According to research, one job posting gets at least 250 applications. This means that you have at least 250 CVs to go through when you post one job vacancy.
With the current level of unemployment, there is a possibility that you would receive more than 250 CVs for your job application especially if you are recruiting for the government or roles that are more general like; data-entry, administrative assistant, or internship positions.
Many job seekers think that shortlisting CVs is something that recruiters do in minutes, but that is far from being true. Shortlisting a mountain of CVs can be a daunting task and you may be confused about where to start.
Shortlisting CVs is one of the most important aspects of recruitment because you have to ensure that you select the most suitable candidate for the job while you exclude as many unsuitable candidates in the shortest time possible.
In this post, you would learn how to shortlist applicants and get the people you want for the job quickly and easily.
Step 1: Define your criteria for selection
When you get applications for your job postings, you do not just go straight into sorting the CV. First, you have to define the basis of your judgement by defining your criteria for selection.
You must define exactly what your ideal candidate would look like. You should use the job description and candidate’s specification to determine your criteria for selection.
From your job description and candidates’ specifications, you can create two lists and tag them:
- Essential criteria list
- Desirable criteria list
The essential list should include the basic things that a candidate requires to excel in the position. You should also be strict with the “essential list”.
After you have defined your criteria for selection, you can then go through your CVs and score each against your list of criteria.
At this stage, any CV that does not meet the entire essential criteria list is discarded to save time. Creating your list and defining your selection criteria will also allow you to split up the CV with other team members to ensure that you are shortlisting quickly and on the same terms with your team members.
You can also determine the number of candidates you want to invite for interviews; this will also help you work with a goal.
Step 2: Log all applications/open all applications
Once you have gotten enough applications for your position, the best thing for you to do to make the shortlisting process easy and fast is for you to log/open all applications. This will help you navigate the CVs easily without having to open them one after the other.
Logging all applications will also give you the flexibility of adding brief notes on the different CVs to help you with the selection process. This may seem like too much work, but doing this will help you keep track of applications that you are excluding and your reason for that. This will also help you draft the reason for candidates’ disqualification. That will help you work with your team members.
Step 3: Create a new spreadsheet and sort all your CVs
Another important step to take after receiving applications for your job posting is to sort the CVs. To sort the CVs, you can create a new spreadsheet to keep your work organized. You can have different columns that will help you segment the CVs based on the qualification of the candidates.
You can sort the CVs into “qualified”, “unqualified”, and “maybe”. Having these criteria in a different column will help you sort all the “qualified CVs” that meet all the essential criteria, and then those that are under the “maybe” column that meets most but not all of your essential criteria.
Sorting your CVs, this way will help you know the CVs that you are likely to work with while you keep a list of backup applications.
Step 4: Go through the qualified CVs and assign candidates’ score in your most essential criteria
Once you are done with sorting the CVs you got from your job posting, the next thing for you to do is to go through all the CVs that you sorted into the qualified list.
To go through these CVs effectively, you have to check these CVs with the essential criteria list you created earlier. While looking at your essential criteria list, you can assign scores to different candidates based on the requirement you have in your essential criteria list.
Going through your list of qualified CVs and assigning scores will help you pick the top candidates that you may likely consider for your vacant position.
Step 5: Create another sheet to select candidates with desirable criteria
In the previous step, you went through your list of qualified CVs and assigned scores to each CV on that list based on the requirement you have on your “essential criteria” list. In this stage, you are going to create a list of CVs that has the entire requirement you have on your desirable list.
Here, you are going to look at your desirable criteria list and your list of qualified candidates and maybe candidates, and then assign a score to each CV based on your desirable criteria list.
Step 6: Decide on how many candidates you are willing to interview for each position
At this point, you have created your list and you have an idea of the people that you want to interview for the positions you are shortlisting for. You might notice that your list may still be lengthy, so you have to shortlist what you have already.
At this stage, you have to decide on the number you want to work with to reduce your paperwork. Therefore, you have to revisit your list of qualified CVs to select the CVs with the highest scores.
Step 7: Use telephone interviews to minimize the effort
Once you are done sorting the CVs with all the list that you created earlier and you still have a lot of CVs, then you can go ahead to use a telephone interview to shortlist your CVs. This can help you reduce the number of CVs you have to work on at the first stage of the interview.
A telephone interview can help you shortlist CVs fast. It helps save time for both you and the candidates.
Step 8: Set up a tracking sheet
When it comes to shortlisting, you must systematically approach your applications so that your shortlisting process is organized.
To have an organized process, break down the process into smaller steps and create a simple sheet to help you track your applications through the steps. You can set up a sheet that contains the names of candidates, their contact information, the points they scored in the previous steps, and any other outstanding factors in their CVs.
You can create a column to put down some notes like; location, current employer, required salary, etc. These simple identifiers can help you track your applications.
Step 9: Get a second opinion
Once you are done with all these processes and you have a list of qualified candidates that you want to contact. You can ask one or two people to look at your list to eliminate the possibility of bias.
Step 10: Respond to all your applicants
Once you are done with your shortlist, always remember to respond to all your applicants. Doing this will help the candidates know if they are moving on to the next stage or not. Every single person that applied for a role should receive some form of response, even if it is an automated email.
Keeping an up-to-date spreadsheet of applicants would make it easy for you to ensure every candidate gets an update on their application. You can create a simple email to thank candidates for expressing their interest in your organization, and expressing regrets that they were not shortlisted.
You cannot seem to figure it out. Get some help
If you still cannot seem to figure out how to go about shortlisting your applications even with the steps we have given, then you need to take an alternative route.
You can outsource this part of your recruitment process to a recruitment agency that has a record of accomplishment of success.