Shortlisting with job specific questions

Use the answers to the JSQs as your first filter when shortlisting. It is an effective way of quickly discounting speculative or poorly thought out applications.

  • Establish your scoring system before assessing the answers. The scoring of written responses must be done manually. The best approach is to agree a set of typical answers that you would expect from applicants. Assign each level of your example answers a numerical score according to its quality. When reading an applicant's answers, match them to the equivalent example and score. Use the total scores to rank the applications
  • Use the answers and their associated scores to label each application 'yes', 'no' or 'maybe'. Determine ahead of time what the point threshold is for each of the categories. All of the 'nos' can be set aside, saving you the time you would have otherwise spent reading these applications in full. At this stage you should not look to disregard the 'maybe' pile, remember that the JSQs are just one part of the application, so while they may not have given a model answer, if you think there is potential then do not rule them out at this stage
  • You may then choose to focus on a second aspect of the applications in your 'yes' and 'maybe' piles, such as the personal statement. This will help you to further reduce the number of applications under consideration.

Effective and objective use of this method should leave you with a smaller pool of the strongest applicants. You can then read these applications in full as part of a thorough short listing process.