Human resources: recruitment and selection
Human resources: recruitment and selection

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Human resources: recruitment and selection

4.10 Shortlisting

It is common to shortlist up to six applicants per position, but the exact number may reflect the time you have available for interviewing and the strength of the applicants. The important point is to ensure that as far as possible you finish up with the best possible candidates on the shortlist. This can best be achieved by approaching the task systematically. In other words, the systematic use of criteria as detailed in the job specification should be preferred to reliance on intuition. It is sensible to reject those applications that do not match these key criteria closely. If feasible, keeping a set of notes as you shortlist is a good idea. This helps you to remember or explain the grounds on which you decided to interview or reject each candidate.

Activity 3

0 hours 20 minutes

The following details have been taken from application forms submitted by candidates for the post of Buying Department Manager. The job description can be found in Example 1 and the person specification in Table 1. Imagine that you have already shortlisted three good candidates and need to add only one more to complete your shortlist.

Terry Churchill Anne Olsen Colin Compton Renate Schmidt
Address Suburbs Village 50 miles away City centre 200 miles away-willing to relocate
Age 58 34 45 43
Driving licence Yes Yes No Yes
Nationality British British British German
Current employer ABC Computers pic Cheapshops Compact Manufacturing Ltd Deutsch Chemicals
Size of organisation £400m turnover p.a. £35m turnover p.a. £60m turnover p.a. £600m turnover p.a.
Position held Purchasing Manager Senior Buyer Buyer Senior Buyer
Number of previous employers None Five Four None
Professional qualifications Member of professional institute Member of professional institute Member of professional institute None
Education 3 A-levels, 8 GCSEs/O-levels 5 GCSEs/O-levels 2 A-levels, 8 GCSEs/O-levels Arbitur
Further education Degree in Chemistry; MBA Certificate in Management Degree in Operations Management; Certificate in Management Degree in Economics from Wuppertal University; Diploma in Management
Court convictions None None Yes: driving offence None
Other information Member of the local Chamber of Commerce Studying for Professional Diploma in Management; fluent English and Danish Studying for Professional Diploma in Management Fluent English, German and French; studying for MBA

Who would you shortlist? Why did you make this choice?

The following table might help you to make a decision. It records whether each candidate reaches the ‘minimum’ or the ‘desirable’ level.

Terry Churchill Anne Olsen Colin Compton Renate Schmidt
Education Desirable Minimum Desirable Desirable
Further education Desirable Desirable Desirable Desirable
Professional qualifications Desirable Minimum Desirable None
Experience of purchasing Desirable (too much?) Possibly Desirable Desirable
Management of people Desirable Minimum Minimum Desirable
Languages None Some None Desirable
Travel Desirable Desirable Possibly Desirable

Several of the characteristics on the job specification are impossible to determine from a candidate's application form. And several of the observable characteristics require some guesswork. You must, therefore, be careful not to put too much weight on subjective judgements. However, the following factors may affect your decision.

Anne Olsen seems the least qualified candidate, mainly because the buying skills required for a retail shop are likely to be very different from the buying skills that you are looking for.

Colin Compton seems excellent, apart from his lack of a driving licence and his conviction. But he lives locally and could easily get to work. How essential is a driving licence for the fortnightly visits to suppliers? As for the conviction, he has paid the penalty – should he be further disadvantaged?

Terry Churchill seems an excellent candidate, but two factors might have influenced you against him: his age and his experience. He is 58 years old and he seems very senior. Is he too senior? But is that a fair question to ask? His motivation for applying is important, not his age. It is important to ask questions in order to reveal whether the candidate is able to do the job, and not for other reasons.

Two factors appear to weaken Renate Schmidt's application: she is not a member of a professional body and she needs to relocate. However, in Germany it is not common for people to join professional bodies and she has applied for the job in the knowledge that she must relocate.

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