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Selection Process

Determine Selection Technique

Human Resources can assist the selection panel to arrange additional forms of assessment, usually conducted prior to interview, to provide extra information to identify the most suitable applicants for shortlisting. Additional assessment methods should be specifically relevant to the position as detailed in the position description. Please allow sufficient time to arrange for the assessment and for applicants to undertake the testing. Examples of additional forms of assessment may be:

Academic candidates may be requested to do a presentation or guest lecture to staff of the School as part of the selection process, or may be asked to undergo a range of other more informal processes such as meeting staff of the School or campus tours.

A presentation may also be relevant for general staff appointments to positions that require public speaking or delivery of group presentations as part of the essential selection criteria.

Case Study/Pre interview questionnaire
Applicants may be required to complete a case study or pre-interview questionnaire, prior to interview, to assist in testing their personal approach to a particular workplace situation e.g. Dealing with conflict, customer contact skills, and team work, etc. (which also tests their written communication / presentation skills). Please contact the Recruitment team for further information and guidance.

Information and communication technology proficiency
Candidates may be required to undertake an assessment of business computing skills through a computer based task, e.g. creation of Word documents, Excel spread sheets, Access database, Power Point presentation etc. Please contact the Recruitment team for further information and guidance.

Aptitude and psychological tests
Aptitude and psychological tests can be utilised to identify the "fit" of the person to the position. Applicants are asked to complete an occupational personality questionnaire to assess attributes necessary to the role e.g. their thinking style, their role in a group setting, dealing with stress, communication skills, etc. Please contact the Recruitment team for further information and guidance.



Shortlisting requires the hiring manager or chair of the selection panel to assess candidates against the selection criteria as stated in the position description. The hiring manager may elect to convene the selection panel to shortlist applications as a group or may conduct initial shortlisting themselves. It may be useful to weight the selection criteria, in terms of importance, to help rank the candidates in order of suitability.

Shortlisting using the eRecruitment System
Applications are to be assessed using the eRecruitment system as follows:

  • Viewing each of the applications online,
  • Changing the status of the applicant on the system to "shortlist" and then "interview". eRecruitment Guide and Demonstration
    (Explains how to shortlist applicants using the eRecruitment System. The Recruitment team will email to you a login id and password to use the eRecruitment system)

To assist in shortlisting the candidates, you may like to consider:

  • Eliminating those applications that do not meet the key selection criteria
  • If more than 3-4 candidates meet the Essential key selection criteria, you may like to rank the remaining candidates according to how well overall they meet the key selection criteria
  • Candidates that also meet preferred selection criteria should not necessarily be ranked ahead of candidates that (better) meet the essential key selection criteria
  • Candidates should be shortlisted according to the overall suitability demonstrated in their application for all of the essential key selection criteria
  • Please contact theRecruitment team for further guidance around shortlisting candidates


Relevant Documentation

The original of all relevant documentation and qualifications, relied on in the selection process, must be sighted by a Swinburne staff member and a certified copy sent to Human Resources, prior to an offer of employment being sent to the successful candidate.


For all Visa enquiries please contact HR Assist by phone on +61 3 9214 8600 (option 1) or by email at


Conduct Interview

Interview Format

The interview is designed to enable the Selection Panel to seek further elaboration on an applicant's claims and to assess likely "fit" in the work area. It is also designed to enable the applicant to obtain a realistic job preview, which may result in the applicant either continuing or withdrawing their application. The structure and format of the interview should be determined in advance. Generally a panel interview is recommended.

Panel Interview
Interviews are conducted by all members of the selection panel, and questions should be allocated to panel members in advance, to ensure a smooth process and allow each panel member to observe and question the applicant.

Panels can assist to negate personal bias, stereotyping and any preconceived ideas about who the successful applicant should be. A disadvantage can be that should panels become too large, applicants can become confused during the interview. Generally a panel of three (3) is recommended for non-academic appointments. All endeavours must be made to ensure that male and female gender representation is provided wherever possible.

Structured interview question guide
The use of a structured interview question guide is recommended, as they provide selection committees with the position specific, consistent questions based on the selection criteria. The same questions are used for all applicants interviewed, enabling easy comparison of candidates at the end of the process. Just as in the short-listing process, the candidate's performance may be assessed against selection criteria at the end of each interview. Results from structured interviews are generally more reliable, due to the disciplined, consistent approach adopted for all interviewed candidates.

Open-ended questions should be utilised to ensure the candidate does most of the talking (your aim is for the candidate to speak for approximately 80% of the time) which will then enable you to probe any issues. In addition, behavioural interview questions should be used to ask applicants to provide real life examples of their behaviours in the workplace (this is further covered under Interview Structure).


The physical environment in which the interview is conducted is important. Remember, as the Selection Panel you need all applicants to perform at the highest possible standard. The environment therefore must be free of distractions.

Quick Tips

  • Ensure the interview is accessible to all interviewees, including those with mobility restrictions. Choose a reasonable size, well ventilated room and ensure the environment is comfortable. Distraction due to the candidates and / or panel being uncomfortable can undermine a useful interview process.
  • Assure all applicants that their attendance and responses remain confidential.
  • Make sure that the room is sound proof, particularly if the next applicant is waiting outside. If the panel is large, provide name cards for the table.
  • Water should be provided for the applicant and panel members.
  • The room should be set up in a way that will put the applicants at ease.
  • Applicants with vision impairment should be told where the seat is and offered assistance. The layout of the room should also be explained.
  • Allow sufficient time for each interview, including a 10 minute break/buffer between interviews).


Equity and Equal Employment Considerations

The responsibility for applying EEO principles rests with all employees involved in the recruitment process. Throughout this guide you will note that EEO principles are integrated through every step of the process.

Quick Tips

  • Panel members should ensure that applicants with a disability are accommodated and that applicants are considered on the basis of merit and the ability to perform the inherent requirements of the position (including making reasonable adjustments to current procedures / techniques to enable the applicant to perform the key position responsibilities).
  • Selection panels must ensure that questions are relevant to the skills and requirements outlined in the position description and avoid asking discriminatory questions.

The following are examples of discriminatory questions:

  • How do you think you will manage the duties associated with this job together with responsibility for a small child?
  • Do you have plans to start a family in the near future?
  • In view of your family commitments, how will you get to work on our Melbourne campus if you need to?

Recommended non-discriminatory questions are:

  • This position requires supervision of students from 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Are you able to meet these requirements?
  • This position entails occasional fieldwork on weekends; would you be available to do this? Travel between campuses is involved in this job, are you willing to travel as required?


Interview Structure


Welcome the applicant with a few friendly words to create a relaxed atmosphere. Thank them for their attendance and introduce them to all panel members. Advise the applicant of the format of the interview, including approximately how long it will take, your use of a structured questionnaire, advise that you will all be asking questions and will also be taking notes throughout the interview. The Chair needs to establish and maintain control to ensure there is time for all questions to be covered and that interviews run to schedule.

Provide a realistic job preview
You then need to establish a common understanding of what the position entails. You may wish to ask the applicant to outline their understanding of the position or they may seek to clarify aspects at this time. It is a good idea to clarify any issues, provide a more detailed description of the position, including the positives and the negatives.

The Questions (a two way exchange of information)
Swinburne has a list of suggested behavioural interview questions for management, academic and general positions based on the Swinburne values and behaviours.

It is highly recommended that panel members make notes during and after the interview to review at the end of the interview/s.

Closing the Interview

The Chair should indicate to the applicant and other interviewers when the interview is coming to a close and provide the applicant an opportunity to ask questions. It is recommended you confirm the next steps and advise when a decision is likely to be made and conveyed. Remember, you will need to allow yourself enough time to contact referees, obtain approval for appointment and obtain a decision from the successful candidate. You should allow at least one week after acceptance of offer by the preferred candidate for written advice to be sent to unsuccessful candidates. At the end of each interview, you need to review your comments and discuss your observations with other panel members. It is also useful to assess against the selection criteria and against other candidates, to enable easy comparison at the end of the process.

Reviewing Interview Data
Interview results should be reviewed at the conclusion of each interview, against the selection criteria for the position. You may wish to consider:

  • Will this applicant fit in as part of the existing team?
  • Is this person likely to provide a high level of service to your clients? Communication skills.
  • Does this applicant have the level of skills/experience required to step into the role. If some training is needed in a certain area is there someone with the skills to do this training? If not then how will you deal with this gap?
  • Factor in the requirements for on the job learning, to what extent is this feasible?

The rating scale
Below is an example of a commonly used rating scale that can be used as a guide when evaluating your interview responses.

Rating Scale







Not competent, needs substantial development


Below average skills, some training would be required to develop skills to acceptable standard


Adequate skills and ability is apparent


Above average skills, no additional training needed at this time


Superior skills and ability; could mentor or teach others

Common pitfalls for interviewers to avoid:

  • First impression
    Where the first impression made by the applicant biases Selection Panel members, either for or against the applicant. Having more than one person conducting the interview and using a structured, consistent recruitment process for all applicants reduces the potential for this bias.
  • Halo effect
    Where a panel member is so impressed by one attribute of an applicant that he or she would attribute positive qualities for all other criteria regardless of the evidence. The requirement for panel members to record notes throughout the interview can alleviate this bias. Leniency or strictness . Some panel members may consistently judge applicants either too leniently or too strictly. Having more than one person conducting the interview and using a structured, consistent recruitment process for all applicants reduces the potential for this bias. Primacy or recency . There may be a tendency amongst panel members to recall the first and the last few applicants only. Those in the middle can be all but forgotten. Written notes of each interview will assist in avoiding this bias.
  • Outsiders
    Persons who are not commonly seen in some environments (e.g. women, people with disabilities, older persons) are seen and described in less favourable terms than are used for those in the majority. Having panel members from diverse backgrounds can minimise this problem .

A behavioural interview is one of the best indicators of potential performance, however, it is not completely reliable and, to conduct a comprehensive assessment process, it must be considered in conjunction with other evidence of suitability (e.g. written application, aptitude tests, completion of case study, reference check etc.).


Complete Reference Checks

Reference Checks are useful to confirm the Selection Panel's views following interview and/or fill any gaps the Panel has identified. It is useful for the person conducting the reference check to have been present at the interview to ensure any gaps at interview are explored .

It is recommended that a minimum of two reference checks are completed following the interview using the form below. It is important to be informed about the professional relationship between the interviewee and the referee. A referee may be used to seek further information on an applicant's abilities against particular criteria that may not have been fully clarified at interview.

It is important to confirm that the candidate has made the referee aware that they have been nominated to complete a reference, prior to contacting the referee. Applicants may specify that they wish to be contacted prior to any reference checking. This might occur if their current employer or referee is unaware that the applicant is looking for alternate work. It is important
to respect the applicant's wishes in these cases and to contact the applicant, thus allowing them time to inform their referees.

The Reference Check (R3) is designed to provide a systematic and thorough assessment of the candidate against employment relevant behaviour and the position selection criteria.

Telephone Reference Checks

Conduct telephone reference checks (minimum of two) immediately following interview . Questions to referees should be based on the selection criteria. It is important to be informed about the professional relationship between the interviewee and the referee. A referee may be used to seek further information on an applicant's abilities against particular criteria that may not have been fully clarified at interview.
Referees may not be prepared to document an applicant's shortcomings, but may be prepared to discuss them.

Again, discriminatory questions must not be asked. Questions asked of referees and previous employers are subject to the same legal constraints of those asked of the applicant.

Written References

Requesting submission of written references prior to interview is not recommended for non-senior appointments. Problems with referees providing written references are common, often due to the limited time available prior to interview and privacy constraints of other employers (In addition, collecting references prior to interview can reduce the opportunity to reapproach the referee post interview.


Select Successful Applicant

After completion of all selection stages, the preferred applicants should be identified and ranked, for potential job offer, by reviewing all the information gathered on the shortlisted applicants:

  • Applications
  • Pre Interview information (e.g. presentation, case study, questionnaire, aptitude tests, psychological tests etc.)
  • Summary of Interview Results Reference Checks

If all the panel members are unable to agree on an applicant to be recommended, the Chair usually makes the final decision. If a Panel member strongly disagrees with the decision, the Head of the Management Unit may be notified.