It is preferable if everyone on the panel is involved in the shortlisting exercise, but at least two panel members should be involved.

Try and have a diverse shortlisting panel or someone that has a different perspective to you as they may see something different in candidates and support you to identify potential that you may not see.

The purpose of shortlisting is to identify applicants whose skills, knowledge, experience and qualifications match those that have been identified as being necessary for the job.

You should give consideration to applying numeric scoring to each of the areas you feel are most important for the role, such as experience, qualifications, skills, knowledge or desirable criteria that set applications out from others.

Your decisions should be recorded and those records kept for a minimum of three months.


Using the person specification, assess each application:

  • Taking into account each candidate’s ability to do the job and nothing else.
  • Eliminate anything that could affect judgement, for example, if dates are included about education, it could identify the age of the candidate. This and anything else that may be an indicator of a protected characteristic should be ignored.
  • Record why an applicant did or did not make the shortlist (keep records for 12 months).
  • It is at this stage that discrimination and bias can creep in as often panels seek, often unconsciously, to appoint in their own image, or to select someone who will “fit-in” with the existing team.