Weeding through countless applicants can get overwhelming and exhausting when you post a new job listing. One of the biggest challenges that employers, specifically their talent acquisition team, faces is the rigorous process of selecting the right candidates to join their organizations.

Shortlisting candidates can help streamline this screening process and make it much easier to ensure that only the best applicants make it through to the next round.

Let’s take a closer look at how candidate shortlisting works and the numerous benefits it offers.

What is Candidate Shortlisting?

6 shortlisted candidates wating for interview with an employer

As the name suggests, shortlisting means quite literally creating a short list of candidates that meet the job criteria.

Candidate shortlisting is a process that allows recruiters to narrow down a list of candidates for a specific position. It involves filtering the applicants so you have a shorter list of names that will go through the interview and assessment process. A major aspect of shortlisting is ensuring that the applicants’ experiences and qualifications are on par with the job requirement.

Shortlisting happens before scheduling the interviews. When you have a pool of your candidates, the recruiters review the resumes and start setting aside applications that stand out and would be invited to move on to the next steps of the recruitment process.

These are the candidates that are most likely to be successful additions to your organization.

Why is Candidate Shortlisting Necessary?

Shortlisting applicants allows recruits to focus on the most qualified applicants. It helps save the recruitment team’s time so that they don’t have to sit through all the candidates who are not even qualified for the job.

By creating a shortlist, you can ensure that your hiring process is more effective. It helps you to optimize the hiring process and increase the possibility of hiring the best possible applicant.

Advantages of Candidate Shortlisting

Moving forward with candidate shortlisting to find the best-fit candidate.

Candidate shortlisting can be a huge plus for employers. It provides more time for the talent acquisition team to assess the potential candidates who would make a valuable addition to the organization.

Take a look at some of the significant advantages of candidate shortlisting.

Promotes a Better, More Seamless Applicant Experience

Qualified candidates can be given the due time and attention needed. It also creates an excellent first impression for the company by showcasing that you value the company’s and the applicant’s time and effort.

Expedites the Hiring Process

Once you shortlist qualified candidates from a pool of applicants, you reduce the time involved in scheduling everyone for interviews and save on assessment costs. It reduces the time required to complete the hiring process by making it easier to assess skilled and qualified candidates.

Produces a Higher Success Rate in Terms of Hiring

If your shortlisting process is thorough, the shortlisted candidates will probably ace the subsequent interviews and assessments. This also provides confidence to the recruiters and hiring manager that they are setting up candidates to succeed once they become part of the company.

Establishes a Uniform Standard for Future Employees

A defined candidate shortlisting process ensures that the applicant is being reviewed based on the same criteria. It also eliminates biases and makes sure that the applicants being shortlisted are of similar skill levels, with all of them meeting the job requirements.

Provides Data-driven Feedback

By having a shortlisting process, you also gain data on what kind of applicants are submitting their resumes. It also provides the employer with practical insight into why the recruitment team may have challenges hiring the right people. If you find that your system is putting through applicants that do not meet the requirements, it indicates that you need to re-evaluate your existing shortlisting process.

How Do You Shortlist Candidates?

Identifying the right candidate from a pile of applicants can be a very difficult task. Shortlisting makes this job easier by narrowing this pile down to a select few that the recruiters can focus on.

Here’s how you can create an effective shortlisting process to ensure the best outcome:

#1. Be Specific With Your Hiring Criteria

Before finalizing the job posting, the employer must have defined criteria for the job description and the qualifications they are looking for.

Be clear about what your “essential criteria” is. This would include the imperative, non-negotiable skills or attributes that each applicant must meet to be considered for the position. An example of this would be a certain university major, relevant software knowledge, or even a work visa. These are necessary for the applicant to move forward.

Aside from these, there are also what’s referred to as the “desirable qualifications” or skills that are plus points — not necessary but nice to have. Examples of these desirable criteria would be proficiency in another language like Spanish or French or an above-average skill level with particular software.

These criteria should apply to all candidates consistently and equally.

#2. Have a Pre-approved Number of Shortlisted Candidates

How many candidates do you want to consider for this position? Would your shortlist include 20 applicants or just 5?

This requirement may vary on several factors, including the immediate need for the role or how long the position would be open for application.

Some employers would consider the total number of applicants before setting a percentage to finalize a number for the shortlist.

#3. Incorporate Screening and Recruitment Sourcing Tools and Use Shortlisting Platforms

Talent shortlisting using software tools

For positions that will attract a large application pool, having pre-screening tests can work exceptionally well at finding applicants who are skilled for a job. Using screening tools and detailed assessments can further reinforce your decision of whether a candidate is suited to be included in the shortlist.

You can also use automation tools and candidate shortlisting platforms to screen and test candidates effectively. Here are our top 3 picks you should consider:

Talentprise: A powerful recruitment tool that combines AI and machine learning to help you find the right person for the right job. Proactive recruitment through AI Headhunters is the essence of Talentprise.

Bullhorn: Applicant tracking helps you expedite and automate the entire recruitment cycle and provides accurate candidate data, helping you build a better talent pool.

Workable: A popular Applicant Tracking System that integrates with 200+ job boards to help recruiters find the best candidates for their business.

In Summary

Candidate shortlisting can help employers be more confident about employing the right people who would be assets to their organizations. Just make sure to keep the shortlisting criteria fair and without bias to narrow down your strongest applicants.

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Keren Dinkin

Keren Dinkin

Keren Dinkin had seven years of work experience in digital marketing and e-commerce before shifting gears and becoming a full-time content writer. She loves words and the power they hold, which explains her passion for writing.Keren is based in California. When she is not at her desk whipping up compelling narratives and sipping on endless cups of coffee, you can find her curled up with a book, playing with her dog, or pottering about in the garden.

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