Guidance to keep in mind when shortlisting candidates

  • As a panel member, you should have a clear understanding of the assessment criteria and how to complete the scoring record used to evaluate applications, noting evidence-based comments for panel discussion.
  • Work independently and give yourself adequate time, focus and comfort. When we are under pressure, tired, distracted and even hungry, the likelihood of making biased decisions increases.
  • Be aware of your thought processes:
    • Are you starting with a feeling, assumption or decision and then seeking evidence to support it and/or overlooking information that contradicts it? You should be keeping an open mind and using evidence to reach a decision.
    • Are you favouring any experience of studying and working at particular institutions or publishing in particular journals? This is known as prestige bias and serves to disadvantage candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
    • Have you allowed a single strength or weakness, or your impression of a candidate to influence your ratings across all criteria? Pay particular attention to candidates who you have rated high or low across the board and consider if this ‘halo/horns effect’ has impacted your ability to differentiate between distinct criteria.
    • Are you confident that your scoring is based solely on comparison with the assessment criteria and not by comparison with other candidates?
    • Be prepared to justify the conclusions you have reached to progress or reject candidates. Ensure your comments cite specific evidence to support your decisions.
  • In panel shortlisting discussions, articulate aloud how you reached your decision to reject or progress each candidate. This helps to reduce bias by providing a greater sense of accountability. Challenge constructively by asking each other for specific examples to support an assertion.
  • Keep secure records of your scoring and decision-making for 6 months before destroying.