1. Purpose
  2. Scope
  3. Core principles
  4. Recruitment & Selection procedure
    1. Preparation Stage
    2. Job description & person specification
    3. Advertising
  5. Selection of Candidates
    1. Shortlisting
    2. Selection & interview
    3. Referees
    4. Making the appointment
    5. Induction
  6. Responsibilities
  7. Related documents
  8. Appendix 1 - Safer recruitment policy statement

1. Purpose

  • The University recognises that its staff are fundamental to its success. The University therefore needs to be able to attract and retain staff of the highest calibre and a strategic, professional approach to recruitment is essential to do this.
  • The purpose of this policy is to provide a sound framework for the recruitment and selection of staff based upon the principles outlined below, which also meet the requirements of the University Equal Opportunities Employment Policy , the Equality Act 2010 and all other relevant employment legislation.
  • Management guidelines on the implementation of this policy are provided separately.

2. Scope

This policy and procedure cover all activities that form part of the recruitment and selection process. It is applicable to all staff recruitment except casual staff. In order for the policy and procedure to be effective it is essential that any employee who is involved in any aspect of the recruitment and/or selection of staff is aware of this document and follows it. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the senior management in the University, including Heads of Departments, in conjunction with HR to ensure that this is the case.

3. Core principles

  • The University has a principle of open competition in its approach to recruitment.
  • The University will seek to recruit the best candidate for the job based on merit. The recruitment and selection process should ensure the identification of the person best suited to the job and the university.
  • The University wishes to encourage the recruitment of staff with disabilities and will make reasonable adjustments to all stages of the recruitment process and as required in order for a successful candidate with a disability to undertake the post.
  • The University will ensure that the recruitment and selection of staff is conducted in a professional, timely and responsive manner and in compliance with current employment legislation.
  • The University will provide appropriate training, development and support to those involved in recruitment and selection activities in order to meet this core principle. Any member of staff involved in the selection of staff should satisfy him or herself that he/she is appropriately trained and can comply with the requirements of this policy and procedure. As a minimum requirement any member of staff who takes part in any activity under this policy and procedure must first have completed the University Online Equality and Diversity training. All panel chairs or the Recruiting Manager must have completed the module 1 and 2 of the Recruitment and Selection course.
  • Recruitment and selection is a key public relations exercise and should enhance the reputation of the University. The University will treat all candidates fairly, equitably and efficiently, with respect and courtesy, aiming to ensure that the candidate experience is positive, irrespective of the outcome.
  • The University will promote best practice in recruitment and selection. It will continuously develop its recruitment and selection practices to allow new ideas and approaches to be incorporated.
  • The University will ensure that its recruitment and selection process is cost effective.
  • If a member of staff involved in the recruitment process has a close personal or familial relationship with an applicant they must declare this as soon as they are aware of the individual’s application and avoid any involvement in the recruitment and selection decision-making process.
  • All documentation relating to applicants will be treated confidentially in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA).    Applicants will have the right to access any documentation held on them in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA).

4. Recruitment & selection procedure

There are a number of key stages in recruiting and selecting for a post. This procedure outlines the key stages. Further advice and guidance is available on the Human Resources website and also from the Human Resources team. In addition, Learning and Development offers training courses designed to equip members of staff in key aspects of the Procedure.

4.1 Preparation stage

  • The recruitment and selection process should not commence until a full evaluation of the need for the role against the area’s strategic plans and budget has been completed.
  • The recruitment of staff will take into account the University’s need for new ideas and approaches and additionally should support the University’s commitment to ensuring a diverse workforce by proactively seeking to attract groups that are under-represented in the University’s profile to maximise its ability to meet diverse student requirements.
  • Recruitment should form an integral part of the staffing strategy for the area and should take account of the need for any ‘positive action’ initiatives in process.  ‘Positive Action’ is lawful under the Equality Act 2010 and refers to the steps that an employer can take to encourage applicants from people who share a protected characteristic (e.g. a certain gender or race) who under-represented in a particular area of the workforce, for example:
    • placing advertisements in the minority ethnic press, the women's press and any other publication which is targeted at groups which are under-represented;
    • including statements in advertisements that encourage individuals from under-represented groups to apply for the advertised position.
  • All new or changed posts must be formally role reviewed and graded before they are advertised in order to help ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
  • Formal authorisation to recruit to a post should be sought before commencing the recruitment process.
  • If a manager believes that there may be potential difficulties in recruiting to a post they should contact Human Resources for advice and guidance on comparative market rates and options for appropriate action.

4.2 Job description & person specification

  • A job description and person specification must be produced or updated for any vacant post that is to be filled.
  • The job description should accurately reflect the elements of the post.
  • The person specification should state both the essential and desirable criteria in terms of skills, aptitudes, knowledge and experience for the job, all of which should be directly related to the job and applied equally to all applicants. Care should be taken when writing the person specification to ensure that criteria used do not indirectly discriminate against certain groups of applicants. For further information on this please see Guidance on Recruitment.

4.3 Advertising

  • As a minimum all positions will normally be advertised within the University. This will help maximise equality of opportunity and provide staff with opportunities for career development, thus maintaining the skills and expertise of existing staff. In exceptional circumstances, in consultation with HR, a department may waive the need to advertise. This is likely to include the following circumstances:
    • positions requiring specialised expertise where the Recruiting Manager in the department can demonstrate that a comprehensive search has been conducted and the nominated individual is the most suitable person for the position;
    • where the recruiting manager can verify that the work is required for a specific purpose of no greater than twelve months duration;
    • where current members of staff are named on research grants in order to ensure the individual’s continued employment;
    • where a research project includes a named researcher, and one of the factors for awarding the grant was the strength of the proposed research team.
  • Staff subject to redeployment (see redeployment policy) will be given access to vacancies before they are advertised more generally within the University or externally.
  • In certain circumstances it may be more effective to use a recruitment agency. This should be discussed and agreed with the HR Manager or Recruitment Adviser. This will, however, not eliminate the need to advertise the position internally and any external agencies or consultants who assist in the process must act in accordance with this policy and with respect to our equal opportunities requirements.
  • Applicants should be provided with sufficient information to make an informed decision regarding their suitability for the role. Further particulars that provide such information should be produced using the templates on the HR webpages. These will be provided to applicants via the University website or upon enquiry to the HR Services team.
  • Staff who have been in an acting position that subsequently becomes vacant will have to apply for the position when it is advertised, but in such cases the position can be advertised, in exceptional circumstances on an internal basis only.
  • Applicants are asked to provide equal opportunities details when making their application to enable a robust means of monitoring the success of recruitment in relation to our diversity aims. This information is separate from the job application and applicants are free to indicate that they do not want to provide these details.
  • The University has a legal obligation to comply fully with the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act .
  • All adverts must be placed through the HR Department, except where alternative arrangements have been formally agreed in advance with the HR Department.
  • All advertised vacancies will be placed on the University’s website; academic, research and teaching vacancies, plus certain technical/ specialist roles support roles, may also be advertised on www.jobs.ac.uk .
  • All advertising must be cost-effective and agreed in advance with the HR Department.

5. Selection of candidates

5.1 Shortlisting

  • Shortlisting may involve the whole panel but must be carried out by a minimum of 2 people to avoid any possibility of bias, one of whom would normally be the direct line manager.
  • Shortlisting and selection panels for academic appointments must meet the minimum composition requirements, as outlined in the management guidance , and should be constituted with due consideration to the promotion of Equality and Diversity.
  • A member of HR will not normally be on a panel unless it is a panel for Chair appointments.
  • Notes of the shortlisting decisions for each candidate should be recorded by each member of the panel on the shortlisting decision form or on the University's recruitment software.
  • Shortlisted candidates should be provided with details of the selection process, including any tests, in writing giving as much prior notice as possible and a minimum of 5 working days before the interview. In accordance with the Equality Act 2010 , they should also be asked to advise if there are any particular arrangements or reasonable adjustments that could be made so that they can participate fully in the selection process.
  • All candidates (internal and external) should be assessed objectively against the selection criteria set out in the Person Specification , and only candidates who meet all the essential criteria should be short-listed. Assumptions about the qualities of internal candidates should not be made.

5.2 Selection & interview

  • All redeployment candidates who meet the essential criteria for the post (as set out in the person specification) will be offered an interview.
  • Interview should normally be carried out by a minimum of two people, one of whom should be the Recruiting Manager. For ART positions the University usually recommends a panel interview.
  • Selection is a two-way process: candidates are assessing the role and the University. Those involved in recruitment should consider how best to convey a positive image.
  • It is recommended that a range of selection methods are used that are suitable for assessing both the essential and desirable criteria in the person specification as this will enhance objective decision making which is difficult through interview alone.
  • Interview questions and the structure of the interview should be consistently applied to all candidates and should be based on the person specification.
  • Notes recording the salient points of the interview should be taken, ideally by the interviewers, so that they can refer back to these when assessing candidates against the person specification and making decisions. Notes of the interview and any other notes on the candidate taken during the recruitment and selection process should be passed back to HR Services following the selection process and will be kept for a minimum of 6 months following the selection process.
  • For professorial appointments the Chair of the panel should complete the pro-forma provided by the HR Services team and return this with the other interview papers to HR Services.
  • In the event that a candidate requests feedback about their performance in the selection process this should be arranged by the Chair of the panel or the Recruiting Manager, although he or she may delegate this to another member of the panel where appropriate.
  • Unsuccessful interview candidates should be dealt with courteously and sensitively and will, as a minimum, receive telephone or written notification of the outcome of the selection process.

5.3 Referees

  • Information sought from referees should be structured around the requirements of the job and the job description should be provided. It should be noted that many organisations have a policy of not providing personal references and therefore references provided may only confirm details of current appointment. This is much less likely to be the case with references for academic posts which are of a more personal nature.
  • For academic posts four references will be taken up, three normally prior to interview and the fourth, upon being offered the role. The fourth reference is an employment reference from the current employer. This is a reflection of established practice and relates to the nature of the references. For support posts two references will be taken up, normally for the selected candidate and after the interview, one of which should be from the current or most recent employer.
  • If the appointment is urgent, the Recruiting Manager may seek to obtain a verbal/telephone reference for the successful candidate providing that standard procedures for doing so are followed .
  • Referees should not be contacted without the candidate’s consent and the information provided should be treated as confidential by the panel members.
  • In certain circumstances a school or personal reference is acceptable.

5.4 Making the appointment

  • It is recognised that in many cases it is desirable to make a verbal offer very shortly after the selection process to enhance the University’s ability to recruit the selected candidate. In such cases the verbal offer will normally be made by the Chair of the selection panel, although he or she has the discretion to delegate this responsibility if felt appropriate.
  • The University recognises open contracts as the general form of employment relationship between employers and employees and will appoint new and existing staff to indefinite contracts unless necessary and objective reasons justify use of a fixed-term contract.
  • Appointments will usually be made at the grade minimum of the advertised salary scale unless directly relevant experience would justify additional increments. Advice should be sought from HR if the intention is to appoint at the grade maximum of the advertised salary scale. No appointment can be made above the advertised scale. (see separate guidance on Starting Salaries )
  • Once a selection decision has been made the HR Services team will produce a written offer of employment. Offers of employment are normally subject to satisfactory references, medical clearance, checks of qualifications and any other checks as appropriate, such as Asylum and Immigration checks, Criminal Records Bureau checks (for posts that are exempted from the provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act) See separate guidance on Recruitment Checks
  • In the case of any Professorial or Senior Manager appointment the salary to be offered must be confirmed with the VC (Professorial Appointment) or HR Director before being made.

5.5 Induction

  • Induction is the final stage of the recruitment process. Once the successful candidate has accepted the offer of employment and a start date has been agreed the line manager/Head of Department is responsible for preparing a comprehensive induction programme for the new employee. (See the University Induction Policy for further details)

6. Responsibilities

Role Accountable for
Head of Department (or nominee) - may also at times be the Recruiting Manager
  • Evaluating the need for the post(s) in the context of the Departmental staffing plan and budget.
  • Ensuring the competence of all nominees who make recruitment decisions within the department.
  • Ensuring a comprehensive induction programme for any new employee(s).
Recruiting manager
  • Attending training on the University’s Recruitment and Selection training course.
  • Liaising with the HoD and Finance to determine whether a vacancy is a replacement post, a new post or an existing post which requires revision.
  • Ensuring that all new/revised posts are formally graded before they are advertised and that formal authorisation to recruit has been sought.
  • Discussing potential difficulties in recruiting with the Departmental HR Manager.
  • Preparing a Job Description, Person Specification, draft advert and further particulars.
  • Agreeing recruitment plan and timescales with the HR Department.
  • Undertaking any tasks agreed to as part of the recruitment timescales drawn up with HR (e.g. inviting short-listed candidates to interview, taking up references, issuing rejection letters).
  • Ensuring that any agencies or external consultants who assist in the recruitment process adhere to the University’s Recruitment Policy.
  • Preparing a comprehensive induction programme for the new employee(s).
Chair of shortlisting / selection panel
  • Attending the University’s Recruitment and Selection training course.
  • Producing a short-list on behalf of the Selection Panel.
  • Keeping a written record of all short-listing and interview decisions.
  • Making a verbal offer of employment.
  • Providing feedback to unsuccessful short-listed candidates if requested, ensuring equal opportunities requirements are followed.
Human Resources
  • Providing professional HR advice on grading of posts, content of job descriptions/person specifications, advertising and appropriate salary levels.
  • Placing job adverts.
  • Carrying out pre-employment checks.
  • Issuing written offers of appointment and contracts of employment.
  • Undertaking any other tasks agreed to as part of the recruitment timescales drawn up with the recruiting department.
  • Monitoring and reviewing the recruitment process and supporting policies / guidance.
  • Providing training on Recruitment and Selection, including equality issues.

7. Related documents

8. Appendix 1

Safer recruitment policy statement

Policy statement

The university is committed to the safeguarding and protection of children, young people, and adults at risk/ vulnerable adults. It recognises its duty to ensure that all individuals working in regulated activities are suitable and safe to work with these groups. The use of safer recruitment practices aims to minimise the risk of harm through a robust and thorough recruitment process.

Safer recruitment processes will be used for all job roles where individuals will be working with children, young people and vulnerable adults in regulated activity.

Key principles

  1. Safer Recruitment Procedures: The university will implement a set of safe and effective recruitment procedures to ensure the appointment of suitable candidates for regulated activities.
  2. Clear Job Descriptions: All job descriptions and person specifications for roles involving regulated activities will clearly state the requirement for candidates to undergo appropriate checks and provide relevant information.
  3. Compliance with Legislation: The university will comply with all relevant legislation, including the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, and Keeping Children Safe in Education - September 2023 (KCSIE).

Recruitment process

  1. Job Advertisement: The university will ensure that job advertisements clearly state the requirement for candidates to undergo appropriate checks and where a recruitment is being undertaken in line with our safer recruitment practices.
  2. Application Form: All applicants will be required to complete a standard application form and provide a full chronological employment history that addresses any gaps in employment. The application process will include questions regarding their suitability to work with children, young people, and vulnerable adults.
  3. Interview: All candidates shortlisted for regulated activity roles will be interviewed by an interview panel, which will include at least one panel member that has undertaken safer recruitment training. The interview will include questions regarding safeguarding and discuss any gaps in employment history.
  4. Background Checks: Prior to the appointment, the university will conduct appropriate background checks, including DBS checks, in line with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975. These checks will be carried out for all individuals who will be employed in job roles undertaking regulated activity.
  5. References: The university will obtain a minimum of two references for all appointed candidates. Referees will be specifically asked about the candidate's suitability to work with children, young people, and vulnerable adults.
  6. Induction and Training: All staff appointed to regulated activity roles will receive comprehensive induction and training, including safeguarding awareness, safeguarding and Prevent policies and procedures, and reporting mechanisms.

Review and monitoring

The safer recruitment policy statement will be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure compliance with legislative changes and best practices. The university will monitor the effectiveness of the recruitment process and seek feedback from staff and students to continually improve safeguarding practices.

Document control

  • Last reviewed and updated: 22 November 2023