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Recruitment and Selection Procedure

These conditions of service are only applicable for those staff employed at UCL Qatar

Recruiting and selecting the right people is of paramount importance to the continued success of UCL Qatar. This Recruitment and Selection Procedure 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.

Employment matters at UCL Qatar fall under the Labour Law of Qatar only, however recruitment exercises conducted within the UK may also fall under UK employment legislation, including the Equality Act 2010.

This document sets out a procedure to enable UCL Qatar to monitor staff recruitment. By following the procedure, in addition to fulfilling labour law requirements, UCL Qatar will also ensure that it upholds its commitment to equal opportunity.

Contents
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. UCL – Q Immigration Procedures
22. Induction and Probation
23. Salary
24. Breaches of Procedure

Appendix A Sample Job Descriptions and Person Specifications
Appendix B Procedure for sending advertisements to Human Resources
Appendix C Sample Shortlisting form
Appendix D Sample letters
Appendix E Questions to Applicants
Appendix F Guidelines for Giving References
Appendix G Information to be provided by CV Applicants
Appendix H UCL Equal Opportunities Policy Statement
Appendix I Standard Terms and Conditions
Appendix J Checklist Regarding Disabled Candidates
Appendix K  Reference Template (only to be used if requesting academic references before interview/selection for an academic position)
Appendix L Standard Reference Request (only to be used following selection)

Introduction

1. This procedure is designed to assist you to recruit and select the best candidate for a vacancy.

2. It is the responsibility of the Chief Operating Officer/ Director to ensure that this procedure is carefully followed within UCL Qatar.

3. Advice on any the application of this procedure is available from the HR Director.

Scope

4. Normally appointments must be made in accordance with this procedure and must, therefore, be subject to advertisement and interview. The HR Director 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.

5. When employing temporary or casual staff on a short-term basis the principles of good practice outlined in this procedure 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.

6. Financial approval for the establishment of a new post or the filling of a vacancy must be obtained before recruitment commences.  The Chief Operating officer must ensure 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

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

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

9. When a vacancy arises, consideration must be given to staff whose posts are being made redundant and for whom redeployment is being sought (see www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/redeployment ). 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.

10. When making appointments to posts with management responsibilities1, consideration must also be given to UCL's management competency expectations (see /hr/competencies/). 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 /hr/docs/ucl_excellence.php). These will vary according to the needs of the post, and the relevant elements should be included in the 'Person Specification' (see paragraphs 14 - 25, below).

Job Description (details of the role)

11. 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 A for sample job descriptions). It should clearly and accurately set out the duties and responsibilities of the job and must include:

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

13. The language in job descriptions should:

Person Specification

14. 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 should not be included, as these may impact disproportionately to the disadvantage of specific groups.

15. 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 A.

16. 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 /hr/competencies/). 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 /hr/docs/ucl_excellence.php). When developing the person specification, the recruiting manager will include the relevant competencies and expectations.

17. The person specification details the:

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

18. 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.

19. 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).

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

21. 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.

22. 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, 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.

23. 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'.

24. Extreme care must be taken if physical requirements are specified. Reasonable adjustments to a workplace should be considered. Alternatively changing the way a job is carried out could be considered, to ensure they are 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 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 Qatar business'. For driving jobs, it will be appropriate to specify the ability to drive.

25. 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

26. 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 and of UCL Qatar as an employer.

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

28. When requested and where reasonable, documentation should be translated into alternative formats. For example blind or partially sighted people should be allowed to receive an application in a different form e.g. via a hard copy. Alternatively the candidate my request Braille, large print, tape or an electronic format so that their accessibility software can be used.

Publicising the Vacancy

29. Authorisation needs to be obtained from both the Finance and HR Divisions before a role is cleared for advertising. Please refer to the Recruitment Approval Policy for further details.

30. All job advertisements must be placed through the online recruitment system (Rome) to ensure compliance with this procedure and because the contract with UCL's advertising agency is dependent on significant volume discounts. All vacancies will appear on UCL's external website and via a link from the The University of London vacancy website. This ensures that vacancies are open to external applicants. The only exceptions to this are where an individual is named on a grant application (see paragraph 4 above), where restructuring is taking place or where staff are facing redundancy and the HR Division is seeking redeployment for existing staff.

31. 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.

32. '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.

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

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

35. Assistance with drafting advertisements is available from the HR Director.

36. More information about advertising vacancies and targeting advertisements can be found at Appendix B.

37. A copy of adverts placed in all media should be retained by the HR Manager..

Advertising on UCL Qatar's Website and the Internet

38. Instructions on how to prepare advertisements for placement on online system (Rome) can be found on the Human Resources website.

39. The most popular and effective website for posts within Higher Education is 'http://www.jobs.ac.uk'. It advertises vacancies for the academic community and associated areas of research in both the public and private sector.

Processing Applications

40. The Chief Operating Officer should 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.

 41. 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.

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

Selecting the Interview Panel

43. All interviews must be conducted by a panel. The Chief Operating Officer/ 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.

44. Panels must:

Monitoring

45. UCL Qatar monitors the ethnic origin, age, sex, religious belief and disability status of applicants for all posts, those shortlisted and appointees. This informs UCL Qatar how its Equal Opportunities Policy is working in practice and whether its recruitment practices are having a discriminatory effect on any particular groups. Applicants will complete equality monitoring information as part of their online application.

Shortlisting

46. 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 C  can assist with the task of shortlisting.

47. 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 a recruitment decision is challenged. Data such as applications contained within the online system (Rome) is automatically kept for 12 months before being deleted.

Arrangements for Interviews

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

49. It is best practice to write to candidates who have not been shortlisted (a specimen letter is set out at Appendix D), 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 Qatar, applicants should consider themselves not to have been shortlisted.

Interviewing

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

51. 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.

52. 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 E.

53. 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.

54. Interview panels act for UCL Qatar in making selection decisions and are accountable for them. Interview notes must be taken by each panelist 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 lack of such notes would seriously impede UCL Qatar's ability to contest any complaint. Obviously any inappropriate or personally derogatory comments contained within the notes could be considered discriminatory and are unacceptable.

55. It is good practice to offer internal applicants feedback after interviews and it is normal UCL Qatar 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

56. 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 'reasonable 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.

Making a Decision After Interview

57. The information obtained in the application, 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.

58. 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 HR Manager.

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

60. 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 all checks being completed and entry clearance gained.

61. Once a provisional offer is made the preferred candidate will be asked to disclose their sickness/unauthorised absence record. The recruiting manager 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. For example it may be appropriate to disregard a period of sickness if it was caused by a one off accident requiring a long term absence. These decisions are not, however, always straightforward, so recruiting managers should discuss these cases with the HR Manager prior to disregarding any sickness absence periods. If the information returned by the applicant, or the case is not clear for any other reason, the candidate should be referred to Occupational Health. The candidate's contract will be subject to them having a satisfactory sickness/unauthorised absence record.

62. Where the successful candidate is disabled, reasonable 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 Qatar should consider what reasonable adjustments can be made to working practices, or premises, or to enable access to goods, facilities and services by disabled people (see a helpful checklist at appendix J  regarding good practice and disabled candidates.) Successful applicants who declare a disability or may require adjustments to their work or working environment are are referred to the Occupational Health Service, once they have completed their online staff registration form. Where reasonable adjustments are agreed these must be recorded in writing. The candidate should also receive written confirmation of whatever adjustments have been agreed.

References

63. 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 paragraph 64). 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.

64. In most cases references must only be taken up once a preferred candidate is selected. Taking up references before this point should only be used for some academic posts. If it is intended to take up references before a preferred candidate is selected it is not permissible under the Equality Act to enquire about the sickness absence record of the applicant. A template pre-interview reference request form without a question on sickness absence can be found here.  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. In most cases references will be requested after a preferred candidate is identified. When requesting a reference at this stage information on the candidate's sickness/unauthorised absence record should be requested. A model template to use after interview can be found here.

65. 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 (providing the reference is requested after selection takes place as per paragraph 64) , 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.

66. 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.

67. 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 Qatar'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 Chief Operating Officer have been obtained.

68. References are confidential and must be sought 'in confidence'. Any request for disclosure of references must be forwarded to the HR Director. 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.

69. Guidance concerning the provision of employment references is set out in Appendix F.

Criminal reference checks

70. It is UCL Qatar policy to require applicants to disclose any 'unspent' criminal convictions as part of their application. All staff appointed at UCL Qatar will require a CRB check (or equivalent if a non UK national) in order to be granted eligibility to work in Qatar. Therefore any offer of employment will be conditional on a satisfactory CRB check being obtained and subsequent right to work being granted.

Appointment

71. 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, CRB check, visa clearance (see 73) or health screening, this will be made clear in the appointment letter.
72. Academic qualifications, professional registration, the right to work and any other specifics considered essential for the post must be verified by UCL Qatar at the time of interview.

UCL – Q Immigration Procedures

73.       Any offer of employment will be conditional upon the applicant being eligible to gain the right to work in Qatar. To work and reside in Qatar, a residency permit is required for all employees and their families. Amongst other things the issuance of the residency permit is contingent on the medical clearance process and a satisfactory police clearance check. For more information about Qatari immigration procedures please see the guidance here.

Induction and Probation

74. It is UCL Qatar policy that all staff who are new to UCL Qatar 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 Procedures on the UCL Qatar website

Salary

75. 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 UCL Qatar with similar experience should also be taken into account.

Breaches of Procedure

76. Any member of staff with concerns about the application of this procedure should raise their concerns in writing with the Chief Operating Officer, or with the Director if the concern includes the Chief Operating Officer's actions. Applicants for employment concerned about the application of the procedure should write to the HR Manager. Recruitment and monitoring data is reported annually to the Committee for Equal Opportunities.

HR Policy and Planning
February 2013