Searching for the perfect candidate is basically the Goldilocks tale for HR. You either have too few, too many or the perfect amount of qualified applicants. But as someone in the field, you know that finding the “just right” amount is pretty elusive. And while “too few” is more often the trouble in today’s hot job market, “too many” applications can be the ultimate time suck.

We know, you can see the mimed violins from applicant-hungry recruiters. But anyone in the recruiting game knows that dealing with too many applications can be just as frustrating as not having enough – especially if you have compliance and reporting requirements. Here’s how to go from hacking through too many applicants to only reviewing the “just right” candidates.

1. Use Resume Parsing

Resume parsing is a recruiting tool for smart HR technology like Arcoro’s Applicant Tracking Software. It’s goal is to save you time by utilizing algorithms that review resumes and applications for important qualifying criteria. It does what HR professionals used to have to do manually or via tons of paperwork. For compliance-focused industries, like construction, manufacturing and healthcare, resume parsing will quickly identify applicants with needed certifications and licenses to meet governmental regulations.

2. Utilize Resume Screening

Candidate batching is a powerful tactic for cutting down on the number of resumes and applications that you actually have to review and document. For businesses that operate under compliance guidelines, like federal contractors, the OFCCP’s Internet Applicant Rule stipulates record keeping regarding recruiting for race, gender and ethnicity, as well as the hiring process. Without a smart HR system, errors and oversights are more likely. With resume screening, you can:

  • Sort candidates into groups of any size for easier reviewing and reporting
  • Screen candidates based on your own questions and requirements
  • Filter the most qualified candidates to the top, so you only review the best of the applicants
  • Use your time to focus on high-potential candidates, not reporting on no-chance applications

3. Write Great Job Descriptions

Writing your job description should be easy, especially if you’re filling a role rather than creating one. But if your application ratio is too high, your description could be deceiving applicants about who you’re really looking for. You’re not alone: 72% of hiring managers say they provide clear job descriptions, but only 36 percent of candidates say the same (HR Dive). Here are some must-do’s for getting more targeted applicants:

  • Include specific details for the position, like critical duties and responsibilities
  • Be direct; don’t leave room for applicants to think they might get the job even if they don’t meet the requirements
  • It’s OK to firmly say only candidates with the requirements listed will be considered
  • Provide an example of what a typical work day or work week will look like; this helps make the expectation more clear to potential applicants about the realities of the role

4. Keep the Recruiting and Hiring Period Short

Obvious, we know, but that doesn’t mean it’s not highly effective. If you’re about to hit “post” on a position that notoriously gets a ton of applicants, consider including a deadline for applying as well as an internal schedule for the full process. A smart HR system that not only includes ATS, but also an automated workflow management system, will keep the process moving and avoid getting bogged down with procrastination. When you pair that system with your HR team’s know-how, it’s an absolute leap toward higher efficiency and candidate evaluation.

Although it can feel overwhelming to deal with too many applicants, take heart: it likely says something positive about your recruitment strategy and employer brand. Congratulations!