Recent months have seen thousands of people being made redundant. Despite all the schemes put in place to help businesses and individuals, some companies simply haven’t been able to maintain operation at the same level as the start of the year, and that means there are a lot of people chasing the available jobs.

This point was made fairly starkly recently when a hotel reported that it had received more than 1,000 applications for a receptionist role. It had only expected 30. Dealing with the volume of applications is one thing: weeding out the people who actually have the skills or experience to do the job is quite another.

A recent survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found that those employers who are looking for new staff are becoming more confident about starting to hire as their businesses start to return to work after the lockdown. Of course, some businesses have been extremely busy and needed to hire during lockdown, whilst others have been biding their time and waiting to see what a post-lockdown business world looks like. But the fact that businesses are now actively hiring at the same time as growing numbers of people are looking for work means that employers could suddenly see a significant rise in applications.

How to manage job applications

The easiest way to reduce the burden of sifting through hundreds of applications is to work with a recruitment partner. That way, you’ll still see just the most relevant and useful CVs to help you take the next step. It may take longer to get to this point, however, because each application will need to be read and considered.

You could also be clear in your job adverts about exactly what you’re looking for. This may deter people who are applying for ‘anything’ and leave the path clear for the applicants who have the skills or experience you need. This isn’t guaranteed, however: we have been working on recruitment for some very specific roles, only to find that we are getting hundreds of applicants, many of whom have none of the skills or qualifications needed.

Instead, employers may have to accept that, for the moment at least, you will be over-subscribed if you advertise a new post. At the same time, you need to have a policy for how you manage rejections, because poor management could reflect badly on your brand reputation for years to come. More importantly, we’re hearing that people are struggling with low self-esteem around rejection on top of poor mental health because of the challenges of the pandemic, so it remains the employer’s role to handle applications responsibly and with empathy wherever possible