Putting Laura’s Dark Archive to bed

When I started this blog, I was the Librarian at St Hugh’s College (University of Oxford). Since then, I’ve worked at the University of Sunderland as the Law Librarian, and E-Resources Librarian; at ORCID in Education and Outreach, and I am soon to begin a new job at Crossref. It’s time to wrap up this “record of a librarian’s reflections” now that I am moving from libraries and into the world of digital research infrastructure.  Here are some of this blog’s Greatest Hits by theme:

Open Access




And my personal favourite, Reminiscing about “23 Things”.  23 Things Oxford started as an after-work project done for fun and became a gateway to so many conversations, relationships, presentations, and skills. From small acorns…

My next job will be at Crossref, the sponsors of 23 Things Oxford back in 2010, which is a beautifully symmetrical way to close this chapter.

Thanks for reading!

Designing interview tests

A good recruitment process will help ensure you employ and retain suitable staff with the required skills.  A poor recruitment process could lead to the opposite situation, with performance/capability issues, high staff turnover, increased recruitment costs (in both time and money) and lower morale in the existing workforce.

Therefore, it pays to prepare your recruitment process well, starting with the job description and selection criteria.

Candidates must be assessed against the selection criteria on the application form, at the interview or by using exercises or tests in tandem with the interview.

Here are some examples of the types of tests you can use:

  • Presentation
  • In-tray/inbox exercise
  • Role exercise
  • Case study (sometimes referred to a critical incident reviewing)

Some employers also use psychometric testing and/or personality questionnaires, but I am not going to discuss these here for the following reasons:

  • They can be expensive, and few libraries use them
  • Tests need to be administered by trained staff, and the results interpreted by people who thoroughly understand what they do – and don’t – mean: again, this cost means they are little used in our sector
  • I don’t believe that psychometric/personality tests give evidence about a candidate’s ability to do the job that cannot be elucidated from a good selection process

So I will return to the list of good examples of tests you can use.  For the best results, plan your interview questions and test(s) in combination, so you can ensure you have covered all the selection criteria without unnecessary repetition (you’ll soon realise if you’ve doubled up, as you will feel bored of asking the same questions to each candidate after the second or third interview!).  For example, if you’ve asked the candidates to tell you about their experience of working in a customer service environment in their covering letter or application form, don’t ask them exactly the same question at interview.  Modify the enquiry or give them an example situation to respond to instead, and you will learn more about their skills and experience.


  • Decide whether you are assessing each candidate’s presentation skills, the content of their presentation, or both
  • Consider the type of skills their job will require and set a topic for their presentation that is relevant
  • Allow adequate preparation time – let the candidates know that they will have to give a presentation when you invite them for interview, and always provide details of the equipment that will be available to them on the day (including software and version)

In-tray/inbox exercise

  • This is an example of a time management task, in which you give each candidate a scenario in which they have just arrived for work and have the following tasks to do (for example): an unopened letter, 10 unread emails, a telephone message, a meeting to attend and a person waiting at their desk to speak to them
  • The candidate has to decide how to prioritise the tasks and explain the decisions they made
  • This is a great example of a scenario that doesn’t have one correct answer, but has a lot of potential pitfalls
  • The most important part is the candidate’s explanation for what they would do and how.  It will reveal how they prioritise and can tell you a lot about their people skills, flexibility and ability to work under pressure, so be sure to give them plenty of time to explain their rationale to you
  • Ensure that the examples relate to a typical day’s work in the role
  • The task can be set as a written exercise, but don’t forget the discussion part
  • Think about how you will assess/score the responses.  You could give each candidate 20 points to begin with and deduct marks for ‘mistakes’

Role exercise

  • These are particularly useful if the job involves practical skills, such as boxmaking, conservation work, or a lot of lifting and carrying
  • Role exercises allow you to test for the ability to carry out a typical task they would encounter in the job
  • Again, consider carefully your objectives (what you are trying to measure) and scoring

Examples include:

  • manual handing  – e.g. invite the candidate to lift a box of books and ask them if they would be happy to do this many times a day. They may say no and withdraw from the recruitment process, which saves you interviewing someone who has decided the job is not for them
  • word processing or spreadsheet task – so many people claim “I have good IT skills” in their application, and this is a great way to see if they really do! It’s also good for testing if they can follow instructions
  • telephone skills – do they answer the call politely? Do they offer to take a message, and do they note all the key information?
  • finance test – similar to a spreadsheets test, but specifically using financial skills such as calculating VAT or exchange rates
  • dexterity test – e.g. covering/labelling a book, paper conservation or preservation work
  • drafting a response to an email – a good opportunity to test their written communication skills; spelling, punctuation and grammar; and attention to detail
  • write a press release – tests ability to use information provided in a new form, and ability to write for a particular audience
  • shelving test – I’m sure I’m not the only person to have seen candidates for shelving jobs who perform well at interview but can’t put books in alpha order

Case study

  • This type of test is more relevant to senior posts with greater responsibility
  • An example of a case study test would be to give each candidate some information about a crisis that could happen in the library (e.g. flood, fire, electrical failure, moth infestation – ‘crisis’ doesn’t need to be life-threatening), give them time to think and make notes, then  ask them to explain what they would do, the resources and people they would deploy etc
  • A case study test is useful for assessing their knowledge of particular subject area or their approach to handling situations
  • Like the in-tray/inbox exercise, the most valuable part of this exercise is hearing the candidate’s explanation of their actions and justification for decisions they would make, so allow they plenty of time to talk

Things to consider for all types of test

  • Is the test appropriate/relevant?
  • Candidates should be informed in advance of what they will be expected to do on the day of interview, and let them know if they are expected to prepare anything in advance
  • Choose a suitable location for the test – perhaps a quiet and uninterrupted environment, or maybe in a busy open-plan area if that’s where they will be working if they get the job
  • Test results should be taken into consideration after the interview, so the interview remains the most important part of the process, but think again about someone who performs well at interview and poorly on the test
  • Scoring and weighting – decide this in advance.  A scoring system can be simple (yes/no, pass/fail) or marked (positively, with points awarded for good performance, or negatively, e.g. starting with 20 points and making deductions for mistakes as mentioned above)
  • Consider equal opportunities and make sure activities are accessible or can be modified to allow participation by all candidates

May your well-planned recruitment yield a candidate and a role that were meant for each other!

What types of interview tests have you taken part in or designed?  Let me know in the comments.

For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.

Writing a job advertisement that will attract the candidates you want

This post is a summary of my notes from a recent Bodleian Libraries training session and does not constitute legal advice. 

Remember that your job advert may be the first impression many applicants have of your organisation, so make sure it’s a good one!

Your advert should

  • Be attractive – create impact by providing all the relevant information
  • Be informative – help potential candidates decide if they would be suitable applicants (put off those without the required skills, and eliminate jargon which may put off good candidates unfamiliar with your local terminology)
  • Be accurate – it’s important not be misleading or inaccurate.  There’s no point trying to make a job appear better than it is – you might hire an unsuitable person who won’t stay long
  • Be approachable – provide potential applicants with all the essential information and give the contact details of someone they can ask about any further queries
  • Elicit a response – inspire potential candidates to apply
  • Be personable – to help applicants feel more affinity with the role, use statements with “you will have” rather than “we need” e.g. “you should be passionate about…” instead of “the successful candidate will be passionate about…”
  • Be cost effective

Write the job description, the selection criteria and then the advertisement.

Pitfalls to avoid

  • Being discriminatory, for example by using language that is gender- or culturally-specific e.g. advertising a role as “Store Man”, referring to the post-holder as “she” or “he”
  • Being too technical – libraries are rife with technical language and jargon, and not all of it is universal.  Choose job titles with meaning e.g. library assistant.  I hear “reading room supervisor” used at lot at Oxford, but I don’t think this is a contemporary term for this job at other university libraries
  • Being misleading or inaccurate.  As mentioned above, giving misleading information about a post may attract unsuitable candidates. Beware of putting lipstick on a pig
  • Exaggerating qualifications required – if an MA in Information & Library Management isn’t necessary in order to be able to do the job, don’t ask for it
  • Stating the obvious, such as writing “we are looking for an admin assistant” in the body text of the advert – candidates know this from the title of the advert.  Be concise and don’t repeat yourself
  • The use of generalisations such as “the work will involve a wide range of duties”, “you will be providing a service to all readers within a particular library”, “you will be required to undertake general library assistant duties” – be more specific.  This feeds into the job description and appraisal process, so getting this right before advertising the job will also be helpful once the chosen candidate is in post
  • Advertising solely by word of mouth – this is unfair and potentially excludes a large number of suitable applicants.

Do you need to pay to advertise? 

Information from the Bodleian Libraries’ Personnel team states that 90% of applications within University are made from unpaid advertising sources.  Make a selective media choice and choose the most popular publication in the relevant field in which to advertise (though I notice that Bodleian Libraries don’t seem to be using LISJobNet any more, just jobs.ac.uk)

You can save money by creating a short advertisement (limit the word count to 50) and direct potential applicants to the full details on your website.

Work permits

Consider the implications of obtaining work permits for any applicant who does not already have the right to work in the UK – generally only an option for more senior posts where you can demonstrate that no suitable candidate with UK employment rights was available.  If this is the case, you’ll also need to advertise at Job Centre Plus for at least 4 weeks.

For Bodleian Libraries roles on grades 1-5, it is acceptable to include the phrase

“this post does not meet minimum requirements for work visa employment; we can therefore only accept applications from those who can prove their eligibility to work in the UK”

as the Libraries would not be able to apply for work permits for these posts.

Key information to include in your advertisement

  • Job title (make sure it will make sense to applicants outside your organisation)
  • Department and location of the role
  • Main purpose of or tasks involved in the role (choose the most relevant parts of the job description – make it interesting!)
  • Hours (make it clear if the job is full-time or part-time; and if it’s part-time, state the hours)
  • Grade (if applicable) and salary range (pro rata if part-time)
  • Length of contract e.g. permanent, 6 months, maternity cover for 12 months
  • Where to find more information and how to apply
  • Closing date

Further particulars

In the further particulars, it is good practice to put the job in context by providing more information about how the role fits into the library/department.  Provide the full job description and selection criteria.  Give clear guidance on how to apply e.g. covering letter and CV or application form.  Include the contact details of someone who can respond to informal enquiries about the role. If possible, state the interview date(s) so candidates can keep these free in case they are shortlisted.  You could also include the benefits of the role, such as pension, holidays and training prospects as these could be good selling points.


Filters are vital pieces of information within the advert which enable potential applicants to decide whether or not to apply.  Selection criteria identified as “essential” form the basis of filters for your advert, and may include qualifications, specific experience or membership of a professional body.  Do not include any intangible filters such as character traits or personal qualities as these are not measurable at interview and you run the risk of being accused of operating an unfair selection procedure.

Final tips

  • Use short sentences which are easy to read and understand
  • Use short paragraphs and bullet points
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS – it’s slower to read, less accessible and unfriendly
  • Use black text on a white background to increase readability

Having broadcast your job advertisement, sit back and wait for the applications to roll in 🙂

For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.

Tips for applying for library jobs

The application form and statement or covering letter

  • Like in an exam, read the information provided in the application pack.  If the recruitment process includes an application form, take care to complete all relevant sections (especially if the person specification calls for attention to detail!)
  • Look at the “essential” and “desirable” criteria in the person specification and describe clearly in your statement or covering letter how your skills and experience match these criteria
  • You may be asked to address specific questions in your application – the selection panel *will* notice if you skip this
  • If you are going to use specialist language, make sure you know what it means.  Not: “The library itself is arranged according to the Dewey filing system, and administered through the MARC”, “my home PC is an apple”, “majority of resources are online”, “resources – electrical as well as printed”
  • Be selective about what to include in your statement or covering letter.  The selection panel members have many applications to read through, so don’t waste their time and attention with too much fluff.  Be concise and back up claims with evidence e.g. experience of customer service or good IT skills

General points

  • If you’re applying for a post which requires good IT skills, don’t hand-write your application – word-process it.  Choose fonts with care (think about the image you are trying to project) and be consistent
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar count, especially if the job calls for good communication skills
  • If you choose to copy and paste from a previous application, be sure to change references to the previous workplace.  Not: “The chance of working in the Bodleian Library is unique and one I would love to have.”  Nice to know, but I’m not hiring for the Bodleian
  • If you’re applying for a job in a library, don’t keep referring to your ambition to be a schoolteacher

Some gems

  • “I am looking forward to enjoying the quiet working environment in the library”
  • “I am keen to take up a career in librarianship because I am passionately intellectual”
  • “my goal would be to run such an institution” [from an application for the most junior post in the team – top marks for ambition though]
  • “looking forward to working with and hopefully reading the libraries collections”

For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.

Designing good interview questions

These notes are adapted from a session run by Cathy Hamer at the Bodleian Libraries.

Why do we ask questions at interview?

The main purpose is to assess the interviewee’s abilities, so to be fair to all candidates, a consistent approach is necessary.  Careful planning of questions allows the candidate to do most of the talking, demonstrate how their skills and experience fit the role, and their responses to be assessed against the selection criteria for the role.

Open vs closed questions

Closed questions allow only short answers, such as ‘yes’ or ‘no.  Example: Did you have supervisory responsibilities in your previous job?
While closed questions may be suitable for confirming details at the end of an interview, they do not allow the candidate to elaborate on their experience.  Open questions use words such as ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘how’ and ‘why’. Example: ‘How do you set priorities in tackling your workload?’.  Using an open question increases the amount of information the interviewee can give you, and helps you learn about their opinions and attitudes.

Multiple questions

Asking more than one question at once causes confusion and often the candidate will only answer the last or easiest questions.  Example: ‘In your last job, what were your responsibilities in terms of monitoring the budget, and what was the system for balancing and checking the cash account?’.  Don’t ask multiple questions – separate out the questions and ask them individually.

Leading questions

A leading question is one which indicates the required response, for example ‘Presumably you will get on well with your work colleagues?’.   The interviewee can only provide a useful answer by interrupting or disagreeing, as they are unlikely to say ‘No’.  Instead, ask a more open question such as ‘Tell us about your experience of working in a small team’.

Discriminatory questions

Questions relating to the candidate’s sex, age, marital status, ethnic origin, religious beliefs, sexual orientation or disabilities are an obvious no-no.  For example: ‘How old are you?’ and ‘Do you have any children?’.

Hypothetical questions

These are a type of open question, and can be very helpful in assessing a candidate’s thinking skills and how quickly they can respond to a new situation.  Example: ‘How would you go about planning the move of this unit/office to another building?’

Quantifying questions

These are a type of closed question which can be useful in ascertaining how many people the candidate has managed or the size of the budget for which they have had responsibility.  They are best used in conjunction with a follow-up question to allow the candidate to give a more descriptive response.

Behaviour-based questions

Examples: ‘Tell me about a time when you had to make a decision that involved a large expenditure’ or ‘Describe a situation in which you had to work to a tight deadline.’
Past job behaviour is a good guide to future performance, so asking for prior examples can be useful in predicting if the candidate will be able to demonstrate the necessary skills in the new job.

Probing questions

Every conversation is different, even though the main interview questions will be the same for each candidate.  Sometimes you will need to probe a bit further for more details, or to validate a claim.  Be careful not to lose the thread of the main question. Probing questions can also be useful to help the candidate back on track if they have gone off on a tangent in their answer.


  • Well in advance, determine which aspects of the selection criteria you are going to assess at interview
  • Design a question for each skill that you wish to assess
  • As far as possible, keep questions open and only ask one at a time
  • Avoid closed questions, giving away the ‘correct’ answer
  • Address any gaps on the application form
  • Use a combination of application form/letter, task and interview to assess each candidate against all the selection criteria for the job
For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.

Giving and receiving references

These are my notes adapted from a presentation I attended last week, given by Ruth Newman (Bodleian Libraries)

See also: How to write a job description and How to shortlist

What is the purpose of a reference?

  1. It provides information about a candidate’s employment history
  2. It backs up (or not) the statements made in the application form
  3. It provides an opinion on the candidate’s suitability for the post for which they are applying

For jobs at The Bodleian Libraries, references are sought for the successful candidate once a conditional offer has been made to them – this is to ensure that any information relating to absence or disability is not revealed until this stage in the recruitment process.

Questions asked of referees by The Bodleian Libraries

The above-named has applied for employment within The Bodleian Libraries and has given consent to our approaching you to provide a reference (copy of permission attached).  In particular, we would be very grateful for information on the following (where applicable):

  • The candidate’s relationship to you as a referee and how long you have known them in this capacity; The dates of the candidate’s employment with you, and job title;
  • The candidate’s ability, in your opinion, to meet the stated selection criteria for this post;
  • The candidate’s performance during their employment (for example, quality of work, relationship with colleagues, communication skills, attendance and time-keeping);
  • The candidate’s reason for leaving your employment;
  • The candidate’s current salary / salary on leaving;
  • The total number of days the candidate has taken as sick leave in the past 12 months, and the number of occurrences;
  • Whether there have been any disciplinary or other formal employment proceedings against the candidate which are still considered ‘live’ (including any in process at present / at the time the employment ended; and
  • Whether, in the event of a suitable vacancy arising, you would re-employ this person.

If you do not wish the candidate to see this reference, please mark it “strictly confidential”.  Any information you can give will be treated in the strictest confidence.  However, you are advised that under the terms of the Data Protection Act, all references are potentially disclosable to the applicant.

References may be written or verbal.  If a verbal reference is taken it should be written up and sent to the referee for confirmation that it is an accurate reflection of what they said.  Email correspondence is sufficient for this.  A conditional offer of employment is made subject to the receipt of two satisfactory references.  Alarm bells would include over 10 days’ sickness, negative comments, mention of disciplinary process in progress (6-12 months is the usual ‘live’ period for disciplinary issues).  If the references take longer than expected to arrive, the candidate’s start date should be delayed until they have been received, and are considered satisfactory.

Things to consider when reading a reference

  1. Who is the referee?  It is usual practice to use the current and previous line manager as referees, so if the reference is written by someone other than these people, investigate further.
  2. What have they included, and what have they omitted?  Compare their comments against the list of questions asked of referees.

Legal considerations

There is no legal obligation to give a reference unless explicitly stated as part of an employee’s contract; however, if the employer normally gives references for staff it will legally be regarded as an implied contractual term.

I have no legal right to see a reference written about me by my line manager, but I can ask to see my personal file once I am in my new job – and it should contain the reference!

There is no legislation specifically designed to cover the provision of reference, but it is covered in other legislation relating to (among other things) disability and sex discrimination.

If you are asked to provide a reference for someone:

  • The reference must be given by someone qualified to give the opinions sought – if in doubt, ask for help from your HR advisor
  • Reply on headed paper/from your work email account [note: not for a personal reference]
  • Reply promptly
  • You have a duty of care to the person about whom it is written and to the recipient of the reference, so the reference must be factually accurate, supported by evidence and fair
  • It is good practice for the subject of the reference to be aware of its contents, so give them a copy of the reference and discuss it if necessary.  Employees should be aware of any complaints or negative comments which will be included in the reference before it is written
  • Avoid any personal or discriminatory comments.  Comment on the job description and selection criteria, keep the tone professional and refer to the person’s performance at work
  • Mark the reference “strictly confidential”
  • Bodleian Libraries staff are asked to include a disclaimer e.g. “given in good faith and confidence, without legal liability on behalf of the author or Bodleian Libraries” to ensure they are covered by professional indemnity insurance.

For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.

How to shortlist

This follows on from my earlier post about how to write a job description

Selection criteria: essential and desirable

When preparing the job description, the selection criteria will develop as you define the role and decide which criteria are essential or desirable.  A quick test to see if a criterion is essential (E) or desirable (D) is to consider if the candidate must already have the skill or experience (E), or if it can be learnt on the job (D).

Criteria may be moved between the E and D categories depending on how many candidates you expect to have applying for the job: if you anticipate a large number of applications, you might consider moving some criteria from D to E in order to narrow the field.  However, you may only do this before the job is advertised: once it’s out there, the criteria must stay and E or D in order to be fair to the people considering applying for the job.


All the people on the interview panel should be involved in shortlisting the candidates.  Use a shortlisting matrix to evaluate each candidate against the selection criteria:

A variety of scoring systems may be used:

  • Simple tick or cross to show the criterion is met or not met
  • Marks out of 10 for how closely the candidate and the criterion match
  • Different criteria may be weighted according to their relative importance

It can be helpful to have several rounds of shortlisting.  For example, applicants for a graduate trainee position are required to have an undergraduate degree.  The first round of shortlisting would assess all candidates on that single criterion, and subsequent rounds would involve the remaining selection criteria.


Aim for about 5 interviewees.  Have a few reserve candidates in mind in case any interviewees drop out.  List the reserve candidates in priority order.  Allow at least 5 working days between shortlisting and interviews.


  • Remember to compare the candidates against the selection criteria, not against each other.
  • Keep a record of the shortlisting matrix.  This is very helpful if any candidates ask for feedback on why they were unsuccessful in being called to interview.
  • When advertising the vacancy, state clearly the closing date and time.  A cut-off time of 12:00 (rather than 17:00) can be helpful if any applicants have any last-minute problems with submitting their documents, and allows time in the afternoon for packs to be produced for the interview panel who will then begin shortlisting.

For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.

How to write a job description

Earlier this week, I attended an excellent training session run by Cathy Hamer at the Bodleian Libraries.  Here is my summary of her presentation and my own notes.

What is the purpose of a job description?

  • Gives clear outline of the job
  • Helps applicants decide if the job would be suitable for them
  • Helps applicants apply for a job (suggests what skills/experience they need to demonstrate in their statement or covering letter)
  • Forms the basis of the recruitment and selection procedure (gives clear criteria against which to judge applicants)
  • Helps managers with appraisal of the post-holder

Source: http://gospeldrivendisciples.blogspot.com/2010/12/pastoral-job-description.html

The job description is also necessary when grading the job, and forms part of the contract of employment.  At the University of Oxford, jobs are graded using Higher Education Role Analysis (HERA) – an analytical job evaluation scheme which is used by the majority of universities in the UK.  Here are some other useful documents on the University of Oxford website which may be of interest to a wider audience too: UAS Job Description and Person Specification Template, Grading Review Request – notes for guidance, Recruitment procedure – guidelines for managers.

Dos and Don’ts for job descriptions


  • Be specific about the duties associated with the job
  • Break down the list of duties into sections.  Bear in mind how each can be measured – at interview and at appraisal.  Distinguish between regular, occasional and emergency duties, and those tasks for which the post-holder is involved in or responsible for.  Include the line “such other comparable duties as may be required by the Head of Department”
  • Be as honest as possible (no point in describing the job as other than its true nature, as the person you appoint may quickly become disillusioned and leave)
  • Use verbs when outlining the job holder’s duties e.g. “resolve enquiries in person and by email” is more descriptive than “communication”

Source: http://www.savagechickens.com/2006/02/job-description.html


  • Use jargon
  • Use acronyms or abbreviations – spell these out in full
  • Use names of other post-holders – use job title instead e.g. “reports to Library Manager” is more meaningful than “reports to Sue Denim”, especially to an external applicant who probably isn’t familiar with the organisational structure and the names of people already working there
  • Include details of how tasks should be carried out

What information to include

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Job purpose/aim
  • Reporting lines
  • Key responsibilities and duties
  • An organisation chart if possible
  • Could include why the job has arisen e.g. funding for a specific project has allowed the creation of this post to manage the project…

The HERA Summary of Elements provides a useful list for describing the different areas of a person’s role.  It lists the following 14 elements:

  1. Communication
  2. Teamwork and Motivation
  3. Liaison and Networking
  4. Service Delivery
  5. Decision Making Processes and Outcomes
  6. Planning and Organising Resources
  7. Initiative and Problem Solving
  8. Analysis and Research
  9. Sensory and Physical Demands
  10. Work Environment
  11. Pastoral Care and Welfare
  12. Team Development
  13. Teaching and Learning Support
  14. Knowledge and Experience

Working through each of these, decide what is required of the person for each element and use this to create the job description.  Some examples:

3 Liaison and networking – are they involved in any committees?

10 Work environment – only necessary to include if the post holder has responsibility for Health and Safety

13 Teaching and learning support – include frequency and scale e.g. annual induction to 5 students or weekly presentations to large groups?

Aim for a maximum of 15 duties.

Selection criteria

Why are selection criteria important?

  • Allow the candidate to match up their skills and experience to the job and assess its suitability
  • Enable the panel to evaluate candidates and shortlist for interview
  • Form the basis of the selection decision
  • Using selection criteria makes shortlisting easier – use a matrix to evaluate the applicants (can also give different weightings to different categories)

  • Enable a focused approach to interviewing – can identify areas where skills/experience need to be explored
  • Provide a basis for feedback to candidates (especially if they were unsuccessful – you can explain that in their application, they did not demonstrate [skill or experience])

When deciding if a selection criterion should be Essential or Desirable, consider if the skill can be taught on the job.  If not, make it Essential.

Ensure that all criteria are justifiable, non-discriminatory, objective, realistic and measurable

Don’t specify age limits or physical fitness.  Instead of asking for “10 years’ experience”, focus on the type of experience, not the time.

For more posts in this series, click the “Recruitment” tag below.