With a lot of care and time you have written an application and sent it to the company of your choice. Now wait for a reaction, at best a positive one. But what actually happens behind the company doors in the further application process?? How do companies select candidates and what can you expect when you are shortlisted??
Applicant casting: the grids are tight
The company’s application process always begins with the review of incoming applications. And regardless of how they were submitted, correct spelling, grammar, and complete documentation are a must for an application to even be considered further. If you want to get through this first round of casting, you should pay attention to the following:
- Accurate research: are company name and contact name, job title and the like spelled correctly?
- Are all documents required in the application enclosed?
- Is the application visually appealing and tidy? Dog-eared pages, stains, creases or a missing folder can lead to exclusion.
- Have all the qualifications requested in the job profile also been documented in the application?? Because applicants who don’t fit the job profile exactly are often discarded or devalued at this point.
- No-go: If you apply with a resume that has gaps or inconsistencies, you will be eliminated in this first step.
Attention! With online applications, companies often use CV parsing programs to make the initial pre-selection. Make sure you use important keywords and don’t make any mistakes in the timing of your resume, otherwise you’ll fall through the software’s electronic sieve.
Candidate A, B or C: Which group do you belong to??
All applicants who are now still in the running are now divided into different categories. If you have an exact match with the job profile you are looking for, you are classified as an A-candidate and have qualified for the first interview. B candidates are on the waiting list, so to speak. You still have a high match with the profile and serve as a substitute if there is not the right candidate among the A-candidates. As a C-candidate you can have little hope of getting the job. The requirement profile has too little overlap with the qualifications.
How long does the screening process take?
You applied two weeks ago and have not yet heard from the company? At larger companies, the application process can take time and candidates are required to be patient. At the very least, you should receive an acknowledgement of receipt quickly.
Faster is usually the case with smaller companies or a software-based pre-selection process. Because HR managers do not receive so many applications, the selection is easier.
You are applying for a management position? Here, very careful consideration is given to who is invited to the interview. Application materials travel through multiple instances before the candidate has even seen the inside of the company. If an interview takes place, several other employees from higher positions are usually present in addition to the personnel manager. A date when everyone is available has to be found and this can take a few more days.
Assessment center: the prelude to the application process
An assessment center is especially popular in larger companies or for positions for job starters who cannot yet qualify themselves through their professional experience. The employer invites 20 or more promising candidates at the same time and goes through a kind of test run of the day-to-day job with all of them together, which can last half a day to a whole day. Often the assessment center precedes the interview, but it can also take place afterwards. An assessment center is a great chance for any applicant to make a personal impression.
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Showdown in the job interview
On average, the three to six best candidates receive an invitation to a first interview. However, this figure is individual for each application process and each company. Some companies invite only one candidate at first, others ten. If a large number of applications mean that several candidates are considered, many personnel managers resort to an exploratory telephone interview. This saves time, because each personal interview costs the recruiter about two to three working hours. A telephone interview is also often suggested to candidates with a very long journey to the company. If this is positive, both sides can be sure that it is worth getting to know each other personally.
The A-candidates receive an invitation to a first interview by letter, e-mail or phone call and have thus mastered the biggest hurdle, namely to successfully stand out from the crowd of applicants. Now it is important to keep at it and to convince in the personal interview. You can achieve this with professional competence, a convincing visual appearance and a charismatic personality.
As with the preparation of the documents, the same applies here: Good preparation is the be-all and end-all.
- If you find out about the corporate culture at the company you want to work for, you sometimes have a good chance of finding the perfect dress style.
- The company website has important information ready to answer questions such as "Why are you a particularly good fit for us??"or "Do you know what our motto/slogan/logo stands for??" are easy to answer.
- Basically, however, it is important to score points with specialist knowledge and authenticity. Applicants should not pretend just to make a good impression, but rather show their best side. Because if you get the job even though you don’t really fit into the company, you won’t be very happy with it later on.
The finale: negotiating the employment contract
If the interview goes very well, then the application process in smaller companies can now already end in a contract signing. In most cases, however, both sides give each other a little time to think things over, even if the interview went well. You should definitely arrange this with the recruiter in detail so that you are not left in uncertainty for days on end. A casual "We’ll get back to you" is not enough. In larger companies, this is often followed by a second interview to clarify the terms and conditions of the employment contract. If everyone agrees, there is nothing to stop a happy ending: the parties sign the employment contract and the application process is successfully completed.