How to Cut Down Your Hiring Pool to Only the Best

With the advent of online and remote hiring, companies should be able to find the perfect candidate for their role. However, a major challenge recruiters are running into is that there are often hundreds of qualified workers ready to work. 

Recruiting managers are left scratching their heads and asking how to trim down the hiring pool to only the best. We have assembled the five best solutions on how to effectively cut down your hiring pool to only the most suitable candidates.

5 Effective Tips to Trim Your Hiring Pool to the Finest Candidates

With these recommendations, the competitive hiring pool will begin filtering itself down to the most qualified applicants. This way, recruiters will save vital time throughout the rest of the process.

Instead of being overwhelmed with potentially thousands of candidates, hiring managers should only be focusing their efforts on the very best applicants in the hiring pool — on top of avoiding some of the most common hiring mistakes. These tips will optimise the hiring pool to be more efficient.

1. Create a specific job description

The most efficient way to reduce the number of unqualified applicants is to have them filter themselves out before they even apply. This means organisations in the 21st century will need to modernise their job descriptions to explain precisely and exactly what they are seeking.

Modern companies should lead by asking exactly what they are looking for with no fluff. This way, unqualified candidates will remove themselves before ever applying. A precise job description explaining exactly what the role does will help reduce time waste in the future. With a smaller hiring pool, recruiters can spend more time working with only the best applicants

2. Discuss pay and salary upfront

Imagine, after hours of seeking, you get a resume across your desk with the perfect candidate. You and the ideal match perform an hour-long interview over Zoom. They are then referred for more interviews with multiple executives before ultimately being offered the role. But, this applicant turns down the position citing salary issues. In the end, multiple people wasted multiple hours just so the candidate could say no.

Time is a crucial aspect of every party involved. If a job description lists the salary as ‘Negotiable’ or ‘Within Industry Range’ candidates will read this as ‘Low’ or being purposefully obscure. Hiding salary often gives the recruiting firm an edge in negotiations and, because of this, applicants will often avoid applying to the role altogether if it does not list a salary.

By not listing an exact salary, you could be potentially pushing the right candidate away while wasting everyone else’s time. Recruiters only want the best pool of candidates, and an effective way to get there is to list the salary.

3. Conduct a survey based on vision

If a recruiter is dealing with a significantly large hiring pool, it would be a wise idea to assemble a survey for these candidates. But instead of just technical knowledge, the survey should reflect the vision of the company.

It will also be a useful step to map out the future of the company based on its vision and goals. This way, every player in the organisation will have a direction to work towards.

Recruiting managers are seeking qualified applicants whose vision and goals align with that of the companies. Plus, just having a survey will often reduce the amount of potentially unqualified candidates due to them not wanting to take the extra step.

4. Have values in mind when interviewing candidates

Interviewing can be a very large time sink when it comes to having a small number of recruiting managers. It can hundreds of hours to sift through many ideal candidates to find the perfect one for this role.

Businesses have many different options in this aspect, such as phone or video interviews. Whatever route they choose, it will be paramount to interview candidates with the values of the company in mind.  Have a set list of questions prepared to assess the values of the applicant in relation to the company. Not just technical know-how.

A hiring manager has additional options to reduce time waste when it comes to interviews. The most prudent is to have set questions sent to the hiring pool, and they can then create a video themselves to send back to the company for a recruiter to watch.

5. Create a skill-based assessment 

We are all seeking the perfect candidate to fill the required role. After resumes, surveys, and interviews, it may seem that there are many ideal applicants from the hiring pool who can do the job effectively. This is largely due to people that put incredible qualifications on their resumes and say nearly anything during job interviews. But these avenues can often struggle to find the perfect match.

With one’s hiring pool, it would be wise to put together a skill-based assessment for candidates to complete. This is a savvy route to better measure applicant skills in a real, hands-on environment. You will be able to see exactly how much quality they have in performing tasks that pertain to the required role. Rather than guessing based on an interview, you will have concrete evidence in your hands. 


The most effective and efficient ways to reduce the hiring pool to only the best requires a multi-front approach. Have an exact idea upfront as to what this role is asking for, show pay and salary upfront, conduct a vision-based survey, interview candidates with precise values in mind, and conduct a skill-based assessment.

Most of these steps reduce the pressure on the recruiting managers and instead place the onus on the hiring pool itself. Through the measures, most unqualified applicants will have no problem filtering themselves out of the role. 

This way, in the end, you have won back crucial time and reduced the potential hires to only the very finest who had applied. It will give you a straightforward vision of how this person works and how their values align with that of the company.

It may be time for companies to revise many of their hiring procedures in the era of remote work. There are hundreds to thousands of ideal workers all across the globe who seem qualified on paper. But having hundreds to thousands of applicants to filter through is not an effective use of anyone’s time.

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