How to effectively shortlist candidates

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Imagine you have discovered multiple candidates well suited to a vacancy that you are trying to fill, but ultimately there is only one position available. It’s time to begin the shortlisting part of the process, however you are having trouble making an effective decision.

Here are a few pointers on how you can effectively shortlist.

Research existing company members

A good rule of thumb is to research the current team of the company you a filling a role for to see if you can pinpoint any specific qualities that are similar among each of the members.

This will help you in determining whether or not any of your job applicants possess overlapping qualities that would likely resonate well with the hiring manager and increase the chances of your candidate being selected to fill the role.

Make time to meet

Ensure you schedule time to meet with each candidate prior to considering them for your shortlist. Although they may match the job spec’s listed qualifications and previous work experience to a tee it is still worthwhile spending some time with them in a relaxed environment, so you can get a feel for their personality and what makes them tick. This will ultimately help you to see if they would be a good cultural fit for the company.

It’s vital to remember that cultural fit is an equally significant factor when deciding on a candidate. For instance, if you were to put forward extroverted candidates to work in more heavily introverted culture then you would only be setting yourself and the candidate up for failure.

Are they actually interested?

Lastly, don’t forget to evaluate their interest and enthusiasm for the role they applied for. It’s all well and good if they have ticked the check boxes in terms of job description and personality, but if they aren’t fully committed from the start they could be quick to leave once placed.

Ask yourself simple questions based on interactions you have had with each candidate during interviews:

- Who out of each of the candidates was most engaged throughout the interviewing process?
- How quickly did each person follow up with you after the interview?
- What is your gut feeling about each candidate?

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