With the unemployment rate in South Africa currently at its highest in over twenty five years it is estimated that around one million Job Seekers lost their jobs last year as a result of the
recession. Before the recession, job seekers were careful not to apply for jobs that they were not suited to, however with so many unemployed job seekers in the marketplace companies are now being inundated with job applications, many of which are not suitably qualified or skilled
for the positions that they are applying for.
It it is not unusual for companies to get hundreds or even thousands of applications for one job ad of which only about ten percent or less might be qualified for the position. Wading through the hundreds of unsuitable applications becomes a horribly tedious process. Recruiters and hiring managers are not interested in receiving volumes of applications, they want quality responses. In a recent survey conducted amongst South African employers and recruiters, automatic application screening and filtering tools were by far the most important feature on their recruitment wish lists. While some smaller companies might still be focusing on building up theirdatabases, those companies with an existing talent pool are in search of solutions that will enable them to cut down the amount of time wasted sorting through irrelevant CV's and applications.
When advertising a job, companies should include several pre-screening application questions that applicants are required to answer before they can complete the application process. These questions are usually
asked in a Q&A format and should relate directly to the functional requirements of the position by requesting the applicant to demonstrate their specific suitability for the role. If using an online advertising management solution such as Jobs.co.za, then the questions and answers are displayed together with the applicant's cover note, thereby setting the tone for exactly what the recruiter is looking for from the job applicant and immediately initiates the short-listing process.
Job Application Email Filters
Intelligent screening and filtering tools are very common features among most international job boards; however many South African service providers have not yet become as pioneering as their international counterparts.
Jobs.co.za is the first in South Africa to introduce a Job Application Email Filtering feature which has been designed to allow the recruiter the ability to automatically block (filter) unsuitable applicants from
being sent to the recruiters email inbox. The applications still remain in the online application management suite for consideration; however the recruiter's mailbox is no longer bombarded with unsuitable applications.
Online Interview Questionnaires
Some online recruitment management service providers offer functionality that will enable recruiters to conduct an online interview with the job applicant during the short-listing process. Some solutions may provide a library
of existing interview templates or they may offer recruiters the ability to create their own set of questions. In addition to aiding in the short-listing process, the benefit of utilising a standard questionnaire for each job applicant is that you are consistent in that you are posing the same questions to each applicant, resulting in a
fair judgement of how each applicant has responded. Online Interviews should however be used with caution and it is not recommended that a final decision be based on the outcome of the questionnaire. A personal
face-to-face meeting is recommended before a final hiring decision is made.
Candidate Matching Tools
To further reduce time spent on sourcing potential candidates, companies can make use of available job to candidate matching tools. Jobs.co.za's matching tool gathers information from the job advertisement and then runs an automated database search through its database of active job seeker profiles for matching criteria such as current and target job titles, current and desired job categories, desired salary range, location and
job type, and then presents relevant matches to the recruiter automatically in real-time as and when new job seekers enter the database.
Most South African job portals do not allow companies to access their database as this privilege has typically only been afforded to recruitment agencies. However, as a result of the impact that the recession has had on the unemployment rate in South Africa, Jobs.co.za recently opened its database to companies - in addition to recruitment agencies - to facilitate the process of getting unemployed job seekers back into jobs
as quickly as possible. When utilising a database for search, companies need to be aware that these databases usually consist of active and often unemployed candidates. By solely using search and choosing not to advertise their positions, companies are cutting out a large percentage of possibly highly skilled and
suitable gems from the passive talent pool. Recruitment agencies are still the most effective in providing an additional head-hunting and search service to companies who are struggling to find suitable hires themselves.
Response Handling Agencies
Often companies do not have internal recruitment teams to manage these application tools themselves, and for a line manager recruitment is certainly not their primary responsibility. Having a preferred supplier relationship with a recruitment agency will certainly alleviate much of the hassles that forms part of the recruitment process. Screening, filtering, short-listing, regretting and negotiating contracts with candidates is what agencies specialise in. Therefore, if companies are unable to apply the required time to utilise the available tools then they should pass this responsibility over to the specialists. This is what they do every day.
With so many advanced job application filtering and screening tools available today, there is no reason for companies to feel as though they are drowning in a pool of CV's. There are a number of lifelines available; it's just a matter of reaching out and grabbing hold of them.
Author: Gillian Meier, CEO of Jobs.co.za (South Africa's Job Portal)