An Effective Way to Find the Best Applicants

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Getting Started with was first developed to assist in the selection process for a post-graduate program at Boston's Children's Hospital. It soon became clear that the tool could be used for a variety of application/evaluation/selection needs. The total flexibility of system design allows each user to easily customize the service to their precise needs.

The Guidelines presented  here are presented as suggestions for how one might begin to use They describe both the features that are available as well as some suggestions on how you may wish to structure your application.  Please feel free to ask for help at any point in your Apply Wizard project by emailing:

A.  Join.  If you are not already an Apply Wizard Member, you need to Join.  Go to and click on "Join."  Fill out the form. Then go to "New Project" and Create a new Project from scratch.

B. Project Title.  Your Project Title in the Apply Wizard form will become a part of the URL you use to advertise the position.  That is its only use.  It need not be descriptive of the position.  It is best to have is as short as possible so that the URL link will be short.  It can be a simple abbreviation if you wish. The Title of the Position that you use in your advertisement will be totally separate and needs to be descriptive.  Enter a "title" and click Create Project.

C. URL Link.  The link in the Project Edit page ( is what Applicants will use to come to your Project Application page.  It contains the Project Title.  See the note above about the Project Title.

D. Job Description  This is the text that you will use to advertise the position.  You can use it in your own emails and newsletters and you may want to use an Internet search tool such as Idealist, Craig's List and other commercial services. Here are some things you might want to include:

1)      Title of Position.  This is key since it will determine who applies

2)      Description of key responsibilities and tasks

3)      Qualifications that are essential and those that are desirable

4)      Compensation and benefits.  You may, or may not, wish to provide a level of compensation and/or benefits.  Some simply indicate: Compensation to be determined based on qualifications.

5)      Reporting structure and preferred start date.

6)      Brief description of organization and link to website.

7)      Statement that you are an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer

8)      Link to Apply Wizard Application

E. Expiration Date and Message.   It is useful to set an expiration date for Applications.  When you do that, Applicants at any later date will receive the Message that you place in the form. 

F. Application Form

1)      Personal information.  Name and email is required in all Applications.  This enables the Applicant to leave an incomplete form and return to complete it later by entering name and email. 

2)      Banner.  You can enter a text "Banner" at any place in the Application form.  It can be multiple lines.  At the top of the Application it could be the name of your organization, the Name of the Position, or whatever you wish.   It can also be used to create different sections in the Application, like "Background and Interests"   "Skills"  "Questions"  etc. At this point the Banner system will handle text only.  We are working on being able to attach graphics as well.  

1)      Qpen Ended Questions.  Start with interesting questions, such as:

a.      Why are you interested in this position?

b.      Describe your qualifications for this position.

c.       What do you know about the mission and work of [our organization]?

d.      Tell us about your greatest achievement.

e.       Tell us about your greatest failure. What were the circumstances? How did you respond?

f.        What do you read?

g.      What do you do for fun?

2)      Ratings.  There are various rating and multiple choice formats available.  For example, consider using a 9 point rating scale (Poor Fair OK Good Great) for the specific skills involved in the position, such as:

a.      Preparing marketing materials

b.      Writing fund raising proposals

c.       Maintaining website

d.      Planning and managing conferences

e.       Data Analysis

f.        Word Processing

g.      Excel

h.      Powerpoint

i.        Quick Books

3)      Languages.  If multiple languages are important for the position, you can ask them to fill in a form indicating their languages and at what level.

4)       Compensation and benefits.  It is often good to ask what their compensation requirements/expectations are.   What are your compensation requirements?

5)      Availability.  It may be useful to ask when the Applicant would be able to start work.

6)      Attachments.  These should come near the end of the Application and can include:

a.      Writing samples. You may wish to ask for more than one type of writing. Please attach a writing sample that reflects your skills at [insert].

b.      Links to websites

c.       Resume

7)      References.  The Reference feature enables the Applicant to provide references.  The process is as follows:

a.       Applicants provide the Name, relationship, email and phone number of a reference.   Any number of different references can be included in the Form. 

b.      Upon submitting the Application, an email is sent to each Referee indicating that the Applicant has applied for the position and requesting a written reference.  The Referee is provided a link to the Job Description.  When the Referee completes and submits the recommendation, it is automatically included in the Application form. The Referee receives an email confirming the receipt of their reference.   The Applicant does not have access to Referee responses.


8)      Applicant's Questions. What questions do you have about [the organization] and the position at this point? You can learn a lot from the answers to this question.


9)      Contact information. In the first round you may ask only for Name, City, State, email, phone number.  People often prefer not to give their address at this point.

10)  Source. How did you hear about this position?  Always good to learn this.  You may use a check list:  Idealist, Craigslist,  Newsletter, Friend.  Good to add a "Comment" field here. 

11)  Thank you message.   It is good to give the Applicant a sense of the timing of the selection process and when they are likely to receive a response.  

12)  Confirmation.  Upon submitting an Application, the Applicant receives a confirming email that the Application has been received.  

G. Editing and Moving Questions.   Questions on the form can be edited or deleted at any time.  Additional questions added during a Project are added immediately to all Project Applications regardless of their date.  However, at the moment, deletions are deleted from all Project Applications and not just subsequent ones.   Questions can be moved up or down repeatedly but only one position at a time.  Movements of Questions also occur on all Project Applications.

H. Pretesting.  Always pre-test your form with two or three people  before advertising the position.    You can send them the  Project URL that is at the top of the form development page.

I.  Advertising.  The key to advertising the position, in addition to your job description,  is to include the Apply Wizard URL in the ad as the place interested candidates should go to fill out an Application.

J.   Processing.    The Processing page is a unique URL that is not password protected at this point.  That will shortly be an option.  At the moment you simply need to send the Processing page URL to the Reviewers.   There are places for five separate and independent reviews (A-E).  Reviewers should be given a letter column for them to use as they review the Applications.   The Process page indicates which Applications have been reviewed by which Reviews but does not indicate what the ratings or comments are.  That comes later on a different page. 

Reviewers should read each Application and then insert a comment and a rating at the bottom of their page.  Reviewers should be strongly encouraged to make comments and not simply provide a rating. 

The Rating scale is a nine point scale.   Unless otherwise instructed, Reviewers should to told that ratings are considered as follows: 1-3=No, 4-6=Maybe and 7-9=Yes.  

K. Summary.  The Summary page can be reached by clicking on "Summary" at the top right hand of the Process Page.  Similarly you can return to the Process page by clicking on Process at the top right of the Summary page.  

The Summary page shows the number ratings of each Rater and ranks Applications according to the average rating of all Raters.  Rater averages are shown at the top of each column. 

L  Decision.  The Decide buttons on each row takes you to the Decision page.  That page shows the comments and ratings of each Rater followed by the candidate's complete Application.   This page is designed for a Selection Committee, or the deciding individual, to review and consider the ratings and comments of each Rater and to decide where to place them in the rank order of Applicants.  There is a place on the Decide page to enter a further comment and insert a rating.  The Decision rating is independent of the individual Rater ratings and does not affect them.  The Decision rating however established the rank order of the Applicants.

The Category ratings on the Decision page (N.A., Yes, Maybe No) create groups on the Summary page that a colored according to their category (N.A. clear,  Yes green,  Maybe gold,  No grey.  These categories, ratings and comments can be changed at any time on the Process, Decision and Summary pages. 

M. Triage.  Often an organization wants to use a triage process where two or three persons review all Applications and indicate which ones are qualified for further review by the committee or decision maker(s).  The "Yes" category is used for that purpose, as follows.  When an Application is coded on the Decision page or the Summary page as a "Yes" (green), the Process page shows that Application as a green line.   The person doing the further review can thus work off of the Process page, knowing only that the green lined Applicants have been selected for further review, without knowing what specific ratings they were given.   This maintains the "blind" review process through the second level. 

N. Notifications.   At the top of each Category there is a navigation bar that enables one to Select all, Select None, Email, Archive, Delete.  One can select all or some of the Applicants in that category and send them an individual or group email.  This can be especially useful in notifying the "No" group that they are no longer being considered.   

O. Archive.  The Archive function eables one to create an exportable file of the application.

P. Feedback.  Apply Wizard Members are encouraged to send feedback on any aspect of this service to  

Revised: 20Jun2011

© 2012 Apply Wizard, Inc.