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You Have Applicants! Now What?

In the past, a stack of applications and resumes for an open position might make you weary just dreading the tedious work of sifting through them. Even now, when you’re probably glad to have that kind of response, most candidates start looking the same after a while.

The danger here is that managers tend to spend less time per applicant the larger the number they have to go through. The best way to make sure you’re doing a thorough and fair job of assessing potential candidates is to have a solid, streamlined applicant processing procedure.

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iVET360 Recommends

If you hire more than a few people each year, we strongly recommend considering an applicant tracking system. Though they require a small investment each month (in some cases less than $100), they allow you to organize candidates, create knock-out criteria, email through the platform, place ads, record interview questions and answers, send questionnaires, quizzes, and more. These platforms make recruiting much more manageable and can help save both time and inbox space!

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The Knock-Out Round

The first step in processing applicants effectively is having knock-out criteria. These are specific requirements that are non-negotiable—things like certification, a particular amount or type of experience, or other defined specifics that automatically disqualify candidates who don’t have them. Having solid knock-out criteria makes it easy to shorten your applicant stack quickly and objectively.

A, B, and C Ya Later

There should be three initial “piles” for your applications:

  • The “A” applicants: These are the ones who will definitely be getting a phone interview
  • The “B” applicants: The “A” applicants don’t always turn out to be as great as they look on paper. The “B” applicants are your backups if none of the first group work out
  • C Ya Later: Anyone who does not fit into the above two narrow boxes should be quickly disqualified and notified immediately.

Limiting your stacks or piles to only these three options will help you make better and more efficient decisions. Too often, we get a little shaky in our resolve and allow candidates through that maybe should have been disqualified. The “A, B, C Ya Later” procedure makes the process fairer for the candidate and helps prevent you from wasting time with poorly qualified individuals.

On To The Interviews

Reach out to your “A” applicants and schedule the initial interviews. We recommend text message interviews, as they allow you to both give and get information efficiently. Many hiring managers knock out many candidates through text message interviews that use substantially less time than phone interviews.

If your “A” applicants don’t yield enough candidates for the next step, reach out to your “B” applicants and schedule them for their initial interviews. Send disqualification emails to all candidates who will not be moving on to the next step immediately.

Once you have completed the first step interviews, continue the process with all qualified candidates. Move on to phone, then in-person, and finally observation or working interviews to finalize your selection. As with the initial interviews, send disqualification emails to candidates who don’t make the cut immediately to get them off your list. At iVET360, we send the disqualification email immediately after the interview.

Disqualified Candidates

In most cases, federal law requires you to keep all job applications, even those that are blatantly unqualified for any position (like high school graduates applying for veterinarian positions), for one year after the position is filled. This is mandated by many federal laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

In this context, “application” will include actual applications, resumes, cover letters, selection testing (such as skills tests and drug tests), and pre-employment investigation records (such as background checks and reference checks). We recommend loading these onto a thumb drive or similar device filed by position and position fill date.