Candidate Shortlisting: A Step-by-Step Guide for Hiring Managers

You’ve advertised your job opening, and the applications are pouring in, but how do you navigate through them to determine who progresses to the next stage?

In this blog, we explore the process of shortlisting candidates you truly desire.

What is Candidate Shortlisting?

This is commonly known as candidate screening, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. A shortlist of candidates selected by a hiring manager to move forward in the process. This list comprises applicants who meet specific job criteria.

Why Should Hiring Managers Shortlist Candidates?

The straightforward answer is to make the numbers more manageable, especially when the interview process typically takes about a month!

How to Shortlist Candidates?

There are several aspects to consider:

Criteria and Planning

This should be your initial step. Establishing and adhering to criteria for the role provides a clear picture of what you’re seeking and helps identify suitable applicants. Criteria can range from basic education and skills to more specific traits like personality and life experience.

It’s crucial to set a maximum number of candidates for your shortlist. Using a tier system based on applicant scores against criteria can help maintain manageable numbers.

Removing Bias

Bias can influence shortlisting decisions. Studies show that even names can trigger unconscious biases. Removing demographic details such as name, age, gender, race, and sexual orientation allows for a more objective assessment based solely on relevant criteria.

Candidate Elimination

Removing candidates who clearly don’t meet criteria is the first step in streamlining your list. Be sure to inform unsuccessful candidates along the way. While automated CV screening can handle large volumes of applications, manual review is essential to catch valuable candidates with unique stories.

Open-Minded Screening

Manual screening in later stages of recruitment can uncover candidates who offer more than what meets the initial criteria. Reviewing cover letters, skills, and supporting documents can reveal potential fits for your business beyond rigid requirements.

Testing and Assessments

Standardised tests or cognitive assessments can further refine your shortlist, particularly for roles requiring complex thinking. Tests should be relevant to the role and tailored to different sectors.

Scoring System for Screening Interviews

Using a scoring system based on predetermined criteria during initial interviews helps narrow down candidates effectively. Asking informative questions and assigning scores based on responses streamlines the process.

Candidate Communication

Informing candidates of their shortlist status and providing feedback to unsuccessful applicants is good practice. Proper communication maintains candidate engagement and reflects positively on your brand.

Candidate Screening Methods

Various methods, including skills testing, telephone and video interviews, CV screening software, cover letters, reference checking, manual online checks, and paid trial projects, contribute to comprehensive candidate assessment.

Additionally, legal and regulatory obligations, such as DBS checks in specific industries like finance, government, policing, education, and safety-critical sectors, influence screening processes.

Shortlisting can seem daunting, but with our Applicant Tracking System, you can efficiently manage and shortlist all candidates. Following this guide step by step, you’ll have a manageable and highly valuable talent pool for interviews and hiring.

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