You have written an appealing job advertisement, posted it on several media platforms, and now you are receiving a large number of applications. This is a good thing that your job ad had a strong appeal to it and that people are very much interested in the position that you are offering. But now comes the hardest and most important part that is shortlisting.

What Is Shortlisting?

It is the process of reviewing the applications that you have received in response to a job advertisement. It is the part that helps you to decide which candidate suits the position most and is qualified and skilled to call for an interview.

To decide how much of them are qualified enough to be called for an interview is an interesting yet difficult task, especially when you have a load of applications to review. Finding the right person for your company is indeed time-consuming but every position is important for a company and has some job role attached to it, and it will be a hurdle in daily operations if the hiring gets delayed.

Situations like these can be pressurizing at times and can exhaust you to the point where you just decide to pick the next person whose CV appears in front of you. This counts as a fault.

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Having an efficient shortlisting strategy can help you with the process and making the right choice.

Follow the steps mentioned below to make the process manageable and smooth.

Identifying Desirable and Essential Criteria

Start with identifying the basic criteria that are mandatory for the position. It is efficient to divide the criteria into two categories ‘desirable’ and ‘essential’.

Things that will fall under ‘essential’ will be hard skills. These are must-haves in order to qualify for the job position.

On the other hand, things that will fall under ‘desirable’ are those that can be anything from a degree in any particular subject to amount of experience in the industry.

Being too strict with your criteria can prevent you from hiring someone who has great potential. It is all about maintaining balance.

By division of your criteria in these categories, you can easily shortlist potential candidates who have ticked all the right boxes. This also makes a comparison between the candidates possible.

Considering Screening Tests

Along with this, it is essential to consider what competency, aptitude and other kinds of tests you can conduct. These will help you to know which of the candidates have skills and potential. Many organizations use tests throughout the process of application. It is totally up to the employer, whether they want to start by taking tests or after the shortlisting process. This information makes it easier to select the candidates and further add the, into no, yes and maybe piles.

Look Carefully For Errors

Pay attention to the details when you are reviewing applications for hiring. It is better to sift out CVs that have poor grammar, formatting, and typos. Such errors are proof that those candidates did not even bother to proof-read their application or CVs attentively. Also, watch out for fonts that are inconsistent and if there is anything unprofessional about the CV.

Pay Attention to Inconsistencies

We all know someone who often switches jobs. In today’s world, moving jobs frequently is acceptable. But it is better to pay close attention to unexplained gaps between the jobs in the CVs. Inconsistences and gaps often indicate a lack of commitment to work and unprofessional behavior.

Dedicated people often stick at one job for a considerable period of time if there is no mishap or unfortunate happening involved. You are looking for a long-term and reliable individual, so it is better to avoid such inconsistent candidates.

Consider the Number of Candidates to Review

It is better to stay clear about how many candidates you are willing to review. It is essential for improving your recruitment process. This ensures that you will not be left with too little or too many applications to asses. Give it a though professionally about how many people can you meet.

It is good to stick with the number you have in mind, but being too strict can be risky. Do not limit yourself if you still have some candidates left who have the potential to fit the job perfectly. Of course, you do not want to lose any skilled individual just because of your cut-off point.

Before Face-to-Face Interviews, Screen Candidates

Interviews can take a lot of your time, and when you have so many candidates, it can become a nightmare. You can have a quick Skype chat or a phone conversation before coming face-to-face for a meeting.

This helps you save time and make the process less difficult. It allows you to address any questions that you might have for the candidates.

It is not necessary to make a long phone call. A short 10 to 15-minute call will do. It will help you to know whether or not the candidate is worth meeting in person or not.

Look For Red Flags

You can overlook some mistakes while reviewing an application, but there are still some mistakes that cannot be avoided while reviewing applications.

Red flags include a poor organization or an unprofessional background. If you have to wait a long time for a candidate’s reply, they miss your call for screen tests and lack basic decency over email conversations, and you should be alerted.

This means that the candidate is not taking this position seriously and might have bad attitude problems.

Check Up On References

You can gain extra reassurances through given references in a candidate’s CV. It can help you get an opinion on the candidate’s workplace ethics. It enables you to decide whether or not they are for your company.

It also helps you to know which of the candidates are going in no piles. Of course, those who have lied about their experience and previous jobs will not get a chance at your company.


In order to successfully shortlist the candidates, you should not complete the entire reviewing process in one go. Remember you are employing an individual that will give either the right or the wrong impression of your company.

Following the steps we have explained above will help you save your time and make the right choice. When you are done with shortlisting, you can start sending invitations and follow the top to bottom order. Stop when you think the number of candidates invited is enough for now.

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