Shortlisting Candidates: 5 Tips To Use

Ease your selection and recruitment process

In the current job market, for every job advertised, you are likely to receive tens or hundreds of applications, making the process of shortlisting the applications long and tedious. As an employer, the main goal is to get the right candidate as fairly as possible, but it’s not easy. Biases should never play a part in the selection process so your reasons for rejecting or selecting an applicant need to be honest and clear. Shortlisting is mainly used for eliminating as many candidates as possible and remaining with the very best to proceed to the next stage in the recruitment process. But, how do you ensure that this process yields the best candidates? Here are 5 useful tips to use:

  1. Determine the number of candidates you would want to interview

Ideal number of candidates to interview

This is the first step in the entire process, as it will help you decide just how rigorous your selection process should be. How wide are you going to sling your net? Are you looking for a specific skill set without any deviation, or willing to take a risk with candidates who aren’t in your top three on paper? Sometimes, people can surprise you. Take into consideration the availability of the interviewer so that you can determine how many candidates can be screened.

       2.  Identify the most important attributes of the ideal candidate

Important job interview attributes

These should be guided by the job description, where you state the bare minimum skills, qualifications, and experiences of the ideal candidate. At this stage, decide what is absolutely necessary and what you can compromise on. For example, if you need an accountant who has experience with handling payroll and has 3 years applicable experience, you may choose to compromise on the years of experience if an applicant has the required skills but only one and a half years of experience. Flexibility is important as it creates room for a larger pool of candidates and an opportunity to find the right talent.

  1.  Decide what skills would give a candidate an edge

Important but not required skills of a candidate

What are the desirable qualities you are looking for and how flexible are they? In some cases, they can be important but not essential. For example, when looking for a content marketer, the basic requirement is a person who can research and write well and has a portfolio to back this information up. However, a desirable quality to give the ideal person an edge might be basic graphic design skills. When you have established which candidates have the basic skills, you can narrow down the pool of candidates by including those skills that give the ideal person an edge over the rest.

  1.  Filter the candidates with stronger essential skills

Essential skills of a candidate

If you still need to shrink the pool of shortlisted candidates, you can go back and look for those candidates that have very strong essential skills. For example, if you are recruiting for the position of a sales person, one person may have experience in sales while another has the same experience but within your industry. The second candidate has more relevant experience and hence, a better fit for the job.

  1.  Conduct a phone interview as a pre-screening step

Phone interview

If you are not sure which candidates to shortlist, you could conduct a pre-screening interview on phone to decide which candidates you should call in for an interview. It is an important step as it allows you to ask a few questions and have the candidate shed more light on some aspects of their CV. This way, you can make an informed decision about the suitability of a candidate for the position.

Shortlisting candidates is definitely a long and difficult process. It is hard to judge people based just on a piece of paper, t will save you a huge amount of time in the interview. The most important thing is to ensure that the process is transparent and fair so that it can yield the best candidate for the job. 

If you want to make your hiring process even smoother, try using tools such as AMCAT