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1 Preparation, needs analysis, conflict of interest and person specification


The allocation of responsibilities between the academic appointments board and the recruiting manager

The initiative to recruit an associate senior lecturer, senior lecturer or professor usually comes from the organisation. Normally, the head of department contacts the faculty’s academic appointments board in order to start the process. The academic appointments board is responsible for implementing the process correctly. The academic academic appointments board’s HR officer is responsible for many of the administrative tasks involved in the recruitment process.

Decisions on whether to recruit can be made in different ways at the faculties, but if a professor is to be recruited, it is always the University’s Vice-Chancellor who decides. The faculties have different procedures and the recruiting manager or head of department is involved to varying degrees.

The academic appointments board’s responsibilities during a recruitment

The academic appointments board and its HR officer ensure that the proper procedure for appointing academic staff is followed. The recruitment process is governed by laws, the Lund University Appointment Rules, policies and guidelines, as well as the faculty’s own procedures and guidelines. The academic appointments board and the HR officer ensure that the following steps are conducted professionally:

  • The person specification: should describe clearly the skills and expertise required to be able to carry out the relevant work duties.  The person specification should always be written according to the competency-based method (read more in the course Kompetensbaserad rekrytering (“Competency-based recruitment”) in Kompetensportalen).
  • The vacancy notice: should always be attractive to potential applicants and put Lund University in the best light. Avoid abbreviations and test the text with different audiences.
  • Communication: it should be clear to whom questions can be addressed throughout the process.
    • Communication is essential in how the applicants experience the process and Lund University. The academic appointments board’s HR officer is responsible for ensuring that applicants receive updated information about what stage the recruitment process is in. For example, “We have now sent X applications to an external expert for review. Unfortunately, your application was not selected among them.” Or, “Following a review made by the external expert, we have decided to proceed with X candidates to the next stage of the recruitment process, unfortunately you are not among them.”
    • Communication with the recruiting manager is equally important so as to provide the best possible start in the position for the final candidate. At the very least, the recruiting manager needs to be kept updated during the process and approximately how much time remains before a decision is proposed. The manager must have time to prepare for the introduction and reception of the new employee. The manager may also need to manage the reallocation of tasks during the recruitment process, if it involves replacing someone who has left.
  • The selection: should be done according to eligibility and qualification requirements, as well as additional merits, and be free from discrimination.
  • The interviews: should be carried out professionally, preferably according to competency-based recruitment methods.
  • The documentation: should be completed in the recruitment system according to the University’s Records Management Plan. Document and register everything of significance to the decision about who is finally offered the position.

Lund University uses a competency-based method of recruitment. If as a member of the board you have yet to undertake the training, apply in Kompetensportalen.

The recruitment committee

The academic appointments board may sometimes choose to create a recruitment committee at different points in the process. A recruitment committee shall include at least one member of the academic appointments board, one student representative and one representative of the department. The committee can prepare elements of the recruitment in order to facilitate and speed up the process.

The recruiting manager may be part of the recruitment committee. Other representatives from the department, such as a subject expert, may also be included. The advantage of appointing a recruitment committee is that the workload can be shared among more people and the time taken for the recruitment process can be shortened. The academic appointments board should consider the need for a recruitment committee at the beginning of every recruitment process. At the same time, the risk for conflicts of interest should be weighed carefully when putting together a committee.

Anyone with a conflict of interest should not participate in the process

It is important to handle any conflicts of interest that arise during the recruitment process. For example, there should be no current personal relationship between anyone involved in the preparation of the recruitment (board or committee member, HR officer, departmental representative, recruiting manager or external expert) and any of the applicants. Having collaborated with an applicant at some point over the years does not necessarily mean there is a conflict of interest, but an ongoing collaboration is likely to constitute a conflict of interest.

It is a good idea for those involved in the case to talk through any relationships they may have with applicants at the start of the recruitment process. It is often easier to examine the situation together.

Read more about conflicts of interest in recruitment (link to hidden page about conflicts of interest in recruitment)

Needs analysis – which work duties should be included

The needs analysis should be based on strategic considerations in the faculty or department’s talent management plan. Will there be changes in the team in the near future that should be taken into account now? How are the finances looking? Is it possible to solve the problem without recruiting (redeployment, restructuring work duties, preferential right to re-employment etc)? What work duties need to be done?

When an organisation needs to recruit a professor, the academic appointments board must draw attention to the procedure to increase gender equality in the recruitment of professors. 

Redeployment investigation and preferential rights must be taken into account throughout the recruitment process

Employees in need of redeployment and with preferential rights shall be taken into account throughout the recruitment process. The academic appointments board must ensure that this is done right up to the point when a decision to appoint is made. Normally, the HR officer at the department or the faculty is responsible for this.

Link to information about redeployment and preferential rights during recruitment for HR (Link to in its new location[LL1] )

Timescales can be difficult to estimate

How long a recruitment takes is difficult to say as it depends entirely on how easy/difficult it is to find suitable candidates and how much time is spent on preparation.

It may still be wise to set out a rough timetable for the the recruitment process, making clear who does what and when, for each new recruitment. Timetables are useful for creating structure and an overview, but they can also be adjusted on an ongoing basis. It can be a good communication tool for the recruiting manager, the applicants and others involved in the recruitment process.

The person specification guides the recruitment

The person specification forms the basis for the vacancy notice and guides the entire recruitment process. The wording of the person specification and the vacancy notice determines how the choice of candidate can be justified.

When a recruiting manager creates a person specification, the academic appointments board and its HR officer are to provide vital support. The manager should start with the needs analysis, but may include other expertise requirements for the job. Specialists, colleagues and managers may be able to provide important information.

When developing the person specification, it is important to define elegibility, requirements and qualifications of extra merit.

Eligibility is based on the basic requirements set out in the Higher Education Ordinance and in the Lund University Appointment Rules.

Requirements are the knowledge and expertise necessary to be able to perform the work duties.

Qualifications of extra merit are advantageous, but are not required in order to perform the work duties of the position. They are added extras.

To avoid discrimination, it is also important to consider whether the requirements and additional merits are objective and justified in relation to the work duties.

The person specification should contain a clear description of:

  • the organisation at which the position is placed
  • the work duties associated with the position
  • areas of responsibility associated with the position
  • eligibility, requirements and qualifications of extra merit, for example degrees, experience, knowledge and expertise of the person appointed.

The University uses competency-based recruitment in order to formulate comptencies and skills. The recruitment system has support materials for this. 

Read more in the course Kompetensbaserad rekrytering (“Competency-based recruitment”) in Kompetensportalen).


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