Short-listing & Interviews
The short-listing and interview process
The purpose of the short listing process is to assess every application that meets your basic requirements against the same criteria, in order to decide who to see for interview. There are three stages to this process:
The pack that all applicants receive will contain some guidance on the format of applications expected, for example:
“Please provide a CV detailing your work experience to date, relevant skills and details of your education / qualifications if applicable. Please submit a cover letter, addressed to x, of no more than two pages detailing your interest in the role, how you meet our criteria and any other information you feel would be of use. Unfortunately we are unable to consider applications which are not submitted in this format.”
Any that are not submitted in this format should be discounted at this stage.
You should aim to have about 20 – 30 applications to seriously consider; although this figure is offered purely for guidance and you may find that you have significantly more or less. If, after the initial sort, there is still an unmanageably high level of applications, the recruitment consultant can help you do another sift to establish which applications meet the basic requirements of the role as specified in the job description and person specification.
The final stage of the process is to identify a shortlist of candidates to see for interview. Again, a recruitment consultant can help you consider the key skills, experience and behaviours that it is possible to assess from an application, and put together a short listing form. If you are receiving short listing support from a recruitment specialist, you should both shortlist separately initially, and then compare notes and agree a way forward. You may find it useful to call people to discuss the role before deciding whether to invite them for interview.
During the recruitment process it's important that candidates who are unsuccessful, at any stage, are informed of this as soon as possible
Unsuccessful applicants should be given feedback on their performance if they request it
At all stages applications should be treated as confidential and circulated only to those involved in the recruitment process
All notes made during the process should be retained and passed to HR for filing when the recruitment process is complete
First interview (competency-based interview)
The purpose of this interview is to establish whether the candidate has the skills and expertise to perform the role, and to get an overview of their experience. You should also give them a preview of the job they are applying for ensuring you emphasise the positive aspects, but also making sure that you are giving them a realistic picture of the day to day work and environment. The candidate should also have the opportunity to ask questions about the role and your organisation.
A sample competency based interview assessment form is included in our HR tool kit available to our premium members.
All interview notes should be passed to HR for filing at the end of the selection process. While at this stage you should primarily focus on whether the candidate has the skills and experience to do this role, you may also wish to consider their alignment to your organisation's values.
Please note that it is recommended that you schedule two interviews, as this may increase the validity and the reliability of your decision. However, you may feel that this is not necessary for some roles. If this is case, you may wish to combine the two forms of interviews and ask candidates some competency based questions as well as values-based questions during the same interview.
Second interview (values-based interviews)
The purpose of this interview is to establish whether the candidate can demonstrate that they understand and embody your organisation's values. You should also give them an insight into the culture and approach of your organisation. The candidate should also have the opportunity to ask questions about the role and your organisation.
A list of value based questions is included in our HR tool kit, as well as an assessment form. You may also choose to have further assessment tests. Do ensure that all candidates who come for interview have the same tests to ensure that your assessment is fair and consistent. While at this stage you should primarily focus on whether the candidate demonstrates behaviours in line with your values, you may also wish to consider the skills and experience they would bring to the role.