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Recruitment and Selection Guidelines

Recruitment and Selection Guidelines

These guidelines have been designed to ensure that Queen’s University Belfast operates best practice in the Recruitment and Selection of its staff. They compliment the Appointments Procedure but do not form part of that procedure and may be amended when appropriate.

  • Categories of Staff

    Procedure will be followed when appointing academic staff, academic-related and support staff.

    Academic Staff - includes Professors, Lecturers and Research Staff.  A ‘Lecturer’ includes Readers, Senior Lecturers, Senior Lecturers (Education) and Lecturers (Education).  The term ‘Research Staff’ includes Research Fellows, Senior Research Fellows and Research Assistants.

    All other Staff  - includes those who are not academic staff including academic-related, clerical, operational and technical staff.

  • Equality of Opportunity

    The University is committed to providing equality of opportunity for all applicants.  This is intended to ensure that the University appoints the best person for every post and that decisions are based on job related criteria.  It builds upon principles which will promote equality of opportunity and therefore should be read in conjunction with the Equality and Diversity Policy. Where the University has adopted an affirmative action programme to address an under representation of a particular group of persons; for example, men or women, or persons with a disability, a statement encouraging applicants from the relevant under represented group may be included in the job advertisement.

    The University will provide reasonable adjustments to disabled applicants throughout the recruitment process. Forms are available in a range of formats, font size or in Braille or audio formats. If applicants require any support during the selection process, they will be asked to disclose at application or they can contact For further information regarding Equal Opportunities matters visit the Diversity and Inclusion section of this site.

  • Confidentiality

    All Panel members must respect the confidentiality of the process.  Particular care must be taken in relation to sensitive personal data. It is of paramount importance that Panel members should treat all applications in the strictest confidence. Details in relation to the interview performance of any applicant should not be discussed with anyone outside of the Panel, People and Culture or senior members of staff within the University.

  • Defining the Job

    The Job Summary sets out the key elements of the role in terms of its general purpose, its main activities and responsibilities and in relation to planning and organising, resource management responsibilities and internal and external relationships.  An accurate Job Summary will mean that the right information is given to applicants when the position is advertised preventing any misunderstanding about the role.

    The Employee Specification sets out the relevant criteria for the role in terms of Education and Qualifications; Experience; Other Skills and Knowledge; Presentation; Personal Qualities; and Special Factors and Other Requirements.  The criteria are used to assess applicants and make selection decisions.  The criteria are provided in the form of Essential and Desirable requirements where the Essential criteria outline the absolute minimum which candidates must meet and Desirable criteria relevant to the post are those preferred requirements which may indicate better performance in the role.

  • Shortlisting

    The Recruitment Panel should assess the applications to determine which applicants are to be called for interview. At least two members of the Recruitment Panel should undertake the task of shortlisting. Shortlisting dates and interview panels should be arranged by the Faculty, School or Directorate well in advance.

    Two Stage Shortlisting: The Recruitment Panel may request People and Culture (Resourcing) to undertake a screening process where all applicants will be assessed prior to shortlisting. Screening of applications is not mandatory and is an optional step within the University’s recruitment process. When deemed appropriate, an initial assessment will be undertaken based on the essential criteria set out in the Job Details. The process will be applied fully and fairly in assessing all applications received.

    Unsuccessful internal applicants should seek feedback from their Line Manager.

    Feedback by People and Culture is not provided to unsuccessful applicants at shortlisting, due to the high volume of applications received.

  • Recruitment Panels

    The purpose of the Recruitment Panel is to assess the merit of each applicant and to make a recommendation for appointment. The hiring manager and or Chair should select Recruitment Panel members during the planning stage of a recruitment exercise. Panel members should be available to attend all interviews, to maintain consistency and to ensure fair treatment of all candidates. The Recruitment Panel should be comprised of individuals who are the most technically qualified to make decisions about the suitability of candidates.

    The University seeks to ensure Recruitment Panels represent the diversity of the organisation, and in particular, panels should contain both men and women. Where practicable this will include one member from each NI Community Background. Under no circumstances should you have one person interviewing, regardless of grade, responsibilities or duration of post. The size of the Recruitment Panel should be proportionate to the size and purpose of the role and will normally include the immediate line manager of the vacant post and a colleague who is familiar with the area of work. If the appointment has significant collaboration with other teams or departments, consideration should be given to inviting a key stakeholder to join the Panel.

    People and Culture representatives do not participate in panels unless it is a People and Culture role, or they are a key stakeholder in another area.

    AppointmentPVC (incl Dean of Grad School)Faculty Deans and Heads of SchoolProfessorAcademicClinical Academic
    Specified Chair VC or nominee PVC or nominee PVC or nominee Head of School or nominee Head of School or nominee
    Maximum Panel Size * 5 incl a Pro Chancellor 4 4 4 4
    * except where there is requirement for external assessors

    AppointmentResearchProfessional Services DirectorAcademic RelatedOther Support StaffTemporary Staff
    Specified Chair Head of School or nominee Registrar or nominee Head of School/Director or nominee Head of School/Director or nominee Head of School/Director or nominee
    Maximum Panel Size 3 4 3 3 2
  • External Assessors

    An external assessor may be invited to participate as part of a Recruitment Panel where it is considered necessary to provide expert advice and guidance to panels on the suitability of candidates for such an appointment.  The external assessor is a subject expert or other relevant representative who is not a University employee.

    Clinical appointments with external bodies will have different Recruitment Panel compositions to those recommended. Where appropriate up to a maximum of three representatives from the NHS and a Royal College Representative, if required.

    Director of the Institute of Professional Legal Studies Recruitment Panel to be determined by Faculty Pro Vice- Chancellor in consultation with the Vice Chancellor and People and Culture.

  • References

    References are confidential to the members of the Panel and the contents should not be disclosed to anyone else.  Referees, however, need to be made aware that the references provided can be called as evidence in legal proceedings and that, under the Data Protection Act, applicants may have a legal right to see a reference.

  • Interviews

    The most effective form of interview is face to face, where the candidate meets all of the Panel members.  However, it is recognised that there will be occasions when a candidate is unable to attend for interview. In these circumstances, consideration may be given to organising a video conference, Skype or telephone interview.

    Notification to Candidates

    The Chair of the Panel or nominee will normally advise the successful candidate by phone, that they have been recommended for appointment.

    The Chair of the Panel or nominee will provide feedback to unsuccessful internal candidates and on occasion external candidates.

    People and Culture will provide feedback to external reserves and Academics.

  • Redeployment

    The most effective form of interview is face to face, where the candidate meets all of the Panel members.  However, it is recognised that there will be occasions when a candidate is unable to attend for interview. In these circumstances, consideration may be given to organising a video conference, Skype or telephone interview.