Some solicitations will include a short-list process or multiple stages or phases, such as interviews, presentations, software or product testing, etc. Typically, only those vendors whose submissions meet all mandatory requirements and the requirements for the short-list process would be invited to participate.
If a short-list process applies, the solicitation should include information on:
- How vendors will be short-listed (e.g. top three scoring? Everyone who meets mandatory requirements and minimum scores?);
- At a high level, the short-list process that will be used (e.g. interview, presentation, testing, etc.);
- Whether the process will occur remotely (e.g. software testing, teleconference) or if attendance in person is expected;
- Approximate timelines (note that this may shift if the evaluation process takes longer than expected);
- Any restrictions on who can or is required to attend; and
- The impact of the short-list process on the evaluation process.
If the short-list process is specific as to who is to attend (e.g. the proposed key personnel), be sure that these individuals can make themselves available in the event that you’re short-listed. Also consider any travel that might be required if you would be expected to attend in person. Do not expect the Province to reimburse you for these travel expenses.
Some short-list processes may include a private meeting between the Province and each short-listed vendor. If this applies, each meeting may include a firm maximum timeline, asking exactly the same questions of all short-listed vendors, staggering the timing of the notice for the meeting so that all short-listed vendors have the same amount of time to prepare, using the same script or testing criteria, etc.
Sometimes, the short-list process will also be conditional. For example, a solicitation may state that it will apply only if anyone scores within x% of the highest scoring vendor.
If a short-list process applies and any of the information above is missing or unclear, ask the government contract named in the solicitation.