Careers advice from Theodora Griff

16th November 2012 at 00:00
Making the shortlist

How do schools decide whom to shortlist? I ask because two years ago when I was applying for jobs I got several interviews, but now that I'm trying to move school I haven't had any luck with my applications.

Well, how they shortlist will vary from school to school, of course, as there is no rule or regulation about it. But I'll describe what I would call good practice in shortlisting.

It starts when the decision is made to fill a vacancy, with a very clear person specification being drawn up, so that the shortlisting panel knows just what it is looking for. Then a chart is devised, having down the left-hand side the criteria that have been identified in the person specification, and along the top the candidate numbers. The last item on the criteria list will be yesno, to show whether or not you will be calling this candidate to interview.

When an application comes in, the office staff allocate a candidate number to it, photocopy the original and then anonymise it. By this I mean that they remove the front page of the form, where your personal details are, and also any references elsewhere to your name and so on. The shortlisting panel gets the anonymous version of the application: just the candidate number on it, so your gender, your possible ethnicity and anything else suggested by your name and personal details does not affect the decision.

The panel members then compare the application with the criteria, putting ticks and crosses in the column as appropriate. This allows them to see which candidates meet all the criteria in the person specification.

There will, of course, also be factors that could result in a candidate ticking all the boxes yet not being shortlisted. These would include things such as poor grammar or spelling, failure to follow instructions or an inappropriate letter of application, including one that is plagiarised. Make sure that you don't lose out on account of these failings.

I'm sorry that you haven't been having success with your recent applications. Have you been following the advice that is set out in the TES jobseekers forum? It could make all the difference for your next application.

Meet Theodora Griff online on the TES Jobseekers forum or in person at a TES Careers Advice Service seminar or individual consultation. bit.lyuWhqN2.

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