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Guide to Short Listing a Candidate


Drawing up a shortlist and inviting candidates to interview

When you have the replies to your advertisement:

  • compare applications against a job description and person specification outlining the skills and experience you need
  • eliminate applicants who do not have the basic requirements for the job
  • draw up a short list - a list of candidates to interview - based on the applicants who most closely match your needs
  • consider notifying candidates who you will not be inviting for interview

How do I make a shortlist?

  • Include only the number of applicants you will have time to interview - usually no more than three to four people a day. Allow time for preparation and discussion before and after the interview.
  • Draw up a table listing each candidate against the essential requirements of the job. Those that meet all the essential personal criteria could form your shortlist.
  • If there are too many possible candidates, then you could weigh them up against the desirable qualities you are also looking for.
  • Don't discriminate against applicants on the grounds of sex, race, age or disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief Ensure you are consistent in the way you use personal data to draw up the shortlist.
  • Get more than one person to compile the shortlist to avoid possible bias.

Inviting candidates to interview

Invite the most suitable candidates for interview by letter, telephone or email - for the last two, confirm arrangements in writing.

You should say:

  • when, where and how long the interview will be
  • how to get there - provide a map if necessary - and whether you will pay travel expenses
  • what documents the candidate should bring
  • who the candidate should ask for on arrival
  • the names and job titles of the people conducting the interview
  • if there will be a test to take, or a presentation and if so, its type and duration

You should also ask candidates to tell you if they have any special needs that you will need to cater for.


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