Driving More Top Applicants: Why Focusing on Quality is More Important Than Quantity

By Scott Brinkman,
May 15, 2017

Many employers believe the likelihood of filling an open role is directly linked to the number of applicants they receive: the more interest in the role, the higher the likelihood of a hire. However, the success of each hire is not correlated to the number of interested applicants, but rather to the level of interest and quality of the applicants.

Level of Interest

In recent years, the process of applying for a job has become increasingly efficient, with the availability of job board technology enabling job seekers to mass apply to openings. In some cases, potential employees can even apply to your open positions with only one click.

Before online job boards, the time required to fill out an application was a natural filter. If an applicant wasn’t really interested in your role, the time investment wasn’t worth their effort. The result of today’s simple application process is that the number of applicants is no longer an effective measure of the health of your hiring pipeline. You’re much better off with five quality applicants, for example, than 100 applicants who aren’t a fit or qualified for the open position.

When reviewing applicants, you should place more weight on each candidate’s qualifications and level of interest. For example, applicants who go beyond one-click apply and take time to write a cover letter addressing why they’re interested in – and qualified for – working on your team are often more likely to be your top candidates. And candidates who take it a step further and apply for an open position through your career site tend to be even more interested – and as a result, more qualified for the role, as they’ve taken the time to learn more about your company and determine if they’re a strong fit. In fact, 30% of applicants from our customers’ career sites are seen as quality hires, the highest percentage by far across all sources.

Quality of Applicants

How can your business identify quality applicants? At Hireology, we measure the quality of our customers’ applicants by averaging two metrics.

The first metric we measure is a SmartRank score of 80 or above. The SmartRank survey is customizable to each position you’re hiring for and automatically sent to each candidate once they click “apply,” making it easier for you to narrow down your applicant pool to the most qualified applicants. The second metric is the applicants-to-candidate ratio. The resulting average grouped by applicant source enables us to analyze where your best applicants are coming from and helps prioritize where you should be spending your time reviewing applicants. We look at these two metrics because it keeps your applicant sources accountable for providing strong applicants without penalizing them for parts of the hiring process that are out of their control, such as interviews and background checks.

By only reviewing quality applicants after they complete the SmartRank survey, you can save immense amounts of time, engage top talent quickly, and get back to running your business. The average time to review a single applicant is 1 minute and 44 seconds, which adds up quickly. And moving quality applicants efficiently through your hiring process is incredibly important, as 82% of hires are made from applicants who are reviewed by a hiring manager within 24 hours.

The old adage “quality over quantity” has once again been proven true and the Hireology platform is focused on partnering with as many applicant sources as possible to ensure our customers have enough quality applicants to build their best teams. With the upcoming launch of Insights, our easy-to-understand Q&A analytics capability, which answers such questions as, “What is my hiring velocity?” and “Am I following my hiring process?” we’re preparing for the release of our third metric, “What is my best source of applicants?” With this metric, we will provide complete visibility into each of your sources to help you further refine applicant review workflow and, ultimately, make quality hires.


Interested in learning more about how to improve your hiring?

Download our eBook, “The 9 Elements Of A Well-Oiled Hiring Process.”

About the Author

Scott is the Vice President of Product at Hireology. He’s responsible for discovering, designing, and defining valuable products that delight our customers. Brinkman drives the strategic vision for product development focused on creating impactful user experiences for customers through his product and UX teams. Scott was previously the Head of Product at Upsight, a mobile analytics and marketing platform that provides business intelligence to the largest enterprises in mobile. Before joining Upsight, Brinkman was an engineer developing sales analytics and CRM systems at Google to empower companies to better understand how behavior affects revenue production.

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