Shortlisting - Human Resources - Newcastle University

8. Shortlisting


  • at least two people must be involved in shortlisting
  • for academic/research posts at grade H or above, the chair of the panel and the Head of Academic Unit or nominee must participate
  • staff involved in recruitment for any posts are required to declare any conflict of interest that may arise.


  • interview panels need to be appropriately constituted and should reflect diversity, for example ensuring there are men and women represented on the panel, as well as reflecting a range of experience
  • each member of the panel should consider the applications before meeting
  • each member should draw up a provisional shortlist.

The panel should discuss their provisional shortlists and by consensus decide on a final shortlist.

Shortlisting for Interview

Only applicants who meet all of the essential criteria on the person specification should be shortlisted. If it is necessary to reduce the number of candidates further, the desirable criteria in order of priority should be used until the required number of candidates is produced.

Shortlisting Matrix

Use the shortlisting matrix to record your shortlisting decisions. This should be returned to HR along with any hand-written notes and other paperwork.

Records of shortlisting exercises indicating how shortlists have been drawn up must be retained along with the applications for at least six months. These records are the University’s strongest defence against any claims of unfair discrimination.

Shortlisting Matrix (Excel, 20KB)

Failure to Compile a Suitable Shortlist

If the shortlisting process results in insufficient candidates, consideration should be given to :

  • re-advertising the vacancy with/without revisions to the person specification, possibly in a different medium;
  • revisiting the person specification to determine whether the essential criteria were too demanding and reviewing them if necessary. In this case, all applications must be considered afresh against the new criteria.

Care must be exercised, however, and guidance sought from your HR team to ensure that inadvertent discrimination does not occur. Any such action should be recorded on the shortlisting matrix for further reference.

Sole Candidates

Should the shortlisting process provide a single candidate for interview, that candidate must be interviewed to assess their suitability for the role.