“Can they do the job, and will they get on with them team?” This is the distillation of what goes through a hiring manager’s mind when looking to hire new candidates. The purpose of short-listing candidates is to identify which of those applicants are most likely to meet the selection criteria – and which are not.
The quickest way to shortlist is to do it in stages, as follows: The first stage is to run through all the CVs and simply exclude those who don’t meet the essential criteria (and in most cases there will be many of these). This should immediately make the pile of CVs much more manageable.
Shortlisting in stages
The next stage involves a more granular filtering of the remaining CVs in which you give each candidate a score against each item in your list of essential criteria. For convenience, these should be recorded on your spreadsheet. This is also the time to check for any inconsistencies in their CVs and make sure that presentation, spelling and grammar, and attention to detail are flawless, both on the CV and covering letter.
Compile a list
This stage involves compiling a list of candidates in whom you are confident of their ability to fulfill the role. At the outset, know how many candidates you want to interview. It is important to remember that candidates should be assessed against the selection criteria and not against each other. In other words, ensures that the candidates are compared against the objective requirements of the specific job. It is therefore important to make sure the candidates’ specification is clear, up-to-date, and appropriate to the duties to be undertaken.
Once you have a short list of candidates, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s unlikely you’ll find someone who maximally reaches every single criterion. Sometimes it will be necessary to think outside the box and trust your gut feeling – whereas in other cases it’s worth overriding your gut feeling as it may mislead you about the candidate’s ability to do the job. Utilising case studies and detailed questions is a great way to determine the candidates’ skill level and, just as importantly, their ability to learn.
To summarise, know how many candidates you want to interview; cull the list by removing the applicants who do not meet the criteria; be wary of going with your gut feeling (though it can be extremely valuable when combined with objective analysis), and finally, be flexible but keep to your essential criteria.