We use cookies on this site. By browsing our site you agree to our use of cookies. Close this message Find out more

Home > Human Resources > Recruitment Team > Recruitment & Selection Guidelines and Templates
More in this section Recruitment Team

Recruitment & Selection Guidelines and Templates

The purpose of this information is to provide advice and guidance to Recruitment Managers or any other staff member involved in recruitment and selection activities; to guide them in adopting a best practice approach to recruitment and selection processes. 

The information available below provides guidance on how to comply with University procedures and legislative requirements in regards to composing various recruitment and selection related documents.

Purpose of a Job Advert

The advert template will assist you in creating a document that will be used to generate interest in the role and attract suitable applicants who possess the necessary qualifications, skills and experience. The content of the advert should always be drawn up with reference to the person specification and job description. (Guidance of which can be found in the next two tabs).

A good advert will help to limit the number of unsuitable candidates who apply for the vacancy as a poor or vaguely worded advertisement often results in a large number of applications, many of which are often unsuitable, thus wasting valuable time and resources.


Structure of a job advert

The first paragraph should contain one or two brief sentences which set the context of the role or the Department. It may not be necessary to include this departmental information for general administrative positions if the context of the Department is not important. It is not necessary to include much detail; as such information is easily accessible on the University website and individual Department web-pages.

The second paragraph should promote the vacancy by highlighting one or two of the most attractive features of the position or highlight key responsibilities.

The third paragraph should summarise the key selection criteria required for the role and must directly relate to the person specification. It should not introduce new selection criteria for the role, not stated in the person specification.


The Advert and Immigration Requirements

To meet the requirements of the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) Resident Labour Market Test (RLMT) should the University wish to appoint a candidate who resides outside of the EEA the advert must contain the following information, and therefore this should not be removed from the template.

The advertisement must include:

  • the job title;
  • the main duties and responsibilities of the job;
  • the location of the job;
  • an indication of the salary range, salary package or terms on offer;
  • the essential qualifications, skills and experience required to perform the role; and  
  • the closing date for applications.

In an effort to maintain consistency all adverts should adopt the advert template layout regardless of whether there is a desire to meet the RLMT or not. 


Advert content provided by the Recruitment Team

The Recruitment Team will add the following information to your advert:

  • Salary range or salary point as per the agreed grade.
  • This will help attract candidates by ensuring that they know what salary to expect if they are appointed, although it is best practice to appoint on the bottom of the scale.
  • Hours of work/FTE for part time appointments.
  • Duration of appointments for fixed term appointments.
  • Reason for appointment (if applicable) e.g. Maternity Leave Cover
  • Information on how the candidates should apply.
  • Vacancy reference number.
  • Closing date.

Applications are available to view and shortlist through our online recruitment system, Stonefish. You will be notified via e-mail when you have had your first application submitted.

Please note that in order to meet the UKVI RLMT and apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship the vacancy will need to be advertised for a specific period, and therefore the closing date will depend on the vacancy publication ‘live’ date. The Recruitment Team can advise further on setting an appropriate date.


Discrimination and Adverts

It is essential that your advertisement does not potentially discriminate against candidates and you should therefore make sure that it:

  • Does not contain directly or indirectly discriminatory criteria.
  • Does use gender neutral language.
  • Does not use jargon or abbreviations that may not be understood by overseas candidates.

Further information and guidance on equality and diversity considerations can be found in our Recruitment and Selection Best Practice Guidance Handbook.


Advert Style and Template  

The standard advert template, available below or provided by the Recruitment Team should be used by all departments across the University to ensure that a consistent style is demonstrated in all job further particulars.

The Advert Template is available here.

The sections of the advert template highlighted in ‘green’ should be completed by the Recruitment Manager in the Department; all other sections can be completed by the Recruitment Team if required.

Purpose of a Job Description

Job descriptions are written statements of the primary tasks, functions, responsibilities and relationships of a role. Job descriptions are essential aids to recruitment, job evaluation, induction, performance management and staff development review processes.

Job descriptions should:

  • Provide a clear and concise description of the whole job so its purpose is clearly understood.
  • Describe major tasks clearly.
  • Describe how much direction and supervision is required to conduct the functions of the position, and the interaction with other positions within the College to achieve a given result.
  • Provide a context for understanding the objectives of the position by defining and clarifying its responsibilities, supervision and relationships.


Generic Academic Job Descriptions

Standard templates exist for the following academic roles:

  • Head of Department
  • Professor
  • Reader
  • Senior Lecturer
  • Lecturer
  • Senior Teaching Fellow 
  • Teaching Fellow

If your vacancy has a generic job description, please contact the Recruitment Team who can provide you with the appropriate templates.

You can use the template job descriptions as they exist or alter as appropriate; although you should ensure that any changes you make do not impact on the grade of the post by ensuring that the duties remain within the normal expectations for the role.  


Writing New Job Descriptions

A job description is an outline of the role that is to be performed. This should be a straightforward description of the key duties and responsibilities associated with the role. Ideally, it should state the reporting lines that the job will have reporting into it and who the role holder will report to. 

The job description should be unambiguous and avoid jargon and abbreviations.  Care should be taken to ensure that the role is not defined too tightly as an element of flexibility is required. 

Drawing up an accurate job description is crucial to the success of the recruitment process as it will give applicants clear information about the role. It should neither overstate nor understate the responsibilities of the role as it will play an important part in an individual’s decision whether to apply or not. In addition, the job description indicates the expectation of performance of the post holder once they are appointed.

When writing a new job description:

  • Please use gender- neutral language.
  • When listing tasks, please state what the task is, rather than how you expect the post-holder to undertake the task.
  • Please remember that job descriptions are summaries of key duties and responsibilities and not exhaustive lists of every single task a post-holder may have to undertake. You should therefore, avoid including every minor task.
  • Ideally a job description should not be longer than two sides of A4 paper; although length will depend on the nature of the role.
  • Please try to avoid too much detail as this can be too restrictive and inflexible to change. Equally, job descriptions which are too short can be vague, unclear and can be misleading to candidates.
  • Please do not use any jargon or abbreviations which external candidates may not understand.
  • Please include a date at the end of your job description for future reference.
  • All job descriptions should include the following statement ( or similar flexibility phrase) at the end of the description:

“Any other duties as required by the line manager or Head of Department, that are commensurate with the grade.

As the needs of the University change so the above job profile, duties and location of the role within the Faculty/Service of the University will be adjusted accordingly.”


Example Job Descriptions For Reference

Sample job descriptions of similar roles can be requested from the Recruitment Team, however please note that these may be in old template formats and so will need updating to the template available below so as to ensure consistency of job further particulars across the University.

Please note that these job description examples may not always be of a high quality and therefore should be carefully reviewed to determine if they meet the requirements of your specific role and are fit for purpose. They should therefore not be copied verbatim.



Reviewing/Rewriting Old Job Descriptions

If you are advertising a replacement position, you should begin by reviewing the old job description, if available, to see if it is still an accurate representation of the post. If there have been changes to the role then the job description should be updated to reflect this.

If you are unsure if any changes to the responsibilities of the post have an impact on the role’s grade, then you should contact the HR Policy & Reward Manager for advice on whether the job description needs to be re-evaluated. 

When reviewing or re-writing an old job description:

  • Ensure that the style of the job description is in keeping with the standard template job description, available below and includes the standard flexibility paragraph.
  • Previous job descriptions may be available from the Recruitment Team but may need updating to ensure consistency with the current job description template in use.
  • Please include the date that you reviewed the job description at the bottom of the document.



Job Description Style and Template

The standard Job Description or Task List templates, available below or provided by the Recruitment Team should be used by all departments across the College to ensure that a consistent style is demonstrated in all job further particulars.

The Job Description Template is available here

Purpose of a Person Specification

The person specification should identify the essential and in some cases the desirable, qualifications, knowledge, skills, experience and other attributes (selection criteria) that will be required by the post-holder to perform the duties of the role.

The person specification should be derived from the job description and forms the foundation of the recruitment process as it will be used as the basis for selection decisions at shortlisting, presentation, test and interview stages.

Interview questions and selection tests should also be derived from the person specification and be designed to elicit more evidence on the candidate against the requirements (criteria) of the post.

The person specification should also be used to write your vacancy advertisement for the position and be referred to in the third paragraph of the advert as per the template available below.

The identified requirements will be used as grounds for making an appointment and therefore if the requirement cannot be justified, it should not be used as selection criteria and should not be included in the person specification and advert.


Essential vs. Desirable Selection Criteria

Person specification selection criteria should be classified as either “E” for Essential or “D” for Desirable.

Essential criteria are those requirements that are indispensible if the role is to be carried out to the required standard. These criteria specific the minimum standard required and should be used in the shortlisting process as a basis for the rejection of unsuitable applicants.

Desirable criteria are those requirements that would enhance the applicant’s ability to carry out the role, but a lack of these on the applicant’s part would not mean that they could not carry out the tasks of the job description.  



Selection Criteria Requirements

Person specification selection criteria should be:

  • Specific
  • Justifiable
  • Measurable
  • Non Discriminatory



Selection criteria should be specific rather than general. This is to ensure that the person specification properly reflects job requirements. It also helps ensure that candidates understand the qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience you, as the Recruitment Manager are looking for. In addition, it helps ensure consistency of selection decisions by shortlisting or interview panel members and avoids confusion.

For example:

The criteria “verbal and written communication skills” covers a range of possibilities. It would be more effective to specify the nature and level of communication skills that the job requires. The use of the following criteria for example would still relate to communication skills.

  •  The ability to draft complex correspondence.
  •  Good report writing skills.
  •  Effective presentation skills.
  •  The ability to converse with a diverse range of people at all levels.


Selection criteria must be justifiable in relation to the job tasks and requirements. Non-justifiable criteria could be deemed discriminatory and prevent suitable applicants from applying for your position.

For example:

An essential requirement for a Faculty Administrator to be educated to degree level could be deemed unjustifiable as the role is an administrative one (in most cases) and an experience administrator could perform all the functions of the role effectively without a degree.

In examples such as these, this requirement (criteria) would be best placed as desirable and it should be made clear  to candidates that equivalent relevant experiences would be considered as sufficient. 



When writing selection criteria, you need to consider how you are going to assess how each candidate measures against the requirement.

The third column of the person specification template, available below, should be used to indicate at what stage of the process you will be assessing the candidate against the criteria:

  •  Application Form stage
  •  Interview Stage
  •  Presentation Stage
  •  Test Stage
  •  Or a combination of the above.

It is important to consider the wording of the criteria to ensure that what you are asking can in fact be measured.

For example:

How would you assess the criteria “A commitment to equal opportunities”?

You could question or test candidates on their knowledge of equalities legislation and best practice but arguably, this would not test commitment only understanding and therefore the criteria should be rephrased as “An understanding of equal opportunities legislation and best practice”.

Alternatively, at the interview stage, you could ask candidates to explain how they have demonstrated their commitment to equal opportunities through their work, however, if this was the evidence you were seeking, it may have been better to phase the criteria as “Demonstrable evidence of promoting equal opportunities through work experience”

The University now undertakes online shortlisting and the criteria that you state is measurable at the application stage or application/interview stage will be added to the application form that all applicants are required to complete so that the applicant can respond to the criteria and demonstrate how they meet it.


Selection criteria must be fair, objective and directly relevant to the job requirements.

Discriminatory language or statements concerning the protected characteristics identified in the Equality Act 2010 must not be used.

These protected characteristics are:

  •  Age
  •  Disability
  •  Gender reassignment
  •  Pregnancy and maternity
  •  Race (which includes ethnic or national origins, colour and nationality)
  •  Religion and belief
  •  Sex
  •  Sexual orientation

The Recruitment Team will review job further particulars prior to any advertisement going live and we may therefore make changes or ask for further clarification on any content that could be deemed discriminatory.  

Further information and guidance on equality and diversity considerations can be found in our Recruitment and Selection Best Practice Guidance Handbook.



Person Specification Style and Template

The standard Person Specification template, available below or provided by the Recruitment Team should be used by all departments across the University to ensure that a consistent style is demonstrated in all job further particulars.

The Person Specification Template is available here


The standard templates available below or provided by the Recruitment Team should be used by all departments across the University to ensure that a consistent style is demonstrated in all job further particulars.

  • The sections of the advert template highlighted in 'green' should be completed by the Recruitment Manager; all other sections can be completed by the Recruitment Team if necessary. 


Further Information

Further information and guidance on Recruitment and Selection best practice, processes and procedures can be found in our Recruitment and Selection Best Practice Handbook.

Should you require further information or guidance, please contact a member of the Recruitment Team, whose contact details can be found here.


Comment on this page

Did you find the information you were looking for? Is there a broken link or content that needs updating? Let us know so we can improve the page.

Note: If you need further information or have a question that cannot be satisfied by this page, please call our switchboard on +44 (0)1784 434455.

This window will close when you submit your comment.

Add Your Feedback