How to Build Your Candidate Shortlist in 5 Easy Steps

Throughout the hiring process it is likely that you and your staff have received and reviewed hundreds of resumes. How do you narrow them down to a select few to consider further? There will have already been some criteria that need to be met such as following application directions and possessing the skills required. Once you have gone through the hundreds of resumes how do you successfully evaluate the remaining candidates to determine the top three or five for interviewing?

Follow the Rules

When you create a job posting and push it out to job boards and social media through your HRMS, be sure to include specific requirements for the application. This will help you determine who can follow the rules and requests. Even if this is something as simple as asking someone to include their interest in working for your company or asking for a sample of previous work.

Evaluate the Resume Format

Formatting a resume is an inexact science. If you ask 10 different recruiters what they like to see you’ll get 15 different answers. That being said, you may be able to determine some important things when reviewing the format of the resume. Did they create a functional resume that lists their accomplishments and skills in a separate section from their job history? Or did they design a chronological resume starting with the most recently position at the top. Did they include their university experience? Is the information easy to find and read? If it isn’t you may not want to consider that candidate. Keep in mind that simple formatting is easier to upload into your HRMS - this being one of the advantages of an online application form.

Look for Data

It is important that a candidate not only share their related skills but also how they used those skills to improve business in their last position. Look for numbers, statistics, monetary values and other data to provide more insight into the applicant’s performance.

Long Term Experience

In today’s job market candidates have often experienced unforeseen job loss or gaps in employment. In spite of that, it is also easy to spot applicants who have been unable to keep a long term job. You want to work with someone who is interested in staying in your organization and making a difference rather than someone who is just going to accept any job offered and leave for more money.

Analyze Their Online Presence

There is still a legal gray area surrounding how far it is possible to go when searching for someone’s information online, however many qualified candidates are establishing their online identity with an eye toward future employment. Check their professional blogs, LinkedIn profiles, and other public websites. Look at referral data when applicable.

By working with your applicant tracking and HRMS programs you should be able to easily evaluate the candidates, share notes with other decision makers, and make decisions on which candidates to consider for the final offer.

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Laura M. LaVoie

About the author…

Laura LaVoie has 15 years of experience as a recruiter in the temporary staffing industry. Laura also writes about 120 square foot houses and brewing.

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Laura M. LaVoie