How to shortlist candidatesContent teamon 28 September 2021 at 8:00 am Recruitment Insight
You’ve written a great job advert, posted it and received applications to review. That’s great – it’s clear that people have an interest in your position and that’s a great achievement in the current candidate led market! But, now it’s time to shortlist candidates and decide who you want to have an initial conversation with and/or invite in for an interview.
We all know that finding a great candidate who is the right fit for your company can be time-consuming and, it can be difficult to know whether someone is going to tick all the boxes.
However, if you perfect your shortlisting strategy early on, this can be a much smoother process.
Plus, learning how to shortlist candidates can help you to create a more efficient recruitment strategy.
With this in mind, follow our practical steps below to help make this part of the process a little more manageable.
Identify essential and desirable criteria
To start, you’ll need to assess the key criteria that you feel is necessary for the role. A good approach is to categorise these into ‘essential’ or ‘desirable’.
Anything that’s ‘essential’ will probably be a ‘hard skill’; one that they’ll definitely need in order to be successful in the role.
On the other hand, ‘desirable’ criteria could be anything from a degree in a particular subject, to a certain amount of experience in your industry.
While you want to find the perfect candidate, being too strict with your criteria could prevent you from hiring someone with great potential. Therefore, it’s all about striving for the right balance.
By splitting out your criteria into these categories, you’ll be able to shortlist candidates that tick all of the right boxes. Plus, this is a great way to easily compare candidates.
Consider further screening tests
Alongside this, it’s worth considering what aptitude, competency, or other tests you can implement. These can help you to see whether your candidates have the right skills.
Many companies will use these throughout the application process. So it’s up to you whether you want candidates to complete them when they apply, or after you’ve reviewed their application.
With this information at hand, it’ll be easier to shortlist candidates and you can create a no, yes and maybe pile.
Watch out for errors
Poor attention to detail is a major red flag to look out for when hiring. Sift out any CVs that are full of poor grammar, typos and other errors.
After all, it suggests that they haven’t bothered proof read their CV properly. Other issues, such as poor formatting, should also be a focus if you have a lot of CVs to work through.
You may also want to watch out for inconsistent fonts, a poor structure and an overall unprofessional feel. These mistakes may show that your candidate isn’t taking the role seriously.
Look into any inconsistencies
We’ve all come across the professional job hopper. While moving jobs more frequently is increasingly acceptable in today’s working world, watch out for those with unexplained gaps or inconsistencies in their CV.
These could indicate a lack of commitment to work, which you’ll want to avoid if you’re seeking a long-term, reliable hire for your team.
Taking a proactive approach to this ensures that you’ll only shortlist candidates that are in it for the long run.
Consider how many candidates you want to interview
Having a clear idea of how many people you want to interview is important when perfecting your recruitment process.
After all, it ensures that you won’t be left with too many, or too little, candidates to assess. Think realistically about how many people you can feasibly meet with and consider what’s worked well in the past.
Be strict with this number, but don’t limit yourself too much if you’re lucky enough to have a number of candidates who all seem like they could be the right fit. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on someone simply because you set yourself a cut-off point.
Screen candidates before face-to-face interviews
Interviews can be time-consuming. So, it can be helpful to have a short video call or phone call before you commit to a face-to-face meeting.
This not only saves you time in the long run, it also enables you to address any burning questions you may have for the candidate.
The phone call doesn’t have to be long – up to 15 minutes is probably enough. Just as long as you can see whether they’re worth inviting in to meet.
Check for other red flags
You may overlook certain mistakes from a candidate that appears to otherwise be the perfect fit and when you’re short staffed and need to fill your vacancy; but, there are certain rules that are unforgivable during the recruitment processes.
Red flags might include poor organisation, or coming across as unprofessional. So, if your candidate takes a long time to reply, misses your screening call and appears to lack common decencies over email, these could be cause for concern.
After all, these suggest that the candidate isn’t taking the position seriously and that they could have a bad attitude.
Check up on references
References are great for providing some extra reassurance on your candidate. Having another opinion on a candidate’s work ethic is helpful to decide if they are the right fit for your company culture.
Plus, it means you won’t shortlist candidates (or hire them!) if they’ve lied about where they previously worked, or their current position.
Shortlist candidates and make the right hires
In summary, to successfully shortlist candidates you shouldn’t take on the entire task in one go. Follow the steps we describe above for an easier and more effective recruitment process.
For more information on perfecting your recruitment process, look at our article on the top ten recruitment mistakes and how to avoid them.
Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash
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You’ve written a great job advert, posted it and received applications to review. That’s great – it’s clear that people have an interest in your position and that’s a great achievement in the current candidate led market! But, now it’s time to shortlist candidates and decide who you want to have an initial conversation with and/or invite in for an
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