RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION GUIDELINES
Commencement Date: 1 January 2008
1. PURPOSE AND STRUCTURE OF THE GUIDELINES
These guidelines form the basis for the implementation of the University's Recruitment and
Selection Policy. They are designed to provide a clear and simple process for effective
recruitment with appropriate flexibility to meet the needs of each area, while at the same time
ensuring a transparent and fair process, and clear communication of important information.
Professional human resources advice and support is provided at all stages of the process. As the
Guidelines have been designed to minimise risk to the University, local areas are advised to
discuss any significant variations with Human Resources. The Guidelines also provide links to
useful information on sound recruitment practices, together with relevant forms and pro-formas.
2 STAGES OF RECRUITMENT
Stage 1: Preparation
(i) Review of needs (role, strategic imperatives)
(ii) Review role and develop position description;
(iii) Develop selection criteria;
(iv) Obtain approval to recruit;
(v) Establish Selection Panel
(vi) Plan recruitment process, including selection techniques and timetable
Stage 2: Obtaining Candidates
(i) Advertise and/or search for suitable candidates
(ii) Process applications
Stage 3: Selection
(i) Shortlist candidates
(ii) Conduct selection procedures involving interviews, presentations, tests.
(iii) Conduct referee checks
(iv) Recommend successful candidate
(v) Obtain approval from Executive Manager/Vice-Chancellor (where necessary)
(vi) Advise unsuccessful candidates
Stage 4: Entering Into the Employment Contract
(i) Make verbal offer/negotiate remuneration package
(ii) Issue written contract
(iii) Organise Visas and relocation when necessary
Stage 5: Monitoring the Process
3. STAGE 1: PREPARATION
3.1 Review of needs
Prior to commencing the recruitment process, Schools/Areas conduct a review of the need for the
position to take into account the following:
• Strategic and Operational plans for the School/Area and the University;
• current staffing structure;
• University and area targets for diverse staffing profiles across all levels;
• academic profile and specialisations - current and future requirements;
• current staffing and skill levels;
• any foreseeable changes which might impact on the area or the role; and
• how the needs for the position might best be met.
In reviewing the needs, the views of relevant stakeholders (faculty colleagues, Association
bodies, industry partners, potential departmental clients) should be sought. This allows broad
consultation at an early stage in the process, is likely to increase commitment to the position
decided upon and reduces the need for large numbers of people on the Selection Panel.
HR Consultants within Human Resources are available to assist Schools/Areas with Workforce
3.2 Review role and develop Position Description and Selection Criteria
The review of the position will usually result in an updated Position Description (PD) that outlines
the key outcomes and activities to be undertaken.
A standard Position Description template for use across the University for both Academic and
General staff positions has been endorsed by Planning and Management Committee (Resolution
PMC 23/04). The template is to be used when a position is to be advertised so as to present a
consistent image in relation to information provided as part of the University’s recruitment
Within the PD (Selection Criteria) the following information shall be included:
Applicants are not required to address each element of the selection criteria, but should
provide sufficient information in their application to enable the selection panel to make an
informed assessment of their suitability for the role.
Applicants need to consider Curtin’s Values and how they apply to the advertised position.
Curtin is looking for a demonstrated commitment in your professional and/or personal life
to the Values of Curtin which are:
o Integrity - being consistently honest and trustworthy in all activities
o Respect - having regard for self and others
o Fairness - ensuring just decisions through open decision-making
o Care - acting to ensure the welfare of others
For both academic and general staff, the skills, knowledge, experience, values and behaviours
required to perform the duties of the position are the basis of the selection criteria which provide
the standards against which a panel may assess and select candidates.
Selection criteria should be expressed in terms of
o Essential – requirements that are critical to successful performance in the position
without which a person could not be appointed; and
o Desirable – requirements that would enable the person to perform at a higher level in the
position, but without which the person could still be appointed.
Page 2 of 15
The selection criteria should relate to the important requirements of the position and must not be
excessive or overly prescriptive which may restrict the potential pool of applicants.
The total number of essential and desirable criterion shall not exceed ten.
Selection criteria shall:
• be written in simple and clear language;
• be specific and not overlapping or repetitive;
• be based on the real requirements of the position;
• not be excessive in number (i.e. not more than 10 in total)
• not discriminate unlawfully either directly or indirectly against applicants
• not favour either internal or external applicants; and
• be consistent with the classification standards of the position.
The selection criteria can not change once a position has been advertised.
Note: The elements included within the selection criteria form the basis for interview
questions and any other selection tool used. The selection decision must be based on an
assessment of all applicants against the selection criteria.
Position Descriptions need to be reviewed and endorsed by Human Resources prior to
advertisement/search to ensure the appropriate classification of the position and no discrimination
in relation to the inherent job requirements.
Specific occupational requirements, hazards and/or risks associated with the position must be
identified at this stage and documented on the Request to Advertise Form. This may include:
police clearance (i.e. security officers, cash, cheque and drug handling positions, and
credit card holders);
working with children check;
licensing requirements (eg trades staff); or the
need for a medical assessment (eg occupational safety and health considerations).
This information will also be provided to the successful candidate to enable them to advise the
University of any pre-existing conditions or requirements which would affect their ability to perform
the role, and/or which could be exacerbated by the duties of the position.
3.3 Approval to Recruit
The Request to Advertise Form and attachments bring together all the information needed to
check that there is authorisation to fill the position and to enable Human Resources to carry out its
responsibilities in a timely manner and with clarity as to what is required.
The Request to Advertise form must be signed as follows before any further action can be taken
to ensure that there is a clear understanding between all the parties as to what is required.
Senior general staff positions (Level 10C Deputy Vice-Chancellors, or delegate
and above) and Professor Level E
All other positions Executive Managers, or delegate
The Request to Advertise Form will identify the mechanisms that will be used to attract candidates
to the position, such as advertising (print media/internet), search plans, recruitment agencies.
(See paragraph 4.1 below on Advertising/Searching.)
The completed and signed Request for Advertising Form is sent to Human Resources with the
following accompanying documents provided in electronic format:
• Position Description (including selection criteria); and
• Draft advertisement in the approved University style.
Page 3 of 15
Specific dates and deadlines for the lodgement of advertising documentation with Human
Resources are in place, with details provided at
3.4 Establish Selection Panel
The Chair of the Selection Panel will usually be the Head of School/Area or their nominee. The
Convenor for appointments at Professor (Level E) and senior general staff (Level 10C and above)
will be the respective Deputy Vice-Chancellor, or nominee.
The selection panel should have a minimum of 3 and ideally a maximum of 5 people and be
capable of accessing the skills and attributes required of the position.
The Chair of the Selection Panel shall determine the size and composition of the Selection Panel
depending upon the nature of the appointment.
For academic appointments at level ALC and above, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research &
Development (or nominee) must be invited to participate in the Selection Panel.
The following guidelines refer to the composition of a Selection Panel and should include:
o a person who has an understanding of how the role contributes to the effectiveness of the
area (this will usually be the supervisor);
o a person with expertise in the field of the position;
o staff representative when a role has managerial responsibility;
o student representative when a role has student contact.
Every effort should be made to ensure that Selection Panels include persons from EEO Target
Groups and that gender balance is achieved where possible.
Panel members must ensure no conflict of interest in relation to the field of applicants. Refer to
Appendix B (Referee Reports) of these Guidelines for specific arrangements if a selection panel
member is nominated as a referee.
The selection panel should consist of the same members for the entire process, however panel
members may be substituted and/or co-opted at the discretion of the Chair where this becomes
All University staff participating on selection panels must have completed approved training in
recruitment and equal opportunity awareness, including specific information on EEO Target
Groups, or have prior experience on selection panels where such principles were part of the
overall recruitment approach.
The Manager, Attraction, or nominee, may participate on selection panels in an observer capacity
in instances where the level or nature of the position warrants such an attendance or for the
purposes of quality assurance.
3.5 Roles of Selection Panel:
The Selection Panel undertakes a number of roles throughout a recruitment campaign, including:
o plan the recruitment process appropriate to the position, providing the opportunity for
candidates to demonstrate evidence of the selection criteria;
o plan and agree the timetable for the recruitment process;
o shortlist preferred applicants;
o Arrange and take part in the selection process, including collecting references;
o Identifying the candidates who meet the selection criteria, rank suitable candidates in
order of suitability and recommend the preferred candidate to the Executive Manager via
the Selection Panel Report and Recommendation for Occupancy Form.
Page 4 of 15
The Selection Panel will consider the best mechanism(s) for selecting from the pool of applicants.
This will normally include an interview (in person or via teleconference or video-conference) and
The use of external search agencies is also an option and information on this is available from
For consistency in assessment the same selection process or tools should be applied to all
applicants, although additional steps may need to be used to distinguish between closely
Recruitment Advisors within Human Resources are available to assist in the planning process and
to provide expert advice to Selection Panels on selection techniques, and development of
4 STAGE 2: OBTAINING CANDIDATES
Advertising is organised by Human Resources on receipt of the Request to Advertise form and
Before a position can be advertised the vacancy must be considered for potential filling by a
redeployee. Nothing in these guidelines precludes Human Resources from referring a staff
member who has redeployee status for consideration during a recruitment exercise, and the staff
member shall be considered as if she/he were an applicant for the position.
Areas may also circulate approved advertisements to members of their professional network(s)
via e-mail on a without prejudice basis. All positions will be advertised on the Future Staff website
to provide all staff with the opportunity for career development or movement in accordance with
Positions may be advertised externally (simultaneously with the internal advertisement) in print
media (local, metropolitan and/or national/international) and/or internet, through professional
associations or though other avenues. Human Resources is responsible for co-ordinating all
1. Unless otherwise authorised by the Manager, Attraction, or nominee, the minimum period of time
all advertised vacancies must remain open for the lodgement of applications from the date of
publication are as follows:
continuing positions at least 10 working days;
fixed term positions advertised externally at least 10 working days;
fixed term positions advertised internally at least five working days.
Applicants are to be encouraged to apply on-line through the Future Staff website or via e-mail in
order to speed processing and circulation to Selection Panel members. However, exceptions
should be made in cases where it is unlikely that applicants would have access to electronic
The University also supports the employment of Curtin students as part of their overall learning
experience. Vacancies may be posted on the Careers@Curtin website when nominated on the
Request to Advertise.
Where there is the possibility of a candidate being appointed from overseas, advertising in
national and local print media is normally required in order to comply with requirements of the
Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). Recruitment Advisors in Human Resources
can provide information on labour market testing for immigration purposes.
Search plans are a way of seeking out groups which are under represented in the University, or
as a means of identifying candidates in an area of short supply. More information on Search
Plans is provided at Attachment A.
Page 5 of 15
A draft of the advertisement should be provided with the Request to Advertise Form. The
following phrase must be included in all advertisements ‘The University reserves the right to
appoint by invitation’.
The Recruitment Advisors within Human Resources can also provide advice on recruitment
Positions may be filled without advertising internally or externally in specific circumstances (refer
clause 3.2.6 of the Recruitment and Selection Policy)
External Recruitment Consultancies/Agencies may be utilised in the recruitment process at the
authorisation of the Director, Human Resources or nominee. The University remains responsible
for the integrity of the recruitment and selection process even when an agent or consultant is
4.2 Processing Applications
Applications from candidates are sent direct to the relevant School/Area (except in the case of
professorial appointments and other senior general staff appointments where applications are
sent to Human Resources) if applying in person. All efforts must be made to apply online through
the Future Staff website.
Applications received after the closing date cannot be accepted unless authorised by the Chair of
the Selection Panel, where the application warrants further consideration by the selection panel
as part of the short-listing process. The inclusion of a late application must be detailed in the
Selection Panel Report.
Applications should be kept in strict confidence in order to protect the privacy of personal
The Chair, or their nominee, will make arrangements directly with the candidates, members of the
Selection Panel, and any others involved in the selection process.
Where the field of candidates are part of a ‘pool’ recruitment exercise, applicants may be
considered for like positions should such vacancies arise within a reasonable period (i.e. up to
5 STAGE 3: SELECTION
Short-listing is carried out by the Selection Panel. Alternatively short-listing may be undertaken
by a sub-group of the Selection Panel, comprising at least two panel members nominated by the
Chair and agreed to by all panel members.
Candidates who are ineligible or who have not provided sufficient information to enable the
selection panel to assess their claims against the selection criteria and accountabilities for the
position shall be excluded.
However, at the discretion of the Selection Panel, applicant(s) may be requested to specifically
address the selection criteria to enable a comprehensive assessment of an applicant(s) claim. In
doing so the selection panel must ensure that such a request is not considered preferential
treatment and that all applicants have been afforded equal consideration.
The selection panel must ensure that the applicant(s) short-listed have the required skills and
experience that meet the essential selection criteria, and a demonstrated commitment to the
values of the University.
Where a large number of candidates demonstrate that they meet all the essential requirements,
the Selection Panel need only undertake further assessment (e.g. interview) of those candidates
who are deemed most competitive against the selection criteria.
Page 6 of 15
In instances of only one applicant, the Chair may take steps to increase the field of applicants
through re-advertising/search. Alternatively, the Selection Panel may proceed with interviewing
the candidate if it has been demonstrated that they meet the essential selection criteria, or decide
that the candidate can be recommended without the need for further assessment (eg. interview).
5.2 Interviews, Presentations, and other selection techniques
It is for the Selection Panel to determine the most effective selection process for the position.
The process chosen should enable the collection of evidence that confirms that the applicant
meets the selection criteria and embraces the University’s values. Therefore, the selection
panel must ensure that the applicant(s) selected have the required skills and experience,
and also demonstrate commitment to the values of the University.
It is recommended that the minimum selection technique include an interview (either in person or
via tele-conference or video-conference) unless the circumstances are such that only one person
applied and further assessment is not necessary.
It is the Chair's responsibility prior to interviews to remind the Selection Panel to abide by the
University's recruitment policy and guidelines and in particular the equity principles in the
Other selection tools that may be considered by a selection panel include:
(i) Presentations / seminars;
(ii) skills tests;
(iii) assessment centres; and/or
(iv) psychometric assessment.
The Manager, Attraction must be consulted if a selection panel wishes to utilise items (iii) or (iv)
Candidates must be given reasonable notice of their requirement to attend an interview and/or
participate in other forms of assessments. Such notice shall take into consideration such
circumstances that may affect ability to attend, e.g. overseas teaching commitments.
The Recruitment Advisors within Human Resources can provide advice in relation to the selection
5.3 Referee Checks
References may be taken up at any stage in the selection process but they should be completed
before an offer of employment is made.
The purpose of referee checks/reports is to collect additional evidence to assess the candidate(s)
against the selection criteria, and to gain supporting evidence of the information provided by the
The Chair of the Selection Panel will carry out the referee checks or will delegate this to another
member of the panel. References must be obtained to confirm the suitability of appointable
applicants. The Chair shall determine the following:
o timing of obtaining referee reports (i.e. before short-listing or following interview);
o format of such reports (i.e either verbally using the Referee Pro-forma or in writing
(electronic copy or e-mail is acceptable); and
o number of referees to be contacted.
More information and advice on reference checks is provided at Appendix B.
Persons not specifically nominated by the candidate as referees may only be contacted with the
applicant’s knowledge and the candidate provided with an opportunity to comment on any aspect
of their relationship with that individual which may be prejudicial to their claim for the position.
Page 7 of 15
5.4 Signing off on preferred candidate
The Selection Panel shall make a decision on the basis of consensus. The Chair of the Selection
Panel will complete the Selection Panel Report and Recommendation for Occupancy Form sign it
and forward it for approved by the Executive Manager.
The recommended candidate may only be contacted in accordance with the provisions outlined in
section 6.1 of these Guidelines.
The following lists additional information that must also be sent to the person approving the
• Successful candidate’s application;
• Referee reports; and
• Any other associated documents.
The Executive Manager will review the recommendation from the Selection Panel and approve
the decision or refer it back to the Selection Panel for further consideration.
In the case of an academic appointment at level ALD or ALE, the Vice-Chancellor will review the
recommendation from the Selection Panel and approve the decision or refer it back to the
Selection Panel for further consideration.
The Vice-Chancellor will review and approve the appointment of continuing academic staff at level
ALB and above who do not hold a PhD using the ‘Approval to appoint at ALB and above without a
PhD or equivalent’ form which will be submitted to Human Resources with the Recommendation
for Occupancy form.
The Chair of the Selection Panel is responsible for ensuring that the authorised Recommendation
for Occupancy and Selection Panel report and the accompanying documents are forwarded to
Human Resources for preparation of the contract. Human Resources will not process an
appointment without the above requirements being satisfied.
5.5 Advising unsuccessful candidates
The Chair of the Selection Panel is responsible for contacting unsuccessful candidates. Out of
respect to the candidates and mindful of the University’s public relations, unsuccessful candidates
should be advised of the outcome as soon as possible.
If the Chair has verbally advised an unsuccessful interviewed candidate of the outcome and
provided feedback than there is no requirement to provide written notification to that candidate.
The Chair should record that verbal notification (and feedback if sought) was provided.
Internal candidates who have been unsuccessful should be provided with the opportunity to
obtain feedback from the Chair as a means of assisting their self development and advised of the
opportunity to seek a review of staffing decisions as provided for within the Recruitment and
Unsuccessful external candidates who have been interviewed may also be given the opportunity
for verbal feedback if they request this.
Work areas should retain applications from short-listed unsuccessful candidates for twelve
months in case the successful candidate declines the position or in the event of an enquiry about
the recruitment process. The Recruitment Advisors within Human Resources may also seek
access to the information to assist with other recruitment campaigns being undertaken across the
6 STAGE 4: ENTERING INTO THE EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
6.1 Verbal Offer/Negotiations
Page 8 of 15
Once the appointment has been approved by the Executive Manager, the Chair of the selection
panel may advise the successful candidate verbally that they are the preferred candidate for
A verbal offer of employment and the candidate’s verbal acceptance creates a contractual
relationship between the candidate and the University, therefore a verbal offer must not be made
until the appointment has been approved and Human Resources are informed.
Any negotiations on employment conditions must be on a ‘without prejudice’ basis until a
formal written offer is made by the Vice-Chancellor or Director, Human Resources.
Legally binding contracts may be entered into unwittingly with the minimum of formality,
eg through a series of telephone calls.
Specifically, verbal offers of employment with Curtin may only be made as follows:
following approval of the appointment;
by the Head of School/Area, or delegated to the Chair of the Selection Panel;
on the basis of the term of employment agreed for the position;
with the requisite approval under the University's Recruitment and Selection Policy;
by a person who is in possession of all pertinent facts in relation to the requirements
of the terms of the contract.
Even innocent misrepresentation of the terms of contract of employment may allow the party who
has been misled to void the contract, and may also be the basis of a claim for damages for
negligence, for example, if an applicant resigns from their current position on the basis of the
The law holds that before any contract of employment - simple or otherwise - is enforceable, it
must be formed so as to contain various elements. Some of these are:
there must be an ‘intention’ between the parties to create a legal relationship, the
terms of which are enforceable
there must be an offer by one party and its acceptance by the other
the parties must genuinely consent to the terms of the contract.
Heads of School/Area, or if delegated to the Chair of the Selection Panel, are authorised to
negotiate elements of the employment package, eg salary and non-salary items (e.g.
superannuation) relocation expenses, retention allowance. It is recommended that Heads contact
the Manager Attraction in the first instance if an employment package is to be varied from the
standard package which was advertised.
Human Resources must be advised in writing of any changes to the terms of employment which
may be negotiated at this stage to ensure that the correct contract is issued.
Human Resources can assist Heads of School/Area in preparing employment packages tailored
to the requirements of an applicant, including varied conditions of employment (eg flexible
superannuation arrangements) provided via an individual agreement or payment of market
loadings to secure an applicant.
6.2 Issuing Written Contract
On receipt of the completed Recommendation for Occupancy Form, Human Resources will issue
the written contract of employment. Written contracts may only be issued by Human Resources
and must be signed in accordance with the University’s Schedule of Delegations. Other officers
do not have the delegation to commit the University in writing.
6.3 Visas And Relocation
Page 9 of 15
If appropriate, upon formal acceptance of the offer, Human Resources will commence the Visa
application process for the successful applicant. The process of granting a visa can take up to
four (4) months, and this timescale should be factored into the planning process.
Human Resources will also liaise with providers of relocation services for the new employee.
In sponsoring overseas appointees, the University has responsibility for all financial obligations to
the Commonwealth incurred by the appointee arising out of their stay in Australia. As a result, the
University has a policy that overseas appointees who reside in Australia on Temporary Resident
Visas take out private health insurance cover for themselves (and their families where relevant)
unless they are eligible for Medicare coverage or alternate health insurance cover through
reciprocal agreements between Australia and their country of residency.
7 STAGE 5: MONITORING THE PROCESS
Human Resources will monitor the time taken for the stages of the recruitment process for which
it has responsibility and will provide a report to the Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Executive
Managers on a half-yearly basis.
8 TIMESCALES FOR RECRUITMENT
In order to assist with planning, the following timescales are shown as a possible indicator for
each stage of the recruitment process. Schools/Areas may be able to reduce these timescales
Activity Possible Time Range
Pre-recruitment stage (planning) 1 - 2 weeks
Review and/or classification of Position 1- 4 weeks
From receipt of Request to Advertise to 1 - 2 weeks (depending on which
advertising media and copy dates)
Advertising period 1 - 4 weeks
Shortlisting 1 - 2 weeks
From shortlising to interview date 1 - 2 weeks
Selection process 1 - 2 weeks
Referee checks 3 days
Letter to unsuccessful candidates 1 week after interview
Getting Recommendation for Occupancy signed 2 - 5 days
From receipt of Appointment Form to issue of 5 days
Timeline for candidate acceptance of contract 2 weeks
TOTAL (from start to acceptance) 11 – 20½ weeks
Minimum: 5-6 weeks
Page 10 of 15
Revision Approved/ Date Committee/ Resolution Number Document
Ref No Rescinded Board Reference
NEW Noted 27/11/2007 PMC PMC 114/07 Attachment to
Administratively 18/08/2009 Minor changes and
Updated reflect name change
from Staff Services to
Human Resources (as
per PMC 47/09, 2 June
Administratively May 2011
Page 11 of 15
Search plans are recruitment strategies designed to:
broaden the field of qualified candidates;
invite applications from candidates who might not otherwise think of applying to work at
provide a mechanism by which the University can expect to develop over time, a more
diverse academic and general staff profile across all levels; and/or
make sure that equity and diversity issues are considered.
Requirement to use a search plan
An example of when to use a search plan is the customary search for female applicants in
areas where there is a gender imbalance. It is suggested that, for instance, where less than
30% of the teaching and research staff in a department is female, a search plan is
developed to attract well qualified female candidates.
Additionally, panels are advised to consider the profile of the staff in the relevant School/Area and
to make efforts to attract suitably qualified candidates from a range of backgrounds such as:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; and/or
those for whom English is not their first language.
As a matter of course, selection panels should consider whether the most highly qualified person
for the position, who maybe representative of any of the EEO Target Groups, is likely to be
attracted to this School/Area at Curtin University.
Possible Academic Search Plan Processes
Search plans describe the activities of the selection panel in regard to recruitment. A typical
search plan may include such things as:
e-mail contact with professional networks around Australia and where appropriate,
overseas, to draw the position to the attention of suitably qualified candidates and
particularly expressing the desire of the department to have a diverse field of candidates
from which to choose
advertisement at conferences and seminars organised by women in the profession
invitations to professional associations of women to draw the position to the attention of
use of specialist job networks including those for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people and people with a disability.
Selection panels are encouraged to liaise with the Recruitment Advisors in Human Resources in
relation to professional bodies that can be contacted for search purposes.
Possible Professional Staff Search Plan Processes
Administrative positions at every level should similarly develop a search plan on the basis of
diversifying the composition of the staff in the area.
Search plans may include:
advertising through job networks specialising in placing Indigenous Australian
advertising casual or short term contract positions through student associations;
Page 12 of 15
advertising in community newsletters, and through relevant associations and
specialised journals including those for librarians, human resource and information
Candidates applying as a result of a search plan
That someone is encouraged to apply through the search plan does not mean that they will be
treated differently in the selection process. The point is to invite the widest possible group of
candidates to apply. Once applications are received, it is their skill, knowledge and experience
which count, not their gender, race or irrelevant disability.
Selection Panels are however expected to observe the following long standing policy positions of
allowance shall be made for any gap in a candidate’s scholarship and research
record due to the discharge of family responsibilities
no decision shall be based upon any supposed inconvenience to the work area
concerned due to a candidate's undertaking of family responsibilities.
No decision shall be based upon any supposed inconvenience to the work area
concerned due to adjustment/accommodation required for a candidate with a
disability/medical condition and who meets the inherent requirements of the job,
Page 13 of 15
Referee reports provide a means of obtaining further information about a candidate in relation to
the selection criteria for the position.
Referee reports complement other stages of the selection process and may be used in the
to assist with the short listing process, eg where the written applications do not
provide sufficient differentiation between candidates
to obtain further information and verification, following interview
As referee reports are sought in relation to the specific position applied for, it is very important that
referees are provided with information - verbally or in writing - on the duties of the position and the
selection criteria. While the general framework of questions to referees may be the same, the
benefit of using referees is to provide verification of the Selection Panel’s findings. Specific
questions relating to a candidate’s experience, ability, etc. may be asked.
Referee reports may be obtained in writing or by telephone. Depending upon the availability and
location of the referee, written references can take some time to obtain. Telephone reference
checks may be obtained more quickly and provide the opportunity for the Selection Panels to ask
specific questions and to seek clarification in relation to the selection criteria.
When to take up references
Although reference checks are sometimes used to shortlist candidates, there are increasingly
seen to be problems with this approach. These include:
the poor public relations value of having people outside the organisation
involved in crucial decision making such as short-listing particularly because
they cannot be expected to know the strategic value of that particular role to
the area or organisation;
the possible invasion of the privacy of a number of people on an unnecessary
basis and consequent issues of liability for management of that information; or
the likelihood of needing to refer twice to the referee if issues arise in the
selection process which require verification.
Generally, reference checking is best limited to candidates who:
have been through a selection process; and
are considered main contenders for the position.
The Candidate’s Referees
A referee should be a person who can provide an unbiased and independent view of the
candidate’s ability to meet the selection criteria for the position for which they have applied. They
should therefore exclude relatives and friends. Referees should be people who have an in depth
knowledge of a person’s work in the areas relating to the selection criteria, and they should
include a person who has been the candidate’s supervisor or manager.
Situations in which a Referee is also a Member of the Selection Panel
In some cases, it can be difficult for a candidate to name a referee who is not a member of the
Selection Panel. Indeed, at times a Selection Panel may include more than one member who is a
referee for one or more of the candidates.
Being a referee does not necessarily preclude a Member of a Selection Panel from providing a
reference for a candidate, but - in every instance - the Chair should be alerted to the situation.
Page 14 of 15
The following are some suggestions to deal with this situation, to minimise any conflict of interest
or disadvantage to any candidate:
the Chair should ensure that the Selection Panel discusses the situation and
that all members are comfortable with the manner of dealing with it.
the Selection Panel member who is also a referee may choose to speak last
in relation to that particular candidate. They may confine remarks in the first
instance to the application and selection processes, and reserve comments
involving prior knowledge to a separate referee conversation.
where there is more than one Selection Panel member who is a referee for a
candidate - and particularly where there is one candidate only who does not
have a referee on the Selection Panel - it is advisable to include an
independent Selection Panel member from a cognate department or area
Situations in which the Candidate has Not Named a Recent or Current Supervisor
A Selection Panel is at liberty to ask a candidate to nominate an additional, or particular
kind of referee, but - in every instance - they must be asked and given an opportunity to
comment on the request.
Persons not specifically nominated by the candidate as referees may only be contacted with the
applicant’s knowledge and the candidate provided with an opportunity to comment on any aspect
of their relationship with that individual which may be prejudicial to their claim for the position.
Information Given to the Referee
be advised of the position for which the candidate is being considered and the
selection criteria being tested
only be asked questions which directly relate to the selection criteria
Referees should be advised that the University treats all references received with the utmost
confidentiality. Copies should be given only to members of the Selection Panel.
Use of Consultants for Referee Checking
Consultants skilled in the field may be used to take up the references on candidates. Further
information on this is available from the Recruitment Advisors within Human Resources
Occasionally a referee report will reveal concerns about the candidate which are not easily dealt
with. These concerns should be referred to Recruitment Advisors within Human Resources.
Page 15 of 15