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Flooded with CVs? How to Create Order from Chaos

Your job description has been carefully crafted and your advertisement released to the world and now you wait, wait for the influx of CVs. If you are wondering how you are going to tackle the mounting pile of applicants, you are not alone. Shortlisting candidates is one of the hardest parts of the recruitment process. There is no standard format for CVs and every candidate possesses different skills and experience, so how can you be sure you are shortlisting the right people and not wasting your time and money on the wrong ones? Whichever way you approach it, this stage will take time and some careful thought, but bring a little bit of organisation to your shortlisting and you can make your life that little bit easier.

Plan ahead

Prior to the influx of CVs, decide how many candidates you want to shortlist for interview and when you want the interviews to be. Knowing how many candidates you need can help determine the strictness of your shortlisting – the more you want, the more lenient you can be with your criteria. It will also prevent you from adding extras to your shortlist just because you like them. Likewise, setting a date for interviews will keep you and your team on track and prevent any CV review procrastination.

Get organised

A little bit of organisation goes a long way. Don’t let the pile build up, and if possible assign one person to manage all your incoming applications. Renaming CVs and assigning each one a number or identifier makes keeping track and comparisons easy. Similarly, entering all candidate details into a spreadsheet keeps everything concise and manageable. The addition of essential and desirable traits to your spreadsheet enables you to rank candidates based on skills and experience. This could be as simple as inputting a yes or no or it could be more complex and provide a more in-depth indication of a candidate’s suitability for the role. For example, assign a 1 to those that don’t meet criteria, a 2 to those that do, and a 3 to those that exceed your requirements; those with the highest score can then be deemed your top applicants.

Start with the essentials

A quick way of shrinking your initial pile of CVs is to reject those that don’t meet your essential criteria, which will be immediately obvious from your spreadsheet. That way, all candidates you are focusing on are potentially able to do the role.

Focus on the details

Removing those that don’t meet your essential criteria will have hopefully reduced your pile, but you are not there yet. Next, focus on the details and remove CVs that are full of mistakes or presented poorly as these candidates may not be the diligent new employees you are looking for.

The desirables

By now you may have an idea about which candidates have potential, but to further reduce your pile and produce your shortlist, rank candidates by your desirable criteria and by transferable skills and experience you may not have asked for but could be advantageous. Also, think about assessing their job history and any gaps in their employment as this can be an indication of job fidelity and character.

Use technology

Whichever way you do it, shortlisting is time consuming which is why so many companies are turning to technology to speed up the process. There are many candidate management systems (CMS) to choose from, but e-Talent actually removes the need for CVs altogether, as candidates apply directly online in a process that also incorporates psychometric and behavioural testing. Candidates are ranked against your criteria automatically without you having to do anything. Those that don’t meet your criteria are rejected and sent an automatic email, and those that do are combined in a list, with the highest ranking at the top. All the hard work is done for you; all you need to do is sit down with a cup of tea and review the top candidates to decide who to interview.

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