Managing Large Applicant Pools

Are you dealing with large applicant pools? There are techniques you can use to improve your process...

Posted by Tamanda Khanga on August 12 2021
Tamanda Khanga

Are you dealing with large applicant pools? There are techniques you can use to improve your process for connecting qualified applicants to the right jobs.

One thing to do is limit the number of applications by reducing the possibilities of receiving applications from individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform the key responsibilities of the open position. This can be done by asking “knock out” questions up front. A knockout question must be directly related to “basic qualifications” of the position. Based on the internet applicant rule basic qualifications are the minimum qualifications that a candidate must possess in order to be initially considered for the position, these qualifications must be:

  • Noncomparative features of a job seeker. For example, if the job requires 2 years of customer service experience, ask “Do you have at least 2 years of customer service experience?”
  • For example, if the job requires a degree in accounting, ask, “Do you have a Bachelor’s degree in accounting”?
  • Relevant to performance of the particular position. For example, if the job requires working at night, ask “Are you able to work the hours of midnight to 8am?”

If the job seeker answers “no” to the knockout question, they should be thanked for their interest, but not allowed to proceed to the application.

Once the job seeker applies to the position by completing the application, data management techniques can be applied to limit the number of people being considered. If using data management techniques or knockout questions, the process MUST be applied and documented before posting the open position. Once individuals start applying, implementing these techniques could potentially be considered a biased process.

Some potential data management techniques are: selecting résumés/applicants in random order; selecting the first 100 that were received; or only selecting résumés/applicants up to a certain date.

Here is an example of documentation for an application process data management technique:

“For this position, the first 10 resumes are reviewed and then the next 10. The search will continue until at least 5 candidates are routed to manager for review. Upon disposition of those candidates the search will resume, in multiples of 10, until 1) a minimum of 3 interviews are set, 2) until the manager requests additional resumes, 3) until an offer is pending, or 4) until all applications are exhausted.“

OFCCP does not determine what data management techniques a contractors can use. However, OFCCP does require that the techniques do not produce disparate impact based on race, gender, or ethnicity. OFCCP will consider labor force statistics to compare the applicant pool to the representation of gender, race, and ethnicity in the relevant labor market.

If you are unsure whether you should implement a technique, you should seek legal advice or contact your Berkshire consultant to hear what others may be doing.  

Tamanda Khanga
Tamanda Khanga
Tamanda joined Berkshire in June 2020 as a Senior HR Consultant, after serving as an Affirmative Action Specialist for Tyson Foods for almost 14 years. She prepares the full range of Affirmative Action (AA) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)analyses for Berkshire’s outsourcing clients, based on prior experience on the client side

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