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A Brief Guide to Interviewing & Shortlisting

Your interview process should be quick, efficient and effective...

The candidate market is competitive. You have no time to waste. You can’t faff around with five-stage interview processes and make candidates jump through hoops.


Your interview process should be three-stages:

  • Telephone screening to determine a candidate’s likeability and suitability
  • 15-minute video interview to assess personality and presentability without having to spend an hour meeting them
  • Face-to-face meeting to ask some tough questions and see how they deal with pressure


This is quick, efficient and effective. If you can’t make a decision at this point, the candidate isn’t the right one for you.


A Brief Guide to Interviewing & Shortlisting



Many people have decent CVs and look great on paper, but get them on the phone, and they’ll crumble. Not ideal.


You need to determine if this person is immediately likeable, if they communicate well, and if their attitude aligns with your values.


In their book Who: A Method for Hiring’, Geoff Smart and Randy Street, Recruitment Advisors to Fortune 500 CEOs, suggest four questions:

  1. What are your career goals?
  2. What are you really good at professionally?
  3. What are you not good at/interested in doing professionally?
  4. When we speak with your current manager, how will they rate your performance (1-10)?


Ask these same four questions to each candidate. The commonality creates consistency and accelerates your ability to distinguish differences between candidates.


Your goal here is to create a shortlist of the five best applicants.




Here’s where you separate the A players from the B’s and C’s. You’ll see who is genuinely very good, and who has just prepared some basic interview answers.


Ask ‘killer’ questions. For example...


Sales: How do you go about identifying and winning new business?


Marketing: What creatives do you like in the current marketing domain?


Customer Service: Give an example of a time you defused a situation with an unhappy customer.


Be sure to pressure their answers. Keep asking ‘why?’ and ‘tell me more about that’, or ‘can you expand?’, ‘give an example…’. Good people won’t crack. These are the people you want to take forward.


Your goal here is to shortlist the best three for final interviews.




Set a task beforehand and request the candidates demonstrate it during the interview. A presentation of your company’s service, creation of a marketing campaign, a mock-up of a website wireframe – anything relevant. This will determine how skilled they are.


Prepare a set of questions. Include lots of ‘why’ questions. Why do you want this job? Why do you want to work here? This will determine how invested they are.


Ask the same questions to each candidate and use a scorecard to grade candidates. This will help you score equally, rather than favouring the last interviewee because they’re freshest in your mind.


To get this far, each candidate should be skilled enough to carry out the job. Hire the one with the best attitude. The other’s may be more experienced, but attitude beats aptitude, always.


A Brief Guide to Interviewing & Shortlisting


Interviewing is a tricky art to master. Failing to prepare properly will lead to having a relaxed chat with candidates, rather than an interview. This will lead to hiring the person you want to be friends with, not the best candidate. An expensive mistake.


The good news is, I’m here to help you get interviewing right. I’ve read countless books on interviewing and have interviewed hundreds of people. If you’d like a quick chat to get your interviewing up to scratch, just drop me a line.


And if you decide to let us handle your recruitment instead, so be it! 😉 

Get in touch

 Jae Jackson-Loveridge




 Jae Jackson-Loveridge | Director