Shortlisting candidates: meaning and guide of best practices

Shortlisting candidates is usually a common practice in the initial stages of a company’s selection process. In  fact, it is...
21 December 2022

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Shortlisting candidates: meaning and guide of best practices

Shortlisting candidates is usually a common practice in the initial stages of a company’s selection process.

In  fact, it is a crucial stage in finding the professionals that the company needs and it is an effective way to establish the basic requirements that candidates must meet in order to be considered for the interview stage.

In this article, we will explore its meaning and we will clarify why shortlisting candidates is important.

Shortlisting candidates meaning

The shortlisting of candidates refers to the first stage of the personnel selection process where potential candidates are identified as the best ones who meet the requirements of the profile that the company is looking for a job offer. 

In this sense, it is the best way to pre-select and identify the profiles of candidates who meet all or most of the requirements of the job offer published by the company. 

Once the shortlisted candidates have passed this first screening, they will most likely be called for a face-to-face or remote job interview.

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How to create a list of shortlisting candidates?

The main objective of a shortlisted candidates list is to simplify the selection process in order to save time and effort for the hiring manager. 

Therefore, the better the list of candidates to be created, the better the chances of finding the best candidate.

So as to create an efficient shortlist and make good strategic decisions, we recommend the following steps:

Set a minimum number of requirements per candidate

The first thing you should do is analyze all the requirements of the position to be filled in our company. 

Once you have verified this, you will eliminate a number of candidates who do not meet the level of education, experience or other skills that are essential for the position.

Define the additional requirements that add value to the candidate

Now that you have a baseline of what you are looking for in a candidate, then you can focus on other qualities, certifications or knowledge that may be of interest to the position, even if they are not essential to its development. 

We mean, what else do you expect or need from the candidate? 

A good reference can be to look at people who have been in the position and remember what they lacked or what additional skills convinced you of that person. 

This will be so helpful to narrow down the shortlist a bit more.

Shortlisting candidates

Decide the length of the list

If you are in doubt about how many candidates are usually shortlisted for an interview, the answer is simple: as many as you can handle in your team. 

Take into account that it all depends on the time you have to conduct the interviews, the urgency of the hiring and the duration of your onboarding plan

The best solution is to create a pool of candidates that you can even partially analyze. Think about how many you can meet and stick to that number to make the process effective.

In this sense, if you find it difficult to manage the list because it is too long, you can conduct some pre-interviews over the phone. You can also request some type of online test to assess knowledge and eliminate more candidates. 

Focus the start with the favorites

The first screening to be done is clear and consists of discarding all those profiles that you know for sure do not meet your preselection criteria. Focusing from the outset on those you think that may be ideal candidates will help you optimize your time and resources. 

Since it is likely that you will not find the perfect profile right away, we recommend that you make a preliminary selection by adding those who have nuances or details that you like, that catch your attention, or that you want to know more about. 

In this way, you will be able to create a list with sufficient potential and you will avoid leaving behind those you consider to be the strongest candidates.

Be sure to create a diverse list

You may really like a profile with a specific experience, but it is important to keep other doors open, so we recommend that you keep a lot of variety in the candidates you shortlist. 

Who knows, you may end up discovering skills in some of the candidates you interviewed that you did not anticipate and that can enhance the performance of the profile you are hiring.

Shortlisting candidates meaning and uses

Design your own profile rating

To prioritize shortlisting candidates, you can create your own scoring system with more complex variables or simply choose to rate the profiles you find from one to ten. 

This doesn’t mean you have to hire everyone who gets a 10, but at least you have a range and priorities to rely on when previewing these profiles. 

Of course, keep in mind that it’s a live score and that it can change throughout the process.

Create backups and folders with profiles

After all the work you put into the entire shortlisting process, the least you can do is make backups and store the data in a safe place. All this information can be useful for future processes.

You can even use it for the same process if one of your first options fails and you can always go back to the list to look for other qualified candidates.

Call applicants from the list for a final interview

Now all you have to do is go back to the list and contact the candidates you want to interview. 

If any of the first options fail, you will be able to fill the gap with another interesting candidate thanks to all the information you have in this list. 

Remember that thanks to technology, these interviews can be conducted virtually. And thanks to proctoring solutions like ours, you can guarantee the integrity and security of the interviews. 

Request your free demo now and let us show you how it can be done.

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