Human Resources

Recruiting for academic staff positions: guidelines for Schools

Further information

About Perth

Recruitment of new staff may have long-term implications and should take into account the school's longer-term strategic goals and objectives.

  1. Position
  2. Advertisement
  3. Distribution of information
  4. Getting and keeping applicants interested

Position

  • Determine the nature of the position in terms of the specific teaching and research interests required, the needs of post-graduate students and any other school requirements. It is useful to consult with all members of staff in making this decision. Recruitment of a new staff member, particularly to a tenurable position, may have long-term implications and should be made in the context of the school's longer-term strategic goals and objectives.
  • Increasingly it is recognised that it is desirable that the University's staff reflect more accurately the diversity in the cultural background and gender of the broader student community. If there is an imbalance, for example, in the ratio of male to female staff, in tenurable positions or at the higher promotional levels, then special efforts may be required in the search process.
  • In drafting selection criteria for the position refer to the Selection for Appointment Policy. This is a critical task as the selection committee will assess applicants against these criteria. In order to encourage diversity in the school's staffing it is useful to identify specific selection criteria such as meeting the needs of female post-graduate students or working with a culturally diverse student population.
  • The level of the position advertised will help define the likely range of applicants. Job-share opportunities or fractional appointments may particularly attract women applicants.

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Advertisement

Full details on advertising are availalbe in the University Policy on Advertising.

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Distribution of information

While advertisements are important in recruitment, they need to be supplemented with other strategies. Circulating information about the vacancy as widely as possible is necessary to develop a large and diverse pool of applicants. In some instances targeting of some specific individuals may be useful.

The following avenues may be useful.

Personal Networks
Contact colleagues interstate and overseas with information about the position and ask them to disseminate it within their departments. In the case of appropriate individuals, send information directly to them and encourage them to apply. Send copies of the position description to qualified women in the field who are known to staff members of the school, including ex-students, current and ex-staff.
Professional Networks
Conferences can be useful talent spotting opportunities where all school staff can play a role. Recent journals in the relevant field can be used to identify potential applicants. Professional associations may have newsletters or mailing lists. In some instances there may also be women's sections or caucuses of relevant discipline associations.
Internet
Computer discussion lists on the Internet can be used to disseminate information about vacancies. Ensure an email address for a response is clearly identified. Vacancies are placed on the UWA jobs website.
Targeting (Institutions)
It may be useful to write to universities with highly regarded reputations in the advertised discipline area, asking them to disseminate the vacancy information among staff and students.
Targeting (Individuals)
Checking the references in well-regarded journals can identify active researchers in the school's area of interest and these individuals can be contacted directly. This strategy is particularly useful in seeking senior level staff.

In order to increase the interest of women applicants, there are some specific avenues to consider:

  • Ensure that women who are contacted are assured of the University's commitment to implementing equal opportunity policies.
  • Become familiar with the work of women in the discipline by inviting them to visit the school as part of a visiting scholars' scheme, or to give papers at seminars or conferences.
  • Monitor the gender of applicants shortlisted for positions and survey how successful applicants heard about the vacancy.

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Getting and keeping applicants interested

This University provides a number of benefits, both tangible and intangible, which can be very attractive to potential applicants. They include:

  • tenure
  • fully paid study leave and generous travel grant
  • an attractive superannuation scheme
  • excellent on-campus child care and out of school care facilities
  • working in a top class institution with high quality undergraduate students and a significant proportion of post-graduate students
  • national success in research grant applications
  • the Western Australian lifestyle, weather and public amenities

Ensuring that applicants are fully aware of these benefits should assist to expand the applicant pool.

Information about the position and the University can be accessed through the UWA jobs website. Alternatively it can be sent via email. It is suggested that an email address is included in the advertisement and in other materials disseminated in regard to the position.

Applicant follow-up is important to keep them interested in the position while the selection process is underway. Some suggestions:

  • Be prompt. Because top class candidates often have a number of options available to them, it is helpful to complete the selection process as quickly as possible.
  • While Human Resources can provide standard information about the University many applicants will have specific questions which can be answered only by the head of school. By encouraging applicants to ask questions and being open in response, important information essential for making a significant family decision, which goes beyond the position itself, can be communicated.
  • It is helpful to inform applicants about the support the University can offer in terms of resettlement. In some instances it may be useful to engage the services of private relocation consultants who will assist a successful candidate with housing and schools.
  • Given that a personal interview is required for any position three years or more in length, this time becomes an important opportunity to 'sell' the school, the University and the city to shortlisted applicants. If funding is available it may be helpful to ensure that interviewees see as much as possible of the region. Where funding permits, consideration may also be given to bringing the partners of serious candidates to Perth. Such additional costs must be borne by the school or faculty.
  • It is important to keep shortlisted applicants informed about the progress of the selection process. Human Resources will let non-shortlisted candidates know their position.

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