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.
Shortlisting requires the Selection Panel (as a group) to assess candidates against the selection criteria as stated in the position description. It is useful to weight the selection criteria, in terms of importance, to help rank the candidates in order of suitability. A candidate must meet ALL Essential selection criteria to be appointed.
Shortlisting using the eRecruitment System
Panels can collectively assess applications using the eRecruitment system by each of the Panel members in turn or as a group:
- Viewing each of the applications online,
- Attaching notes to the application, and
- 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 rank the candidates:
- Eliminate those candidates that do not meeti the Key Selection Criteria.
- If more than 3-4 candidates meet the Essential Selection criteria, rank the remaining candidates according to how well overall they meet the selection criteria.
- Candidates that also meet Preferred Selection Criteria should not necessarily be ranked ahead of candidates that (better) meet the essential selection criteria
- Candidates should be ranked according to the overall suitability demonstrated in their application for all of the essential selection criteria
- If possible, limit your short list to a maximum of four (4) candidates.
- By estimating the percentage of the position that each selection criteria represents eg. Operations and Resource Management = 20% of Position. This percentage can be used to weight the score for each answer.
- Score the candidates response to the selection crieteria out of 10.
- Multiply the score by the weighting for the selection criteria:
eg. score 8 x weighting 30% = weighted score 2.4
- Add weighted scores to calculate an overall score (out cf 10) to rank each candidate.
Whilst simpler methods can be used, such as ranking candidates on a general assessment of their suitability to the criteria, this method has the advantage of being able to adjust for the percentage of the position covered in assessing the strength of each candidate against the selection criteria.
Optional Pre-Interview Selection Process
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. These special arrangements are organised by the School and/or the Selection Panel.
A presentation would 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 can complete a case study or pre interview questionnaire, prior to interview, to assist in testing their personal approach to a particular workplace situation eg. dealing with conflict, customer contact skills, team work, etc (which also tests their written communication / presentation skills).
Information and Communication Technology Proficiency
To assess business computing skills by:
- Asking candidates to provide examples of the most complex computer based work they have produced (of a particular type) eg. Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, Access Database, Power Point Presentation etc.
- Online Tests in Microsoft Office XP Proficiency at a (maximum) cost of $35 plus GST per test.
- Providing candidates with a computer based task to complete eg. a mail merge, formatting a document, spreadsheet calculations etc.
Aptitude and Psychological Tests
Use an “Assessment Centres” eg. Customer Service Orientation 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 eg. their thinking style, their role in a group setting, dealing with stress, communication skills, etc.
All documentation relevant to the selection process and relied upon by the candidate must be checked and certified copies taken prior to an offer of employment (preferrably at interview). To certify a copy of a document, state:
"I certify that this is a true and accurate copy of the original document"
Name (in full):
Swinburne requires applicants to declare any Visa Work Limitations on their application. Visas Checks of citizenship or residency are not required by Swinburne (as untrue statements in the application would void the contract of employment).
- How to check work rights
DIMA instructions on how to check Visa work restrictions
All qualifications relevant to the selection criteria should be sighted at the interview and certified copies taken to avoid delay in the appointment process.
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 well in advance. Generally a patterned, panel interview is recommended.
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.
Advantages of panel interviews are that an impartial view of applicants is obtained, applicants can be closely observed during interview and one panel member may notice or think of something missed by others. Panels can assist negate personal bias, stereotyping and any preconceived ideas about who the successful applicant should be. Many individuals feel comfortable around those who appeal to them personally in look, manner or speech pattern. Selection Panel composition should value diversity rather than familiarity. A disadvantage can be that should panels become too large, applicants can become confused during the interview. A panel of no more than three (3) is recommended for non-academic appointments.
The use of Patterned or Structured Interview Questionnaires 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 can be ranked 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 asking 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.
- 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 (usually a round table discussion).
- Allow sufficient time for each interview (approximately 45 minutes per interview, including a 10 minute break/buffer between interviews).
Equity and Equal Employment Considerations
During the interview the Selection Panel meets the applicant for the first time and has the opportunity to ask questions to continue their pursuit of identifying the candidate who best fits the position. The responsibility for applying EEO policies and 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. If you apply the principles set out in this guide you will provide every applicant with the same opportunity to prove their suitability for the position.
- 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 to applicant to perform the key position responsibilities).
- Applicants with vision impairment should be told where the seat is and offered assistance (allow them to take your elbow while explaining where to move). The layout of the room should also be explained.
- Selection Panels must ensure that questions are relevant to the Selection Criteria only.
- A number of discrimination cases have resulted from discriminatory questions asked at the interview, including sexually suggestive and intrusive questions. Sample discriminatory and non-discriminatory questions are provided below:
The following questions are clearly discriminatory:
- 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?
Alternative, 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?
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. To assist the applicant to relax, a good opening statement might be, “Before we discuss the position in detail, could tell us a little about yourself, including a brief overview about your recent work experience and abilities”. OR " Tell us what attracted you to this position."
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. They may look to clarify aspects at this time. You need to clarify any issues, provide a more detailed description of the position, including the positives and the negatives. A realistic job preview is the key here because if the applicant is not prepared to deal with some aspects of the role, it is better to allow them to deselect now rather than after appointment.
The Questions (a two way exchange of information)
Swinburne has a list of behavioural interview questions for management, academic and general positions based on the Swinburne Atrributes, a set of 9 central management and employee capabilities linked to our Strategic Direction.
Keep notes on your copy of the Interview Questionnaire for review at the end of the interview. All panel members should keep notes on their observations of the applicants.
Closing the Interview
The Chair should indicate to the applicant and other interviewers when the interview is coming to a close. Give the applicant an opportunity to ask questions and advise them of the process from here 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 need to 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 rate them at this stage against the selection criteria, to enable easy comparison at the end of the process.
Summary of Interview Results
Interview results should be summarised in a Selection Interview Record ( refer section 4 ), at the conclusion of each interview, against the essential 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?
- Will the applicant be committed to continuous improvement and updating their skills?
Common Pitfalls for interviewers follow:
- 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 and completion of the Selection Interview Record (see Section D) after each interview will assist avoid 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, however, it is not completely reliable and, to conduct a comprehensive assessment process, must be considered in conjunction with other evidence of suitability (eg. written application, aptitude tests, completion of case study, reference check etc).
Complete Reference Checks
This is a key step in selecting the best candidate. An applicant who appears outstanding at interview may have poor support from referees.
Reference Checks are useful to confirm the Selection Panel's views following interview and/or fill any gaps the Panel has identified. It is important that the person conducting the reference check was present at the interview to ensure any gaps at interview are explored and is usually the Chair.
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.
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 (generally one (1) week's notice is provided to applicants for interview). In addition, collecting references prior to interview can reduce the opportunity to reapproach the referee post interview.
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 has not 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.
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.
Select Successful Applicant
After completion of all selection stages, the top three applicants should be identified and ranked, for potential job offer, by reviewing all the information gathered on the shortlisted applicants:
- 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 should be notified.