When replies to the job advertisement have been received, it is appropriate to:
• match applications against the job description and person specification;
• eliminate applicants who do not have the basic requirements for the job; and
• draw up a shortlist of candidates for interview.


The purpose of the shortlisting stage of the process is to select the applicants who meet the established criteria as outlined in the person specification for assessment (interview or testing).  

The shortlisting process should be:

  • carried out systematically and objectively with a panel of two or more individuals; and
  • agreed in advance of any activity being carried out and should not be deviated from during the process.

Where possible, it is desirable for the panel to be diverse in relation to gender, religion, race, etc.  It is recommended that the same panel members conduct interviewing or testing to maintain consistency in the process.

Inviting candidates to interview

The most suitable candidates should be invited to interview by letter, telephone or email.  The following information should be made available:

  • when and where the interview will be held;
  • what documents the candidate should bring;
  • who the candidate should ask for on arrival;
  • the names and job titles of the people conducting the interview; and
  • whether there will be a test or a presentation.

Candidates should also be asked whether they have any special needs that will need to be catered for.  

Preparing for the job interview

The more preparation carried out for the interview, the easier it will be for the interviewer and the candidate.  It is important to plan the questions and decide on the type of interview. A selection interview is the most common method to assess suitability for employment.  Selection interviews have a number of purposes:

  • to assess the candidate’s suitability against the requirements for the job and predict future performance;
  • to focus on aspects of behaviour and performance that cannot be assessed by other methods;
  • to supply information to candidates about the organisation and the job;
  • to enable the candidate and representative(s) of the organisation to meet face to face; and
  • to create a good impression and provide positive public relations about the organisation through fair and objective interviews.

Carrying out the job interview

The aim is to get as much quality information from the candidate as possible to assess whether they are right for the job.  It is important to:

  • ensure that waiting areas are comfortable and give candidates an indication of how long they may have to wait;
  • welcome candidates to the interview and introduce the panel members;
  • outline the format of the interview and advise when the candidate will have an opportunity to ask questions;
  • ask questions in a prearranged order, taking care to ask only one question at a time;
  • ensure that all the candidates are asked all the questions and try to ensure that preset time limits are adhered to;
  • ensure that candidates are not asked questions of a personal nature that could lead to perceptions of discrimination, for example, asking an older worker how they would feel about managing younger workers or vice versa;
  • close the interview by thanking the candidate for attending and give an indication of the next step in the process; and
  • record notes on each candidate’s response against preset questions, remembering that anything that you write should be competence-based and could become evidence in an industrial tribunal or a fair employment tribunal.

Following the interview

After the interview, it is important to:

  • complete an interview assessment form (see link in ‘Related tools and publications’).  It is recommended that each panel member completes an assessment form for each candidate; and
  • ensure that all interview documentation is kept confidential following the interviews.

More detailed information can be found in the ‘Related tools and publications’ section and in the ‘External Links’ section.


Last updated: 18 July 2019