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What Does It Mean To Shortlist Applicants? There is no good information on this...

Active Member
Bruce L C Member Since: Dec 11, 2016
1 of 11

I am sorry to ask this if the information is clearly published somewhere online, but as good as Upwork's documentation is, I cannot find anything good about the definition and purpose of shortlisting applicants. I cannot find any good Google results either on this subject. I have the button, but am reluctant to click on it until I know what it does. Please advise.



Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
2 of 11

It's just a way for you to narrow down your list of applicants. It means you can mark some as potential people you want to hire, without just culling everyone you're pretty sure you don't want to hire by individually rejecting them all. This is how I usually whittle down a list of applicants if I have quite a few:


1) Skim through each application. Decline with the appropriate reason any that are obviously completely unacceptable (fake profile, recycled/irrelevant cover letter, clearly don't have the skills).


2) Have a closer read of the rest of the applicants. Add who I think are the best ones to the shortlist.


3) Have a very close look at the shortlist - review their job history and reviews, glance at their test results and portfolio, that kind of thing. Drop some off the shortlist if I don't think they're up to par after all.


4) Depending on if I want to trial a few freelancers or just hire one immediately, at this stage I'll have a very brief text chat interview with 1-4 freelancers to confirm they understand certain aspects of the job (for example, I usually am looking for someone who can give me long-term translation support which is very irregular in volume).


5) Once I've chosen my 1-4 freelancers, I make the offer/offers. If it's just one person then I tick the box that says that I want to close the job if the offer is accepted. If I'm making mutliple offers, I don't do that, I just wait until they're all accepted and then close the job.


6) Once the job is closed, everyone you didn't end up hiring is (I believe, but correct me if I'm wrong) notified that they were unsuccessful because you chose another applicant.


Using the shortlist means you don't have to reject everyone who isn't quite right one at a time to narrow down the list of applicants - you can leave them there and just put the best ones in the shortlist. Then if for whatever reason everyone on your shortlist doesn't work out, you still have the rest of the applicants there to take another look at if you need to.


It's most useful when you have a very large number of applicants. I'm sure there's other clients who don't use the functionality at all. But I hope that helps a little?

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Active Member
Bruce L C Member Since: Dec 11, 2016
3 of 11

Thanks, Jennifer. Perfect answer and shortlists are exactly what I thought they were, but could never find good documentation on it. Your explanation should be published somewhere for all clients to read Cat Happy



Community Guru
Virginia F Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
4 of 11

All Jennifer's explanations for everything Upwork should be required reading for clients and freelancers.

Active Member
Konstantina P Member Since: Nov 22, 2017
5 of 11

Great information.  It can be confusing trying to figure all this out, especially for a tecvh novice such as myself!!!


Active Member
Vincent K Member Since: Jan 20, 2018
6 of 11

Do you know if candidates are warned that they are short listed?  I think it could be useful so they know they are being considered...

Community Guru
Baris A Member Since: Mar 15, 2017
7 of 11

No, they are not informed.

Active Member
Peter H Member Since: Sep 29, 2021
8 of 11

Can applicants pay Upwork to be included in a Shortlist?

Andrea G Moderator Member Since: Jul 7, 2020
9 of 11

Hi Peter,


There is a test currently that you may be interested in learning about. Check out this announcement for more information on Boosted Proposals and feel free to share your thoughts there!


Community Guru
Jennifer D Member Since: Feb 15, 2016
10 of 11

Thanks Bruce and Virginia, glad I could help!