Five Ways to Improve Candidate Shortlisting

Find ways to improve the quality of candidate shortlisting, which leads to higher retention rates, and increased productivity for an organization.

Effective recruitment leads to higher retention rates of top talent and increased productivity that gives organizations a competitive advantage. This is a driving factor for recruiters to adopt modernized talent acquisition practices and retaining quality candidate shortlisting.

The most time-consuming aspect of recruiting is finding the right people and choosing candidates from a sizeable pool of applicants. It’s not only crucial to identify who is worth their weight in gold and who is going to cost you valuable time and resources, but you also don’t want to put top candidates off by putting them through a long, tedious process.

Let’s have a look at how recruiters can enhance their processes to improve the quality of candidate shortlisting.

1. Finding Informed Candidates

Gone are the days of placing a job vacancy and then hoping for the best. Hannah Fleishman is the recruiting manager at HubSpot and summarizes how recruitment is an active process that requires recruiters to reach out using multiple channels to attract top talent.

“Recruitment marketing is how your company tells its culture story through content and messaging to reach top talent. It can include blogs, video messages, social media, images – any public-facing content that builds your brand among candidates.”

Ultimately, you want to find an informed candidate who is engaged, knowledgeable, and actively interested in your company. Jobseekers base their employment decisions on their perception of a company’s working environment and how they are treated during the recruitment process. A lack of or no feedback, drawn-out processes, ill-prepared interviewers, and interview schedule changes are marked as the biggest frustrations for applicants. The entire process should be exciting and offer a compelling experience for the right candidate.

2. Use Skill Assessments

Technical skill assessment is a practical way to evaluate a candidate’s competencies. The aim is not to make a test as difficult or confusing as possible, but rather to offer the candidate a platform to demonstrate their expertise. Informed candidates enjoy a challenge and are keen to show off their capabilities.

Inviting potential candidates to do online programming tests is a quick and easy way to get an accurate depiction of a candidate’s suitability, which gives you the chance to isolate weak vs. strong applicants.

The Harvard Business Review points out that candidate tests are better predictors of competence and performance than work experience or qualifications highlighted in resumés and job applications.

3. Make Interviews Interesting

Interviews are a two-way street. It’s a conversation to understand each other better and see if either party feels it will be a good fit. Include subject matter experts and teammates in the interview process to get different opinions and assess how the candidate relates in a group setting. Quality candidates do their homework, ask the right questions, and demonstrate their understanding of the role and the company’s culture.

Conducting a pair programming interview with selected candidates via a collaborative IDE, and high definition video calling further improves the quality of your candidate shortlisting.

It is just as important for the interviewer to be well-prepared as high-performing candidates will also expect professionalism and efficiency.

A Deloitte’s survey found that 83% of candidates changed their mind about joining a company after having a negative interviewing experience.

4. Reference Checks

The candidate may look perfect on paper but taking the time to verify references and do background checks that are in line with local laws will be your best insurance policy. statistics reveal that 56% of employers discovered inconsistencies on a candidate’s resume after doing the proper checks.

Contacting at least two references will give you a clear picture of how the candidate has performed in the past and how positive their previous engagements were. Verbal contact is far more effective than receiving a few written sentences that could be generated as part of a company’s template.

5. Red Flags

Interviews are stressful, so it’s normal for some candidates to appear nervous but recruiters should never ignore red flags that subtly offer warnings for unprofessional conduct and attitude. Candidates who arrive late, are inappropriately dressed, or seem sketchy about their past experience or qualifications should in most cases, be quickly eliminated from your shortlist.

Glassdoor explains how looking out for red flags can determine which candidates won’t be a good fit and it will save you time and effort to get through the recruitment process quicker.


If you follow all of the above-mentioned points throughout your interview process, there’s very little chance that it can go wrong. By improving the quality of your candidate shortlisting you will future-proof your company for years to come and save ample time and money spent in managing long-term churn.

For any questions related to improving your recruitment pipeline, connect with WeCP today!


Question your way to top talent. Identify people worth betting on.