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How Short Does Your Shortlist Need To Be?

May 23, 2024


If you’re hiring, should you have 6 or 10 on your shortlist or 3 or even 1?

This is different for everyone, but I would like to give employers something different to think about.

The fact that we are very deep into a candidate-led market at the moment, and it has been this way for the past 5 years appears to be lost on some employers.

What does this mean? It means there are more jobs around than candidates, giving good people better options so don’t put barriers in a candidate’s way.

The days of shortlisting 6-10 candidates are over for 98% of employers, so unless you are one of the top companies or you’re paying well above market rate or it’s an incredible job you are very unlikely to get this number of QUALITY applicants.

QUALITY is in bold because it’s pointless advertising a role and getting 30 applicants you can’t do anything with. All that serves to do is waste your time.

Sometimes 1 candidate is enough. I implore employers not to go trying to find other candidates to “compare”. I understand the rationale, but aside from a comparison, what are you looking for and is it really necessary?

My advice?

  • Interview more effectively

  • Profile them (using our model Contribution Compass)

  • Bring them back for a second opinion

  • Test them

  • Trial them

Don’t overlook a great candidate because you feel you need to see someone else or you’ll risk losing a great candidate and you’ll be back to square one.

Someone is either good enough or they’re not.


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