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Recruitment and Selection Policy

This Policy is only applicable for those staff employed in UCL Australia

Foreword by the Provost

Recruiting and selecting the right people is of paramount importance to the continued success of UCL. This Recruitment and Selection Policy sets out how to ensure, as far as possible, that the best people are recruited on merit and that the recruitment process is free from bias and discrimination.

This policy sets out a procedure to enable departments to monitor staff recruitment and to provide information to enable the appropriate committees to monitor recruitment activity across all of UCL.

By following the policy, in addition to fulfilling employment law requirements, UCL will also ensure that it continues to uphold its commitment to equal opportunity.


1. Introduction
2. Scope
3. New Jobs and Job Vacancies
4. Job Description (details of the role)
5. Person Specification
6. Details for Applicant
7. Publicising the Vacancy
8. Advertising on UCL's Website and the Internet
9. Advertisements internal to the University of London
10. Processing Applications
11. Selecting the Interview Panel
12. Monitoring
13. Shortlisting
14. Arrangements for Interviews
15. Interviewing
16. Selection Tests and Presentations
17. Making a Decision after interview
18. References
19. Criminal reference checks
20. Appointment
21. VISAs
22. Induction and Probation
23. Salary
24. Breaches of Policy

Appendix A Legislation See Equalities Web Site
Appendix B Sample Job Descriptions
Appendix C Procedure for sending advertisements to Human Resources
Appendix D Sample Shortlisting form
Appendix E Procedure for Monitoring the Recruitment & Selection Process
Appendix F Sample letters
Appendix G Questions to Applicants
Appendix H Guidelines for Giving References
Appendix I Information to be provided by CV Applicants
Appendix J Recruitment & Selection Checklist
Appendix K Right to Work Documents
Appendix L UCL Equal Opportunities Policy Statement
Appendix M Standard Terms and Conditions
Appendix N Information on UCL       
Appendix O Checklist Regarding Disabled Candidates
Appendix P Checklist Management Competencies
UCL Australia Aplication Form


1. This policy is designed to assist you to recruit and select the best candidate for a vacancy. In doing so it also enables you to take account of:

  • UCL's equal opportunities policy (see appendix L)
    Legislation including the Sex Discrimination Act the Fedral Racial Discrimination Act, the Disability Discrimination Act and the Age Discrimination Act.
  • Advice on good practice from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Commission on University Career Opportunity, the Equality Challenge Unit and Opportunity Now.
  • Requirements for compliance with Immigration legislation (see paragraphs 57, 87-90)

See the Austrailian Human Rights Commission for more information about the employment legistaion.

2. It is the responsibility of each Head of Department/Division to ensure that this policy is carefully followed within their department/division. All Heads of Departments/Division should make members of their staff aware of the obligation to familiarise themselves with and follow this policy.

3. The policy will be reviewed from time to time and amended as appropriate.

4. Advice on any aspect of this policy or procedures allied to it is available from the Human Resources Division website, at ' Australia'. A 'Recruitment and Selection Checklist' is also provided in Appendix J of this policy.


5. Normally appointments must be made in accordance with this policy and must, therefore, be subject to advertisement and interview. The Human Resources Division must approve any exceptions in advance of formal appointment, for example where a grant awarding body approves funding for a named individual to work on a particular piece of research and the grant is dependent on that individual's contribution. Recruiting managers should refer to the guidance in paragraph 1.3 of the UCL Research Ethics Framework surrounding the approval process to undertake academic research. All ethical issues relating to a research project should be identified and brought to the attention of relevant internal and external approval or regulatory bodies before a position is advertised.

6. When employing temporary or casual staff on a short-term basis the principles of good practice outlined in this policy should be followed. In summary these are that details of a post must be publicised, selection must be on the basis of appropriate criteria and merit, a record of the process and decision must be kept and the monitoring information returned to the HR Division.

7. Financial approval for the establishment of a new post or the filling of a vacancy must be obtained before recruitment commences. Departments should therefore consult with the appropriate section of the Finance Division - Planning & Management Accounts in respect of non-research posts and Research Administration in respect of research posts.

New Jobs and Job Vacancies

8. The occurrence of a vacancy is an opportunity to review the necessity for the post and its duties, responsibilities and grade.

9. Where the duties of a post have changed significantly the Head of Department must seek confirmation from the Human Resources Consultancy team of the appropriate grade for the post, ideally before financial approval is sought.

10. When a vacancy arises, consideration must be given to staff whose posts are being made redundant and for whom redeployment is being sought (see Australia/redeployment.php). Details of employees seeking redeployment can be found on the Redeployment Database. Recruiting managers must view this database and give consideration where appropriate prior to an advertisement being placed. Recruiting a redeployee can reduce both the time and the cost incurred in filling a vacancy.

11. When making appointments to posts with management responsibilities, consideration must also be given to UCL's management competency expectations (see For academic, research and teaching posts, consideration must be given to the expectations outlined in the document 'Excellence and the UCL community: a shared endeavour' (see These will vary according to the needs of the post, and the relevant elements should be included in the 'Person Specification' (see paragraphs 19 - 28, below).

Job Description (details of the role)

12. A job description is a key document in the recruitment process, and must be finalised prior to taking any other steps in the process (see Appendix B for sample job descriptions). It should clearly and accurately set out the duties and responsibilities of the job and must include:

  • the job title (which must be sex and age neutral)
  • the location of the job i.e. department/faculty/division/research group
  • grade of the post
  • the post to whom the postholder is responsible
  • any posts reporting to the postholder
  • main purpose of the job
  • main duties and responsibilities
  • any special working conditions (e.g., unsocial or shift working patterns, the requirement - for clinical posts - to obtain health clearance from an NHS Trust, the requirement for a criminal record check - (see paragraph 82)

13. Items that should be included in job descriptions are:

  • A note that indicates that, as duties and responsibilities change, the job description will be reviewed and amended in consultation with the postholder
  • An indication that the postholder will carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the job as requested by the line manager or Head of Department/Division
  • A statement that the postholder will actively follow UCL policies including Equal Opportunities policies
  • An indication that the postholder will maintain an awareness and observation of Fire and Health & Safety Regulations

14. The language in job descriptions should:

  • Avoid jargon and unexplained acronyms and abbreviations
  • Be readily understandable to potential applicants for the post ''can proof documents for accessibility and plain, effective English
  • Avoid ambiguity about responsibilities and be clear about the postholder's accountability for resources, staff, etc.
  • Use inclusive language - for advice on non-discriminatory language see UCL's 'Guide to non-discriminatory Language', at  

Person Specification

15. The person specification is of equal importance to the job description and informs the selection decision. The person specification details the skills, experience, abilities and expertise that are required to do the job. It should be drawn up after the job description and, with the job description, should inform the content of the advert. The person specification should be specific, related to the job, and not unnecessarily restrictive - for example only qualifications strictly needed to do the job should be specified. The inclusion of criteria that cannot be justified as essential for the performance of the job may be deemed discriminatory under discrimination law, if these impact disproportionately to the disadvantage of specific groups.

16. The person specification must form part of the further particulars of a vacancy along with the job description in order that applicants have a full picture of what the job entails. The person specification enables potential applicants to make an informed decision about whether to apply and those who do apply, to give sufficient relevant detail of their skills and experience in their application. The person specification forms the basis of the selection decision and enables the selection panel to ensure objectivity in their selection. Sample person specifications can be found in Appendix B.

17. UCL has agreed a set of management competencies which should inform the person specification for staff with management responsibilities ('Competency Expectations of Post Holders with Management Responsibilities' - see Similarly, UCL has outlined a range of expectations which should inform the person specification for all academic, research, and teaching staff ('Excellence and the UCL community: a shared endeavour' (see When developing the person specification, the recruiting manager will include the relevant competencies and expectations.

Elements of the Person Specification

18. The person specification details the:

  • knowledge (including necessary qualifications)
  • skills and abilities
  • experience
  • aptitudes

required to do the job, specifying which are essential and which are desirable; these may be different from the attributes of the previous postholder.

19. Essential criteria are those without which an appointee would be unable to adequately perform the job; Desirable criteria are those that may enable the candidate to perform better or require a shorter familiarisation period.

20. Criteria which are subjective and for which little evidence is likely to be obtained through the selection process should be avoided (for example, 'a flexible approach' is often too vague to be of any help in the selection process).

21. Knowledge can be derived in a number of ways, for example through education, training, or experience.

22. For some jobs a particular qualification(s) may be essential, while for others no single qualification may be appropriate and a particular type of experience may be just as relevant as a formal qualification. Where qualifications are deemed essential these should reflect the minimum requirements necessary to carry out the job to an acceptable standard. UK qualifications should be stated but (other than for required membership of a UK professional body) it should be made clear that overseas equivalents will be accepted. The Human Resources Division can assist in advising on the equivalence of particular overseas qualifications.

23. Candidates will increasingly come forward with National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs). These qualifications recognise the achievement of employment-led standards of competence.

24. The type of experience required of applicants should be specified; but stipulating the length of experience must be avoided unless it can be objectively justified because the quality of experience is more important than its length and the UK Age Regulations make such stipulation unlawful unless objectively justified. It is also important to remember that experience is sometimes transferable from one area of work to another, in which case specifying skills is likely to be more effective than specifying a narrow definition of experience.

25. Required abilities should be expressed in terms of the standards required, not just in terms of the task to be undertaken. For example, avoid statements such as 'Ability to write reports'; instead, indicate the expected standard, such as 'Ability to write detailed financial reports that encompass departmental budgeting, annual variances, and forecasting'.

26. Extreme care must be taken if physical requirements are specified. The Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 requires employers to make workplace adjustments to a workplace or the way a job is carried out to make them suitable for disabled people. (Further information is available on what is considered reasonable and a helpful checklist regarding disabled candidates is also available). It is therefore important that any physical requirement is stated in terms of the job that needs to be done. For example a job may require that the appointee 'must be able to travel to a number of different locations on UCL business'. For driving jobs, it will be appropriate to specify the ability to drive.

27. Personal qualities may affect the ability of an individual to do the job, but they should not be seen as substitutes for skills. For example, the ability to deal effectively with frustrated customers is a skill. Simply possessing patience (a personal quality) will not be enough.

Details for Applicants

28. The details of a vacancy or 'further particulars' of a post must include the job description and person specification for the post together with any other important information that a potential applicant needs to decide whether to apply. The purpose of advertising a post is to attract the widest range of high calibre applicants possible and therefore the further particulars sent to or accessed by applicants must give a clear picture of the post, the department, and of UCL as an employer.

29. Further particulars must include the following where they apply:

  • details of the main terms and conditions of employment (including holiday and pension arrangements, entitlement to apply for sabbatical leave if appropriate, working hours, call-out or shift patterns arrangements if appropriate, etc.) (see Appendix M )
  • details of any relocation benefits - relocation expenses, relocation supplements where they apply, etc.
  • information about UCL (Appendix N) and the department (including details about the research strategy or research interests within the department)
  • the Equal Opportunity Policy statement and Equal Opportunities monitoring form
  • application form
  • guidelines about completing the application form, including the number of referees and whether there is an intention to seek references before interview
  • where a CV is required, candidates should be advised that it must include: education history (institution name, start and end dates of courses, qualification gained), details of membership of any professional organisations, details of current or most recent employer (name and address of current organisation, job title, salary and duties), details of previous employment and how the applicants' knowledge, skills, and abilities meet the job requirements;
  • in addition, UCL requires applicants applying with a CV to provide standardised monitoring information as indicated in Appendix I
  • where applicable, a statement explaining that only candidates who are shortlisted will be contacted - see 59
  • where applicable, a copy of either 'Competency Expectations of Post Holders with Management Responsibilities' (see 18 and OR 'Excellence and the UCL community: a shared endeavour' (see
  • reference to the UCL and UCL UCL Australia Human Resource websites which detail UCL's employment policies, including immigration rules
  • an indication of the need for a National Police Certificate check, depending on the post (see paragraph 83 below)

30. Information on terms and conditions and general information about UCL for insertion in further particulars can be found at Appendix M and N.

31. Consideration should be given to making recruitment information available electronically as this is an increasingly effective and less resource intensive method of communication. When requested and where reasonable, documentation should be translated into alternative formats. For example blind or partially sighted people may have preferred ways of receiving information e.g. Braille, large print, tape or an electronic format so that their accessibility software can be used. Assistance with the production of alternative formats is available from UCL's Equal Opportunities Officer.

Publicising the Vacancy

32. All posts must be advertised on the UCL website and in the University of London weekly vacancy bulletin entitled 'Opportunities' to ensure that vacancies are open to external applicants. The only exceptions to this are where an individual is named on a grant application (see paragraph 5 above), where restructuring is taking place or where staff are facing redundancy and the HR Division is seeking redeployment for existing staff.

33. The majority of posts, however, will also be concurrently advertised in other specialist, national or international media to maximise the chances of attracting the best candidate. All posts must be advertised for a minimum of two weeks to help attract the best pool of applicants and ensure compliance with immigration rules.

34. 'Word of mouth' recruitment is likely to be indirectly discriminatory in terms of race and/or sex discrimination. It is very important therefore that all posts are advertised as widely as possible in media that reach underrepresented groups and that all applicants are dealt with in the same way and given the same information and opportunity to make an application.

35. To ensure that applicants are fully informed about the vacancy for which they are applying and to ensure that they provide UCL with all the information we require, adverts must direct applicants to the further particulars, which will provide more information including how to apply.

36. An advertisement is written from the job description and person specification and should contain the following points:

  • UCL name and logo (use of the UCL logo is strictly regulated; a guide to 'Using the UCL Logo' is available from the Development Office (
  • title of vacancy
  • salary
  • brief details of the job
  • key details of the person specification
  • the necessity of a National Police Certificate check, if required, see paragraph 83 or an Occupational Health Assessment
  • duration of the appointment (if fixed term)
  • how to obtain further particulars of the vacancies
  • closing date for applications (sufficient time should be allowed to enable applicants to consider the further particulars and make their application)
  • where known, date of interview
  • A statement reflecting UCL's commitment to equality of opportunity is automatically included in all recruitment advertisements

37. Assistance with drafting advertisements is available on request from the Human Resources Division.

38. Heads of Departments must ensure that permission to fill a post has been obtained before seeking to publicise a vacancy; details are available from the appropriate section of the Finance Division - Planning & Management Accounts in respect of non-research posts and Research Administration in respect of research posts.

39. All job advertisements must be placed through the Human Resources website to ensure compliance with this policy and because the contract with UCL's advertising agency is dependent on significant volume discounts.

40. More information about advertising vacancies and targeting advertisements can be found at Appendix C.

41. A copy of adverts placed in all media should be retained by the department.

Advertising on UCL's Website and the Internet

42. Instructions on how to prepare advertisements for placement on the UCL website can be found on the Human Resources website at

43. The majority of UCL advertisements are placed on the Internet. The most popular and effective website for posts within Higher Education is It advertises vacancies for the academic community and associated areas of research in both the public and private sector.

Advertisements internal to the University of London

44. Advertisements are placed free of charge in the Opportunities bulletin that is on the University of London website and circulated to all colleges within the University of London. Copies of the Opportunities bulletin are circulated to all departments and should be displayed on departmental notice boards.

Processing Applications

45. Heads of Departments must make their staff aware that when dealing with enquiries about vacancies it is unlawful to state or imply that applications from one sex or from a particular racial group would be preferred and to do so may lead to a complaint of race or sex discrimination against UCL.

46. Care must also be taken when initiating contacts with applicants that all are treated in the same way, for example with regard to invitations to visit the department, informal meetings to discuss the vacancy, and provision of information.

47. Disabled candidates should be allowed to submit an application in a different form e.g. by tape.

48. The confidentiality of applications must be respected by all of those involved in the selection process.

Selecting the Interview Panel

49. All interviews must be conducted by a panel. The Head of Department/line manager should select interview panel members prior to the closing date. This allows panel members to assist in the shortlisting process. Familiarity with the vacancy and preparation for the interview is a key to successful interviewing.

50. Panels must:

  • consist of a minimum of three people including the immediate line manager of the vacant post, a colleague who is familiar with the area of work and a third person, preferably from outside the department to balance the panel's perspective.
  • consist of staff who have received training in fair recruitment (see paragraph 60) and ideally at least one member who has received disability awareness training
  • consider if the appointment is to a department providing services to the rest of the College, of inviting an end user of these services to join the panel
  • reflect a sex and ethnicity balance wherever possible - the make up of panels will be monitored to assess how regularly this is achieved
  • declare if they already know a candidate
  • be willing and able to attend all interviews for the duration of the recruitment process, to maintain consistency and to ensure fair treatment of all candidates.

51. UCL's Statutes prescribe the appointment to certain senior posts within UCL. Guidelines on the composition of appointment panels for academic staff groups are set out in Part C of the Academic Manual, on UCL's website at


52. UCL monitors the ethnic origin, sex and disability status of applicants for all posts, those shortlisted and appointees. This informs UCL how its Equal Opportunities Policy is working in practice and whether its recruitment practices are having a discriminatory effect on any particular groups. Departments are therefore required to complete a Recruitment Monitoring Form (available on the Human Resources website) in relation to every employment selection decision. See Appendix E for the monitoring procedure and the Recruitment Monitoring Form. Panel members should remind themselves of the monitoring information required of them in relation to their selection decisions before commencing the selection process.


53. After the closing date has passed the interview panel should assess the applications to determine which applicants are to be called for interview. At least two members of the interview panel, including the immediate line manager, should undertake the task of shortlisting. Where the panel has an external member, that person should take part in the shortlisting wherever practicable. Shortlisting decisions should be based on evidence that the applicant has met the requirements of the person specification. Shortlisting panel members should avoid dismissing applicants who appear to be over-qualified. Assumptions should not be made about their reasons for applying for the post as they may eliminate an otherwise exemplary candidate. The selection criteria pro forma at Appendix D can assist with the task of shortlisting.

54. The original applications for all applicants, together with a written note of reasons for shortlisting or rejecting applicants must be retained for a minimum of 12 months from the date that an appointment decision is notified, in case of complaint to an Employment Tribunal and to satisfy Border Agency requirements.

55. If a shortlisted applicant's attendance record (as indicated on the application form) would trigger a meeting under the Sickness Absence Policy if the individual was already a UCL employee, the panel should follow up at the end of the interview to determine the reasons for the attendance record (see paragraph 64).

Arrangements for Interviews

56. Letters or e-mails to shortlisted candidates should include:

  • date, time and place of their interview
  • instructions on how to find their way to the interview venue
  • a request that they contact the author of the letter/message if they have any particular requirements or to discuss the interview facilities (related to access to the venue or any other need related to a disability).
  • if appropriate, details of any test or presentation they will be required to take or anything they should bring with them (e.g., examples of work)
  •  qualification certificates that are essential to the post
  • permission to work in South Australia documents (or to indicate if a visa is required)
  • A specimen letter is set out in Appendix F.

57. The Migration Act 1958  makes it an offence to employ anyone who does not have permission to be in, or work in Austrailia. To avoid making assumptions about such permission, it is the Department's responsibility to ask all appointees for evidence of eligibility to work in the South Australia. It is unlawful racial discrimination to carry out checks only on potential employees who by their appearance or accent seem to be other than Australian. It is therefore a requirement to ask all candidates attending for interview to bring with them evidence of their right to work in Australia.

58. Departments must take a copy of the original document, sign to confirm they have seen the original and send this to HR operations with all starter documentation. See Appendix K for acceptable evidence

59. It is best practice to write to candidates who have not been shortlisted (a specimen letter is set out at Appendix F), but if this is not possible due to limited resources, the further particulars for the post should make clear that after a certain period, if they have not heard from UCL, applicants should consider themselves not to have been shortlisted.


60. All members of the interview panel must have received training in fair recruitment and ideally at least one panel member should have attended disability awareness training. Courses are provided by the OSD. In addition to being available to offer advice on any stage of the recruitment process, HR staff can join an interview panel, if requested in advance.

61. Interviews should be scheduled as soon after the closing date as reasonably possible, as delays are likely to lead to a loss of candidates.

62. The structure of interviews should be decided in advance by determining who will chair the panel and what areas of questioning are required to cover all of the elements of the person specification. The question areas to be explored by each panel member should be agreed in advance to avoid overlap or repetition and panels may find it helpful to discuss their expectations of full answers to the questions, prior to the interview. The interview panel may decide to schedule a series of one-to-one interviews between all individual panel members and every candidate. In this situation each individual panel member should keep notes of each interview.

63. The same areas of questioning should be covered with all candidates and assumptions should not be made regarding the expertise or abilities of candidates because of their employment history. Interview questions should be phrased so that they do not favour any one candidate or group of candidates. Supplementary questions should be used to probe for further information or clarification where answers are incomplete or ambiguous. Care must be taken to avoid questions that could be construed as discriminatory (e.g., questions about personal circumstances that are unrelated to the job). It is, for example, legitimate to ask for confirmation of whether individuals can comply with the working patterns of the post, but not to ask details of their domestic or child care arrangements etc. It is the responsibility of the Chair of the panel to ensure that such questions are not asked. Further guidance on questioning is given at Appendix G.

64. The panel should discuss and clarify with an applicant a sickness absence record (as indicated on the application form) of a level that would normally trigger a meeting under the Sickness Absence Policy ( Australia/sickness_absence.php). This means the panel should consider on a case-by-case basis the nature of the absence and must, where appropriate, disregard periods related to the assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of a disability. These decisions are not, however, always straightforward, so recruiting managers should discuss these cases with their HR Consultancy contact prior to disregarding any sickness absence periods. In addition, the panel must explore whether or not any workplace adjustments are required for the applicant in the event they are the successful candidate (see paragraph 74), and notes of the judgements of the panel regarding sickness absence and adjustments must be made.

65. Staff conducting interviews must be aware that, although questions asked may not in themselves be discriminatory, the interpretation of answers by the panel could exhibit prejudice. For example, if indications of ambition were to be regarded as a worthy characteristic in applicants of one sex or ethnic group but not in another. Information regarding personal circumstances which is offered in a CV or at interview must not be taken into consideration in reaching a selection decision. For example, the fact that a male candidate shares details of his domestic circumstances with the panel but a female candidate chooses not to (or vice versa), should not be taken into account.

66. Interview panels act for UCL in making selection decisions and are accountable for them. Interview notes must be taken by each panellist to help the panel to make an informed decision based on the content of the interviews. Such notes must relate to how candidates demonstrate their knowledge, skills, experience and abilities in relation to the person specification. The Data Protection Act allows applicants to request disclosure of such notes in the event of a complaint and an Employment Tribunal would expect UCL to have notes of every selection decision. The lack of such notes would seriously impede UCL's ability to contest such a complaint. Obviously any inappropriate or personally derogatory comments contained within the notes could be considered discriminatory and are unacceptable.

67 Where the candidate being interviewed is disabled and workplace adjustments may need to be considered in relation to the workplace or job, these should only be discussed if the disabled candidate is successful at interview. See paragraph 74.

68. It is good practice to offer internal applicants feedback after interviews and it is UCL policy to respond to requests for feedback from external applicants. Feedback should be specific, relating to the person specification, and honest. In feeding back to candidates it is good practice to balance the applicants' weaknesses with some positive points.

Selection Tests and Presentations

69. Consideration should be given to using job-related selection tests or asking candidates to give presentations as part of the selection process if there are some elements of the person specification that are difficult to test at interview. If selection tests or presentations are to be used, all candidates should be given the same written information as to how long they will take, the topic area(s) they will cover, and what - if anything - they should prepare in advance. Psychometric tests may only be given by trained test administrators and any department wishing to use psychometric tests must contact HR Division for advice. In all cases care should be taken to ensure that job-related tests are well explained in writing for candidates, in plain language, that all candidates are subject to the same tests under exactly the same conditions, (excluding any allowances made as 'workplace adjustments' to disabled candidates) and that presentation topics do not favour any one candidate. It is very important that selection tests are not unfairly discriminatory. Advice is available from the Human Resources Division for those wishing to develop selection tests.

Making A Decision After Interview

70. The information obtained in the application (including the applicant's attendance record), the interview, any selection tests and in references (if obtained prior to interview) will allow candidates to be assessed against the person specification and a selection decision to be made. The Chair of the panel must ensure that a written note of the reasons for selecting the successful candidate and rejecting others is made and placed on the recruitment file, together with the original applications and notes of all panel members, for a minimum of 12 months after the appointment decision has been notified to the candidates.

71. If a member of a selection panel feels that there has been any irregularity in the recruitment and selection procedure and the panel cannot resolve the matter at the time, they must report the matter without delay to the Director of Human Resources.

72. Interview proceedings are confidential and interviewers are free to divulge to others the decision reached only once the appointee has accepted the post.

73. If references, or other pre employment checks, e.g. the right to work, have not been taken up prior to sending new starter information through  to the Human Resources Division , HR will not issue a contract to the preferred candidate.  Provisional offers may be made, subject to a visa being issued and entry clearance gained, National Police Certificate check or occupational health clearance, where appropriate.

74. Where the successful candidate is disabled, workplace adjustments may need to be considered depending on their disability in consultation with them. This should be done as soon as possible after appointment. UCL has a duty to consider what workplace adjustments can be made to working practices, or premises, or to enable access to goods, facilities and services by disabled people. (See  for further information on what is considered reasonable and a helpful checklist at appendix O regarding good practice and disabled candidates.) Urgent advice should be sought from the Occupational Health Service regarding adjustments to work premises, practices, equipment or the job itself. Where workplace adjustments are agreed these must be recorded in writing. The candidate should also receive written confirmation of whatever adjustments have been agreed.


75. The further particulars for a post should make clear to candidates the number and status of referees required and whether the panel intends to seek references before interview (see paragraphs 29 and 76). References from relatives or friends should not be accepted. Appropriate referees are those who have direct experience of a candidate's work, education or training: preferably in a supervisory capacity and a reference must be obtained from the current or previous employer. Where staff will be working with or for UK government agencies (armed forces, civil servants / non departmental public bodies or government contractors, e.g. research councils), including on secondment or based on their sites, we are required to be compliant with HMG guidance on Baseline Personnel Security Standards. This requires references that cover employment for the last three years to be taken up. (Details on public bodies  can be found at Where an applicant indicates that s/he does not wish his/her current employer to be contacted prior to a provisional offer being made, this should be respected.

76. When requesting references, it is helpful to seek precise information and confirm facts, such as length of employment, relationship of the applicant to the referee, job title, brief details of responsibilities, reasons for leaving, unauthorised absence, attendance including sickness absence, performance, and any other relevant information. It is helpful to the referee to include a copy of the job description and person specification of the post to which you are recruiting. Do not make requests that only elicit generalisations about candidates' attendance, honesty, or subjective information as to the applicant's suitability for the job. The value of unsolicited references submitted by candidates and addressed 'To Whom It May Concern' is very limited and should be disregarded. Model reference requests are shown at Appendix F.

77. Telephone references should be avoided but, where time pressures or the location of referees dictate that this may be appropriate, recruiters should ensure that they are certain as to the identity of the person to whom they are speaking. When conducting telephone references, it is helpful to plan the conversation beforehand and to have a list of questions ready. A file note should be made at the time of the telephone conversation and written confirmation should always be requested.

78. It should be noted that for appointments in which handling cash or responsibility for valuables such as computers, stores, etc., is part of the job UCL's insurers require that references be obtained for the previous three years and that the successful applicant may not start work until references satisfactory to the Head of Department/Section have been obtained.

79. References are confidential and must be sought 'in confidence'. Any request for disclosure of references must be forwarded to the Human Resources Division. References should only be used for the purpose for which they were intended and their confidentiality must be maintained. Panel members must return all copies of any references with the application forms and their interview notes to the Chair on completion of the recruitment exercise. References must only be kept on the recruitment file and the personal file held by the Human Resources Division.

80. Guidance concerning the provision of employment references is set out at Appendix H and on the Human Resources website.  

Criminal reference checks

81. UCL will not discriminate unfairly against applicants who possess a criminal record; for UCL's policy on the recruitment of staff with criminal records and the use of criminal record checks see /hr/docs/criminal_record.php. UCL will not necessarily bar an applicant from employment due to an unspent conviction; the nature of the conviction and its relevance to the post will be considered. However, unspent convictions of violence, assault or damage to property are likely to be incompatible with working for UCL.

82. Under the UK Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 ex-offenders do not have to disclose spent convictions. However certain types of posts, particularly those that involve working with children or vulnerable adults or in other positions of trust or sensitive areas, are exempt from these provisions, and in these cases all convictions must be declared.

83. The National Police Certificate check allows employers to carry out Police checks on potential employees in certain areas of work. For national police certificate checks in South Australia go to If a manager believes that the appointee to a vacancy requires a criminal records check, the Human Resources Division must be contacted prior to advertising. A criminal records check will only be carried out if the position meets the criteria set out above (paragraph 81), and applicants must be made aware early in the recruitment process that a criminal records check will be required of the appointee.

84. From 2009, the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) will place additional requirements for checking the suitability of people working with children or vulnerable adults in the UK.


85. Only the Human Resources Division issues letters of appointment and places individuals on the payroll (other than very limited exceptions). If the job offer is conditional on completion of a qualification, police check, visa clearance (see 87) or health screening, this will be made clear in the appointment letter.

86. Academic qualifications, professional registration, the right to work and any other specifics considered essential for the post must be verified by the Department at the time of interview. If requested, Human Resources can advise on the equivalence of overseas qualifications.


87. It is a criminal offence under the Migration Act 1958 to knowingly or recklessly allow an illegal worker to work, or to refer an illegal worker for work. Individuals and companies convicted of these offences face fines and/or imprisonment. People found working without a valid visa in Australia can be removed from the workplace without notice to their employers.  People convicted of these offences face fines of up to $13 200 and two years' imprisonment, while companies face fines of up to $66 000 per illegal worker. All prospective workers should be checked that they have a valid visa with permission to work in Australia.

88. Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents, New Zealand citizens who entered Australia on a current New Zealand passport and were granted a visa with work entitlements on arrival and non-Australian citizens holding a valid visa with work entitlements are entitled to work.

89. For all staff you must confirm the right to work by sighting and taking a copy of:

  • original passport, with valid work visa if required, or
  • Australian citizenship certificate, or
  • Certificate of Evidence of Citizenship, or
  • Full Australian birth certificate (issued before 20 August 1986) Birth certificates issued after 20 August 1986 cannot be used to confirm Australian citizenship,

90. If the person does not have an Australian passport, citizenship certificate or certificate of evidence of citizenship or to check that a person has a valid visa to work in Australia visit or use the Visa Entitlement Verification Faxback service on 1800 505 550.
For more information visit or call 1800 040 070.
Induction and Probation

91. It is UCL policy that all staff who are new to UCL undergo a separate induction, followed by a probationary period during which they will be introduced to the main duties and responsibilities of their post; details can be found in the Induction and Probation Policy on the Human Resources website at Some appointees to Probationary Lecturer posts have previous relevant experience, which allows for a reduced probationary period (which is normally three years) and the Head of Department should bring such cases to the attention of the Director of Human Resources. (Non clinical Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors will not normally be required to a serve a probationary period).


92. Within the financial provision or established grading of the post, the salary offered should have regard to the applicant's experience or expertise and will normally be at or above the incremental point equivalent to the applicant's present salary. The salaries of other staff doing similar work within the department/division with similar experience should also be taken into account.

Breaches of Policy

93. Any member of staff with concerns about the application of this policy should raise their concerns in writing with their Head of Department, or with the manager to whom the Head reports, if the concern includes the Head's actions. Applicants for employment concerned about the application of the policy should write to the Director of Human Resources. Recruitment and monitoring data is reported annually to the Committee for Equal Opportunities.