Hiring today has become a complex job for several causes. Recession in some parts of the world, unstable job market due to fast-paced technology, unemployment, and lack of skilled labour are just a few of the many reasons why recruiters find it difficult to hire the right candidate.
However, through the use of some effective measures, the recruitment process can be made faster and more efficient in any organization. Shortlisting candidates is one such process, which when optimized, can improve the efficiency of the whole hiring system of the company.
It is important for businesses to retain talent to lower the cost of mis-hiring and rehiring and training the new staff. And, for that to happen, it is essential to conduct a bias-free, resource-friendly, and effective candidate shortlisting.
What is Candidate Shortlisting?
Candidate shortlisting is a method of narrowing down the number of job applications received so as to obtain a bunch of eligible candidates to advance to the next step of the hiring procedure.
It is the step where the recruiters analyze every applicant’s skills and experience, match them with the desired skills and experience for the position, and then shortlist the ones who are best suited for the role.
When and Why to Consider Shortlisting Candidates?
The first step of recruitment in every organization is to post a job opportunity on different portals and platforms. Once the job advert reaches the target candidates, the next step is to collect the job applications from all the candidates.
Now, once the application closing date passes, the third step is the most crucial one - candidate shortlisting. If this one goes wrong, the whole recruitment process becomes a failure. Hence, the recruiter must make sure that the candidate shortlisting process is done with great accuracy and efficiency so that only the best-suited candidates make it to the interview.
Now, there are several reasons why every organization should consider shortlisting candidates before interviewing them, regardless of how many vacancies are there and how many job applications have been received.
Here are a few explanations as to why it is important to shortlist candidates before assessing them further.
- Recruiters can save the organization’s money, time, and other resources.
- The efficiency and optimisation of the whole recruitment process of the company improve with candidate shortlisting.
- The hiring process becomes more manageable.
- Recruiters are able to set as well as discover new standards for the hiring process.
- Candidate shortlisting allows recruiters to notify both shortlisted as well as unqualified candidates on time. This prevents delayed communication which in turn results in better candidate experience and good employer branding of the company.
How to Shortlist Candidates
Many recruiters globally believe that shortlisting the best-suited candidates out of a talented pool of applicants is one of the toughest jobs of the hiring process. However, we have collated the steps that you can follow while shortlisting candidates for your job opening.
Step 1 - Determine the Criteria for Shortlisting Candidates
To determine the crucial and desirable traits in your candidates, you will have to consult the hiring managers and their teams. Identify these traits on the basis of education, skills, work experience, and personality attributes.
The crucial criteria are the ones that your candidates must possess to make it to the next level while the desirable ones are those that they may or may not possess. However, if a candidate has one of the desirable traits, he or she will be a stronger candidate and will be preferred over the ones who don’t have these traits.
Step 2 - Avoid Biases
When you identify the crucial and desirable traits of your potential hires, it is important that they are related to job performance only. Any criteria that are unrelated to the skills and experience required to perform the job might land you in legal trouble and discrimination issues.
Hence, as a recruiter, it is extremely important to determine criteria for shortlisting candidates based on their skills, education, competence, and experience, rather than their colour, race, community, region, religion, etc.
👉 Read More: Examples of Unfair Hiring Practices and How to Avoid Them?
Step 3 - Assign Scores to your Candidates
Now, once you have decided on the criteria without any biases, the next step will be to assign scores to each crucial and desirable criterion.
You can assign X points to each of the crucial criteria and X point to each desirable one. And then, it’s time to assign scores to all the job applicants, after reviewing their CVs.
Skill assessment tests can help you rank the candidates, based on their performance in the skill tests. WeCP offer such tests also provide you with a proper evaluation report that can help you score candidates.
Now, you would want to rate them separately in crucial and desirable categories and not in totality, so that you can clearly visualize which ones are the stronger candidates in both categories.
👉 Read More: How Mindtree Multiplied Its Engineering Talent with 90% Fewer Interviews
Step 4 - Decide the Number of Candidates that you want to Shortlist
Deciding the number of candidates that you want to shortlist will mainly depend on two factors - the number of positions that you have and the number of applications that you have received. And then, once you have decided on how many applicants you want to interview, it becomes easy to decide the score cut-off for the candidates, making the process effortless.
However, one thing that should be kept in mind is that the number of shortlisted candidates should always be tentative and not fixed. For example, if you wanted to shortlist 10 applicants, but 12 of them have competitive scores, you need to be flexible with your numbers. This avoids leaving out good candidates and reduces the risk of mis-hiring, which ultimately is a much bigger cost to the company.
Step 5 - Inform the Candidates
Once you have the list of the shortlisted candidates, it is always a good thing to inform them on time. This helps in two ways - successful candidates don’t lose their hopes with the company and it becomes easier to schedule interviews with them.
Additionally, it is also a great thing to inform the unqualified candidates along with the reason for their disqualification. This not only helps build your reputation as a good employer in the market but also encourages the candidates to apply for a job in future when something relevant comes up.
Innovative Techniques and Strategies to Shortlist Candidates
With technology, innovative techniques for shortlisting candidates are also developing. Gone are the days when recruiters needed to read every resume to find the best applicants. It’s time when this mundane job can be made seamless with the use of technology.
Skill Assessment Tests
Skill assessment tests early on in the recruitment process help shortlist the candidates very effectively.
It can be quite tricky to accurately evaluate the skills of the applicants. However, it becomes a cakewalk if you use a recruitment tool to test your candidates on their hard and soft skills.
WeCP offers skill assessment tests for your IT recruitment needs. It not only provides the questionnaire but also evaluates the participants and offers a cumulative report of all of them so you know everyone’s performance.
Use Applicant Tracking System
A great Applicant Tracking System (ATS) helps you streamline your whole recruitment process by managing, tracking, and organising all your hiring requirements.
It can help you create and promote your job posting. Then, once you are done with sourcing the job applications, the ATS can help you shortlist candidates by reviewing their CVs within minutes. It can also help in evaluating candidates using skill assessment tests and then in ranking the applicants based on their performances.
Through ATS, you can also schedule regular emails to notify candidates of their candidature status and to schedule interviews.
Use Blind Applicant Screening
Humans tend to get biased for certain candidates based on their race, religion, location, community, colour, etc. Though this might be an unconscious act, it can result in serious repercussions for the company.
To ensure that there are no biases while shortlisting candidates, you can use blind applicant screening tools. Several ATS offer blind applicant screening by giving you candidates’ CVs after omitting their personally identifiable information, such as names, religion, gender, region, etc.
Use AI to Review Resumes
Artificial Intelligence or AI is a great way to read documents for you. It not only looks for specific keywords corresponding to skills and experience but also analyzes the CVs using Natural Language Processing or NLP for skills even if the candidates don’t use the keywords in their CVs.
AI reduces the time and resources required to review hundreds of CVs. While recruiters take days, if not weeks, to review all the applications, AI does it in a matter of a few minutes, and that too with much more accuracy than humans.
👉 Read More: Problems with Resume Screening - What You Should Do Instead?
Sometimes, there might be certain things or conditions that your company would want to consider before shortlisting a candidate. Some of these conditions may be related to salary, working flexibility, traveling flexibility, etc.
Chatbots are a great way to consult all your applicants and get answers to these questions in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It can simply ping and record answers from each applicant and give you a report so you can analyze which candidates to move forward with.
Indeed candidate shortlisting is an extremely difficult, tiring, and mundane job. However, with the right use of technology, it can be made easy, quick, and highly efficient.
By introducing skill assessment tests early on in the recruitment process, candidate shortlisting becomes extremely accurate and efficient, making it possible to hire the best talent seamlessly.
WeCP helps recruitment teams by providing them with skill assessment tests for the applicants and later on with evaluation reports that have candidates ranked based on their performance in the tests. It, therefore, makes it very easy for recruiters to identify potential candidates who should qualify to the next level.
Want to know more on how WeCP can help you out? Try WeCP for free or Schedule a Call with us.