Wayne Brophy

Feb 02, 2022

5 Top Tips To Help You Shortlist Candidates From 5 Recruitment Experts


Did you know, 37% of employers feel that shortlisting the right talent, with the right skills, is one of the biggest recruitment challenges?

Here, five experts from Cast UK – Aimee Gleave, Matthew Hough, Gary Robinson, Wayne Brophy, and Mark Nesbit – share seasoned advice to help you shortlist candidates.

Don’t jump in head first, consider what you want before starting the process to shortlist candidates.

Think about:

  • What are your must-have and nice-to-have traits? Remember to be realistic.
  • What’s your objective with the hire? Can they develop into the role, or should they hit the ground running?
  • What are you offering?
  • What’s the exact recruitment process? Candidates need to know this as they’ll ‘self-screen’ based on how long or difficult it is.
  • Are you recruiting in the short term (and perhaps need an interim candidate), or for the future?

It’s important to note that hiring on attitude rather than experience is becoming increasingly popular. Just ensure you have capacity for the training and development required.

“Does a candidate actually need specific experience? Ideal profiles don’t often come to fruition, but ideal transferable skills do.”

Aimee Gleave, Principal Consultant

2. Ask relevant application screening questions

Make sure you come up with the right application screening questions. As you’ve established your non-negotiables, you can ask questions around these – whether they’re vocational or personality-related.

“Query why they’re looking to leave their current role, this way, you can assess their motivation. It might be that it’s for salary, a lack of progression, or to find a better work-life balance or workplace culture.”  

Matthew Hough, Consultant

You’ll also want to ensure they’re 100% happy with the salary on offer:

“You should clarify salary expectations. In fact, you should reiterate this throughout the process.”

Gary Robinson, Sales Director

3. Make screen testing or assessments specific

With screen testing or assessments, we recommend making questions specific and relevant to the role. For instance, our own platform, BroadCAST, can be set up to include questions that revolve around current business challenges, for example supply chain issues in the Far East or systems implementation.

Personality profiling is recommended as it offers additional candidate insight, though you should remember to give them a copy of the report.

“Explain to the candidate why you’re carrying out any tests, so they can understand the value of them.”  

Wayne Brophy, Managing Director

4. Screen CVs with context

Resist the temptation to discount CVs based on the likes of unexplained employment gaps, as there could be valid reasons. If they’re otherwise a good match, it’s worth discussing anomalies with them so you can understand the context.

“Don’t rely on just a CV, or your own reading of it. Task a recruiter to qualify the potential concerns and assumptions you may have made in the seven seconds it took to read.”

Mark Nesbit, Principal Consultant

Likewise, don’t read too much into job titles as these can vary significantly from business to business. Also, look for key achievements to establish what a candidate has delivered. If they haven’t provided them, request specific instances where they tackled issues or improved something – preferably backed up with numerical figures.

5. Be efficient with pre-screen interviews

The reality is, the previous steps may not mean that every candidate you screen via interview will be right for you. A video interview could quickly reveal that they’re not what you expected, so don’t be afraid to wrap things up if it’s a definite ‘no’.

And if you’re looking for a pre-screening tool, our online interviewing platform, BroadCAST, is ideal. The features include:

  • Solo video or face-to-face video interviewing
  • Pre-set questions for candidates to record answers to, and playback at your convenience
  • The option for our consultants to shortlist candidates by conducting all first-stage interviews for you

What do candidates want?

Before you shortlist candidates, you want to ensure that you’re attracting the right talent. But to do this, you need to know what they want. Our Salary & Benefits Guide 2022 tells you exactly that, from what candidates are satisfied with, to what makes them look elsewhere, to their most valued benefits. There are some surprising results too – submit your details now so you can get a copy as soon as it’s published.


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