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Behind the Scenes of a Recruitment Exercise

It's a warm day. I open up the Recruitment Software the company uses and it is flooded with applications. In less than 24 hours of posting the vacancy for a new Financial Accountant, we had received almost one thousand applications and the vacancy would be open for another 7 days. I began to panic. Many other countries, the Global Recruitment team of my company, recommends that we leave the applications open for not less than 14 days but West African Countries were a special case because of high unemployment rates. We were allowed to close applications as early as 7 days and even then we could still expect a flood.

The majority would be people who didn't have the right qualifications so it would be easy to sort through based on the criteria, but even after cutting down using the software you would still have at least 300 - 500 people who claim to meet the specification, meaning you had to look at their CVs in order to decide if you should invite them for the next stage of screening.

As usual, I went into the Software, better to get started early on the selection process considering I already had over 900 applications on day one. After doing the automatic shortlisting for people that said no to some of the critical criteria like years of experience, the relevance of experience and familiarity with relevant software, I still had 200 CVs from day one to go through. That's how it went the entire week and I watched in dismay as the numbers continued to climb. My main issue was not the number of people applying, but the number of unqualified people applying.

The Hiring Manager has called every day since I was notified of the vacancy to find out if I had a shortlist of Candidates already. And every day I have reminded the Hiring Manager of the agreed timelines, but I knew that I was sitting on a ticking time bomb because, with the number of applications, it would take a miracle to have a complete shortlist by the time we agreed.

This is because 90% of the 200 people from day one would probably not meet the relevant criteria and so it would mean a waste of time going through their CVs. In order to make sure I don't spend more time than I need to reviewing CVs, I decided to do a first scan of the CVs to quickly shortlist before the in-depth review. That's how we arrived at the first shortlist. This means looking at a CV for not more than 7 seconds before determining if it should be rejected or looked at again.

That's a peep behind the scenes for a regular Nigerian vacancy. If you were a candidate and one of the 200 that made it to the screening on the first day, what would you say would make your CV stand out? Comment below let me know your thoughts.

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