Start-ups urged to prepare for job applications deluge

An employment expert says start-ups need to simplify the recruitment process when hiring new staff, following a new survey that reveals more than a quarter of Australian recruiters receive more than 100 applications for one position.


The Sustain Group, a consulting firm, recently conducted a survey of 296 jobseekers in addition to 91 hiring managers and 32 recruitment consultants across 11 industry sectors.


The report reveals 26% of the recruiters surveyed indicated they have received more than 100 job applications for one role.


Matthew Tukaki, chief executive of The Sustain Group, says employers are being inundated by applications and claims the trend is increasing. He says start-ups in particular will struggle to complete the recruitment process properly.


“The reality is that a lot of small businesses, particularly when they start up, are doing so on the smell of an oily rag – they’re doing it with very little capital so they do things by themselves as much as possible,” he says.


“It stands to reason they’ll do the recruitment process themselves as well, which can mean they’re concentrating more on hiring someone than building their business.”


Tukaki says to avoid attracting huge numbers of job applications, many of which are not suitable for the role, start-ups must ensure they are clear about what they are looking for in the job advertisement.


“If you leave it too broad, you attract a mountain of responses… If you’re looking for a financial accountant, call it that,” he says.


“Employers also need to understand that a number of applications will come from people who have no [legal] right to work in Australia or are applying from overseas.”


“They need to state that applicants must have the right to work permanently in Australia. This could reduce the number of candidates by between 10% and 15%.”


According to Tukaki, there are some simple, cost-effective ways in which start-ups can manage the process, including setting up a generic email address for all incoming applications.


“Set up an Out Of Office Assistant that says, ‘Thanks for your application – we’ll be in touch’,” he says.


When it comes time to compiling a shortlist, Tukaki encourages start-ups to do some background research on each potential candidate, namely via Google and social media channels such as Facebook.


“Find out a little bit about the person or the organisation/s they worked for and if you’ve found them through a recruiter, may sure their qualifications have been pre-checked,” he says.


“For start-ups, you don’t want to find yourself with someone who has faked their qualifications, particularly as start-ups are more inclined to profile that person on their website to make their credentials appear bigger than they really are.”


“[Failing to verify a candidate’s qualifications] puts a huge amount of risk on to your business, which could see its reputation tarnished before it even gets going.”


With regard to the interview process, Tukaki says start-ups should ensure they ask lots of scenario-based questions. If interviewing for a sales role, he says employers should ask candidates to quote figures they have achieved.


He believes employers should allocate around three weeks to the recruitment process, breaking it down into the following stages:


  • Design and develop your job ad over a course of 24 hours; make sure you sleep on it and return to it the next day.
  • Have a deadline on the number of days the job ad is open, such as five days. Keep it relatively short.
  • Allocate at least one afternoon to go through the first 20% of ads and make a shortlist.
  • The next afternoon, sort through the remaining applications and finalise the shortlist.
  • Allow yourself a week before you communicate with candidates about job interviews, giving you some time to do some background research on each candidate.
  • After the interview process, don’t procrastinate too long over the final decision, as you could risk losing the successful candidate to another offer.


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