Selecting the best candidate

Getting the right person for a new role within your business is a priority for you, but how do you narrow down a selection to interview?

You’re faced with multiple candidates, many of whom appear to meet the criteria you set out in the job profile you advertised.

What’s the best way to approach the shortlisting process that ensures you don’t miss the best candidates?

This article is part four of our ten-part series on hiring and onboarding. In the series, you'll learn how to prepare for the recruitment process, select the best candidate and successfully onboard your new starter. You can see other articles in the series at the bottom of the page.

Sifting CVs

Shortlisting candidates can be a tricky exercise. The problem is, sorting through lots of candidates is time-consuming and it’s hard to review each application effectively. Companies facing this challenge should establish an internal process for sifting CVs.

Many businesses have benefitted from taking a systematic approach, which includes starting the process by looking at each applicants' CV and deciding whether they meet the essential and desirable criteria you have set out. You can then rank them based on their CVs before following a similar process with their cover letters. This will help you create a shortlist of candidates who go through to the next round of the recruitment process.

Interview stage

After narrowing down the candidates to a shortlist, typically interviews are the next stage. The format can be whatever fits your business best – a phone, video or in-person interview. You might also want to split it into two rounds, the first round featuring a larger group of interviewees, before a final interview between the two favoured candidates.

To help get the most out of each interview, it’s worth doing your research on each person and having a consistent approach to the questions you want to ask them and what you want to hear from them. This is your opportunity to explore any gaps in their experience or ask any questions you may have. Bringing another senior employee into the interview can also help to get a broader perspective on the candidate.

They’ll likely be applying for other jobs at the same time, so it’s useful to remember that you’re selling your company to them as well. Make sure you provide a good introduction to the company, overview of the role and are prepared for any questions they may ask. By coming across well in the interview, you’ll hopefully reassure the candidate that this job is the one they want.

Finally, it’s time to make an offer to your preferred candidate. Remember to contact the unsuccessful candidates and provide them with some feedback. You may want to encourage them to apply again in future if they narrowly missed out or would suit a different role better.

Key takeaways

  • Take a systematic approach to reviewing CVs to help you spot the best possible candidates from the pack
  • Interviews are crucial for getting to know your candidates, so prepare questions and be fair in your assessment criteria
  • You’re also selling your company during the interview, so make sure you’re ready to talk about the business and answer any questions

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Take the next step in our hiring and onboarding series

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