How to Sift Through a Flood of Job Applicants

Help Wanted — 5 things I’ve learned from interviewing dozens of job applicants

While trying to schedule a telephone interview, one job candidate told me, “Monday will not work at all for me. I start a new job that day.”

Are you kidding me?!

For several weeks, I’ve been tasked with finding someone to fill a brand new position for one of my clients. It has taken this long because we’ve vowed to be incredibly thoughtful about who we decide to hire. My experiences during this process – from developing best practices to meeting new people – can provide valuable lessons for finding that needle in a very large haystack.

Harvard Business School projects that bad hires cost employers three to five times the employees’ first-year salary.

1. Start with the phone

When you post an opening – especially these days – there will be no shortage of applicants. Imagine trying to meet in person with each and every potential candidate. You’d be investing a lot of time – time that you and your team may not have. And you’re flat-out wasting time when candidates fail to show up for interviews. There may not be a need for all that face time. One effective way to sift through the flood of applications and begin the vetting process is to schedule telephone interviews. If an applicant fares well and you have a good feeling, then schedule an in-person meeting. Within about 15 minutes (even via phone) you’ll probably know intuitively whether someone may be a good fit.

2. Don’t call me … on second thought, call me

I asked one candidate to call me at 4:30 pm on a given day. Not only did she call nine minutes past our agreed-upon time, she didn’t even [Read more…]