There is always much more to consider when hiring new employees than their resume and interview answers. For the sake of your organization, you want to be able to find the most qualified person possible and pay attention to detail in the process.
Recruitment involves several stages and critical decisions, including shortlisting candidates to be interviewed. Shortlisting a candidate should consider skills, experience, education, personality, competencies, and attitudes.
This process can be a learning curve ultimate guide will walk you through each step of shortlisting candidates for an interview based on what is most important for your business.
What Is the Purpose of Candidate Shortlisting?
Understanding shortlisting is the first step in using it to improve your recruiting process.
Shortlisting is identifying candidates who best meet the requirements and specifications for the job and who you would like to move on to the next phase of the hiring process.
The purpose of candidate shortlisting is to identify the most qualified candidates for a position from a pool of applicants.
It can be challenging and time-consuming to sift through every application received. Filter out those who do not meet minimum requirements or are not qualified for the job. Understanding your company and its needs will be vital in identifying which qualifications are critical and which are mere nice-to-haves.
What Criteria Are Typically Used To Shortlist Candidates?
First, you must ensure that all applicants have a relevant skill set for your organization. You can ask them about their previous experience and any professional qualifications they may have. Assess whether the candidate meets your job's minimum education and work experience requirements.
Determine how the applicant will fit in with the rest of the team regarding personality type and work ethic. It's necessary to find not only someone with a strong work ethic but also someone with whom other employees get along well.
Finally, track applicants based on competencies like leadership, problem-solving, communication, and the ability to handle stressful situations. All these aspects play a role in determining whether or not an applicant would be able to succeed in this position.
A proper evaluation will help ensure you do not waste time or resources interviewing people who do not meet these requirements.
Shortlisting: What Are the Main Steps?
Conducting interviews can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the hiring process. This time could easily stretch out to include hours upon hours of back-and-forth communication before you even get to the interview stage.
To ensure that you spend as little time as possible interviewing and as much time as possible finalizing your choice, follow these main steps when shortlisting candidates for an interview.
Determine Your Criteria
The first step is determining what qualities and experience you are looking for in a candidate.
Choosing your criteria will help create a more focused and targeted list of interviewees. Once you understand what you need, you can weed out candidates who do not meet your standards.
Decide a Shortlist Maximum Number
You need to know how many candidates you can interview to help you determine your criteria for who qualifies based on your requirements. Base this number on the size of your company, the role you are hiring for, and how many candidates you feel comfortable meeting.
If you are short on time, aim for a smaller number. You can continually expand your list later if needed.
Try Blind Applicant Screening
An effective way to screen candidates is to do so without knowing anything about them, called blind applicant screening. This approach can help reduce unconscious bias and improve the diversity of your candidate pool.
You can remove names and personal information from resumes before you review them. Use an outside recruiter who does not know any applicants personally to avoid bias. Ensure a fair process by not reviewing each resume until after a group interview.
Eliminate Applicants Who Don’t Have the Criteria You’re Looking For
Go through the applications and eliminate any that don't meet your basic requirements. For example, if you're looking for a web developer, you'll want to disqualify candidates who don't have experience with coding or designing websites.
Once you've eliminated applicants who don't have the criteria in your job description, move the remaining candidates to the next step.
Screen Candidates In, Not Out
The goal of screening candidates is to identify applicants with the qualifications, skills, and potential to excel in the open role. Evaluate your priorities and set up a process that works best for you.
Do you need a diverse range of applicants? Or would it be better to limit your search geographically? By shortlisting candidates you feel could be a good fit, you will be able to assess their qualifications in an interview better.
Try Assessments During the Initial Application Phase
Shortlist candidates by using assessments during the initial application phase. A thorough evaluation can help you identify which candidates have the skills and abilities required for the role.
Assessments can also help you identify which candidates will fit your company culture well. You could, for example, use personality aptitude tests at this stage to ensure applicants you're interested in moving forward will work well in your organization.
Personality tests, in particular, may be helpful if more than one candidate meets the role's basic requirements and comes from a different background. The tests could give you an indication of who would be most successful in your organization.
Conduct a Screening Interview
A screening interview is a job interview conducted over the phone or in-person to determine if an applicant is qualified for a job. A screening interview aims to identify whether the candidate has the minimum qualifications for the position.
If they are qualified, they get added to the list of potential candidates, and you move on to the next step. If they do not meet set requirements, you end your conversation and add them to your "not interested" list.
Give Your Candidates a Score
It can be tough to decide who to call in for an interview. One way to make the decision easier is to give each candidate a score. Base this score on their qualifications, experience, and anything relevant to the job.
Let Candidates Know if You’re Not Moving Forward
You should always let candidates know if you're not moving forward with their application via email or phone, ideally within a week of receiving their application. If you are unsure what to say, keep it short and sweet:
For instance, you could thank the applicant for your interest in the position, followed by a note that the application will not move forward. They will appreciate your honesty and the time they invested in preparing for their interview.
How Can You Ensure That You Are Shortlisting the Best Candidates for the Job?
You can keep a few key things in mind to ensure that you choose the best candidates for the job.
First, look closely at the job posting and list the must-have qualifications and skills. Then, review each candidate's resume and cover letter to see if they meet those qualifications. Ensure you shortlist the best candidates by eliminating bias through blind applicant screening and using as many sources as possible during your search.
Remember to also focus on merit by evaluating every candidate with the same standards when making your final decision. Your goal should be to find the person who will do the best job and represent your company well, not just someone who meets most of your requirements.
What Are the Potential Consequences of Shortlisting Incorrectly?
Finding the best candidate for the job is crucial when looking to fill a role. Improper candidate shortlisting can have long-term negative consequences for your business, such as:
If you don't take the time to shortlist correctly, you could end up interviewing candidates who are not a good fit for the job. It is a waste of time and can be frustrating for everyone involved. A bad hire can also be costly in terms of monetary resources and lost productivity.
The health impacts of shortlisting candidates incorrectly can be far-reaching and devastating. It negatively impacts an individual's health due to frustration at a new job. When new employees find new jobs too challenging, they’re prone to experiencing poor mental health symptoms like depression.
Influence on Other Employees
It’s possible for recruiting managers to get caught up in the process and end up hiring someone who is not a good fit. Such errors can make current employees feel frustrated and overworked as they try to pick up the slack.
If you notice that your staff is struggling because of one or two team members, it may be time to reevaluate your candidate shortlisting process and make some changes.
How Many Candidates Are Usually Shortlisted for Interview?
The number of candidates you shortlist for an interview will depend on a few factors, such as the size of your company and the time you must dedicate to interviewing. The role you're hiring for and the number of applications you receive will also be critical data points for this decision.
For example, if you're hiring for an entry-level role, you may want to shortlist 10-15 candidates. If you're hiring for a senior-level position, you may only need to interview 3-5 nailed-on candidates. The key is to balance getting enough information to make an informed decision while not overwhelming yourself or your team with too many interviews.
You will have to identify, recruit, and select the best candidate multiple times throughout your hiring cycle. Recognizing the right individuals to interview can mean the difference between success and failure.
By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can be sure that you are making the best possible decisions regarding shortlisting candidates for an interview.