Staff Recruitment and Selection
The Recruitment Panel
The aim of the Recruitment Panel is to select the right person, with the
right skills, to fill the requirements identified in a vacant job, in accordance with the Recruitment and Selection Procedures.
To minimise the risk of natural personal bias, shortlisting and interviewing should not
be undertaken by one individual. The panel will normally consist of the
Chair, relevant department representative(s), the role's immediate line
manager and where necessary panel members external to the department or the
University. A Human Resources representative, when appropriate, will also
attend as a panel member.
Consider the size of the panel. Ordinarily, up to 4 panel members is
considered to be sufficient for the majority of the University’s
recruitment. There is not a definitive ideal size but the Chair should
consider balancing the number of panel members to achieve an effective
interview. From the candidate perspective, getting the panel size right is
- Insufficient expertise to satisfactorily
answer all candidate questions.
- Candidate perceives NTU as disinterested in the
- Disjointed interview, too many questions from
too many people
- Lacks focus/looks disorganised
|Determining panel size
- Who needs to be involved in the recruitment
- Who needs to be at interview to provide
relevant information about the job and be able to
answer candidate questions?
- Can other interested parties meet the
candidates outside the formal interview?
The Head of Department or Academic Team Leader will designate a Chair of the
The role of the Panel Chair
The Chair of the panel (and all panel members) should be competent in making
selection decisions and have undertaken Recruitment and Selection training
where appropriate prior to undertaking this role.
It is the responsibility of the chair of the panel to ensure the selection
process is fair to all candidates, all candidates are given the opportunity
to convey their potential contribution to the vacancy and to ensure the
person for the job is appointed. This will be achieved if the University’s
Recruitment and Selection process is followed. They are also responsible for
ensuring the candidate’s perception of the University and their experience
of our recruitment and selection process is professional, accurate, positive
and maximised at every opportunity.
This guide goes on to give detail on the selection panel and process, but in
summary the role of the panel chair is to:
- Appoint the panel members
- Ensure that all panel members are competent and
familiar with the selection process and have all the
relevant documents e.g. Job Description, Person
Specification, Application Forms in advance of the
selection meetings and provide appropriate support if
- Set up and manage a meeting to determine selection
criteria and shortlist the candidates
- Agree interview arrangements including date,
times, questions and interview structure with the
other panel members
- Manage the interviews and any other selection
- Authorise interview expense claims for candidates
and pass to finance
- Agree the successful candidate for the vacancy with the
- Make a verbal offer to the successful candidate
- Verbally advise unsuccessful candidates and
provide feedback where requested
- Collect and retain all the interview notes from
panel members immediately after the interview
- Fully complete all paperwork required for the
selection process eg Shortlist Assessment Form,
Interview Arrangements, Interview Assessment Form
- Take an active role in the induction of the
Panel members need to work together to take notes. In
addition to each panel member taking their own notes,
they should arrange for another panel member to take
detailed notes whilst they are asking questions. This
enables precise notes of the candidate’s response to
The notes should capture what the candidate has said,
but not be a judgement on what was said at this stage.
These notes will be used to enable the panel to reach a
judgement following all the selection processes.
Remember that even a very good candidate is likely to
be less strong in some areas than in others. Make sure
that the overall conclusion reached is based on the
All information obtained during the selection process
must be treated as confidential by the recruitment
panel. This is essential for applicants to have
confidence in the system to which they are entrusting
their future career.
The information a candidate provides on an
application form is highly personal and must not be
divulged to people who are not legitimately involved in
the recruitment and selection process.
Information may, however, be required by either
statutory agencies or an employment tribunal
investigating a complaint of discrimination. In these
circumstances the University may be required to release
If any personal information is subsequently stored on
computer files, the requirements of the Data Protection
Act 1998 must be met.
External Panel Members
For some roles, expertise may be required on the
panel that is not held by University employees, or an
independent perspective may be necessary. It may
therefore be appropriate for a panel member to be
external to Nottingham Trent University.
It is common practice for a fee to be paid to
external panel members. The University’s policy on these
fees is as follows:
- For individuals employed at other Universities, no
fee will be paid but reasonable expenses will be met
- For individuals employed in other sectors, a fee
of £150 per day will be paid, plus reasonable expenses
will be met
On receipt of applications within HR, the responses are logged
for evaluation of the marketing processes. Equal
Opportunities Forms are removed and passed to the
Diversity Development Co-ordinator (DDC) for equal
opportunities monitoring. If any of the applicants are
identified as disabled, the DDC will copy and censor
(removing confidential information) the Equal
Opportunities Form and pass it to the Recruitment and
The shortlisting process identifies which applicants
meet the essential requirements of the post defined in
the Person Specification to produce a manageable number
of people to go forward to the next stage of the
The Vacancy Folder is sent to the Recruitment Panel
Chair following the closing date for the vacancy. The
- All the Applications Forms received
- Job Description
- Person Specification
- Shortlist Assessment Form
- Interview Agenda Form
The recruitment panel completes the short-listing
process. It must not be undertaken by one individual and
must involve as many of the panel as possible, ideally
involving all panel members.
How to shortlist
1. When shortlisting, all application forms must be
compared with the essential criteria specified in the
Person Specification. Each panel member should look at
each application form separately and draw up his or her
own shortlist, then discuss together as a group:
- If each panel member fails to shortlist a
candidate, then reject that candidate
- Sifters then debate the merits of all the
remaining candidates until they reach a consensus over
2. To ensure the University can supply feedback to
unsuccessful applicants and protect ourselves from
potential discrimination claims, reasons why applicants
have been selected and rejected must be recorded at each
stage of the selection process. The
Shortlist Assessment Form should be completed at
this stage to provide the required record. The form
provides the opportunity to show:
- Decisions are fully reasoned and made on the basis
of the information on the application forms
- There is a complete record of the reasons for each
Experience shows how important this sort of hard
evidence is in successfully defending unfounded
3. The criteria used for short listing must be
job-related and applied consistently to all applicants.
Those involved in short listing should take care to
ensure that short-listing decisions are based only on
the information contained in the application form and
any other supplementary information provided.
4. Applicants must not be given priority over other
candidates or be rejected on the basis that they possess
a higher qualification than required on the Person
5. Those involved in short listing must not impose
arbitrary methods of rejecting numbers of candidates
purely to create a manageable shortlist. If having
compared all application forms with the essential and
desirable criteria of the Person Specification, the
shortlist still contains an impractical number of
applicants the Chair of the Panel must contact their
Human Resources Manager for advice.
6. The Chair of the Recruitment Panel is responsible
for ensuring that all shortlisting notes are gathered
together from the panel and attached to the completed
Shortlist Assessment form
7. On completion of the shortlist, the Recruitment
Panel will also determine the interview programme. The
Chair of the panel should then complete the
Interview Agenda form, giving a clear indication of
any additional requirements, e.g. presentation,
psychometric assessment (following consultation with HR). The completed form should then be
returned to the Recruitment and Selection Administrator
at least 10 working days before the date of the
interview, with the Shortlist Assessment form and all
the application forms and enclosures.
Shortlisting in this way will enable your approach
to be more consistent and less subjective than it
would be if you were simply selecting on the basis of a
‘gut feeling’. This also provides a basis for
systematically recording why candidates have been accepted
or rejected for the next stage of the selection process.
Disability Interview Guarantee
The University uses the disability symbol (above),
which, for recruitment and selection, means we have
committed to interview all disabled applicants who meet
the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider them
on their abilities.
Following shortlisting, the Recruitment and Selection
Administrator will check that the shortlisted candidates
include any disabled candidate previously advised by DDC
that meets the Person Specification essential criteria,
and invite them to attend interview.
On receipt of all the relevant documentation
following shortlisting, the Recruitment and Selection
Administrator will invite the short listed applicants
for interview. Candidates will be informed at this stage
if they will be expected to undertake selection
activities in addition to the panel interview e.g.
presentation, psychometric assessment.
Where a candidate has special requirements
in relation to the selection process, the Recruitment
and Selection Administrator will also make the
appropriate arrangements in conjunction with the
Whilst UK expenses incured are paid to candidates
attending interview, it may be more convenient to
undertake initial interviews using telephone or video conferencing
for overseas candidates. The Recruitment Panel Chair is
responsible for exploring this option, and if suitable
to the panel and candidate, should make the necessary
Facilities are only available in the ANTE Room, Bass
Management Centre. Email
NBS BMC to book
the room. Costs for a test call and the call on the day
will be charged to the recruiting department.
In addition to the room booking, the video
conferencing equipment also needs to be booked via email
to SOS AV City. Use this email address to keep the
technicians updated on all relevant correspondence with
A test call needs to take place at least 1 week
before the interview via video conference, to ensure a
secure and correct connection.
Information required from candidates:
- Digital Transmission Line Number (ISDN)
- Direct International Line Number - analogue number
- Email address of the technicians abroad
- In the case of telephone conference, the
candidate's preferred contact telephone number
At any stage after the interview shortlist has been
drawn up, applicants may wish to know why their
application has been unsuccessful – this is where the
Panel Chair or HR
will refer to the
Shortlist Assessment Form where full notes of the
decision making will have been made. Giving this kind of
feedback must be balanced and handled sensitively.
Chairs of panels may obtain advice concerning the
approach to be taken from Human Resources.
Remember that a candidate who perceives that he or she
has been treated unfairly could make a complaint under
Equal Opportunities legislation. If your decision-making
and recording procedures have not been scrupulous and
thorough, this could be very detrimental for the
University and could damage our image as an employer.
As an organisation, we are expected to safeguard our
interests by selecting only those candidates who are
most suitable for advertised vacancies. However, we must
also ensure that all applicants are treated fairly, and
all decision-making is entirely based on the grounds of
candidates’ abilities, experience and skills, which are
strictly and demonstrably related to being able to
perform the job effectively.
On receipt of the Shortlist Assessment Form, Human
Resources will write to the referees of each
short-listed candidate, unless the candidate has
specified that they do not wish their current employer
to be contacted at this stage.
Employment and personal references are normally
sought to be available to the Recruitment Panel Chair
only at interview, so that when the Recruitment Panel is
deciding the best applicant their decision can be
informed and supported with references (along with any other
selection methods used). Decisions must not be made on
the reference information alone, but in conjunction with
all selection methods and are therefore not to be copied
to or shared with panel members prior to the interview
Unconditional offers of employment (whether oral or
written) must not be made until satisfactory
references have been received. This may indeed be after
a conditional offer (subject to satisfactory references)
has been accepted for cases where applicants do
not want their current employers contacted.
Human Resources are responsible for acquiring
references and all associated follow-up work. The
information contained in a reference is supplied in
confidence and must be treated as confidential.
If there are any issues in a reference which need to
be pursued at the interview, it will be the
responsibility of the Chair to formulate appropriate
question areas which must be asked of all candidates;
If a reference raises concerns about one
candidate’s suitability for working in a team
situation, questions relating to experience of team
work must be asked of all candidates, with
appropriate follow-up questions.
In the majority of cases it will be sufficient for
other panel members to know that satisfactory references
have been obtained.
Where a recruitment panel member has been nominated
as a referee, they should decline to provide a
reference. Selection decisions should be made based only
on the information provided to the panel during the
selection process so, to be in a position to contribute
to an objective decision, an alternative referee should
The Recruitment and Selection Administrator will
provide the interview panel with a Vacancy Folder
Interview Arrangements Chair’s Notes (salary scale,
- Job Description
- Person Specification
- Job Advertisement
- Interview Assessment Form
- Confirmation of Appointment Form
An interview enables a recruitment panel to ask job
related questions in order to reach a decision, and to
provide candidates with further information about the
job. There must equally be opportunities for candidates
to ask questions of the panel.
Good interviews have trained interviewers and the
interview itself is well planned. The Chair of the panel
and all panel members should be competent in Recruitment and Selection,
having attended appropriate training
prior to undertaking this role.
It is important that the interview, agenda, questions
and any assessments used are appropriate, relevant to the post
and free from discrimination.
The appointment must be based on factors determined
from the job description and person specification and
the following must not be used as determining
- ethnic origin
- personal circumstances
Well in advance of the interview, the interview
questions should be identified. It may be appropriate to
use Competency based questions. Consider questioning
|Open questions to
encourage the candidate to open up and talk (use
||Closed questions to draw
conclusions and check understanding (use
|Tell me about…
||So you are saying that….
|What were your main duties?
||What I’m hearing is…..
|How have you….
Interview questions will be made up of core
questions and a number of follow up probing questions
(further open questions) to find out more about the
|Probing Question Example
- Describe an occasion when you have had to
implement a strategic change.
- How did you go about planning the change?
- What were the obstacles?
- How did you overcome them?
- How did you engage the stakeholders in the
- What was the outcome?
To avoid the risk of sex discrimination claims do not
ask personal questions about family, marital status,
Agree with the panel members who will ask what
questions and how any required follow up questions will
be handled i.e. agreement that any member of the panel may
Panel Members should prepare for the interview by
reviewing all relevant documents prior to interviews,
familiarising themselves with the questions to be asked
of all candidates and be aware of the venue and schedule
of the interviews.
Decide on the seating arrangements and ensure there
will be no interruptions once the interviews have
The Chair must ensure that the approach to the
interview structure and the content is applied
consistently to all candidates for a specific post.
Having an interview structure such as the one below will
assist in achieving consistency:
- Thank candidate for attending and introduce all
- Explain the interview process and timescales
- Interview agenda
- That notes will be taken by panel members
- The same core questions will be asked of all
- Candidate to briefly walk through their work
experience (familiar subject to put the candidate at
- Ask the core questions for all applicants
- Candidate questions
- Confirm what happens next – outcome, further
If any candidates are eligible for interview
expenses, the Chair is responsible for authorising the
claim form and for it to be forwarded to finance for
If unspent criminal convictions are divulged during
the selection process, the detail should be explored by
the chair of the panel. They should obtain the facts
about the conviction and discuss the appropriate course
of action with their Human Resources Manager. Normally,
if a conviction does not impact on the role, it would
not be used as a deselection reason.
Following the interviews, the Chair is responsible
for ensuring that the
Interview Assessment is completed and returned to
the Recruitment and Selection Administrator, together
with the documents in the Vacancy Folder.
Unsuccessful applicants may wish to know why their
application has been unsuccessful, so you will need to
refer to the notes made on the Interview Assessment.
Giving this kind of feedback must be balanced and
handled sensitively. Chairs of panels may obtain advice
concerning the approach to be taken from Human
Presentations are frequently used as a selection
method to demonstrate subject expertise and
communication skills. The presentation topic should be
relevant to the role, linked to the Job Description and
Person Specification achievable for the candidate to
prepare in the given timescales.
To allow the candidate sufficient time to prepare
their presentation, invitations to attend should provide
a minimum of 10 days notice. Candidates should also be
advised of room layout and equipment so they may prepare
their presentation appropriately.
Psychometric assessments can measure various technical
abilities such as numerical and verbal reasoning and
provide information on and individual’s personality and
motivational style. They are only ever used
in conjunction with other selection tools to provide
additional information to support a selection decision.
They are never used to make selection decisions in
To administer and interpret psychometric tests users
must be fully qualified and licensed. A number of Human
Resources staff are available to advise on the use of,
and conduct these tests.
For further information see
psychometric assessments in Nottingham Trent University.
Where a recruitment campaign requires a number of
selection methods such as interview, presentation,
psychometric assessments, prioritisation exercise etc and
there are a number of candidates shortlisted, it may be
appropriate to run an assessment centre to progress all
applicants at the same time.
Whilst running an assessment centre is a major
administrative task, requiring a number of assessors, it
has the advantage of progressing the vacancy quickly,
achieving all selection processes on the same day.
If considering running such an event, liaise with
your HR Manager to determine its appropriateness and to
plan the event.
Making the Selection
Decision - Evaluating the Evidence
Evaluating the evidence collected during interviews
and other activities is not as straightforward as it may
at first appear, and it can sometimes be hard to
maintain an objective position.
Here are some common pitfalls that you should avoid
as you make your assessment decisions:
- The tendency to allow powerful first impressions
to cloud subsequent judgement. If a candidate is
confident it is all too easy to assume that he or she
is also intelligent and reliable. Equally, someone who
is poorly dressed and nervous may be perceived as lazy
and lacking in determination.
- It is easy to assume that an older person is less
able to learn new skills than a younger comparator
- The ‘halo/horns effect’ – the tendency
to let exceptionally good or bad performances in one
area affect the evaluation of other areas
- Giving greater weight to negative information than
- The ‘primacy effect’ – the tendency to remember
more details about the candidates seen first than
those seen later on
- The ‘recency effect’ – the opposite tendency to
remember more about later candidates than the ones
- Being overly influenced by positive body language.
(Candidates who make frequent eye contact and smile a
lot tend to do better at interviews – irrespective of
their suitability for the job).
To objectively and systematically assess candidates you
- Review the evidence provided for each assessed
- Award a grade for each assessed area
- Give an overall rating for the individual’s
You should only award a grade once all the evidence
has been collected.
A possible rating scale to be used is summarised in
the table below:
||Above the expected standard of
performance. (May have one or two very minor
weaknesses but these would be quickly rectified with
training/development and experience in the role).
||Acceptable performance. Has one or
two weak areas but these could probably be rectified
with some training/development and experience in the
||Below required standard of
performance. Unlikely to improve without significant
training and development.
||Very poor. Performance well below
Your Human Resources Manager will be able to advise
you on an appropriate rating scale for a particular
Selecting the most suitable candidate
Once you have gathered sufficient information and
evaluated each candidate against the assessment
criteria, your task of selecting the best candidate
should be straightforward.
The most suitable candidate will be the one who has
demonstrated the highest level of performance in the
skills which are particularly important in the job being
filled. The most important skills will have been
documented in the person specification for the role.
Do not forget that you have several sources of
information to help you to decide:
- The application form
- The evidence obtained during the interview, and
other selection methods
By keeping the basis of the decision-making to
pre-set criteria, i.e. the job description and person
specification, the risk of bias is considerably reduced.
Equally importantly, an objective, consistently-applied
process will significantly increase the likelihood of
selecting the most suitable person for the job. All
paperwork relating to the Vacancy should be passed to
the Recruitment and Selection Administrator who will
ensure it is all retained in line with legal
Remember, unsuccessful candidates and indeed the
successful candidate may request feedback on their
performance in the selection process so these notes made
to evaluate candidates are key to be in a position to
provide the facts.