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Selection Toolkit

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Assessing Suitability

The focus of the shortlisting process is to select those candidates for assessment who meet the agreed criteria. It involves reviewing each application and eliminating, in the first instance those candidates who fail to meet the essential criteria. If it is considered necessary to reduce the number of applicants’ further, candidates who fail to meet the desirable may be eliminated. No new criteria should be introduced at the shortlisting stage.  

The short-listing stage is geared to finding the best possible match of candidates to the job and person specification. Short listing is a vital step in the recruitment process and involves an examination of the CVs supplied by candidates.  Short listing should be a means of identifying those candidates who are most likely to attain the standard required at the interview stage. Its purpose is to ensure a manageable interview programme by selecting a reduced number of applicants for interview. As to the number to be selected, the selection board should come to a conclusion, which, having regard to the nature of the job, the number of vacancies, current and projected, and the standard of the applications can be considered reasonable. It is vital for members of shortlisting boards to be able to justify the initial short-listing findings and to show that clear criteria have been used.  

In order to maintain accurate recruitment records, and be in a position to rebut any allegation of discrimination, it is important that adequate records are maintained demonstrating why certain decisions were made at the screening stage of the process.  Therefore, it is strongly recommended that a screening matrix be used to record the assessment of applicants.