Advice from Shrewsbury recruitment specialist on how to shortlist applicants quickly and effectively
21st August 2015
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Where to start?

Your company has placed an advert for a job vacancy either through an agency of independently and now CVs are flooding in. Your company now has the difficult task of compiling a short list of candidates for the next stage of the recruitment process. This can be an arduous and difficult task and is one that should be completed quickly and fairly. Personal opinions and bias cannot be a factor in short listing applicants. It must be completed quickly to ensure that you secure your desired applicants, as these days, applicants have more choices and job opportunities to apply for, by sitting on the CVs for too long, you risk losing that applicant.

Step one

IT is important to identify how many candidates you want to interview. Have a look at the time period you have to select a candidate, in this time frame you need to fairly and quickly screen the candidates. By looking at the availability of you interviewer and time frame you can decide on a realistic amount of people you wish to interview.

Step two

Identify the desirable and essential criteria you are looking for in the perfect candidate by using the job description you included in the job advertisement.

Desirable criteria are qualities the candidate possess that are not essential or necessary, i.e. computer programme knowledge or product awareness.

Essential criteria are such things as qualifications, experience or behavioural skills/traits that a perfect candidate would possess.

Step three

Once you have filtered all the applicants that have the desirable criteria or essential criteria. Start to eliminate the applicants that fail to meet the essential criteria and inform them that they have been unsuccessful, and then filter out the people that do not meet the desirable criteria but have the essential criteria. 

Step four

With fewer applicants’ CVs, your company can easily eliminate any candidates that have failed to meet presentation standards i.e. spelling and grammatical errors on their CVs. This can show a lack of attention to detail on their part.

Step five

CVs can now be sorted by desirable criteria. If an applicants’ CV shows strong essential criteria, accompanied by only some desirable criteria, it may prove successful to keep their CVs in for further consideration. If there are CVs that hardly show evidence of the essentials and do not meet any of the desirable criteria, then perhaps they are not suitable at this time. Another point, if a candidate has made it through the essential criteria elimination stages, it may prove beneficial to keep their CV on file, but of course, notify them that this time their application was not successful 

Step six

Now that you have a pile of promising applicants who have been refined by relevant skills and qualifications, other eliminations may be;

  • Job hopping- Does the candidate jump from job to job with a short employment duration?
  • Gaps – Are there any unexplained gaps in their employment history?
  • Inconsistencies- Are there any other inconsistencies?

Please remember, occasionally there are reasons and explanations for the above reasons and if you have any further questions, you should consider doing a phone screening.


About the Author

Rob G

Member since: 29th April 2015

Rob Griffiths is the Recruitment Manager at Red Recruitment Solutions Ltd, an independent office recruitment agency in Shrewsbury. The team have experience recruiting staff throughout Shropshire and the...

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