promote the position on one (or more) of the job boards. ZipRecruiter, Monster, Indeed and other job boards could serve up dozens of applicants for just one position.

How should you filter these applications so that the one-on-one interviews are being done with the right people? These interviews could go an hour and longer, so we want to spend that time — the one-on-one interviews — with people who actually could end up getting hired.

The simplest approach of course is to get their résumé ahead of time, look it over and then take the next step. What would that next step be?

One idea would be to schedule a short phone interview. You’ll find, oddly enough, that a percentage won’t show at all for this interview or they’re “busy” doing something else and will call you twenty minutes later apologizing but hoping you will still do the phone interview.

If their first personal engagement with you is a no-show, this is not a good sign. Is it a deal-breaker? Possibly. Remember, this is the scenario where we have too many applicants to potentially interview and we’re looking for some kind of filter.

Okay, they show up on time for the phone interview. What could or should you ask them?

You could go very basic here and just ask simple questions that you gleaned from their résumé.

Or you could ask a few penetrating questions. For example:

“If we hired you for this position, how long would you be looking to stay with us?”

A different wording of this might be:

“We sometimes have a revolving door here with new hires leaving after a few weeks or so. Convince me I don’t need to worry about you.”

Here are a few more questions you could ask:

“From a work perspective, where do you see yourself in one year? Five years? Ten years?”

“On a scale of 1 to 10:

“How focused are you?

“How stable are you?

“How friendly are you with other employees?

If you look through some of the other Hiring Tips — and there are 290 of them at this point in time — you’ll find quite a few that you could use in this phone interview.

Again, the phone interview does not need to be very long. You want to be satisfied you can move this person on to the next step in your hiring funnel.

Just to be sure, I’m not here to dissuade you from asking questions regarding the applicant’s résumé. If there are résumé items you want to confirm or have amplified, you certainly could do this over the phone before the in-person interview.

All in all, you will need some kind of filter if you’ve got 10, 15, 20 or more applying for the same position. This hiring tip should give you a few ideas on how to do this.

As the law varies in each area, please check with an attorney to ensure you are applying these tips within the law.

Our three minute video will help you hire the right people.

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