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Improve applicant quality and hire hourly workers faster

There’s no such thing as too many applicants, especially if you’re hiring hourly workers in an industry with high turnover. But due to the current economic climate, many businesses are seeing an influx of applicants—and leaders don’t have time to sift through each one to find the best. 

Using applicant tracking systems (ATS) that build automation into the hiring process can help you manage your large applicant pool and surface qualified candidates with less effort. Here are some automation tools and features you should be using to ensure the best applicants in your pool don’t slip through the cracks.

Screening questions 

One of the best advantages of an ATS is the ability to filter out unqualified candidates with screening questions. By setting up mandatory screening questions (we call them smart screening questions at Workstream) in the digital application process, you can automatically reject candidates that don’t fit your open role’s criteria.

Applicants that pass the smart screening stage are automatically pushed to the next phase of the hiring process—typically a prompt for applicants to self-schedule an interview based on your hiring manager’s availability. Not only does this save tremendous time, but it also provides applicants with a better experience than they would have if someone were reviewing each application manually and ghosting unqualified applicants.  

Think of the qualifications for your open position and make sure your screening questions reflect them. For example: 

  • If you need to fill shifts at a specific time, did you ask about availability? 
  • Is there an age requirement for the position? 
  • Do applicants need a driver’s license? 
  • Did you ask about work eligibility? 

Customizable hiring workflows 

Every business, role, and hiring manager is different so the last thing you want is an ATS you can’t customize. And with applicant flow higher than normal right now, your applicant pool might still be unmanageable even with thorough screening questions in place. 

If you find yourself in that position, you can edit the hiring process within most ATS systems to include another, more manual, stage of review. Although this does impact the faster hiring workflow that the automation we discussed previously enables, it allows those that want to be a bit more hands-on to review their pre-screened applicant pool and manually push forward qualified applicants to the self-schedule stage. 

You may also want the ability to adjust the interview length. While adding review stages can make your hiring process a bit longer, the flexibility to shorten interviews can bring you closer to your ideal hire faster. 

The top reason why you’d want to shorten your interviews is that your screening questions already did all the work for you. With strong screening questions like we discussed above, your in-person interview can instead serve to validate an applicant has the skills they say they do and allow you both to explore if this is a good culture fit. We’ve seen businesses shorten interviews to 15 minutes and still make successful hires! 

Evaluation plans

The best way to ensure you’re evaluating applicants objectively and making unbiased hiring decisions is to include an interview panel and establish a set of candidate criteria ahead of time. In doing so, you’re ensuring you’re assessing people against the same benchmarks and including different perspectives in the evaluation process. 

While adding more inputs is a great way to ensure you’re being thoughtful in your hiring, it also can make collecting feedback messy. Instead of hallway conversations or quick calls, encourage your hiring team to input their feedback into your ATS and evaluate each candidate against your preset criteria. This makes it easy to compare all top candidates at a glance and see all feedback. 

If your ATS has a mobile app, even better. This makes it easier for your panel to quickly submit their feedback after the interview while it’s fresh in their minds, instead of hours later when they’ve made their way back to their computers. 

Reapplication controls

Sometimes the same person will apply for multiple open roles within an organization and keep applying whenever they see a new job posting pop up. This person might keep trying despite rejections. 

To avoid having repeat applications that don’t fit your role’s qualifications, some ATS systems will allow you to block unfavorable candidates from applying to open roles. Similarly, you can set up waiting times in between applications from the same person so individuals can’t spam apply to all your multiple roles and clog up your applicant pool. 

Don’t waste time on unqualified applicants

While too many applicants is a far better problem to have than too few, the influx does create a new problem for busy hiring managers. The right tools can help you sift through your overflowing applicant pools and uncover the best people for your open roles, without taking up all your time. 

Want to streamline your hiring workflow with automation? Learn more about Workstream Hiring.


Workstream is a hiring platform that helps employers get 4x the number of qualified applicants. The world's most trusted brands use Workstream to optimize job board postings, automate screening and interview scheduling, communicate via text message, and streamline the onboarding/training process. See what all the buzz is about by scheduling a demo or email us info@workstream.is!

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