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Consider Recruitment Shortlisting to Simplify the Interview Process

by | Oct 20, 2017 | Placement Process, Top Echelon Blog

Juggling hundreds of candidates for a potential job opening is challenging. And, your client doesn’t want to weed through candidates. They want you to pass on top talent once you have a small group of candidates. To do this, try recruitment shortlisting.

What is shortlisting?

Recruitment shortlisting is the process of picking out top talent from your pool of candidates and advancing them to the next stage. The rest of the candidates are ruled out.

It can be hard to narrow down a large candidate pool, but it is necessary. Try to get your shortlist down to a handful of candidates (about three). These are the candidates you and your client will interview.

Shortlisting process for recruitment

You might not know when to shortlist candidates. If you shortlist them too early, you might weed out some great contenders. And, if you don’t narrow down your pool before interviews, you and your client will be devoting too much time to talking with unqualified job seekers.

Here’s when you should start the shortlisting process for recruitment:

  1. Receive job order
  2. Source candidates
  3. Screen candidates
  4. Shortlist candidates
  5. Interview shortlisted candidates
  6. Extend job offer

Do not short list candidates until you have learned more information about them through resume screening and pre-screening interviews. But, wait until you have a shortlist of candidates for interviews.

How to shortlist candidates

Taking individuals out of a pool of candidates and adding them to a shortlist takes some research and screening. A shortlisted candidate should meet or exceed what your client is looking for in their job description.

Pay attention to each candidate’s qualifications, experience, and soft skills. Find out how the candidate performs in their current or previous job, as well as any problems they might have had with co-workers or managers.

Since shortlisting comes before formal interviews, you won’t know everything about each candidate. Follow these tips to learn how to shortlist candidates.

Set goals

First and foremost, you need to know what you’re looking for in a candidate. And, you should know how many candidates you want on your short list.

For example, you might have 75 candidates in your applicant pool. You decide that you want your short list to have seven candidates. Your goal would be to weed out 68 job seekers.

Set a timeframe for narrowing down your candidate pool. If your client wants to interview within one month, make sure you meet that deadline.

Setting recruiting goals can help you make a game plan. That way, you know how to proceed in your process and get the best candidates on your short list.

Use an ATS

To help you narrow down your pool of candidates, try using recruiting software with an applicant tracking system (ATS).

With an ATS for recruiters, you can import and sort resume information for each candidate. This lets you easily compare qualifications in a standard format. And, the ATS will organize candidates by most to least qualified based on the job description.

You can save time and energy with an applicant tracking system. You don’t need to manually manage your pool of candidates. And, your software helps you identify key players for your clients.

Research candidates

Many job seekers embellish their abilities on resumes. So, it’s not a good idea to depend solely on these. Instead, use search engines and social media in recruiting to research each candidate. Find out if each candidate’s resume is accurate.

Social media is a great place to learn more about potential employees. With social media, you can find out more about how the job seeker acts in everyday life and not just how they appear on a piece of paper.

Use social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to learn more about candidates.

Do phone screenings

Before you narrow your list down to a few people, do some phone screenings. These let you get to know candidates and speak with them.

Use phone screenings to validate information found on resumes. And, you can ask candidates some situational and behavioral interview questions to find out how they would perform in the open position. Find out more about their experience, expectations, and qualifications.

Create a scorecard

Many hiring managers use a candidate scorecard to help with interviews, but you can also use them when you talk with and screen candidates.

A scorecard helps you rank candidates based on things like their qualifications and experiences. And, you can jot down information about each candidate to compare answers.

You need to come up with a rating scale for your scorecard. And, you should know what you are scoring. For example, you might judge a candidate based on their experience, qualifications, or communication skills.

Let’s say you are interviewing a candidate for a writing job. The job description requires candidates to have three years of experience in a related writing position and at least a master’s degree in journalism.

Your scorecard rates candidates from 1-5, 1 being least qualified and 5 being most qualified. Candidate A has a Ph.D. in journalism, one year of experience, and good communication skills. Candidate B has a bachelor’s in English, excellent communication skills, and four years of experience. Candidate C has a master’s in journalism, four years of experience, but they lacked in communication skills.

Take a look at what the scorecard would look like:

Candidate Experience Communication skills Education Total
A 2 4 5 11
B 5 5 2 12
C 5 1 4 10

You would do this for all your candidates to help create your shortlist. It might be time-consuming, but you can easily weed out unqualified job seekers based on their total scores.

Shortlisted for an interview: What next?

After you have created a shortlist, you can pass candidate information along to your client. Then, you can advance candidates to the interview process.

Your client can spend less time interviewing candidates once you have a short list of qualified individuals. Though the recruitment shortlisting of candidates is time-consuming for you, it cuts down the hiring process time for your client.

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