How to Shortlist Candidates Effectively and Quickly?

Winning the grand prize of recruitment is finding a fast, straightforward, and precise method to shortlist candidates instantly.

Hiring the right candidate is a time-consuming and challenging task that significantly affects the productivity of the company. Fifty-two percent of talent acquisition leaders said that “the most difficult part of recruitment was identifying the right candidates from a large applicant pool.” Therefore, finding a way to quickly and effectively narrow down the pool of applicants will not only free up time, but it will also relieve some of the stress and difficulty for hiring managers.

At GRS Group, we provide recruiting services for permanent, temporary contract, and project-based vacancies in all industries. Therefore, we are very familiar with the difficulty of identifying the best candidates from a large applicant pool. Below we share with you the four most effective ways to successfully shortlist the best contenders, which we have successfully tried and tested over our 15 years of experience.

But first…

What is shortlisting?

“Shortlisting is the process of identifying the candidates from your applicant pool who best meet the required and desired criteria for the open req and who you want to move forward onto the next step of your recruitment process, which is usually some form of an interview.”

  1. What Qualities Does My Ideal Candidate Have?

The first thing we advise you to do is sit down and create a list of ideal qualities a candidate should have to perform the duties required by their role successfully. This list should be broken down into essential and desirable attributes, and they should be directly related to job performance. For example, an essential skill should be something necessary for the role, while desirable criteria can be things like education and years of experience.

With the help of your list, you can quickly eliminate the applicants that don’t meet your requirements and quickly narrow down the pool of applicants.

However, keep in mind that if you are too strict with your criteria, you may unintentionally dismiss suitable candidates. A balanced list of essential and desirable qualities and a touch of flexibility will allow the best candidates to remain, and you won’t accidentally screen out any qualified candidates.

Other than understanding the type of candidate you are looking for, you need to understand your company’s vision and values.

Which of your values would attract job potential employees? What types of people flourish in your company? How would you like your business to grow in the future? When you understand these things, then you get a better sense of what kind of candidate will fit the best in your team. That’s because your ideal candidate will have similar values, attitude, and mission to that of your company’s, and therefore, they will blend smoothly with your team.

  1. Determine the Length of Your Shortlist

How many people do you think you have to talk to find your ideal hire?

When it comes time to shortlist applicants having a specific number in mind will help make the process easier. For example, maybe you decide that you want to interview five shortlist candidates and pick the best out of those five.

How much time can you set aside for interviews according to your schedule and workload? How many people can you meet? What has worked for you in the past?

The length of your shortlist will also depend on the number of applicants you get; if you get a smaller number of applicants, then you would benefit from interviewing more candidates.

Another way to determine the ideal number of your shortlist is to use the average applicants to interviews rate. Which according to a 2019 recruiting report, it has remained at 12% since 2017. This rate means that for 100 applications, only 12 of those candidates will get shortlisted.

  1. Consider Additional Screening Measures

In addition to setting a list of criteria to help you identify and select the best candidates, consider adding further screening measures to your hiring process.  Aptitude, competency, and other tests are excellent examples of testing if candidates have the right skills to pass on to the interview stage.

You can add these tests at the application stage or ask candidates to complete them after reviewing their application. This will depend on which will fit better your company’s needs.

With the help of the additional information provided by the screening tests, you become more informed about each candidate, and shortlisting candidates becomes easier.

  1. Watch out for red flags

Multiple spelling and grammatical errors on the applicant’s cover letter and C.V are your first sign that a candidate is not the right fit. Numerous errors may be an indicator of carelessness, inattentiveness, or the candidate’s lack of interest in the role.

Inconsistent formatting and font usage are also a sign of someone who is not detail-oriented and careless.

Another thing to pay attention to is someone who changes their job frequently. While this is something that has now become more common frequent job-hopping with unexplained gaps could suggest a lack of commitment to work.

Finally, look out other red flags during the recruitment process that show the candidate as unprofessional. Such as poor email etiquette, and lack of organization.

  1. Employ Professionals

If you want to make the shortlisting process easier, you could always partner with a recruitment agency such as GRS Recruitment. As a team with 100+ years of combined recruitment experience, we have matched thousands of happy clients with their ideal employees, and we can do the same for you! Email us or give us a call at our Nicosia, Limassol, or Malta Office to discuss how our recruitment solutions can meet your needs.