SOAS University of London

Human Resources

Recruitment Policy

Please click on the following link (  Recruitment Policy ) to download a printable version of this Policy.

  1. Introduction
  2. Objectives
  3. Scope
  4. Principles
    4.1 Awareness and training
    4.2 Conflict of Interest
    4.3 Identifying vacancies
    4.4 Authorisation of positions
    4.5 Advertisement
    4.6 Selection processes
    4.7 Feedback
    4.8 Confidentiality
    4.9 Offers of employment
    4.10 Retention of Records
  5. Responsibilities
  6. Review
  7. Associated Policies and Procedures
  8. Definitions
1 Introduction

1.1 The School of Oriental and African Studies (the School) is committed to equality of opportunity in recruitment, selection, promotion and all other areas of employment.
1.2 This Policy is underpinned by Procedures and Guidelines which form the basis for its implementation.
1.3 This Policy and associated Procedures aim to attract high calibre staff to the School by ensuring that recruitment and selection processes are effective, systematic, equitable and promote equality of opportunity.

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2 Objectives

2.1 To ensure that recruitment and selection exercises meet the School's operational and strategic requirements.
2.2 To ensure that all appointments are made on the basis of suitability for the position by assessment of evidence against the selection criteria for the post.
2.3 To ensure that all candidates are treated equitably and consistently.
2.4 To ensure compliance with the School's Equality and Diversity Policy and employment legislation. 

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3 Scope

3.1 This Policy applies to the recruitment and selection of all staff to the School.
3.2 Modified recruitment procedures apply to the appointment of Graduate Teaching Assistants reflecting the nature of these appointments.

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4 Principles
4.1 Awareness and training

4.1.1 Employees involved in the recruitment and selection of staff, are responsible for familiarising themselves with and complying with the provisions of this Policy and associated procedures.
4.1.2 The recruiting manager responsible for the position is required to ensure that any external advisers or recruitment agencies participating in any recruitment exercise are aware of, and comply with, the School's Equality and Diversity Policy , this Recruitment Policy and associated procedures.
4.1.3 Staff involved in the recruitment process and in particular Chairs of Selection Panels, are required to attend the School’s Recruitment and Selection training. As a minimum, at least one member of each Selection Panel must have undertaken this training.
4.1.4 The School is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and in this respect, employees involved in the recruitment and selection are required to maintain a positive approach towards equality of opportunity. Staff are encouraged to attend Equality and Diversity training offered as part of the School's Staff Development programme.

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4.2 Conflict of interest

4.2.1 If an employee involved in recruitment processes has a close personal or familial relationship with a candidate, the employee should declare this to the Human Resources Directorate as soon as they are aware of the candidate's application. In such situations, it would normally be appropriate for the member of staff to have no further involvement in the selection process.
4.2.2 If a candidate has named a member of staff involved in the selection process as a referee, the candidate will be asked to provide details of alternative referees, where practical.

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4.3 Identifying vacancies

4.3.1 Recruiting managers are required to fully evaluate the need for new, changed or replacement posts prior to seeking authorisation for the position.
4.3.2 Managers should consider if the duties of the post can be eliminated or reallocated to existing post-holders taking into account of workload.
4.3.3 Managers should seek to identify how the position will contribute to Faculty plans, administrative department plans or School's business plans and strategic objectives, as appropriate to the level of the post.

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4.4 Authorisation of positions

4.4.1 Recruiting managers are responsible for ensuring all vacancies are approved by the appropriate authority in the School.
4.4.2 Executive Board must authorise all School-funded new or changed positions of six months duration or above.
4.4.3 Replacement School-funded positions can be authorised by the Dean of Faculty, Registrar & Secretary, or Head of IFCELS.
4.4.4 All externally funded positions must be authorised by the Research Manager.
4.4.5 Further information can be found in the document ‘ Staffing costs: Authorisation levels '.

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4.5 Advertisement

4.5.1 To promote equality of opportunity, all vacancies of six months or more must be advertised. Permanent posts and fixed-term positions of over one year's duration must be advertised externally.
4.5.2 In the following circumstances, vacancies may not be advertised:

  • Where positions may provide suitable alternative employment for existing staff whose post has been identified for redundancy, (including the ending of fixed term contracts or following a restructuring exercise) or staff requiring redeployment for medical reasons or for reasons of disability.
  • Named researchers on externally funded grants where one of the factors in the award of the grant was the strength of the research team or the individual's experience/expertise as a researcher.
  • Temporary positions covering absence for maternity, adoption, unpaid leave etc. If the permanent post-holder decides not to return to his/her post following his/her leave, then the post will normally be advertised.
  • Where the post has already been unsuccessfully advertised and the recruiting manager can demonstrate that further advertising is unlikely to be effective.
  • Where an employee's duties have changed to a degree which necessitates re-grading of the position in line with the School's Grading Review Procedure. In such cases, advertisement would be inappropriate as the post is held by an existing member of staff and his/her non-appointment would create a redundancy.
    If the successful candidate requires a certificate of sponsorship to work in the UK , the post must be advertised to meet work certificate of sponsorship criteria in line with UK Border Agency regulations.

4.5.3 As a minimum, all posts are advertised on the School's vacancy website.
4.5.4 All externally advertised vacancies at Grade 6/AC1 upwards will also be advertised in the website
4.5.5 When selecting the most effective methods for publicising vacancies, managers should consider any under-represented groups and how best to target them. Managers should consider placing advertisements in publications aimed at under-represented groups.
4.5.6 Posts will be normally advertised with a minimum of two weeks between the publication of the advertisement and the closing date. Academic (teaching and research) posts will normally be advertised for four weeks between the advertisement and closing date.
4.5.7 All advertisements will include a statement that the School aims to be an equal opportunities employer.

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4.6 Selection processes

4.6.1 All recruitment processes will be based on agreed job descriptions and person specifications. Person specifications should only consist of the necessary skills, qualifications, experience and competencies required to carry out the duties of the post.
4.6.2  Applicants must be selected against the criteria listed in the person specification and no other criteria. The reasons for selection decisions relating to the person specification criteria must be recorded.
4.6.3 Applicants who declare a disability and who meet the essential criteria on the person specification for the post, will be offered an interview.

4.6.4 At least two members of the selection panel must be involved in the shortlisting process.
4.6.5 Interviewing must be undertaken by a minimum of two individuals to mitigate against the possibility of prejudice or stereotyping.
4.6.6 If the interviews for a vacancy take place over more than one day/session, the same panel must interview all candidates .
4.6.7 Interview panels should normally include members of both genders and wherever practicable, include individuals of different ethnicities.
4.6.8 Any selection tests (e.g. in-tray exercises, typing tests) must relate to the role and the results of tests assessed against selection criteria.
4.6.9 Candidates for academic (teaching and research) positions (and certain non-academic positions) will be required to give a presentation and they will be assessed in relation to the content, style and time management of their presentation and their response to questions. At least one member of the interview panel should attend the presentations and record feedback which should be given to the interview panel for consideration when making the selection decision.
4.6.10 Interview questions must relate to the selection criteria outlined in the person specification.
4.6.11 Selection decisions, including decisions not to appoint applicants, should be made by majority decision of the interview panel

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4.7 Feedback

4.7.1 The School will give feedback to any candidate who requests it within one month of the selection decision made at shortlisting or interview stage.  Internal candidates will normally receive feedback in person.

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4.8 Confidentiality

4.8.1 All applications will be treated as highly confidential by the School.
4.8.2 In accordance with the School's Data Protection Policy and legal requirements, candidates have the right to request any documentation relating to their application (e.g. interview and shortlisting records and notes, references).
4.8.3 Any data relating to recruitment and selection processes may be legally disclosed in the event of tribunal proceedings against the School and staff involved in the recruitment process must apply due diligence at all times.

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4.9 Offers of employment

4.9.1 All offers of employment will be subject to eligibility to work in the UK (including a successful application for a certificate of sponsorship under the Points Based System for Immigration and a successful application to enter or remain in the UK if applicable).
4.9.2 Offers of employment for all non-casual staff will also be subject to the receipt of satisfactory references and qualification checks.
4.9.3 The Human Resources Directorate must make all formal written offers of employment to salaried staff as a means of promoting internal comparability.
4.9.4 When academic (teaching and research) staff starting salaries are determined, consideration should be given to the individual's skills, qualifications and experience and in line with any internal comparators identified by the Dean and Head of Department. Starting salaries for academic positions of over one year's duration must be approved by the Pro-Directors, Director of Human Resources and the appropriate Dean of Faculty. The justification for each academic starting salary should be recorded on the individual's personnel file.
4.9.5 Following recommendations from the Head of Department and a relevant senior member of staff where appropriate , the Director of Human Resources (or nominee from the Human Resources Directorate) should approve starting salaries for non-academic School-funded positions.
4.9.6 The Research Manager should authorise externally-funded starting salaries to ensure that salary levels meet any grant or funding requirements.
4.9.7 Starting salaries will be regularly reviewed for equality purposes.

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4.10 Retention of records

4.10.1 When the recruitment process has been completed, recruiting managers should ensure that all information relating to the selection process is returned to the Human Resources Directorate.
4.10.2 The Human Resources Directorate will retain recruitment records for one year in case of requests for feedback or litigation.

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5 Responsibilities
 Authority Responsible for:
Executive BoardAuthorising new or changed School-funded positions of six months duration or more.
Deans, Registrar & Secretary, Head of IFCELsAuthorising replacement School-funded positions
Research ManagerAuthorising all external grant-funded positions.
Deans, Heads of Department/Heads of Service AreaEnsuring compliance with this Policy and associated procedures in their area.
Recruiting managersEnsuring that recruitment processes are carried out in line with this Policy and associated procedures.
Staff involved in the recruitment processFamiliarising themselves with this Policy and associated procedures and ensuring their involvement in any recruitment processes complies with this Policy.
Human Resources DirectorateProviding professional advice on recruitment and selection matters. Ongoing improvements to the recruitment process and supporting policies and .Providing an administrative service for recruitment processes.
Staff Development UnitProviding training on this Policy and equality issues.

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6 Review

6.1 Regular reports and statistics on recruitment and selection will be made to the School's Equality and Diversity Committee.
6.2 To ensure compliance with this Policy and the a member of the Human Resources Directorate or School's Diversity Advisor may be invited to or elect to attend any stage of the recruitment process.
6.3 This policy and the effectiveness of its operation should be reviewed regularly.
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7 Associated Policies and Procedures

7.1  Equality and Diversity Policy
7.2  Recruitment and Selection Procedures and associated Guidelines
7.3  Staff Reference Policy
7.4  Staffing costs: authorisation levels

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8 Definitions

Recruiting Manager : The person responsible for the recruitment process within the recruiting department. This will normally be the Dean of Faculty/Head of Service Area/Independent Centre or their delegate.

Under-represented groups: Where there have been no or few members of one group (ethnic minority group or sex) in a particular type of work for the last year. Positive action provisions in equality legislation allow employers to give special encouragement to such underrepresented groups in certain circumstances.

Close personal or familial relationship : A close friendship or family relationship between two individuals that could amount to a conflict of interest or lead to undue influence or a lack of objectivity in the recruitment process. Shared academic interests or working relationships should not constitute a close personal or familial relationship. However, anyone who has or has had a relationship of this nature, should declare this to the Chair of the Interview Selection Panel and/or Human Resources Directorate as appropriate.

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