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How to manage a call for applications

How to manage a call for applications efficiently?

Organizing a call for projects or applications requires a certain discipline and the right tools: You have to know your team’s skills, your budget, and ask yourself the right questions.

4 important steps

Structuring a call for projects or applications goes through four distinct stages, each as important as the other.

  1. Preparation and communication
  2. Receiving candidates
  3. Evaluation
  4. Archival and processing

1. The challenges of good preparation

Before you throw yourself headlong into creating your form on the first tool that comes along, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Define your team’s technical capacity and budget

Your team may have the right technical skills that will allow people to set up tools that are not necessarily dedicated to the management of calls for applications: in particular “normal” form tools that are most of the time free. It may look like DIY, but it might work for small calls for applications depending on your use case.

If your team does not have the skills or the time to do so, or if your call for applications is substantial: turn to a dedicated tool which will then make you gain in speed and efficiency

  • Know your candidates: people, projects or structures?

Do your candidates have to be able to share their application with each other because they are applying with several people? This is crucial knowledge to have before choosing your call for applications management tool.

  • Ask the right close-ended questions: what will you need to sort or filter?

Think ahead about the questions you are going to ask based on your sorting criteria: are there any qualifying questions? Disqualifying ones? Do you need to know the gender of the applicant? Etc.

Knowing how to ask the right close-ended questions will allow you to sort your candidates both in Excel and in a call for applications management tool. As soon as you can, prefer a close-ended question to an open one.

  • Define a recurrence: one-shot, several times a year or not, etc.

If this is the first time you are looking to organise a call for projects, it is not always easy to answer this question. But if the following year you have no way to capitalise on your previous work and have to start all over again, you’ll soon be biting your fingers about it.

Choose a tool that allows you to duplicate your calls for applications over time effortlessly.

  • Continuity strategy: what if the project manager leaves?

Even if you are the project manager today, you are not immune to leaving on vacation, illness (we don’t wish you that) or other. Or that it happens to someone on your team.

Have everything in place so multiple people can manage your candidates so there isn’t a single point of failure.

2. Candidates’ user experience

Your candidates are your biggest strength: try not to lose any!

  • Facilitate their work

Many free tools will require registration, so that they can then send out newsletters or offer other calls to applications to your candidates.

A need for registration will make you lose an average of 35% of the candidates who could have applied to your call for projects.

  • Give them time

Your candidates must be able to submit their application over several days, or even weeks if necessary. The tool you choose for this is crucial, and Selecteev takes this aspect well into account.

  • Length of form

It’s not always an easy variable to modify, but as in everything in life sobriety remains king. Check that your questions strictly ask what you need to assess the candidates correctly.

3. Evaluators’ user experience

Assessing candidates well is not easy: if the chosen tool also complicates the task, you are running straight into trouble.

There are many possibilities for assessing candidates: Excel sheet sent by email, PDF attached and writing of the feeling by email, file sharing on Google Drive…

Issue: the methods described above only work on a small scale. If you need to coordinate more than 3 evaluators or there are more than 5 evaluation questions, all these methods can be replaced by tools that will divide the time needed by 10.

The right questions to ask yourself:

  • What are the skills and available time of my evaluators? If one of your evaluators is the boss of a Fortune500 company, he or she will surely have little time to devote and the tool chosen will have to be as efficient as possible.
  • How to send the right candidates to the right assessor? Evaluators may have specific specialties or skills to evaluate on certain criteria.
  • Do you need an evaluation funnel? If yes, how to you move your candidates in the funnel, and how to you manage the new evaluation that needs to occur at each step?
  • What about security? Are your evaluators internal to your company or not? Is there anything (personal info, etc.) I need to hide from them during the evaluation process?

Selecteev makes it possible to meet all these criteria without asking any questions: all these issues have been considered and taken into account from the design of the tool.

4. Monitoring, processing and archiving

  • Monitor your communication

When your call for applications is open, you need to know if your communication efforts are working properly. Are the candidates who apply the ones you were expecting?

For internal calls for applications, it’s simpler. In general, there are no big surprises. But for calls where external people may apply, monitoring your communication efforts is key. It is therefore necessary to choose a tool allowing you to follow at a glance if your efforts are paying off.

  • Maintain your brand image

A candidate, even if refused, must receive a message from you to maintain a professional image of your structure. There is nothing worse than having no news!

If you manage the applications yourself on an excel sheet, it’s very easy to forget to contact the candidates that have not made the cut. Choose a tool that will do it for you automatically, and your brand image will be preserved.

  • Automate!

If you have a lot of candidates, it can become necessary to automate some actions: eliminate candidates who fail to fit mandatory criteria, or tag them automatically to be able to filter them easily.

  • Data archival

Once your call for applications is finished, if everything was done through emails with files attached, it can be quite complicated to organise and store that data – if you ever need it again, good luck to find the right version!

Be sure to use a tool that allows you to export your data and attached files at any moment.

  • Duplication and recurrence

In the following years or seasons, there is a good chance that your call for projects will open again.

It may then become necessary to have to duplicate your calls for applications without starting from scratch each time. This can even happen if you launch several calls for applications in parallel, which may have certain similarities and which would waste your time if you had to recreate them each time.

Selecteev answers all of these questions

We built Selecteev taking into account from the beginning all the questions we have discussed in this article. Our team has been involved in organising calls for applications for more than 10 years, and its experience has made it possible to create the optimal tool, responding to the vast majority of cases.

Contact-us if you want more information or discuss your specific use-case!