How to short list candidates

Make sure candidates are clear on the process  

Once you’ve narrowed down your search and shortlisted your candidates, maintain a clear line of contact. This makes it easier to arrange interviews and ensures open communication between yourself and potential new hires.  

The interviewees you select for the process will probably be stressed. Make their life easier by setting out a clear interview process that outlines what they can expect from the day. This could include a range of aspects such as: 

  • Do they need to prepare a presentation? 
  • Should they expect competency-based questions? 
  • How long will the interview last? 
  • Is it a group interview or individual? 

Take the time to review candidates’ CVs 

You’ve established contact with the candidate and now it’s time to get the ball rolling. Of course, you’ll at least glance at a candidate’s CV. However, remember that the interview process is a two-way street.  

It’s important to make a good impression on interviewees. They want to feel like you’ve taken the time to read through their CV and that their time isn’t being wasted. You don’t want them bad-mouthing your company and scaring away other potential employees. 

If you have a copy of their CV in front of you when leading a job interview, you’ll look more prepared and be able to quickly reference their relevant experience. It’s also a handy prop to stop the common bad habit of fiddling with your hands! 

Prepare some questions  

After scouring their CV, you’ll have a better idea of the candidate you’re going to meet. This should also mean you have some questions you want to ask them. If you’re really struggling to think of any, there are plenty of routine questions to ask in an interview available online.  

However, we’d recommend tailoring some of your questions to the candidate’s specific experience. Being able to talk about their experience will put them at ease. It should also help you to work out how their past role has prepared them for a potential future at your company.  

You can also base your questions off your criteria for the position. For example, if you’re recruiting for a sales position, the person must be resilient. You could discover if the person has this quality by asking something along the lines of ‘could you tell me about a time that you overcame an obstacle in the workplace?’ 

Get a team to help you 

Interviewing a big group of people can be intimidating. Even if you’ve done a ton of preparation, leading a job interview can take hours and you’ll start to feel more drained than the candidates!  

The answer is to rally some colleagues to give you a helping hand. Ideally, you won’t have more than three people on a panel: a manager, a senior member of HR and a recruiter. Any more than three and the interview has the potential to become chaotic.  

Having others with you can also help to speed up the decision-making process and overcome any uncertainty. Keep in mind your pre-formed criteria of what to look for in a candidate. However, a democratic vote may be the way forward when deciding the outcome of a job interview.  

Sell the company  

Well, don’t literally sell your company. Hopefully at this stage you’ve asked all the right questions and have an idea of which interviewees could make a suitable fit. It’s now worth spending a portion of the interview talking up the perks of working at your company. 

Ask the candidate if there’s anything they’d like to know, and make the process fun for them. Give them a walking tour, introduce them to your team, whatever it takes. Hopefully you’ll be able to leave a great impression!  

What not to forget when leading a job interview  

Don’t forget to follow up with every candidate you meet. It’s terrible etiquette to make a candidate wait for a long time to hear back from an interview – it might result in a job offer not being accepted, which is a waste of your time and resources. As mentioned previously, keep them up to date with the decision process.  

In addition, respond to all the candidates who interviewed, even if they weren’t successful. If you don’t have a recruiter to break the bad news for you, make sure you’re prepared before you get in contact. They’ll be disappointed and might want an explanation, especially if they feel the interview went well. Constructive criticism is unpleasant but often appreciated in the long run.   

So there you have it, some top tips to consider when leading a job interview. Take this information on board and your interviews will run much more smoothly, helping you to secure the employees you need.