Dealing with an Increase in Job Applicants

By Matthew Reymes Cole
09 Oct 2020

Coronavirus and redundancies continue to plague the UK. As a result, the number of people looking for work is increasing. If you’re hiring, you may find yourself with more applications than usual.

Finding the perfect candidate in these circumstances is difficult. So, what can you do?

Increase in job applicants

Make job descriptions as detailed as possible

Preparing an accurate job description will help you identify the key requirements of a role. This ensures that candidates can better assess whether the role is suitable. The description should be fairly and consistency applied. This will also help to eliminate discrimination.

Strong job descriptions should include the following:

  • Job title, level of seniority, and (if there is a grading system) the job grade
  • Department, area or location
  • Reporting lines. This includes the job title to whom the jobholder will report to and those who will report to the job holder
  • Main job purpose
  • Key duties and requirements
  • Specific responsibilities or accountabilities
  • Other relevant factors or unusual features of the job. For example: whether a high degree of accuracy involved or a requirement for on-call working

By making these descriptions as clear as possible, you help inform potential candidates at an early stage the chance they have of success.

Utilise an external job agency

Make use of a third-party provider to help you to run the recruitment process. This can involve helping you to advertise a role and assess the quality of applicants as CVs start to come in. They can provide key advice on the type of assessments you should attach to an application process. They’ll also advise the best way of marking the assessments.

Once you’ve sourced the strongest candidate, you can decide whether to interview them yourself. If not, the agency can continue the process with pre-prepared questions.

If you do not wish to use an agency, you may want to instead utilise recruitment software to help break the number of applicants down.

Consider the impact of candidate disability and COVID-19

When applying, candidates should be given full opportunity to disclose any disabilities they have. This is particularly important as it may impact their ability to go through the process. Under the Equality Act 2010 employers have an obligation to make reasonable adjustments during the recruitment process. This applies where a particular provision, criteria or practice would place the disabled applicant at disadvantage.

When planning for interviews, you should also consider how they can be done safely in line with social distancing provisions. To this end, it may be more advisable to consider alternative methods, such as a video interview.

For advice on how to conduct remote interviews, see our infographic here.

Be mindful of unconscious bias

When interviewing a large number of candidates there is always a risk of unconscious bias. You may find yourself drawn to individuals, or not drawn to them, due to a particular characteristic. For example, you may want to offer a job to someone who comes from your area, went to your school, or looks like you.

It’s crucial that the interview process is conducted fairly. All candidates should be scored on their response to your questions through the same criteria. This should form the basis of your decision. It may also be worth considering if yourself, HR or management need unconscious bias training.

Expert support

If you need help with any step of the recruitment process, or have any other HR issue, contact one of our HR experts today on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Matthew Reymes-Cole

Matt joined Croner in 2007 as an employment law consultant and has advised clients of all sizes on all aspects of employment law. He has worked within management positions since 2017 and currently oversees a team within the litigation department, whilst continuing to support a number of clients directly.

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