Shortlist Candidates to Make the Best Hire
August 5, 2021
Lauren Fowles

After successfully advertising your new role, you’ll hopefully be in a position where you’re bombarded with worthy applications – which can sometimes seem like a double-edged sword, considering the resource needed to interview all these candidates individually.

How can you optimise your recruitment process?

Having a well-structured shortlisting plan will ensure that you’re only offering valuable interview slots to those that would be both a great fit in the role, and within your organisation as a whole.

The following is a guide on how to develop an effective process to shortlist candidates:

The ‘Ideal’ Candidate

There’s no harm in wishful thinking! Before you start looking at the applicants, sit down with the people that will be working alongside this new hire and create a checklist of both desirable and essential skills/experience your ideal candidate will have. This will be more extensive than the initial job specification and will give you a benchmark to work towards.

The Shortlisting Checklist

Once you have your near-impossible list of demands, go through the applicants and see how many of the boxes each one ticks. From there, you’ll want to establish the minimum number of ticks an applicant will need to move onto the next stage of the shortlisting process.

The Red Flags

The devil is in the detail. With the remaining candidates, you want to go through their CVs with a fine-tooth comb, looking for any spelling or grammar errors. We don’t suggest you discard a great candidate for using the wrong ‘their’ – but this can be a warning sign for poor attention to detail.

You may also want to take job longevity into account – although it’s more acceptable in recent years to move between jobs more frequently – if a candidate has unexplained periods of unemployment or is changing jobs around the 3–6-month mark, this could be cause for concern.

The Pre-Interview Call

The formal interview process is no small feat. Finding an hour that aligns in all the key decision makers’ calendars is challenging enough, then you’ll have to book a meeting room, print an agenda, etc. (not to mention the admin that goes into this process has doubled since the pandemic).

By having an informal 15-minute call with the candidates, either over the phone or using a video conferencing software, you’ll be able to get a better sense of their personality and assess whether they’ll be a good addition to the existing culture of the organisation.

The Post-Interview Shortlisting

You’ve managed to successfully cut down your application list and shortlist candidates, holding interviews with the very best of the bunch. Whether there is a clear choice, or you’re torn between a few fantastic candidates, now is the time to check up on their references to gain a better understanding of their previous work ethic.

Finally, it’s time for the fun part – offering the best candidate the job!

If you’re on the hunt for a software system that allows you to track the entire recruitment process, our e-recruitment software might be the right fit for your business.

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