Short-listing suitable applicants
Short-listing applications is the process of deciding which applicants should be followed up with an interview and which applicants can be immediately ruled out.
- Ensure you read carefully through each application and assess each applicant in relation to the position description and person specification.
- Eliminate candidates who do not appear to meet the essential parts of the position description and person specification.
- If an applicant looks good on paper, pick up the phone and get them in as soon as possible
If the position is senior and applicants are coming from a distance or interstate for interviews, it may be useful to conduct an initial telephone interview.
You may like to confirm successful short-listing and interview time with a candidate in writing (letter or email) – start with this interview invitation template
Be open minded
It is easy to fall for the trap of having a particular mindset about the likely type of person for the job. Applicants who fall outside this can sometimes be omitted when they may in fact be excellent candidates. By at least making initial phone contact with these people, it may be possible to make a more informed decision on whether to interview them.
If an applicant is clearly not suitable, you may wish to send an immediate letter thanking him or her, but politely noting that you will not be proceeding with their application.
What criteria can be used to shortlist applicants?
A good approach when shortlisting applicants is to consider the whole application. The information you contains valuable insights about a person you are considering bringing into your farm business.
Mandy Johnson, a HR expert who focusses on how innovative people practices transform organisations and achieve extraordinary results, recommends recruiting for attitude, skills and qualifications and practical/cultural fit.
When shortlisting, assessing skills and qualification may be more straightforward, as might practical and cultural fit (e.g. availability to work on weekends, team fit) than say attitude which can often rely on gut instinct.
How can you assess and screen for attitude in an application?
Mandy suggests using the following criteria when shortlisting to recruit and identify applicants with a positive attitude:
- Job stability and early workforce participation – positive work ethic is a great indicator for stability.
- Pattern of completion – analyse past performance across all the components of the application
- Demonstrated achievement – history of past achievements that span across the application
- Community involvement – evidence of participation and engagement that supports patterns of completion and achievement
- Speed and targeting of application – consider when you received the application and how the applicant views the opportunity
It is important to screen and consider for all the above criteria, no matter what job role is being filled. These attitudes are crucial to a person’s success in the role and your farm business. The only exception is achievement, which is unnecessary if the role does not require further growth.
Read Mandy’s tips on screening for attitude and template to shortlist applications. This will help you identify applicants you may want to contact via phone.
Use our telephone screening questions to help with further short-listing your applications.
Communicate with applicants
If you will not be interviewing for a few days and an applicant is very suitable, you may wish to phone them immediately to keep them interested in your position. Make a phone call to the short-listed applicants confirming the time, date and location of their interview.
Prior to their interview, the short-listed candidates should be sent the position description and person specification. This will ensure they know exactly what the position offers them and allow them the opportunity to ask questions during the interview.