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Preparing to Recruit

This section provides useful information for anyone who is preparing to recruit staff .

Review of Area Requirements

A vacancy creates an opportunity to reconsider the overall functions and structure within a Subject/Service area and to consider any changes required to the job.

Issues to consider:

  • The strategic aims of the area and Liverpool Hope
  • Any foreseeable changes that might impact on the role or the area
  • Budget/funding source
  • Personnel Strategy
  • Current staff structure and skills

When reviewing needs there are a number of possible sources of information, including:

  • Liverpool Hope policies and strategies relating to Subject/Service areas
  • Feedback from the outgoing appointee about how accurately the job description reflects the duties.
  • Feedback/consultation with any other stakeholders
  • Personnel Advisers are available to assist in the review process. See our Who's Who pages for details of who to speak to.

Reviewing the Role

A thorough analysis of the role can highlight workload levels and provide the basis for the job description and person specification.

Issues to consider:

  • Is there a continued need for the work undertaken by the previous postholder?
  • Can any of the work be re-allocated?
  • Could the job be done on a part-time, semester-time only or job-share basis?
  • Is the post correctly graded?

Authority to Recruit

Personnel can only advertise posts once formal approval has been obtained. The Authority to Recruit Form must be signed by the Vice-Chancellor, Dean or Service Manager and Finance and Personnel.

If the position is funded by an external grant it should be authorised by the appropriate Dean or Service Manager and Finance.

Once the Authority to recruit form is completed and counter-signed, it must be sent to the appropriate Personnel Adviser, along with:

  • Job description
  • Person specification
  • Draft advertisement if appropriate
  • Any further particulars and/or supporting documentation for candidates

Useful Links:

Authority to Recruit Form

Authority to Recruit Form - PDF

Developing the Job Description

A job description defines the role’s purpose, principal duties and responsibilities. There is a Job Description Form to assist you.

An accurate job description:

  • allows applicants the opportunity to assess their suitability for the role
  • allows applicants to decide whether to proceed with their applications, helping to minimise the number of inappropriate applications
  • defines the expectations of both the successful candidate and the manager
  • serves as a framework for the working agreement and an essential tool for induction, probation and performance review.

When compiling a job description:

  • Define the requirements of the role and NOT the characteristics of the current postholder
  • Use clear, straightforward language and avoid gender or age stereotyping of jobs, bearing in mind all aspects of diversity
  • Involve the present postholder where possible

Organisational structure

  • Which post does this post report to?
  • Does the post assist in staff recruitment/redeployment?
  • Does the post personally address staff performance issues?
  • Does the post undertake staff probation and performance reviews?
  • Does the post allocate tasks to staff?

Purpose of the job

List the main purpose of the position in one or two sentences only.

Key tasks/responsibilities

List six of the key tasks performed to support the main objectives of the position.

Budgetary responsibility

  • Does the post administer/ monitor/control a budget, if so, what is the size of the budget?
  • Does the post have delegated authority to authorise expenditure against another person's budget, and if so, to what limit?
  • What discretionary spending decisions or capital equipment purchases may be authorised by the post? Are these independent or shared decisions?

Materials, resources & equipment to be used

Does the post involve using any equipment such as IT equipment, or kitchen machinery?

Internal/external contacts

State the names of the post and/or areas and organisations, both internal and external with which this post regularly interacts.

Expected outcomes/performance measures

Describe the typical results or outcomes expected of the position and how they will be measured. This will underpin the framework for the probation and performance review. Examples of expected outcomes may be as follows:

  • Staff development undertaken
  • Research outputs
  • Projects completed on schedule
  • Regular and comprehensive reports to the manager
  • Operating procedures developed and well documented

Developing the Person Specification

A person specification should be based on the job description and describes the knowledge, skills and attributes required to perform the duties of the position. There is a Person Specification Form to assist you.

A clear person specification can:

  • allow applicants to assess their suitability for the role
  • provide the standards against which candidates can be assessed objectively
  • indicate to applicants how each criterion will be assessed during the selection process

General principles

The job description for a post details the activities involved in carrying out that job.

A person specification identifies the critical attributes required in a candidate if s/he is to be capable of carrying out those duties and responsibilities to a satisfactory standard.

The criteria contained in a person specification should be:

  • strictly relevant to the requirements of the job and must be clearly justifiable as indicated by the job description.
  • gender-free and age-free and should not be contrary to Liverpool Hope’s Equal Opportunities Policy.
  • clearly defined. It is important that there is consistent understanding of what the criteria mean. For example, “Must be able to give simple directions and information to the public in a courteous manner” is better than “Must be a good communicator"


Some aspects of the job will be more important than others. A person demonstrating the abilities to perform the important duties would be a more suitable candidate than one who only demonstrated the abilities to perform the less important ones. Weighting the importance of the criteria as High (3), Medium (2) and Low (1) will enable these distinctions to be made.

Assessment of criteria during recruitment & selection

If the Person Specification is to be used for Recruitment, an indication must be given as to how each criterion will be assessed during the recruitment process, using Application (A), interview (I), presentation (P) or Assessment exercise (E). This will provide the candidate with information pertinent to their application, and clarify the recruitment process further. It will also support the selection panel at shortlisting and selection stages.

Main features of the Person Specification

Educational Requirements

State the minimum educational or vocational level/qualification required.

Professional/Technical & Occupational Training

State the required level of training and/or membership of professional bodies necessary to undertake this post effectively.


Define the work experience it is necessary for a person to have before the job in question can be performed. Avoid specifying an arbitrary number of years experience as essential, as it is the quality and range of experience which is more important than the length of experience.

Skills and Knowledge

Define the practical skills and knowledge that are required to perform the job. Statements of skill, aptitude and knowledge must be job related.


This section will indicate particular characteristics the postholder should possess to carry out the duties of the position.

For some jobs, such as kitchen porters or library assistants, there will be specific requirements such as lifting and carrying heavy weights.

Specify the attributes necessary to fulfil such obligations but do not assume that this disqualifies women or people with disabilities.

Commitment to the Mission and Values of Liverpool Hope should be of high importance for all jobs