How to Respond to a Job Application

pile of resumes

Going through job applications is the first step in your company’s efforts to find people to help steer the organisation towards success. Unfortunately, this process can be a difficult task, especially for companies who anticipate having a large number of applicants responding to their open positions.

Consider some of these important guidelines when you are planning how to respond to a job application and you will have a much easier time sorting through the applicants to find the person who will be the best fit for the job.

Early Sorting Procedures

When you first post a job opening for your company, you can expect the largest number of respondents within the first week or two of the posting. Therefore, when you are thinking about how to respond to a job application, it is important that you have a way to filter out unqualified applicants.

One good plan for this part of the process is to identify a few core skills that you need your applicants to have. For example, if you are looking for someone with customer service skills who also understands how to work together in small groups, make note of these traits and search for them in your pool of applications. If you have a larger number of applicants, you can set aside the applications of people who do not have these skills.

Also consider experience. Are you looking for a certain level of experience for your position? Is there any substitute that you would accept from those without this experience? Many companies will ask for either a certain type of training, or a set number of years working in a specific kind of department or position. If an applicant doesn’t have the right kind of experience or the right kind of training, it may not be safe to set aside their application.

looking at resumes

Calling Applicants for Interviews

After you have been able to sort through applicants to find the ones who seem to be most qualified, the next thing to tackle when considering how to respond to a job application is choosing candidates to call for an interview. You might look for candidates who have direct experience in a very similar position, or those who have worked in companies like yours for a while.

Remember to also pay attention to work history. While many HR departments consider large gaps in a work history to be a bad sign, you should not write off a candidate who seems to be qualified just because they were out of work for a certain period of time, especially if it was not a long gap or they are in a field where it is tough to secure immediate employment.

Try to choose a few candidates who you think have the experience and skills to do well at the position you need to fill, and then reach out to schedule an interview with them. It is best to call them by phone, but if this is not possible you can always send an email message or a letter asking them to get in touch with you.

At the Interview

When preparing for the interview, you should already have a list of questions to ask that will help you understand whether or not they would fit in at your company. However, don’t let your focus get caught up solely on how they answer your questions or what their CV looks like. Pay attention to the way that they dress, their posture, the way they communicate with you, and other forms of body language that can clue you in to the type of person they are. If you are looking for someone in a customer-facing role and they seem very meek or uncomfortable with communication, they may not be right for the job, even if they have a strong application and lots of experience in the field.

Also keep in mind that you should have one or two questions that are simply created in order to understand how your applicant’s thought process works. Innovative tech companies like Google and Apple are well known for asking seemingly impossible questions like “how many piano tuners are there in the entire world?” or “why are manhole covers round?” You don’t have to ask questions this radical, but make sure that you include some interview questions that help you see how well your applicants can think outside of the box.


HR Departments wondering how to respond to a job application effectively may face some challenges, but with these strategies you can make it less difficult to find the most ideal candidate to help your company succeed.