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Shortlisting 101

Elena family web09By: Elena Di Fiore
Director, HR Management Consulting & careerhunt

The tools associated with recruitment may continue to evolve yet the actual process doesn’t move too far from the tried and trusted, shortlisting being one of those processes. How do you better manage the task of shortlisting?

The uptake of online applications has certainly created more work for hiring managers and recruiters. Derek Zeller recently gave mention at the #SST2014 on the best final selection score: five shortlisted candidates, three interviews and one job offer. Whilst this makes sense, how best to scale down to those most suitable applicants when you’ve received a huge response? Here are my tips to help you shortlist more effectively.


When the business first identified the need for an additional or replacement resource, a job description should have been revised or created. Much like a shopping list, job descriptions detail the necessary requirements to fulfil a particular need, and in this case, to support the business. Build a matrix by benchmarking candidate skill sets against position requirements.

Take an objective view

Shortlisting should not include giving consideration to gender, recency of qualifications or age. Many discount life experience, including voluntary experience, when in fact there are many life skills that are transferable into paid employment. Consider each candidate based on their skill set, rather than who or what they represent as a person. A review of cultural fit will flow into the interview process.

Engage the talent pool

Cut out the guess work by contacting candidates who have made the shortlist. Engaging with your potential employee over the phone builds brand awareness, rapport and provides the opportunity for you to better determine how they’ll fit into your business.

Remember that every candidate is, has been or could be a customer of your business. Branding often starts with your recruitment process. Food for thought.

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