I came across this article and it really resonated with me. As somebody who has experience of both contingent, transactional recruitment and a retained, partnership model - I have experienced first-hand the benefits of a strong shortlist for both the customer and the recruiter.
When recruiting I think it’s important to truly consider what most organisation's want, in my opinion the following components are some of the most important to them, and I have seen time and time again how presenting a strong shortlist is often a pre cursor to achieving all of these things. Here's why;
A Fantastic Hire - The markets best talent is hard to attract. The structure of delivering a shortlist gives the recruiter the opportunity to give choice, and comparison to their client. By interviewing a strong shortlist, it puts organisations in a place of confidence, knowing that the individual they ultimately end up hiring, is the very best available to them at that time.
A hassle free process - We have all been there, that great candidate calls the day before the final interview to drop out ..... back to square one, well not if you have a strong shortlist. A strong shortlist provides assurance, with a strong shortlist if number one doesn't work, then often number two becomes number one.
A process that isn't too time consuming - Putting together a shortlist allows the recruiter the space and time to properly assess candidates. Typically interviewing against core metrics and personality meaning the shortlist only comprises candidates who meet the requirements for the position. This ensures leaders don’t spend valuable time interviewing people that aren't right.
Going back to the original article, working to a shortlist allows your interview process to only contain "semi-finalists" the markets best talent, that fit the criteria and would be capable of adding long term value.
A strong shortlist will also often demonstrate variety, in areas such as industry, experience, gender and salary to provide you with all of the information needed to make an informed decision.
The shortlist approach is most commonly seen in retained search, as recruiters are given the space, time and commitment to bring together a shortlist over a period of time. This commitment allows them to commit in return, typically delivering a much higher calibre of candidate, and adding both short and long term strategic value.
It’s my opinion that hiring managers should never need to see more than 3-4 strong candidates to decide to make an offer to hire one of them. The only reason they need to see more is when they’re not sure the candidates being presented are strong enough.