• Learning for LifeandWork

How Employers Assess Candidates' Suitability

Updated: Nov 15, 2020

When an employer receives all the applications for a job that is available, it is at that time that they will do one of three things. They will either reject the application form, add the application form to a longlist or add the application to a shortlist.

Reject the application form

An application form may be rejected straight away due to a number of different reasons. For example, the application form may not have arrived within the deadline for applications to be with the employer, an applicant may not have signed the application form or the applicant may not have completed the application form in full.

Sometimes, according to the application form, the applicant does not meet the required and/or desired criteria as set out in the job specification or have the appropriate experience for the job and so the applicant would be deemed unsuitable for the job. Sometimes references from the referees may not write about the applicant in a positive way and so the employer may find the applicant unsuitable for the job.

Also, if there have been a lot of application forms for the one job, the employer may enhance criteria and so an application form may be ruled out for long/shortlisting because it does not meet this revised, enhanced criteria.

The application form goes on a longlist

Some application forms are seen by the employer as good but there needs to be more of a discussion on the suitability of the applicant for the job. Therefore the application form goes on a longlist.

If, after a discussion with the interview panel, the application form and the applicant are deemed possibly suitable for the job, then it is placed on a shortlist. Sometimes, the employer likes the look of an application form and may be interested in that applicant and so they keep that application form in reserve, in case someone on the shortlist drops out.

The application form goes on a shortlist

The shortlist is a list of application forms that have met the essential and desired criteria for the job as set out in the job specification. These application forms will have also met any enhanced criteria that the employer has asked to be included.

The shortlist is made up of application forms, usually about 3-10 forms, that the employer deems as suitable for the job and so those applicants are called to interview to discuss their application form further.


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