Step-by-step guide for an efficient shortlisting process

Sudhanshu Ahuja

March 10, 2020

Businesses look up to the recruiters not just for filling their open positions. They need support and constant dialogue in the shortlisting process. They want to hire only the right candidates- those who will perform well in their jobs and have a cultural alignment with the organization.

As per a survey by Careerbuilder, companies can lose almost $15,000 for every bad hire. Apart from the monetary impact, every bad hire can cause ripple effects in the organization. Firstly, bad hires can lower the engagement levels of their teams and the organization at large. Secondly, they can reduce the bar of performance for their team members who are otherwise trying to chase excellence at the workplace. Lastly, they may also disrupt the harmony as they leave.

Apart from impacting an organization, a wrong hiring decision can equally affect the new employee. For instance, if the job description is not well-written, the candidate may feel there is a mismatch of skill-sets and expectations. Similarly, the candidate may feel disconnected from the organization’s culture or may not relate to the organizational values. All of this may cause disengagement, and the employee may soon start to seek out.

Despite knowing the multiple consequences of hiring the wrong person, the survey found that almost three in four employers have made this mistake in the past. Here are the reasons why it may happen.

  • The recruiter and the business may be in a rush to fill a crucial position. We are all aware of the situation when a role stays open for a long time. The pressure to onboard someone quickly may get tremendous.
  • The candidate may be too good at making impressions and may have come across as qualified and reliable.
  • The hiring manager may have taken a chance on their gut feeling and hired a nice person. At times, the managers know that the candidate is not skilled but hope that the person will pick up when hired.
  • Often, candidates exaggerate their workplace responsibilities and achievements. They may pick up examples from their current peers’ work-life and quote them as their own.
  • It is as crucial to hire for attitude as it is to hire for skills. Sometimes, hiring managers override the warning signs that the candidate may not be a good organizational fit.
  • Incomplete or lenient background checks may also result in hiring the wrong person.

Before we head to the right shortlisting process, we need to understand the situations and behaviors that identify a bad hire.

  • What is shortlisting?

    In simple terms, shortlisting is the process of identifying the candidates who meet your eligibility criteria. It is the stage that comes after you have advertised your job and received applications. You screen every application and shortlist the candidates that you would like to meet.

    For some recruiters, it is the hardest part of their jobs. Firstly, there is a shortage of skills in the market and finding the perfect candidate is a tough task. Secondly, there are certain legalities and internal policies associated with shortlisting candidates. For instance, the diversity initiative of the organization may call for more female or LGBTQ candidates. Lastly, they need to be well-versed with the requirements of every position that they are trying to fill. Everyone’s time is of utmost importance, and passing an unqualified candidate to the interview stage can cause inefficiencies in the recruitment procedure.

  • What are the stages in shortlisting?

    As per Glassdoor, each job posting may attract as many as 250 resumes. The total number of applications with a recruiter may run into thousands. Having a process can be useful for shortlisting candidates for interviews, and streamlining recruitment. Here are the steps you can follow to make shortlisting easier and more efficient.

    Elaborate on the person specification

    Before you begin with anything, it is essential to picture your ideal candidate. You can consider a high-performing employee working in a similar role for reference. It may be useful to note down the skills and qualifications that will help future employees to excel in the given position.

    Identify the MEP criteria

    As you work on the person specification and note the crucial skills, attributes, and behaviors; mark each of them as M, E, or P. M stands for Mandatory which is the minimum criteria that each candidate has to have to qualify for the role. E is for Essential or the qualities the candidate has to exhibit in the selection process. P is for Preferred, which are the nice-to-have attributes. While they are not the fundamental capabilities that you are looking for, having them can win some brownie points.

    Look for warning signals

    As crucial as it is to identify the qualifying criteria, it is equally important to look for red flags. You may make a list so that you don’t skip any of these when screening the resumes. Firstly, look for grammatical errors and language inconsistencies in the resume. Secondly, it is always helpful to look at the timeline from the first job to the current one. You will get to know if the candidate has changed too many jobs. It is advisable to avoid job-hoppers, especially for mission-critical roles.

    While scanning the resume, make a note of employment gaps or other inconsistencies that you may come across. You can ask the candidate about it during the interview.

    Decide the number of candidates you will meet

    Consider how many candidates you will be able to realistically interview. If you select too many applicants, the recruitment procedure will become lengthy and inefficient. If the number is too low, you are not giving enough opportunities to the hiring manager for hiring the best talent.

    At times, hiring managers delay hiring as they want to meet more and more people. In such scenarios, it may help to be strict with the number of interviews. However, always be open to meeting more people instead of being too rigid about it.

    Use technology 

    With hundreds and thousands of applications, it may not be possible to manually sift through every resume. In this scenario, the best alternative is to use technology and fast-track the process. The tool offered by Impress can help in efficiently shortlisting qualified candidates and also remove any biases while shortlisting candidates for interviews.

    The product is customizable, and you can key in various criteria for different positions. It allows you to ask additional questions to make the shortlisting process more effective. After conducting the primary assessments, the product can give scores to the candidates based on your selection criteria. Once you automate the shortlisting process, you will meet only the right candidates. You can click here to request a demo.

    Use video interviews

    Another way of perfecting your shortlisting process is by using video interviews. These tools allow you to feed the questions and view the interviews at a convenient time. Moreover, you can get a score and ranking of the candidates for easy shortlisting. Impress allows you to integrate its assessment tool with most video interview platforms.

    Such innovative products are powered by artificial intelligence and can learn as you use them. By automating your shortlisting process, you will get more time to contribute to other aspects of your job. For instance, you will get more bandwidth to meet the hiring managers and build better relationships with them. You will also get more time to go on the floor and understand the nuances of each role of the business that you are supporting.

    Examine the cultural fit

    In today’s time, it is essential to evaluate if a candidate is fit to work in the organizational culture. While it is impossible to discern the competencies from the application, you can administer psychometric tests before meeting the person. However, always take them with a pinch of salt. Most psychometric tests indicate the preference for exhibiting particular behaviors. Once you have the report, you can probe more during the face-to-face meetings.

  • In conclusion

    The right shortlisting process is the backbone of your recruitment. You can streamline the recruitment procedure and deliver higher efficiencies if you have a process in place. With the right checks and controls, you will be able to avoid bad hires and improve your recruitment metrics.

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