Recruiting & Interviewing

Drawing up a shortlist and inviting candidates to interview

When you have the replies to your advert:

  • 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.

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 needed 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, for example on the grounds of sex, race or disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief – see the guide: prevent discrimination and value diversity.
  • 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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