Shortlisting & selection for interview

Your job ads have been up for a while and you’ve had a bunch of applications rolling in; it’s time to make a final shortlist. 52% of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruitment is screening and shortlisting candidates from a large talent pool. So, it’s important to make the process as seamless and simple as you can. 

But, when making decisions and selecting who you want to interview, unconscious bias unfortunately plays a huge role. Studies show that most decisions we make (especially regarding people) are impacted by our own bias. Emotions almost always come into play when decision making - it’s just a fact of being human. 

So, when it comes to shortlisting candidates for interview, working to reduce unconscious bias is crucial. You’ll make the process far more objective and will be able to approach your shortlisting more fairly and diversely.

Avoiding bias

From gender to age to selecting someone just because they're “like you”, it’s important to remain as unbiased as possible when looking at applications. 

Here are a few simple methods to help ensure you’re selecting with DEI in mind...

Polaroids image with collaged facial sections of a diverse range of people.
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Taking action

"Blind" applicant screening:

This involves removing information like name, age, location, gender and school/university from applications. Eliminating these details should help reduce bias, as you’ll be evaluating candidates based on their skills - rather than factors like their gender or where they’ve come from.

Studies show that women are 30% less likely to be called for interview than men with the same characteristics. Statistics like this clearly demonstrate the need to remove certain demographics, so you can fairly assess each application without unconscious bias jumping in too heavily.

Use a pre-selection personality assessment:

Research shows that companies who use personality assessments (as part of their hiring process) are significantly more likely to have a racially-diverse workplace. Personality scores or results don’t differ between demographics or minority groups, making them a fair and inclusive method of screening candidates.

Select candidates in, not out:

Instead of looking for candidates that don’t fit what you’re ideally looking for, focus on shortlisting candidates that have transferable skills instead. If you’re only selecting candidates based on exact boxes ticked, you could be waving goodbye to brilliant talent who have the potential to grow within your organisation.

Focusing too much on those who look perfect on paper isn’t the most inclusive way to go.

Use the "two in the pool effect":

Research reported in Harvard Business Review demonstrates that when a final candidate shortlist has only one candidate from a minority group, they have virtually zero chance of being hired. Their studies found that the odds of hiring a minority candidate are a huge 194x higher if there are at least two minority candidates that have been shortlisted. 

Findings like this strongly highlight the need to include two or more candidates from the same minority demographic. You'll automatically create a more level playing field when choosing who to hire, boosting the diversity of your workforce as a result.

But, this isn’t to say you should be diverse for diversity’s sake - all candidates shortlisted must be qualified, of course! It’s about ensuring the best person is hired, with those from minority backgrounds being given a fair and equitable opportunity.

onto the next stage