My head of TA friend Marnie (name changed to protect her identity) told me this before agreeing to do business together: “Rob, I want more pipeline, but the last thing I want are more “crapplications”.

By “crapplications”, Marnie meant that she didn’t want crappy (low-quality) applications. Crappy applications are often worse than having no applications at all (because you need to waste time sifting through them).

Here are 5 ways to avoid crapplications:


1) Watch the “Quality of Application” Metric

In order to know which applications are crappy, you need to have at least one metric.

My favorite metric is % of applicants that make it to phone screen (or interview).

For instance, 5% of applications made it to phone screen for my Head of TA friend. If she tried some new source of applications like:

  • job board
  • new sourcer
  • recruitment marketing platform

…then she can sanity check whether the new source of applications is crappy or not.


2) Mention Salary

Including salary ranges in your job postings helps weed out a couple of types of candidates

  • Ones who know that the pay is too little
  • Ones who know that pay is too much for them

If you don’t have a salary range, consider using this great Glassdoor Widget. Ongig recommends that all of our clients consider adding this Glassdoor widget to their job descriptions.


3) Be Selective in Your Must-Haves

Your job posting should nail your must-have “Requirements”.

If you need an engineer with a CS Degree and 5+ years experience, you better say it. If you need a salesperson with experience in a specific vertical, then name that vertical.


4) Use Values & Qualifiers

Amazon uses phrases like these in their job descriptions:

  • incredibly smart
  • exceptionally talented

Those phrases will weed out candidates Amazon likely doesn’t want (the “crapplications”) in the first place.


5) Ask Knock-Out Questions

A knock-out question is a question that disqualifies the candidate. E.g.:

  • How many years experience do you have in _______.
  • Are you willing to relocate?
  • Do you work best alone or as part of as a team?
  • Describe 3 reasons you were happy about a past job.

Such questions can have multiple choice options too.

Candidates are “knocked out” of contention if they fail to answer any or all of your questions.

You can use knockout questions in your job posting apply form (depending on your ATS). You can also use them on job boards (e.g. I have at least one knockout question when I post a job on Craigslist to make sure the candidate doesn’t just email me or click the apply link).

Why I wrote this?

Ongig’s mission is to increase your quality hires through the best job pages in the world.

When Marnie used Ongig, her “applicant to phone screen” % went from 5% to 18%. Now we’re talking!

by in Recruiting Process