Advice on employing and managing people

Recruiting staff: how to shortlist job candidates

Maggie Pavlou

It's important for businesses to know how to find and select the right job candidates.

With so many job seekers in the market, employers are finding themselves overwhelmed by the amount of candidates they need to screen and review when looking to fill positions.

The 10-step screening and recruitment process

Here are some simple steps you can take to refine and perfect the screening process when shortlisting applicants:


Log, number and make summary notes of all applications received.


Review/grade in bulk against pre-set criteria (however you don’t need to wait until closing date to start this process).


Immediately after closing date, review the final list and reject altogether any definite 'no's' immediately - that way you won't be tempted to revisit them.


Then paper sift the remaining candidates against your pre-set criteria - selecting a 'long list' of no more than 7-9 per position - use a scoring matrix.


Review your 'long list', prepare your interview questions and invite those selected to a 1st stage interview - look at areas where the candidate could add value from the information available (possibly include a tele-screen exercise stage here if needed)


First stage interviews: group interviews are a great way of speeding up a process and can look really professional when conducted correctly.


Reduce your 'long list' to a 'shortlist' of 4 to 5 candidates (only include people that you genuinely believe could do the job and that would suit your culture).


One-to-one interview your shortlist.


If you shortlist to two candidates, consider a work-based trial to help you decide.


Appoint, subject to references and probationary period.

About the author

Maggie Pavlou

Maggie is Managing Director of Belver North HR Consultants.

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