10 Quick ways to Shortlist Candidates For An Interview

Some employers and interviewers sometimes shake in their shoes when they hear the term shortlist candidates! The reason is simple as daylight. Shortlist the genuine candidate for a company is not a doddle and pick the right one is even tougher. But no need to be afraid as I’ve come with 10 quick ways to shortlist candidates. So, buckle up and read the blog further.

What is Shortlisting?

Shortlisting is the method of identifying the candidates from your applicant pool who best meet the required and desired criteria for the open req and who you want to move forward onto the next step of your recruitment process, which is usually some form of an interview. The purpose of short-listing is to identify those candidates who best meet the selection criteria and are most likely to be capable of carrying out the duties of the job.

How Many Candidates are Shortlisted Usually?

Many companies think that taking interview of all the applicants is suitable as it allows the employers to compare different skill sets to find the best candidate. Theoretically, it’s a good idea. But doing such a thing is not wise as it creates a lot of problems for the interviewers. Besides, it’s pretty time consuming if the number of candidates is many.

Having many different possibilities also means that everyone involved in the process could have the other favourite candidate, who supports their aims or ideals, making it difficult to come to a consensus. Lots of interviewees also create more administration. It’s vital to keep in touch with your candidates and give them feedback, to manage their expectations and ensure they have a good recruitment experience that doesn’t damage your employer brand. It adds even more to your workload and eats up time. All this prolongs the decision-making period when recruiting for a new role. Even though there are lots of job seekers in the market at the moment, top-notch candidates still tend to get snapped up swiftly. Delay the recruitment process, and you risk losing your best candidates to another organisation.

Interviewing too few candidates is also a problem, as you may not be able to fill the role. If you do, you may feel you have had to settle for a less than ideal candidate.

Interviewing a person after shortlisting candidate

10 Quick ways to Shortlist Candidates For An Interview

Shortlist candidates is not an easy peasy job to be done when you have many candidates. So you have to make proper and precise planning to choose the right suitable candidates for your prominent company.

To make it easier for you, I’ve come up with 10 quickest ways to shortlist candidate. These may include:

1. Determine the Number of Interviewees

For shortlisting the candidates, the leadoff should be determining how many candidates you want to interview. Based on how much time you have, decide how many candidates you wish to interview. This number forms the length of your shortlist. Now you have a target for sifting through those applications.

2. Portray an Employee Persona

Next, you have to govern an image of how you want your next employee to be, that is employee persona. . For example, what kind of qualifications do they need? Is there a particular personality type you think will fit well within your current workforce? Does the candidate need to live or be willing to relocate to a specific area?

Create a job description and a profile of the ideal person you have in mind, decide on the essential criteria (must-haves) and the desirable criteria that would be nice to have. It ensures that there are measurable criteria to base your decisions on and enables applications that fall short of these expectations to be rejected quickly.

Once you’ve listed every trait, skill and qualification you desire, you’ll be able to form an ideal employee persona. Thus you’ll get a clear indication of what you’re looking for while shortlisting.

3. Determine Shortlist Criteria

Developing the fair criteria is a balance between standards that are high enough to ensure good quality candidates get the chance. It also means that you shouldn’t be too strict that you’d be unnecessarily screening out a lot of qualified candidates. Make sure your criteria doesn’t discourage any legally protected classes in the first place. The essential thing here is to set the criteria that are consistent, fair and objective for all candidates. The criteria may include:

Always remember that your shortlist criteria shouldn’t base on personal opinion. Any gut feeling related to what managers think should also be prevented. Suppose recruited candidate portrays any personal similarities of the candidates with the recruiters or hiring managers. In that case, it may hinder your company’s reputation.

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4. Use M.E.P Method

You can use the M.E.P method for setting the employee criteria. While creating an ideal employee persona is one thing, don’t use it as a ‘must-have’ tick box exercise – because, let’s face it, not every candidate will have every single attribute, skill and qualification you wish for. Instead, prioritise your list of applicants by using the M.E.P system.

You can then award a point for every M scored, a couple for E and triple for P. This will give you a score for each applicant at the end. It will also make it a lot easier to interview the shortlisted candidates too. That is to say, by doing this, you’ll be able to pinpoint potential weaknesses or get them to demonstrate their skills. You can also try different methods as there are many of them available.

5. Consider Other Elimination Process

If you still have more candidates to shortlist than you need to consider other eliminating factors. However, no matter what your reason for taking someone off your shortlist, make sure that your reason is proper and ethical.

6. Break the Process​

If you are considering to convey a thorough M.E.P process for all the candidate, I’ll insist you not to do so! Why am I saying this? Come on! it’s too much lengthy process and you’ll burn yourself out after an hour or two. Besides, it may be an injustice to some candidates also!

So what can you do instead? The best way to evade shortlisting burnout is to break it up into stages. For this, you can follow the steps below:

By treading on the heels of the steps, your shortlisting process will surely become easier!

Keyboard showing shortlisted with a key

7. Screen Candidates Virtually

It can be a brilliant idea to screen the applicants before face to face session. That is to say; interviews can be time-consuming. So, it can be helpful to have a short Skype chat or phone call before you commit to a one-to-one meeting.

It not only saves you time, in the long run, but it also enables you to address any burning questions you may have for the candidate. The phone call doesn’t have to be lengthy – up to 15 minutes is probably enough just as long as you can see whether they’re worth inviting in to meet.

8. Check for References

References are great for providing some additional reassurance on your candidate. Having opinion from another person on a candidate’s work ethic is helpful to decide if they are the right fit for your company practice.

Also, it means you won’t shortlist candidates if they’ve lied about where they previously worked, or their current position.

9. Competencies and Culture Fit

A resume can present a good indication of a candidate’s competency fit. However, it is pretty hard to make a call on their cultural fit by seeing a piece of paper. Therefore, meeting the person face-to-face is an integral part of the next shortlisting stage.

As well as being a critical step in determining whether a prospective employee would be successful in your organisation (and getting to know them more), a face-to-face interview also represents an opportunity to get a better understanding of their level of motivation. Do they appear to enjoy their work? Are they excited about the opportunity? Will they share the company’s vision? Would they be proud to work for the company?

These are all questions that will help you gauge if the candidate’s characteristics will align with those of your business. Ensure that your emphasis on this doesn’t eliminate candidates without good reason, as there is a danger that it could lead to unintentional bias. The best way to reduce this is to think about what might be lacking in the existing culture. If, on first impressions, you don’t think someone would ‘fit in’, consider if they might add something different to your culture instead.

10. Notify the Unsuccessful Candidates

After the completion of shortlisting candidates, try to notify the unsuccessful ones as humble gratitude of your company. It would be best if you highlighted the reason why they were unsuccessful; but, you don’t have to be too specific.

Things to Consider on the Interview

Now that you’ve shortlisted your candidate, its time for you to conduct the interview. So what things you have to consider while interviewing the applicants? Definitely, it depends on the job criteria, but here are the common things that you need to think about before recruiting any employee:

Selecting after shortlist candidate

1. Attitude

While the interview is going on, try to understand the personal characteristics as well as the attitude of the individual towards the job and their profession. Also, try to gauge how serious he is about the job.

2. Collaboration between Personal and Professional Life

It would be best if you also scanned whether the interviewee can strike a balance between their personal and professional lives.

3. Forerunner or Follower

Make sure to set questions that help you to determine whether the interviewee is an initiator in his/her professional life, or they are more of a follower. Also, your questions should aim to find out whether the candidate brings about any individual assets to the company, or whether the qualifications that they bring are more of a supportive kind.

4. Body Language

Also, pay attention to the interviewee’s body language. The body language of an individual goes a long way in informing you about many intricacies of the individual. It also reflects your applicant’s personality.

5. Reference

If the interviewee has acknowledged you about any references, allow him/her to speak about them. With this, you can get the scope to cross-check whatever the interviewee has informed you about them earlier. You can also verify these facts, later on, when you give a call to the references. Suppose the references are his or her previous managers or colleagues. In that case, the interviewer should try to know the former-mutual-contact experiences.

6. Availability

Please make it clear about the timeframe that you are looking at, in case of hiring the interviewee. With a concrete timeframe in mind, the interviewer is free to decide and discuss whether the potential candidate is the best person for the job at hand.

7. Remuneration

Finally, the salary is quite a fundamental part of the conclusive decision. It determines whether the individual would join the organization or not. The salary also plays an integral part in the interviewers’ decision, whether the interviewee is perfect for the organization. Therefore, the interviewer should find out the expected salary of the interviewee, and also gauge whether the individual would bargain or negotiate about the salary.

Final Remarks

In a nutshell, to shortlist candidates can be difficult but not a hard nut to crack if you follow the ways one by one. The blog discusses all the 10 quick ways from determining the number of employees to M.E.P method to notifying the unsuccessful applicants. In this blog, I also provide you with a few aspects that you should consider while taking the face to face interview.

However, I intended to cover all aspects to shortlist candidates for your prominent company. I hope by following the 10 quick ways, the interviewers can be benefitted profoundly. To get courses relevant to your job or interest, please do visit our website and enrol in any course of your choice at an affordable price. Click Here!

Thank you and Adios!

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November 5, 2020

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