Overwhelmed By Job Applications: 4 Ways to Manage the Madness

I recently polled a bunch of managers and small business owners on how many resumes they receive for every opening they put out there. The result was staggering – 50 to 200. Whether or not you have a dedicated person managing these incoming resumes, it can be quite daunting and counter-productive not to have some process in place to weed through the pile.

email overload

Here are four simple steps every small company can follow:

Get Backup for Your Inbox

Email is great. But you cannot open 100 attachments from your email and make notes in spreadsheets. How are you going to keep track and share important pointers within your team? Resumes are bound to get lost in the ever building pile. To start getting organized – sign up for an online recruitment software, which caters towards small businesses. There are web-based ones that have free trials, so you can see if they fit your requirements before setting up your process and paying for one. For an average need of a small business, a good one should cost you no more than $50 per month. Here is a list of a few on google apps.

Get Candidates to Apply on Your Careers Page

Instead of simply putting an email address on your careers page, it helps to have a company overview and a job description. This gives the prospective applicant a more complete picture of what you are looking for. Moreover, you can have an application form under the description that asks for all the things you need to screen the applicant. For instance, instead of simply asking for a resume attachment, you can request a cover letter, linkedin profile and add a questionnaire as well.

How are you going to add this on your site? If you don’t have the IT resource, your above chosen recruitment software should be able to help you with this. Most of them provide a widget which enables you to display all openings, along with the form, on your website. All the information that comes in from the form will be organized on your recruitment software to help you screen faster.

Share the Fun

You may be the person assigned to screen all the applications, but you need to get the relevant inputs from all the hiring managers and stakeholders. Thus, if you organize the screening process using an online tool as described above, you can add team members to this system after the initial screening. Let’s say you narrowed down the 100 resumes for the ‘financial analyst’ position down to 15 by filtering for ‘CPAs,’ you can then move these 15 to stages which the Finance Manager can work on – either by adding her feedback or scheduling an interview. Having everything in one place gives a clear view to the entire team.

Find the Right Ear

When you create an opening, you can share its link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora in the relevant groups and lists. If you want to receive the most fitting applications, you have to make an effort on pushing them to specific places where your prospects hang out. On the other hand, large job boards bring a lot of clutter with the cream.

Good Luck!

Email Overload Photo via Shutterstock


Raj Sheth Raj Sheth is the Co-Founder of Recruiterbox, an online Recruitment Software & Applicant Tracking System designed especially for small businesses. Growing a small business himself, everything he writes is based on what he has experienced in his ventures.

4 Reactions
  1. Raj – Good suggestions. In your article all actions were leading to one-on-one interviews. So funneling down from hundreds of applicants to a handful of interviews can definitely be a task and overwhelming. I teach my clients to do Group Hiring. Bring in a large group of candidates, run them through some basics to apply a broad filter, then take the cream from the top and do one-on-one interviews from that point. This may not apply to all positions, but it definitely has it’s place. I can’t tell you how many times the “best resume” was the worst candidate. But hours could have been wasted on that person because of the resume. There are no guarantees in hiring, but increasing the odds of success is always needed.


    Gary Crawshaw
    Higher Ground Strategies

  2. Sometimes screening applicants for a specific job opening can be an overwhelming task. Recently, a job posting for United Health Group had received 800 applications. I can’t even imagine going through each application manually.

    I agree with you on going along with the recruitment software, so that applications are not lost in the process, and the filtering narrows the pile down to the best fitting ones. Thank you for sharing.

  3. There are a few key pieces of advice I would add to this

    1. Start with the end in mind via a rubric. What are you looking for in the resumes you’re screening? If you have a checklist tied to your values and needed skills, you will get a better outcome.

    2. Don’t use your inbox. There are better ways to receive applications, specifically through an ATS (applicant tracking system for anyone who isn’t a recruitment nerd. There are free ones such as Smart Recruiter that allow you to manage applications quickly on the backend.

  4. Recruitment software saves a lot of time of HR department or recruiters by automating most of recruitment procedures. Present job scenario is too much competitive and any post can get attention of hundreds of application and in some cases you may count this as thousands. So manual screening is next to impossible in such cases and you have to search for a automatic screening process for your rescue.