Sample Method to Screen Applicants

The following is a memo to the governing body that outlines one method to screen the administrator/manager applicants to determine who should be selected for the initial or round one interviews. Once the ranking lists are returned, each selection is given a numerical score (usually a 5 for an interview in the first round, a 3 for a possible future interview and a 1 for no further consideration); the scores for each candidate are totaled; and the list showing the scores is used at the meeting of the governing body (or selection committee) after the scoring sheets are received. This process tends to focus the discussion on those candidates with the highest amount of acceptance by the entire governing body or selection committee, thereby eliminating individual preferences which can cause heated discussion by proponents of a particular candidate.

Sample Memo

To: Mayor and Members of the Governing Body (or Selection Committee)
Subject: Application Screening Process

The following is a suggested process that can be used to determine who should be the initial candidates for interviewing. The process is fairly simply and yet normally the end result is a consensus on 5 to 8 people who are selected for this first stage of the interview process. Remember your goal at this point is not to pick the final candidate but to select those that a consensus of the governing body wishes to interview. The key to the success of this process is each of you providing an independent honest appraisal of each candidate. The appraisal should be made individually without consulting others and your opinions should be kept confidential.

Reviewing Candidates

Enclosed are the submitted resumes and a spreadsheet listing each candidate in alphabetical order. After reviewing each resume, make a preliminary determination if in your personal opinion the applicant has the established training, education and experience that you believe is required for the job. Put a check in the box if you believe so. There is also a box for other factors that you think are important. There is no magic answer to your review - go with your instinct.

Then rank the candidate in one of three categories: 

  1. Whether you feel the person has the necessary qualifications and should be interviewed in round one (a top candidate)
  2. Whether the person has the qualifications and should be retained for possible interview in a second round of interviews
  3. Whether the person should be not considered further

Ranking Candidates

Please indicate for each of the names on the list your ranking by placing a check in the appropriate box and return your list to me. I will retain these lists and no one will know how any individual council member votes in this process. When everyone has completed their rankings I will summarize the rankings and provide to the Mayor and Council (or Selection Committee) this consolidated list of candidates for consideration in the round one interviews. We will then meet to review the list to see if everyone agrees with the consensus.

Please do not contact the candidates individually even if you know them. Let the process proceed and when you have started making your selections, I will contact the candidates.


Your goal is to reach a determination of the top six candidates for interviews and then to have these first round interviews by xxxx. I would like each person's rating sheet returned within a week. You can fax them to my private office (xxx-xxx-xxxx) or mail/drop them off at my office in an envelope marked "confidential." Please give me you name so I can contact you if I have any questions.

Preferably there should be a special meeting next week so go over this initial screening process and set aside time for the first round on interviews.