Selecting the right candidate

The process of Recruitment and Selection is about making decisions...

When candidates apply for the post there are key decisions to be made and as the Recruiting Manager you need to be accountable for those decisions at all stages of the process:

The documentation needs to be right and careful thought needs to be given to how to best attract the right candidate, please see Job Templates

The decision on who to appoint is vital to ensure that the Section / Department / College / University has the right staff to perform at the high levels expected.  All decisions must be fair and transparent and justifiable.


Short-listing is the stage in the selection process during which all applicants are considered against the requirements of the post as detailed in the person specification.  In line with the Data Protection Act 1998 applicants are advised that the University’s Recruitment and Selection processes are secure, appropriate and confidential.   It is essential therefore that during the shortlisting process these principles are maintained.

It is recommended that a Departmental shortlisting panel is established with the specific task of shortlisting applicants.  Application packs should be restricted to members of the panel.  A member of the HR Business Partnering team may be involved at the shortlisting stage and there should be gender balance - if this is not possible the reasons should be detailed on the shortlisting panel form.

Managers should ensure that those involved in the selection process have attended Marshall equality training, are aware of the University’s Equal Opportunities Policy, the University’s Recruitment and Selection Guidance (in particular relating to declaration of interests) and the person specification and job description.

A shortlisting form will be provided to the Recruiting Manager listing all the applicants and identifying the criteria detailed in the person specification.   It should be noted that the details indicated on this form may be made available to the applicant if reasons for rejection are requested.  The shortlisting panel should enter the appropriate rating against the relevant criteria for each applicant.  In addition the shortlisting panel should indicate whether the applicant should be shortlisted or rejected at this stage.  It should be noted that some of the criteria identified in the person specification may not be measurable prior to interview.

The shortlisting forms must be returned to the HR Advisory Assistant who will proceed or reject the candidates onthe recruitment system and coordinate interview arrangements. 

Shortlisting Key considerations:

  • The short-listing process must be managed in a secure and confidential manner.  
  • It is essential that more than one person is involved in the shortlisting to avoid the potential for nepotism or intentional or unintentional unfair discrimination.
  • The short-listing panel must sign the Shortlisting Panel form indicating their involvement in the process.
  • The short-listing form must be completed as each application is evaluated by the panel and a tick or X marked to demonstrate which criteria each candidate has evidenced.
  • Once each candidate has been considered ‘Invite to interview’ row can be completed by looking at the how many of the required criteria are met by each candidate.
  • In applications where the essential criteria of the person specification are not met, the individual should not be short-listed.
  • The panel may use the desirable criteria in addition to the essential criteria to differentiate between candidates when large volumes are received.
  • The short-listing form containing the consensus of the shortlisting panel will be returned to the HRAA, any other supporting notes which explain how the shortlist was reached should also be attached.
  • The short-listing form and supporting notes will be consulted when applicants request feedback for reasons why they were not short-listed.  It is the responsibility of the Shortlisting panel to provide feedback and be accountable for the decisions

Interviews and Candidate Assessment

Once a shortlist has been agreed, the recruiting manager should arrange the interview / selection process.   When all of the arrangements are in place notification can be sent to the shortlisted candidates, usually by email and the templates are available at::

Applicants should be given reasonable notice of the date and time of the selection process and the ideal is to include this as part of the recruitment pack. 

Correspondence inviting candidates is normally done by email and should ask the applicant if they have any special requirements with respect to the interview arrangements.   The following wording is suggested:

“If you have a disability or any other special requirement and therefore require any special facilities to be available for the interview, please contact me with the necessary details as soon as possible.”

If candidates are required to undertake a practical test or presentation as part of the selection process they should be told of this in the invitation to interview.   Details should be given on why the tests are being used and how they will fit into the assessment procedure. 

The interview is the opportunity for the selection panel to meet candidates and to probe their suitability against the values, experience and skills required.  It is important to remember that the interview is a two way process and that whether successful or not each candidate will take away with them their own impression of Swansea University.  

Candidate selection key actions

  • Review the applications in advance, together with the job details and the interview note forms and be familiar with the job and the applicants
  • Make the process as positive an experience as possible for all candidates, everyone who has contact with the candidates has an important role to play in ensuring the experience is positive, fair, comfortable and organised.
  • Meet candidates on arrival, or provide clear directions to the interview room (If candidates are being asked to report to a main office/reception then ensure the receptionist is prepared for this)
  • Enable the candidates to perform as well as they can and will create a good impression of the University as a place to work.
  • Make candidates familiar with the working hours and other arrangements let them decide whether they can comply with them before accepting the offer of the post. 
  • The interview is a two way process.

Interview arrangements must include:

  • Interview date
  • panel Arrangements
  • Location of Interview
  • Timings
  • Tests / presentations / other assessment
  • Invitations
  • Agenda
  • Notes and record keeping