Is the number of applications a valid measure of success?

We are often asked by our clients during our recruitment briefing meetings what are our expectations regarding the likely number of applications for a particular role. The catalyst for this question is the misconception a high number of applications is a measure of a successful recruitment strategy.

In our experience and mindful of the recruitment methodology we use, the number of applications is never a reliable measure of success.

We have touched on this topic a number of times previously discussing among other things, the number and order of the shortlist group.

Too many applications means there was likely to be a deficiency in specific information about the dimensions of the role, the essential skills and experiences or the remuneration on offer. That is to say, the vaguer the description, an absence of detail around the essential skills and experiences required to be considered for the role and salary noted as “attractive” without a specific guide, the more likely it is candidates who are unsuitable for the role will consider applying simply “because they can”. Equally, a low number of applications can also be an outcome of an absence of detail as Job Seekers want to know as much about the employer and the job before they apply.

The more detail you can provide to candidates, including a detailed Position Overview, links to the employer website and important documents such as Strategic Plans, Annual Reports and Organisational Structure; specific criteria regarding “Essential” and “Desirable” skills; remuneration range; recruitment timelines and contacts for more information, the more likely the candidates applying will be more specifically aligned to the role.

When Sportspeople Recruitment is recruiting for Tier 1 organisations, those high –profile, highly-commercialised organisations with a large supporter base, there has been occasions where the number of applications is boosted somewhat by people who are unqualified for the role but simply throw their hat in the ring because they are a fan. V8 Supercars, AFL, NRL, Cricket and Golf are some examples that come to mind where the numbers have swelled above our initial expectations. Generally though, as Sportspeople Recruitment provides as much information as possible to potential candidates and supports this public drive through its targeted recruitment and Talent Network, we have smaller, more closely aligned candidate groups than others.

As a rule of thumb if you are undertaking a recruitment process in-house, remember to provide as much detail to Job Seekers as possible as this will ensure the focus is the quality of the applications rather than the number.

In a recent CEO search process managed by Sportspeople Recruitment and after presenting a Preliminary Candidate Group of 10 candidates, our client pretty much summed it all up by saying … “this is a fantastic group and I’m confident we now have enough depth of choice to appoint one of these as our Chief Executive Officer. At the end of the day though we are only after only one person, but it’s great to have a choice.”

RM – Sportspeople Recruitment
First Published 2018


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