Shortlisting junior candidates

Shortlisting candidates

Shortlisting candidates is often the most challenging and time-consuming step in the recruitment process.

So how do you create a list of people you actually want to talk to?
When they are young with so little experience how do you compare like for like?

The first step is developing some criteria that are a balance between standards that are high enough to ensure good quality candidates but not too strict that you’d screen out a lot of good candidates. This is especially important for young staff as you don’t want to miss a diamond in the rough because your criteria are too stiff.

At DigitalGrads we find that these shortlist criteria are helpful for junior roles:

  • Skills – what 3 skills are critical for the role? And are things you want them to have had at least a taster of. E.g. email marketing, social media marketing, and copywriting.
  • Education – do you require a degree in a certain subject and grade? Perhaps you want those who have 2:2s because they had more fun at uni. Or is experience and evidence of initiative more important?
  • Work experience – juniors won’t have a lot of work experience. How many months of work experience are you hoping for? Are you happy if they’ve only had part-time jobs to gain some customer-facing experience?
  • Personality traits – watch our intro videos to see if you think there are a good fit, or set-up first interviews as phone calls. That way you can screen a larger amount of candidates without spending too much time on interviews. We recommend undertaking 15-minute screening calls on 10 applicants at this level.
  • Competencies – things like problem-solving and team working are hard to shortlist for from a CV or profile but should be on your list to assess at the interview. You could include a competency question in your screening calls. For example, if checking for resilience is important to the role, you could ask: “Can you tell me about a time when you had to bounce back from a setback.”

Though brief, these are the criteria we advocate considering when faced with a seemingly never-ending list of viable candidates.

We hope you find this advice on shortlisting candidates helpful. Why not browse our profiles and start to create your personalised shortlist now?

Still, feeling slightly hesitant about graduate recruitment and employment? Read our blog on >> ‘De-Risking graduate employment’ << to help ease some of your concerns.