Selection / Shortlisting

Shortlisting Candidates

Last updated: November 30, 2018

image of candidates

Shortlisting candidates

What do you do when you need to review a large number of applications? How do you quickly identify the most qualified candidates? A systematic and consistent screening process can help you efficiently create a short list of your top candidates.

It’s simply not feasible or a good use of time to interview every candidate! Many people find that having a list of about five candidates for each position is a manageable number. These are the people that meet or exceed the minimum qualifications and selection criteria for the position.

You can usually figure out if a candidate meets the job requirements by reviewing their application against the must-have qualifications (such as years of experience, type of experience, level of education and type of education) and selection criteria (demonstrated skills, attitudes and behaviours).

Not sure from their application if they meet the criteria? Sometimes a quick phone call is all it takes to confirm details. For example, you could phone a candidate and confirm whether they taught full time during a period of employment.

Use a rating system

Rating systems are a great way to help sort through candidates. Try a simple rating scale where you review the applications and put them into one of three groupings:

  • A = Exceeds all minimum qualifications and selection criteria
  • B = Meets all minimum qualifications and selection criteria
  • C = Does not meet minimum qualifications and selection criteria

If the number of applications in group A is five or fewer, you have your short list! You’ll reach out to the candidates to schedule an interview.

What to do if your short list is too long

If, after the initial screening, you have more than five strong candidates, you may want to do a secondary screening to create a more manageable short list. Taking a close look at the selection criteria can help you out here, as there may be some criteria that are more important to the candidate’s success in the position than others.

Screen difficult-to-fill positions first

If you have multiple open competitions and you’re accepting applications for more than one position, it’s a good idea to start by prioritizing your hardest-to-fill positions first. People with qualifications and training in specialized areas are in high demand and sought after by many employers. By following up with these candidates right away, you may be in a better position to have them consider your district as their first choice as a place to work.

This applies to both full-time positions and teachers teaching on-call positions. For example, if you’re looking for teachers teaching-on-call, you might want to focus your first round of screening on candidates with specializations in secondary science, math, technical education or languages. In your second round of screening, you can focus on generalist teachers.

Who should create the short list?

To help keep the shortlisting process consistent, use the same team that created the selection criteria to screen the applications. This makes it more likely that the strongest and most suitable candidates will be shortlisted because everyone involved will be familiar with the position and its responsibilities.

After you have your shortlist

Contact the applicants on your short list and set up an interview!

You will also want to contact the applicants who did not make it onto the short list to let them know that other candidates more closely matched the selection criteria.

If you used an application management system like to accept applications, you can send a bulk email response to unsuccessful applicants, personalized to each candidate. Your email could include a link to other job listings in your district on the website. Even though the unsuccessful job seekers weren’t the right fit for one position, they might be a great fit for other positions in your district. You could also encourage them to sign up for job alerts so that they know when new positions open.

Including this kind of information in your email is a way of showing you care about the candidates and are genuinely interested in their success.

Contact us and we’ll teach you how to use our system to send customized bulk emails.