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Short-listing applicants

The purpose of short-listing is to produce a set of candidates who are potentially capable of carrying out the duties of the job.

Short-listing does not need to be carried out by all members of an appointment panel however the recruiting manager should give careful consideration to the composition of the short-listing panel.  The panel should include the person who will be responsible for managing the new appointee. The panel should have the required knowledge and skills to manage the process effectively.  Short-listing panel members must declare any conflicts of interest. 

Initial short-listing should ideally be carried out on an individual basis first and each panel member should produce a provisional short-list having assessed each applicant. The short-list pro-forma can be used for this purpose.

A short-listing meeting should then take place with discussion of panel members individual assessments and resulting in a final, agreed short-list.

Short-listing meetings should be noted wherever possible and the agreed short-list should be documented.

Applicants should only be considered to have met the criteria where they have provided evidence in their application of how they do so. Where applicants do not complete the online application or only partially complete this, they should be assessed as far as possible from the information provided. It is helpful to score candidates against the criteria and the short-listing pro-forma allows for this.

Other points to consider are as follows;

  • Each applicant should be assessed against the selection criteria and not against each other
  • With a large number of applications it may be helpful to select first by reference to the essential criteria, assessing the desirable criteria in the course of a second round if it is necessary to reduce the numbers still further
  • A final short-listing pro-forma should be completed recording the reasons for selection or rejection of each candidate. Such records may be required by an Employment Tribunal in the case of a complaint of unlawful discrimination
  • All candidates who have requested to be considered under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme and who meet the essential criteria must be offered an interview

If following short-listing few or no applicants meet the full range of criteria (i.e. essential and desirable), the panel may consider;

  • Interviewing the candidate(s) who meet(s) only the essential criteria
  • Re-advertising the vacancy, consider using a different method or a revised advert text / further particulars if appropriate.