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Top tips on effectively managing high volume applications

Posted on 1/09/2020 by Kate Maunder

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We all know that the pandemic is having a significant impact on the job market.  Predictions are sadly that the UK  unemployment rate could hit 7.5% by the end of the year, a dramatic shift after the UK’s unemployment rate was at its lowest in 50 years.  HRhiring managers, and recruiters may not be used to the challenges this shift in the market brings.  


If you are currently recruiting, then you have probably seen a dramatic increase in the number of job applications you are receiving. At TPP, we have seen an average increase of 68% in applications to jobs via our website since March, with an overall increase in 44% from other job boards.  


This increase is higher still when looking at mid to senior level roles, a manager level role we recently recruited for saw an 83% increase on the average number of job applications.  To give you some context, we would normally expect between 50 and 300 people to apply (depending on the remit) in another example, a head of level role recently received a 75% increase in applications.    


For HR and hiring managers who are more than likely already experiencing other covid related challenges or have a depleted team, this can be overwhelming.    Sifting through applications is just the first part of a lengthy recruitment process and is time consuming, particularly when faced with screening more unsuitable applicants than was previously the case.  


With the sector already suffering from income challenges it is more important than ever to ensure your brand is viewed positively and recruitment plays an important part in your organisation’s brand and the general market perception out there amongst potential job seekers.  A recruitment process can both enhance or damage it. Specifically, the current influx of applications our clients are experiencing, can have a negative impact if not managed properly, with as much emphasis as possible on timely and clear communication, particularly feedback for unsuccessful applicants.   


We have put together our top tips to help you witmanaging the increase applications, whilst maintaining and protecting your employer brand.  


Use a grading system to shortlist 

Use the person specification and a points-based grading system to narrow down applicants when shortlisting  


Identify transferable skills or sectors 
Identify any acceptable transferable skills you are open to and screen against those too.  Also, identify other sector experience you may want to consider.  This will enhance your ability to identifying the most diverse shortlist for your roles.  

Plan time to shortlist 
This part of the process can be the most time consuming with potentially hundreds of applications to read, drawing you away from other key projects and day to day duties. Measure the time you spend on screening application responses to give you an estimate of how much time to allocate to a job response based on number of responses  

A recent example on a manager role we have recently recruited for, it took 3 days to do the initial shortlist, starting with 300 applicants to a longlist of 25. We then held pre-interview conversations with these, each call taking on average between 30-45 minutes, to produce a shortlist to present to the client.  


Shorten the advertising time 

If feasible, shorten the advertising time. This will help ensure you do not miss out on applicants that have other applications in the pipeline, as well as reducing the number of overall applications you receive.  


Select relevant job boards 

Only select the most relevant job boards This may result in lower responses but a better quality of suitablapplicants with the most relevant experience for the role.  


Partner with a recruitment consultancy 
If you do not have the resources in house to effectively manage recruitment, consider partnering with a consultancy such as TPP, this will save you time, allowing you to focus on your day to day duties and give you confidence that any applicants will be left with a positive experience when applying for a role at your organisation.  You will have access to a wide variety of job boards and benefit from our vast networks of both active and passive jobseekers.  Applicants will be fully pre-screened and interviewed, resulting in presenting you with a high-quality shortlist of job seekers to interview. We also arrange interviews and provide applicants with interview preparation, manage feedback and handle the offer management too 

Working with a consultancy like TPP Recruitment on a contingency basis, means you only pay a fee if you appoint and the successful candidate starts working.  This means you do not incur a cost unless you recruit your ideal person for the vacancy.  To provide additional investment security, we are currently offering a full rebate of our fee during probation period up to 6 months during 2020. You can recruit safe in the knowledge that if it doesn’t work out, you can see your recruitment costs returned.  

For additional support on your recruitment campaign contact the team on 020 7198 6000 or email