Friday, 24 August 2007

Shortlisting without short tempers

I've been shortlisting for a post at work. We had the best part of 300 applications for this particular post. If I never see another application form again, it'll be too soon...

We've now selected our interview candidates, but it's taken us a while to get there and it's likely to take even longer to interview them all. Having been on the recruitment and selection course (mandatory for all members of a selection panel) 18 months ago, this is the first opportunity I've had to give it a try.

It was difficult. Really difficult. It's time-consuming and it can be genuinely challenging to treat each application fairly; it would be too easy to face Application No. 1 with a sunny disposition, only to watch it ebb away as the numbers rise. But I *think* I did it, and the three members of the panel sat down together for an hour and a half this afternoon (actually 1 hour, 26 minutes, 1.4 seconds - I timed it) to pick the best candidates for interview. We rarely disagreed, which can only be a good thing.

The most important lesson learned, though, is that you need to keep your application short and relevant. Address each criterion you're given, *with examples*, and provide an amount of detail in proportion with the demands of the post. Maybe I should try applying for some jobs so I can practice my application forms...