Short-listing involves reducing the number of applications received down to an appropriate sized list of candidates to be invited for interview.
The process varies in time depending on the ratio of application to vacancies. There are two approaches in this reduction process. Firstly, there is the screening approach where unsuitable applicants are rejected until only the required number of applicants for interview is left. Applicants may be rejected for lack of experience or qualifications but it is not unknown for arbitrary decisions to be made involving the age, place of birth, handwriting or the inclusion of a photograph. Outright discrimination can also occur over the marital status, sex or ethnic background. Apart from being illegal, these methods are profoundly unfair and unreasonable as tribunals have continued to report.
The second method is one of inclusion where each applicant is compared with the requirements set out in the person specification and given a score through a pre-set scoring system. For example, a maximum of 10 points could be awarded for experience, 8 for qualifications, 15 for demonstration of certain key skills or competencies and 7 for other factors, giving a total of 40 points. It would also be agreed that a minimum number of points would need to be scored in certain categories to be able to be included in the list. The scoring would be carried out independently by two people, perhaps the line manager and the human resources manager, and, the results compared. Any discrepancies would be discussed. This process avoids discrimination and is much fairer to all the candidates, if taking a little longer.