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Selecting Candidates

This section provides useful information for colleagues who are selecting candidates.

Planning the Selection Process

Selection is a two way process. Candidates are also assessing the job and Hope so it is important to present a positive image. When planning the recruitment day, the following should be taken into account:

  • How are the candidates to be greeted?
  • Will the candidates be taken on a tour of the campus?
  • Will the tour include facilities such as offices, labs, lecture theatres that the candidate may be using in the post?
  • Where will candidates wait for interview/presentation/test slots?
  • What are the likely waiting times for candidates?
  • Will candidates have the opportunity to meet potential colleagues and ask questions?
  • Will candidates have the opportunity to meet potential managers and ask questions?
  • Have refreshments been arranged for candidates?

Any members of Hope staff involved in the recruitment day should be clear on the purpose of their role in the day and whether this should involve assessment of the candidate or whether they are to provide information to the candidate.


The Personnel Office will send electronic copies of applications to the recruiting area no later than one working day after the closing date. Personal details and monitoring data are detached from each application form before going to the recruiting area for shortlisting to minimise bias on the basis of personal details.

Applications should be maintained in strict confidence to protect the privacy of personal information and to ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act.

It is the responsibility of the recruiting manager to make appropriate arrangements for shortlisting, which should involve another appropriate member of staff who:

  • must have undergone Recruitment and Selection training or mentoring
  • must have appropriate knowledge and/or experience of the job
  • must be at a level to include line management responsibilities
  • must not be in a position to prejudice the outcome, for example, those with a close personal relationship with one of the applicants

Shortlisting should be carried out as soon as possible after the closing date for receipt of applications.

Guidance on shortlisting is available. Approximately 4 applicants are usually shortlisted for one vacancy.

Applications are confidential to those shortlisting and this should be made clear to all those included in the selection process.

Each member of the shortlisting panel should record information on the Shortlist Record Form. Copies of the Recruitment Shortlisting Form should be returned to the Personnel Advisers so that it can be used:

  • for monitoring purposes
  • as the basis for discussion when the shortlisting panel reconvene to agree upon the collective shortlist
  • to provide feedback to candidates who request it
  • to help with investigating any complaints brought by candidates who have not been selected

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic) is required to approve all academic short-lists.

Internal Candidates

If there are internal applicants from the Faculty/Service Area/ Unit in which the job is based who are not shortlisted, they should be notified and advised of the reasons behind the decision at the earliest opportunity.

Selection Methods and Tests

The recruiting manager is responsible for deciding the most appropriate selection process for the position. An interview is normally the minimum selection method, however, it is recommended that consideration be given to incorporating multiple selection methods into the recruitment process. This can help to enable a more rounded and fuller assessment to be made of the candidates. Other methods might include:

  • presentations
  • seminars
  • lectures
  • in-tray exercises
  • desk top exercises
  • group discussions

Candidates must be notified of the details of any skills test when they are invited for interview.

Presentations and Lectures

Asking candidates to deliver a short presentation or lecture can be a valuable way of helping to assess the candidate’s suitability for academic appointments in the following respects:

  • research experience and potential; and whether research interests can be integrated into the subject area's research plan;
  • enables candidates' lecturing and communication skills to be assessed, including their abilities to respond to questioning.

It is also a good method of assessing oral communication skills for support posts that require the post-holder to present reports or other information to groups of people.

When planning presentations:

Objective criteria to assess presentations must be set. These must be related to criteria outlined in the person specification. The criteria should be made known to the audience, who should be asked to rate the presentation according to these criteria, on the presentation assessment form.

Ideally all members of the Interview panel should be present at the presentation.

  • Other members of staff from the Faculty/Service area may be invited to attend the presentations. It is important that these members of staff understand the criteria for assessment and do not regard the presentation as a form of interview. It is also essential that members of the audience attend all of the presentations for any one position to ensure equity.
  • It is good practice to give the candidates as much information as possible about the expected focus, and the criteria they are being assessed against from the person specification. The subject of the presentation should be relevant to the post and candidates should be notified of what equipment will be available, the length of time the presentation should last and who the audience will be. Requests for equipment can be made by candidates on the AVA/IT request form.
  • Ensure a quiet room and audio-visual aids (and technical support) are made available and that there is somewhere for candidates to wait.
  • Time should be allocated after the presentation to allow for questions from the audience, this will help candidates demonstrate their ability to cope with opposing points of view.

Composition of Selection Panel

As the interview process should involve at least three people, and in some cases external experts, it is advisable to agree who will be involved as soon as possible. In order to promote equality of opportunity selection committees should, wherever possible, be of mixed race, age and gender composition.

An interview panel must include at least:

  • one person who has appropriate knowledge and/or experience of the job
  • one person who is at a level to include line management responsibilities
  • one of whom must have been involved in the shortlisting process

All members of the interview panel must have undergone recruitment and selection training or mentoring.

Before the interview takes place all members of the interview panel should receive:

  • An interview agenda
  • A copy of the advertisement and further particulars including the job description and person specification
  • Code of Practice for the conduct of Interviews
  • Copies of the shortlisted applications

Role of the Chairperson

The Chairperson is responsible for managing the interview. This includes:

  • ensuring that the interview room is quiet and free from interruption
  • agreeing the questioning strategies with the other panel members in advance of the interviews;
  • ensuring that questions cover the areas detailed in the person specification;
  • ensuring someone meets and greets the candidates;
  • introducing the panel to candidates;
  • explaining the interview plan;
  • dealing with discriminatory or other unacceptable behaviour by other participants;
  • keeping to time in each interview;
  • ensuring that evidence is collected on selection criteria;
  • giving candidates an opportunity to ask questions;
  • ensuring that the views of panel members are sought on each candidate and;
  • that a consensus is reached;
  • ensuring an Interview Record Form is completed for each candidate with clear reasons for their selection or rejection

Code of Practice for the Conduct of Interviews

Successful recruitment depends upon finding the applicants with the appropriate level of skills and qualifications who will identify with the mission, aims and objectives of Liverpool Hope and make a positive contribution towards them.

Liverpool Hope is committed to a policy of Equal Opportunities. This interview code of practice is provided to ensure interviewers are aware of relevant legislation, policy and Codes of Practice and that these are adhered to in the interview and selection of staff.

It is the responsibility of the person leading the selection panel to remind all interviewers of this Code of Practice.

The Code is intended to provide a flexible interview framework which puts the Equal Opportunities Policy into practice.

The aim is to:-

  • Define guidelines and standards for good practice.
  • Ensure legal obligations are fulfilled.
  • Ensure recruitment and selection is seen as a key public relations exercise by those involved. 

The Interview

The aim of the interview is to:

  • Assess the candidate’s ability/suitability for a specific job based on the information obtained from application.
  • Provide an opportunity for the candidate to make further enquiries concerning the nature and conditions of employment in order to assess the terms of the appointment if it is offered.
  • Gain an insight into the applicant’s personal qualities for the job matched against the person specification.

It must be recognised that the interview as a form of assessment is highly susceptible to interviewer bias and stereotyped perceptions. To reduce this effect and to generally improve standards, all interviewers will receive appropriate training or mentoring in interviewing and selection.

Panel members should, wherever possible, agree the structure and format of the interview in advance. This should include agreeing the style of questioning as well as the content of the questions.

At the Start of the Interview

Start on time with each interview

  • Greet candidate
  • Chairperson to introduce self and panel
  • Ensure candidate is comfortable
  • Explain how the interview is to be conducted
  • Indicate that you are going to take notes

During the Interview - Questioning Techniques

The purpose of questions posed at interview is to obtain additional information to supplement or clarify the application. It is essential that comparable questions are asked of each applicant and that the substance of such questions should not vary according to sex, ethnic minority, marital status or disability of the applicant.

Examples of areas which should be avoided during interview are:

  • Marital Status
  • Occupation of Spouse
  • Number of children, family intentions or domestic arrangements
  • Trade Union Activities
  • Political and/or religious beliefs.

Areas covered should relate to the person specification and must be justified in relation to the safe, effective and efficient performance of the job.

Examples of areas which may be covered if they relate to the person specification:

  • Could you be flexible in terms of shift arrangements?
  • Could you change shifts at short notice if required?
  • Would you be able to work overtime if required?

Ask simple open-ended questions:

e.g. “How do you organise your work?” or “What sort of problem did you have to tackle?”

Avoid leading the candidate or suggesting the answer required:
e.g. “I imagine you are accomplished at delegating?” - this will have a predictable answer

Questions should be indirect - use phrases such as ‘How, When, Where, Why, Who, What, Which, Tell me more, In what way, Explain, Describe’.

Direct questions and closed questions will be less productive but can be used to clarify issues. Direct questions invite a Yes or No answer and will close down the dialogue:

e.g. “Can you plan and organise your workload to meet deadlines?” will almost certainly produce the reply “Yes”. Asking “How do you plan and organise your workload to meet deadlines?” will lead to an answer which can be explored further.

Probe - using the questioning techniques above to ensure information is provided with sufficient clarity

During the interview

  • Ensure you remain in control of the interview
  • Listen and observe
  • Be polite
  • Be culturally sensitive
  • Give candidates the opportunity to question and set aside time for that purpose
  • Be honest about any problems/difficulties which are relevant to the job.
  • Use appropriate body language e.g. nodding of head indicates that you are interested and want to hear more.

At the end of the interview

  • Thank candidate for attending.
  • Advise of next steps in the selection process and when and how the outcome will be notified.
  • Complete the interview record.
  • Ensure candidates are advised of the outcome no later than promised.

Avoid making comments about the candidate’s performance until ALL interviews have taken place.

Making the Appointment

Following the selection process the personnel representative or the Chair will send a recommendation report to the Vice-Chancellor or Pro Vice-Chancellor for approval. After approval Personnel will issue the appointment letter and other documentation. Managers will be required to deal with any academic or technical issues that arise, as well as making preparations for the new member of staff to arrive.

Personnel will undertake action to obtain references, occupational health assessments, evidence of eligibility to work in the UK, copies of qualifications etc.