SOAS University of London

Human Resources



The key function of selection interviews is to determine candidates’ suitability for a vacancy by obtaining further information to assess each applicant’s skills, experience and knowledge. Interviews also give candidates an opportunity to find out further information about the role and the School.

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Where possible, interview dates and panel composition should be determined before the post is advertised. This will help ensure that the most appropriate panel members are available and give candidates as much warning of the interview date.

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Interview preparation

A core set of interview questions should be prepared which should be asked of all candidates. However, candidates can be questioned further on an individual basis in relation to their responses to these key questions. Click here for advice on interview questions.

Each panel member will be sent an interview pack in the week prior to the interview. Interviewers should familiarise themselves with candidate’s application forms, the job description and the person specification.

Time will be allocated for the panel to meet before the first interview. This will enable the panel to agree the prepared questions, agree questioning strategies and allocate questioning areas.

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The role of the Chair of the Interview Selection Panel

The Chair is responsible for ensuring the interviews are conducted professionally, fairly and in line with the School’s Recruitment Policy and Procedures.

The Chair is responsible for ensuring that interview questions relate to the selection criteria listed on the person specification.

The Chair should ensure the questions are agreed and allocated with the other panel members prior to the start of the interviews.

The Chair is responsible for welcoming candidates, introducing the panel members and explaining the process for the interview including how notes will be taken.

The Chair is responsible for dealing with any unacceptable or discriminatory behaviour by any participants in the interview process.

The Chair also plays a key role in the decision making process. The Chair should ensure that each panel member has an opportunity to give feedback on candidates in relation to the selection criteria. The Chair is also responsible for ensuring that a consensus is reached on the selection decisions and that decisions are based upon the selection criteria and not any other factors which are not relevant to the role.

The Chair is responsible for ensuring the R11 Interview Record form is completed for every candidate recording the selection decision made and how this was based to each selection criterion. The Chair should ensure that sufficient detail should be recorded to enable feedback to be given and to help justify a selection decision if challenged at Employment Tribunal.

The Chair is responsible for completing the R12 Appointment Recommendation form for the successful candidate. For academic interviews, the Chair should ask the Head of Department and Dean to nominate salary comparators; details of which should be recorded on the R12 form.

The Chair and/or Recruiting Manager will be responsible for drafting written feedback in consultation with their designated HR Officer.

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Candidates with disabilities

All candidates are asked in their formal interview letter from the HR Department, if they require any special arrangements (such as a signer or wheel-chair accessible venue) in order to attend the interview. If any such adjustments are required for disabled candidates, the HR Department will notify the Chair of the Selection Panel of any special arrangements.

If you are interviewing a candidate with a disability or health condition, it is important that you do not make assumptions about their disability and how it may impact on their ability to carryout the job.

Ensure that you ask the disabled candidate the same key questions that you ask of all other candidates. Any questions about the candidate’s disability should only relate to their ability to do the job and to identify any reasonable adjustments which will enable them to perform the role. Remember that the person will know their needs better than anyone else and so allow them to explain their condition and what adjustments may need to be made to the role.
Selection decisions for disabled candidates should be based on the applicant’s capability after the reasonable adjustments have been made.

Using a candidate’s disability as a reason for not selecting them will be discriminatory.

Examples based on Disability Rights Commissions guidance:

  • A candidate with sickle-cell anaemia applies for the full-time vacancy of Office Manager. She asks if she can do the role on a part-time basis, as she suffers from fatigue and pain relating to her condition. The Recruiting Manager agrees the part-time working which would amount to a reasonable adjustment.
  • An applicant who uses a wheelchair applies for the role of IT Consultant. The candidate is the most highly qualified candidate but the Interview Panel wrongly assume that the wheelchair will cause an obstruction in the office and be a health and safety risk. The interview panel fail to consider what reasonable adjustments could be made to enable the disabled candidate to carryout the role, such as moving furniture to make more space. The role is offered to a less suitable candidate who is not disabled. This would amount to direct and unlawful disability discrimination.

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Interview records and notes

Following the interview, R11 Interview Record form should be completed for each candidate to record the selection decision for each candidate and the evidence related to the selection criteria on which this decision was based. The R11 form will be used as the basis for feedback, evidence for work permit applications if the successful candidate requires a work permit and to help defend selection decisions if unsuccessful candidates make discrimination claims.

It is recommended that at least one member of the panel takes notes during each interview, which should be used as the basis for writing the R11 form and for reference when making the selection decision.

Under the Data Protection legislation, candidates have a right to access data we hold about them including interview notes and the R11 form.

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