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21st Oct 2018

Manage the application process

Everyone hates the part of hiring where they don't hear from a company and aren't sure if they've been rejected, forgotten about, or what. We're trying to change that.

This is the part almost every business owner, hiring manager and member of the HR department hates with a passion.

Managing the application process is a thankless task, especially for roles where you get a ton of candidates, but if you value the reputation of your esports company (or yourself) and you can spare the time to do a proper job, it’s well worth it in the long run.

You’ll feel better for yourself, you’ll give people a good impression of your organization and you’ll actually be doing a good thing.

The worst thing for job hunters is when they’re working hard to find something suitable and then they never hear anything back… from anyone. Think about how demotivating that is for a second, and think if you’d like to be in that position yourself.

We would hope that with this advice we can help make giving feedback to all applicants a much more straightforward process, which will make things better for everyone.

The first thing you’ll need to do is allot some time every day to check on the applications you’ve received, regardless of whether you’ve advertised your role on one website or ten. You need to keep on top of what’s coming in, because otherwise things can get overwhelming very quickly.

Within this slot in your day, you should be sorting through candidates and putting them into three simple buckets:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Maybe

If it’s your decision and you have a lot of applicants then do yourself a favour and move anybody from the “Maybe” bucket into the “No” bucket immediately. Why? Well if you’re not sure about them and you’ve already got people in the “Yes” bucket, then they’re already not a candidate you can see yourself hiring.

As soon as you put someone in the “No” bucket be sure to send them a rejection email and, if you’re not managing your process through a platform that facilitates this, make a note of the fact you’ve contacted them (a spreadsheet would work well here).

The rejection email shouldn’t be too harsh and should give a clear, unobjectionable reason as to why you’ve made the decision. Maybe the candidate was not experienced enough, did not have the requisite qualification or did not have the profile you were hoping for. Something like that works and is hard to disagree with.

Inevitably you’ll get candidates coming back to you asking for more details or arguing with your decision - a large part of the reason why hiring managers and people in HR departments simply give up contacting people they have no interest in recruiting - but you can circumvent this with a line like “this decision is final and there will be no further correspondence on this matter”.

You don’t necessarily need to be that blunt, either, explain that you’re incredibly busy and have had a lot of applications for the role, so can’t realistically be expected to reply to everyone twice-over.

Once this nasty side of the application process is taken care of, you can focus on the good part, namely building your shortlist ready for the next stage of the hiring process.

Your shortlist should be short (hence the name), and you should try to evaluate the candidates based on their application materials as best as you can.

However, never forget that a resume/CV will often just show the good things a person has done - expunging anything negative from their past - and that a cover letter can be obsessed over, sent for expert evaluation and tweaked to perfection.

You’re not getting the full picture of the person, yet, so don’t make any decisions in haste!

Once you’ve got your list of “Yes” candidates ranked, in some form, it’s time to send out those fun emails explaining to all of them what the next stage of the hiring process entails.

We recommend giving out some form of trial or task applicable to the role (if possible) before a formal interview to further narrow your list, but we appreciate that a lot of folks like to jump straight to a face-to-face meeting or Discord/Skype chat.

If you’re at this stage, that means it’s time for the good part...

Image credits: DreamHack / Jennika Ojala

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