Policy and Stages
The recruitment process is grouped into 8 distinctive and sequential stages. Each stage can be reviewed separately below or you can download the full Recruitment & Selection Policy January 2020 [PDF 210KB].
1.1 Queen Mary University of London (Queen Mary) is committed to attracting, recruiting, developing and nurturing a talented and diverse workforce.
1.2 Queen Mary will select and recruit people with the right skills, knowledge and experience, through a fair recruitment process in accordance with its core values, as outlined in the Queen Mary 2019-2030 Strategy, organisational behavioural framework and the People and OD Strategy.
1.3 Heads/Directors of Departments/Schools/Institutes are responsible for the proper conduct of the recruitment and selection for all posts within their area and for ensuring that Recruiting Managers complete the relevant mandatory training.
1.4 Line Managers of staff using this policy are also responsible for ensuring that their staff and any external participants are aware of the policy and receive training where appropriate.
1.5 All staff involved in recruitment and selection are responsible and accountable for ensuring that the principles of this policy are maintained by adhering to its standards throughout the recruitment and selection process.
1.6 All staff who participate in recruitment and selection activities must have completed Queen Mary or the NHS recruitment and selection training. It is recommended that refresher training is undertaken every two years.
2.1 This policy applies to all Queen Mary staff involved in recruitment and selection activity at Queen Mary.
2.2 The policy will be reviewed annually to keep it current with relevant employment legislation, changes in Queen Mary policy and its recruitment practices.
2.3 Queen Mary may exercise discretion in its application of the recruitment and selection process, where it deems it appropriate.
3. Policy Statement and Commitments
3.1 Queen Mary will apply its recruitment practices, equitably and in line with the Equality Act 2010, ensuring that staff and candidates are not subject to any detriment, in respect of protected characteristics that are, or may be construed, as discriminatory.
3.2 This policy has been developed in accordance with current employment legislation, Queen Mary’s Equality and Diversity Strategy and sets out clearly defined guidelines, which will be used for all staff recruitment and selection activities.
3.3 Queen Mary will make reasonable adjustments for candidates who declare a disability under the Equality Act 2010 as requested throughout all the stages of the recruitment process, where applicable and where it is reasonable or possible to do so. The Recruiting Manager must speak to the HR Partnering Team in the first instance for advice on reasonable adjustments.
3.4 Queen Mary can take positive action to help or encourage job applicants who may be at a disadvantage because of a protected characteristic, are under-represented or have specific needs connected to a protected characteristic. Queen Mary may apply positive action during the recruitment process, on a case-by case basis. The HR Partnering Team will provide advice on the appropriate use and application of positive action.
3.5 When using external recruitment experts and agencies Queen Mary will ensure that external agencies provide evidence of their success in appointing underrepresented groups in an organisation.
4.1 STAGE 1: Establishing a Need: Identifying a Vacancy
4.1.1 Recruiting Managers must fully evaluate the need for new or replacement posts in conjunction with requirements and existing staffing and workloads. For the avoidance of doubt, posts made vacant due to staff leaving need to be fully evaluated and approved to see if the post is required. This includes consideration of the hours (FTE) required, flexible working arrangements, duration of the position, work locations, structures and level of post required.
4.1.2 Recruiting Managers must consider the total potential cost of creating any new post. The total cost includes the relevant basic salary appropriate to the grade of the post, on-costs including pension and NI contributions, and where applicable, the potential need to factor in a market supplement to attract talent against current market rates.
4.1.3 Staff eligible for redeployment must be given prior access to vacancies before they are advertised. Recruiting Managers should consult the Reorganisation, Redundancy and Redeployment policy for further information, and speak to the Partnering Team to check the redeployment register before advertising a post.
4.1.4 Recruitment agencies should only be used in exceptional cases, supported by a robust business case, authorised via the recruitment system, to justify the significant increases in recruitment costs.
4.1.5 Where executive search and selection firms are used for senior and/or difficult to fill vacancies, advice and guidance must be sought from the relevant Strategic HR Partner before proceeding with the procurement process and any formal engagement.
4.2 STAGE 2: Creating the Job Profile
4.2.1 The Recruiting Manager must produce a job profile for the vacancy detailing a fair and accurate representation of the post and the skills/qualifications required for the role. Recruiting Managers must adhere to the format which is laid out in the job profile templates. Guidelines for creating the Job Profile and templates, including generic Job Profile templates for academic posts, can be accessed on the HR website. The HR Partnering Team can provide advice on creating or amending job profiles.
4.2.2 Only those criteria that are essential to the effective performance of the job (i.e. the minimum requirements needed to undertake the post), must be listed as essential in the person specification. Inclusion of (many) desirable criteria (i.e. criteria that would enable the job holder to do the job well) may result in fewer suitable applicants from which to choose, as well as the possible perception of discriminatory practices. Where there are multiple candidates who meet the essential criteria, the panel may use the desirable criteria, where available, to determine which candidates to shortlist.
4.2.3 For Consultant level posts within the School of Medicine and Dentistry, the Job Profiles must be agreed by the relevant Royal College before advertising.
4.2.4 For externally funded posts, the Recruiting Manager must ensure that the prescribed duties/responsibilities and the funders’ requirements are included in the Job Profile document.
4.2.5 Certain posts will be eligible for visa sponsorship under the Home Office immigration system. Typically, such posts will allow Queen Mary to consider overseas/international candidates for employment, subject to specific criteria. Specific research roles may require additional ATAS certification before sponsorship can be considered. Recruiting Managers should contact the HR Recruitment and Operations Team for further information.
4.3 Job Evaluation Process
4.3.1 Job profiles for brand new or significantly altered posts must be submitted to Human Resources for job evaluation in order to determine the appropriate grade of the post. Job evaluation must take place before the authorisation process outlined in Stage 3.
4.3.2 Queen Mary uses a job evaluation process as a fair and objective way to evaluate posts across the university. Any new or re-structured posts must go through this process in order to ensure parity and consistency in grade and salary. Job evaluation is carried out by a panel of HR Partners with panel outcomes and feedback provided directly to the Recruiting Manager by HR.
4.3.3 Posts must not be advertised until the appropriate grade has been confirmed by the evaluation panel. Where a post is found to have been advertised without going through the job evaluation process, it may be withdrawn from advertising until the correct evaluation has been completed.
4.4 STAGE 3: Authorisations
4.4.1 To request authorisation to hire to a new or existing post, the Recruiting Manager must secure permission from both the Faculty/Head of Professional Service and the relevant financial authority (Finance or the Joint Research Management Office (JRMO). Approval is sought via the university’s recruitment system.
4.4.2 Once the approval process is completed, one of two routes below must be followed:
- If the duration of the post is for six months or longer, the post will be advertised by the HR Recruitment and Operations Team in the relevant media (see Stage 4 below).
- If the post is for a duration of less than six months, the Recruiting Manager may either advertise via the process above or recruit with restricted advertising to identify a suitable pool of applicant(s) i.e. an internal pool, in order to give flexibility to fulfil immediate short-term needs. This can be achieved by 1) advertising internally only to a relevant pool of applicants, 2) advertising the role within department, or 3) advertising internally to the university.
4.4.3 Regardless of the duration of a post, the Recruiting Manager must ensure that posts are visible and individuals have the opportunity to apply. The Recruiting Manager must continue to follow a fair and equitable process in accordance with the principles of this policy. The post must have a summary job description and person specification. Right to Work checks before the first day of employment must also be undertaken.
4.4.4 Relevant authorisations must be in place before any advertising/recruitment activities can be undertaken.
4.5 STAGE 4: Advertising
4.5.1 Typically posts are advertised internally and externally concurrently. Posts may be advertised internally only following a discussion with the HR Partner to identify whether a suitable internal pool of candidates exists. Posts subject to restructure and/or consultation may not need to be advertised. Speak to the HR Partnering Team for more information.
4.5.2 All posts (with exception of named research posts) must be advertised. Where a post is for a duration of six months or less, and where there is no expectation that a post will be extended beyond a six month period, a restricted process may be followed (see 4.4.2 above).
4.5.3 Where the Recruiting Manager is aware from the outset that the post will be for a period of six months or longer, or if there is any prospect of the position being extended beyond six months in duration, the post must be advertised externally.
4.5.4 Posts to be advertised will require a job advertisement drafted using the template which can be accessed on the HR website.
4.6 The Advert
4.6.1 All Queen Mary adverts must contain;
- the job title;
- the main duties and responsibilities of the job (job description);
- the location of the job;
- an indication of the salary package (including allowances) or salary range;
- skills, qualifications and experience needed (person specification);
- closing date for applications;
- interview date (where possible).
4.6.2 The Recruiting Manager must ensure that the advertisement, job description and person specification are clear about the role requirements and provide consistent information. For example, the essential and desirable skills requested in the job advertisement must match the person specification given in the job profile and vice versa. Applicants must be clear on the post requirements and appropriate skills/qualifications required.
4.6.3 As a minimum requirement, posts must be advertised on the Queen Mary website, and for relevant posts, jobs.ac.uk and/or the Find a Job website. Departments/Schools/ Institutes may choose to arrange and fund adverts in additional specialist publications/ media.
4.6.4 Posts must be advertised for a minimum of two calendar weeks (i.e. 14 days).
4.6.5 Where executive search agencies are engaged, they will be responsible for running the advertisement on behalf of Queen Mary. Where this is the case, such third-party organisations will be expected to advertise the vacancies in line with all relevant employment legislation.
4.6.6 The closing date for an advert may be extended where circumstances require. In exceptional circumstances, for example, where a redeployee with the right of prior consideration is identified, the advert may be withdrawn.
4.7 STAGE 5: The Selection Process
4.7.2 The shortlisting panel will comprise no fewer than two people from the interview panel. The designated shortlisting panel should be gender diverse. If possible, panels should also include individuals of different ethnicities.
4.7.3 After the closing date of the advert, the Recruiting Manager must access the recruitment system, collate completed applications and disseminate these to the shortlisting panel.
4.7.4 The shortlisting process must be conducted fairly, using only the essential and desirable criteria (see 4.2.2 above) as set out in the advertised job profile. Additional criteria must not be retrospectively included or used after the vacant post has closed to applications.
4.7.5 Where there is a delay to the shortlisting process, it is the responsibility of the Recruiting Manager to ensure that candidates are contacted by email to inform them of a delay, with an indicative timeline of when they will be notified of the outcome of their application.
4.7.6 Candidates should be invited to interview as soon as possible after the post has closed to applications.
4.7.7 It is the responsibility of the Recruiting Manager to ensure applicants that are not shortlisted are notified, as soon as reasonably possible, via the recruitment system.
4.7.8 Recruiting Managers may revisit the pool of applicants, or interviewed candidates for up to 12 weeks from the closing date of advertising, should the same vacancy become available again.
4.8 Candidates and Conflicts of Interests
4.8.1 Close professional, personal or familial relationships between selection panel members and candidates that could amount to a conflict of interest, or lead to undue influence, or a lack of objectivity in the recruitment process must be declared in advance of participation in any selection process. In such cases, the member of staff with the conflict of interest, or perceived conflict of interest should have no role in the selection process.
4.8.2 Shared academic interests or professional working relationships do not constitute a close personal or familial relationship. However, panel members who have or have had a relationship of this nature, must declare this to the Chair and members of the selection panel. The Chair of the selection panel must record this on the Interview Record Form and ensure that all panel members are aware at the start of the interview process.
4.8.3 Non-disclosure of a conflict of interest may result in disciplinary action.
4.9 STAGE 6: Interviews and Assessments
4.9.1 Composition of Interview Selection Panels
4.9.2 All staff who participate in recruitment and selection activities must have completed Queen Mary’s recruitment and selection training.
4.9.3 Interview selection panels must consist of a minimum of three individuals and be aligned with the Composition of Selection Panels (see Appendix 1). This includes the requirement to have a mixed-gender composition. Where possible, panels should also include individuals of different ethnicities.
4.9.4 HR will monitor the composition of interview panels for audit purposes and will carry out spot checks to assess whether the university’s panel composition requirements are being followed.
4.9.5 Interview selection panels should not include the current incumbent of a post nor agency/temporary contractors or workers.
4.10 Interviews: Responsibilities of the Chair of the Panel
4.10.1 The Chair of the selection panel is accountable for the overall management of the interview process including obtaining Right to Work documentation and proof of essential qualifications from each candidate.
4.10.2 The Chair of the selection panel must have completed appropriate recruitment and selection training (see 4.9.2 above) and also unconscious bias training.
4.10.3 It is the responsibility of the Chair to ensure competency-based and structured questions are produced and agreed with the interview panel members in advance of the interview. The Chair will ensure that the questions focus on the skills, knowledge and experience required by the post as outlined in the person specification.
4.10.4 The Chair will ensure all candidates are asked well-structured and consistent questions. The Interview Record Form must be used for assessment purposes.
4.10.5 The Chair will ensure that the Interview Record Form is completed and uploaded to the recruitment system, promptly after the interview.
4.11 Right to Work Checks
4.11.1 Without exception, all candidates must provide documentary evidence confirming their eligibility or entitlement to work in the United Kingdom, by providing the original copies of relevant documents, before their employment commences. In line with Home Office rules, Queen Mary does not accept Right to Work checks on or after the start date of employment.
4.11.2 Candidates must be asked to provide their Right to Work documents at interview and the Chair of the interview panel is accountable for ensuring that they, the Recruiting Manager or another delegate checks the relevant documents against those in the list of relevant and acceptable documents. Training is available from HR on Right to Work document checking.
4.11.3 Further information about Right to Work can be obtained from the HR website and the International Compliance Adviser, in the Operations and Recruitment Team.
4.12 Travel Expenses
4.12.1 Reasonable economy class travel expenses may be reimbursed by the relevant School /Institute/Department where candidates are required to travel to any of Queen Mary’s campuses to attend assessments or interviews.
4.12.2 In such cases, the Recruiting Manager will discuss the terms of travel, costs and associated expenses with the candidate ahead of the interview date. All such costs must be authorised/paid for by the Recruiting Department. Candidates are expected to seek and use the most economic means of travel.
4.12.3 In the spirit of Queen Mary’s green agenda, and to keep travel costs to a minimum, Skype interviews are recommended in the first instance, where candidates are based overseas, or required to travel a significant distance.
4.13 Methods of Assessment
4.13.1 Prior to the selection process, the Recruiting Manager must determine the most appropriate method of assessment for the role, taking into account the essential and desirable requirements see 4.2.2. Organisational and Professional Development can provide more specific advice on selection methods.
4.13.2 A number of assessment and selection tools are recommended to ensure a valid and fair method of supporting the selection process. Assessments should be considered and used in order to evaluate shortlisted candidates’ suitability for a post. Candidates should be given adequate time to prepare for any required presentations.
4.13.3 Methods of assessment can include:
- A presentation on a topic related to the position;
- For academic posts, there is a usually an expectation that the interview is complemented by a presentation;
- For professional services posts at grade 6 and above, there is an expectation that the interview is complemented by the use of a presentation and / or other selection methods;
- If used, applicant presentations must be assessed in relation to the content, style and time management of the presentation and the applicant’s response to questions.
- Numerical and computer literacy (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) tests;
- Practical job-related tests such as a laboratory experiment or demonstration;
- Written tests (drafting reports/emails).
4.13.4 Organisational and Professional Development can provide advice on assessment centres and psychometric testing.
4.13.5 Where Recruiting Managers wish to invite candidates to informally meet with members of the School/Institute/Department this must be carefully managed and must not form part of the formal selection process.
4.14 Interview Attendance
4.14.1 Existing Queen Mary staff (i.e. internal candidates) who have been invited for assessment and/or interviews and give adequate notice to their line manager, will be given reasonable time-off from their day jobs to attend the assessment or interview.
4.14.2 Skype, or equivalent web-based platforms, may be offered to candidates that are unable to attend interviews in person.
4.15 STAGE 7: Making Selection Decisions
4.15.1 Following the completion of interviews, the Chair of the selection panel must lead the discussion to gain feedback from the other panel members. The selection panel must decide which candidates are appointable and which candidates are not appointable.
4.15.2 The successful candidate will be the individual that best demonstrates they meet the published criteria for the role. Where a consensus cannot be reached, the Chair of the selection panel will make a final decision whether to appoint or not appoint, liaising if necessary with the appropriate Vice-Principal (or nominated person) for academic vacancies or to the Head of Department / School / Institute for all other vacancies for advice.
4.15.3 The selection panel may wish to identify one or more reserve candidates, in the event that the first choice applicant does not accept the job offer. The names of reserve candidates must be indicated on the Interview Record Form.
4.15.4 Where there is evidence of underrepresentation of particular groups in a Department / School / Institute, the selection panel may consider selecting a candidate on the basis of a protected characteristic (positive action) where two candidates are equally qualified/scored on merit. It is important that the panel seek advice from Human Resources before taking positive action.
4.15.5 If no candidate is appointable, the Recruiting Manager will decide whether to:
- Re-advertise the vacancy; and/or
- Reconsider the need/scope of the post.
4.16 Candidate Feedback
4.16.1 The Chair or Recruiting Manager will usually provide verbal feedback to unsuccessful candidates or nominate another member of the selection panel to do so, as soon as it is reasonably practicable and ideally within ten working days of the interview.
4.16.2 Where applicable, the feedback will cover any assessments taken, as well as the interview.
4.16.3 Feedback is typically only provided at interview stage, not shortlisting stage. This does not apply to internal candidates where Recruiting Managers are required to provide constructive feedback.
4.17 STAGE 8: Offer of Employment
4.17.1 Offers of employment are conditional and are usually made verbally to the successful candidate by the Recruiting Manager (or a nominated member of the selection panel) in the first instance, before the offer is confirmed in writing.
4.17.2 A verbal offer must include details of:
- salary offer;
- proposed start date;
- terms of the contract (e.g. fixed-term; permanent; full time; part time);
- any other benefits or start up package (e.g. relocation);
- any conditions attached to the offer (see 4.17.4 below).
4.17.3 Salary offers must be made at the minimum spinal point of the evaluated grade for the post. If the Recruiting Manager can evidence that the candidate demonstrated at interview exceptional skills, knowledge and experience relevant to the post, they may appoint at a higher spinal point, up to the midpoint of the grade range (for a Lecturer at Grade 5, the starting salary will be the midpoint 35).
- For salaries above the midpoint, approval must be sought from the HR Partnering Team.
4.17.4 Offers of employment are subject to the following pre-employment checks, wherever applicable:
- Right to Work checks, if not provided at interview;
- Receipt of satisfactory references;
- Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Checks;
- Licence to practice and registration i.e. GMC/GDC/Nursing;
- Medical clearance;
- ATAS Certification;
- Other specific requirements that must be satisfied, as a result of the position offered.
4.17.5 Offers of employment may be withdrawn at any time where candidates have not satisfied any or all the conditions above or where a candidate has provided misleading, false or deliberately incorrect information in order to secure employment. Before withdrawing any offer of employment the Recruiting Manager must speak to the HR Partnering Team.
4.17.6 In exceptional circumstances, a market supplement may be considered. Where a market supplement is available this should be stated in the job advert from the outset of the recruitment campaign. The Recruiting Manager should speak to the HR Partnering Team before agreeing a market supplement.
4.17.7 The relocation policy outlines the circumstances in which a relocation package may be offered.
4.17.8 The offer of employment must be approved through the recruitment system approval chain. Once the offer has been approved, the HR Recruitment and Operations Team will generate a formal offer of employment in the form of a conditional employment contract. This will be sent directly to the successful candidate by HR copied to the Recruiting Manager or relevant administrative contact.
4.18 Employment References
4.18.1 Recruiting Managers are responsible for requesting references.
4.18.2 All employment offers are conditional upon receipt of at least two written references covering the last three years where possible, which are satisfactory to Queen Mary. One reference must be from the candidates’ most recent employer.
4.18.3 Where Queen Mary is unable to obtain a reference for a candidate, the candidate must be given the opportunity to provide an alternative (but suitable) referee. For the avoidance of doubt, one reference must always be from the candidates most recent employer.
4.18.4 Where an offer is made to an internal candidate, Recruiting Managers must take up one reference from the current line manager and this may be done by telephone.
4.18.5 Referees will not be contacted without the candidate’s permission (which will normally be indicated on the application form), and until after a verbal offer of employment has been accepted.
4.18.6 For academic roles, references may be sought before interview provided the candidate has given their explicit consent.
4.18.7 If a candidate has named a member of staff involved in the selection process as a referee, the candidate will be asked to provide details of an alternative referee, if necessary.
4.18.8 Where a Recruiting Manager receives a reference that is deemed to be unsatisfactory, the HR Partnering Team must be contacted for further advice.
5.1.1 Recruitment Monitoring and Storage of Records
5.1.2 All elements of the recruitment and selection process which are recorded, e.g. notes by the selection panel on presentations, written test results produced by the candidates, any grading sheets or summary of outcomes used to inform the panel's decision-making process must be retained securely.
5.1.3 All recruitment related documentation must be retained for six months following the appointment start date to justify objective decision-making if a claim of unfair discrimination is made.
5.1.4 After the six-month period, recruitment documentation must be securely destroyed (see exception in 5.1.5). Further information regarding the QMUL’s retention of documents can be found here: Records Retention Schedule.
5.1.5 For posts that have required Tier 2 sponsorship, documentation will be retained by HR for the duration stipulated by UK immigration rules.
5.1.6 Personal information relating to ethnicity, gender, marital status and age are not disclosed to members of the interview panel. Depersonalised statistics obtained from the recruitment process, will be retained for the purposes of monitoring recruitment trends or informing QMUL policy.
5.1.7 Candidate information is never passed on to third parties unless it is in compliance with the applicable Data Protection and GDPR Regulations, immigration legislation or to fulfil other legal or industry regulation, relating to a position.
5.1.8 Where candidates have been successful in obtaining a position, their recruitment records will be stored on their electronic personnel files created at the time of employment.
5.1.9 All personnel records are kept safe, secure and treated confidentially, at all times, in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and 2018 GDPR Regulations.
Panel Membership required for Interviews/Selection exercises
SMD Clinical Posts with Honorary Consultant Contract additional requirements:
Minimum of 2 people from a-e above
SMD Clinical Posts with Honorary Consultant Contract additional requirements:
Minimum of 2 people from a-d above.
SMD Clinical Posts (at Senior Lecturer Level) with Honorary Consultant Contract additional requirements:
Minimum of 2 people from a-d above.
Research (e.g.) PDRA
Research (e.g.) PDRA
Minimum of 2 people from a-b above
Professional Services post- grade 7 and above
Professional Services post- grade 7 and above
Minimum of 2 people from a-d above
Professional Services, Technical and Support Services Grade 6 and below