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3 Different methods of selection

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Selection procedure – person specification, merit and skills

Selection must be based on the approved person specification. This is in order to ensure an objective, gender equal and non-discriminatory selection, based on the previously established and communicated criteria.

In the first selection, candidates who meet the eligibility criteria are chosen. Those who do not meet the requirements do not proceed further. Eligibility is based on whether the applicant is eligible to apply for a position as a senior lecturer, for example – i.e. whether the applicant meets the basic requirements.

You can also select other requirements in the person specification, such as research in a specified subject, proven experience in applying for and obtaining competitive funding, or proven teaching experience.

External expert review

Once the applications have been screened for eligibility and the fulfilment of requirements, the applications that have passed will be sent to experts for further evaluation. External experts are often individuals with subject expertise in senior positions. The department should submit a proposal regarding suitable external experts to the academic appointments board. It is important to make sure external experts do not have a conflict of interest in relation to any of the applicants.

The expert review should also concentrate on merits and skills, in accordance with Section 4 of the Employment Ordinance. Merit usually means the experience the applicant has gained through previous employment. Skills are usually an applicant’s expertise in research, teaching, external engagement, leadership etc.

In-depth selection – selection days

Once the external expert has completed their assessment and several top candidates have been chosen, these are normally invited to an in-depth selection, also known as selection days, for further evaluation. The in-depth selection process may take different forms depending on the faculty. The purpose of the in-depth selection process is to be able to make a deeper evaluation of the top candidates’ expertise within the research subject, research and teaching qualifications, experience and other knowledge and competencies (abilities, skills and approach) through interviews and set tasks (e.g. trial lectures) in relation to the person specification.

An equally important aim is to provide the candidate with information about the workplace and the conditions and expectations of the position. It is important to give a positive, yet realistic picture of the workplace and the position, so that the candidate’s expectations match the reality. Normally the academic appointments board initates the in-depth selection process. The academic appointments board’s HR officer can offer support in terms of how to plan and conduct the in-depth selection. The recruiting manager and other representatives from the faculties should also be included in the in-depth selection process.

After the in-depth selection process, those participating should conduct a comprehensive and structured assessment of the final candidates. The assessment should be based on the extent to which the candidates meet the person specification.

Here you will find examples of how to structure selection days. 

Interviews – competency-based and structured questions

An important element of the selection process is the interviews of the top candidates. The aim of the interview is to assess the candidate’s experience, knowledge and expertise (abilities, skills and approach) in relation to the person specification, as well as to provide the candidate with information about the workplace and the conditions and expectations of the position.

Sometimes interviews are carried about by a working group or recruitment committee in which the recruiting manager is involved. When planning interviews, it is important to bear in mind that they are most effective if they are standardised and structured. When questions are fixed in advance and all candidates are given the same questions, it is possible to treat applicants equally and avoid discrimination. Lund University uses competency-based interviews and information about this can be found in the recruitment system. There is also a course in competency-based recruitment available in Swedish, which you can register for in Kompetensportalen.

Stick to the most relevant questions. The most important aspect is that all candidates are asked the same questions so that it is possible to compare and assess the answers in relation to the person specification. Avoid asking questions that could be perceived as hypothetical, leading, repetitive, ambiguous, critical or discriminatory.

Questions should be short, direct and simple. Ask open questions and let the candidate describe a concrete situation in order to obtain as clear a picture as possible in relation to a specific area of expertise.

Remember that interviews can be stressful for candidates. Try not to include more people than necessary in the interviews. Decide in advance who will ask the different questions, who will be responsible for time management and who will write notes. Try to create a positive atmosphere and conduct the interview in a quiet place. Let the candidates know in advance what language the interview will be held in.

Also explain the rest of the selection process. Will there be trial lectures or other set tasks? Will you take references? How long will it take before a final candidate is chosen?

Give the candidate time to ask questions. Here it could be helpful if someone from the organisation the person is going to work for is present and can answer questions about the organisation, perhaps at an extra interview session.

Interview guide template (Word 115 kB, new tab)

Occupational psychological testing

Today, the use of occupational psychological testing in recruitment is common and an effective complementary tool in the recruitment process. Its purpose is to evaluate the candidate’s intellectual capacity and skills. It is important to be aware that tests are part of the selection process and should be used as a complement to structured interviews and reference taking. Candidates must always receive feedback on their results. Lund University has procured several different testing tools. The academic appointments board’s HR officer has more information on this.

Set tasks

Set tasks and simulated exercises, such as trial lectures, can be used to assess skills that are difficult to test in an interview or on paper, such as analytical or teaching skills and practical knowledge.

It is important to agree in advance on assessment criteria for evaluating the results of any set tasks. Always use the person specification as the starting point. Remember to standardise the set task so that everyone is given the same conditions, e.g. written instructions, timeframes etc. Inform candidates in advance, conduct set tasks with a positive attitude, take integrity into consideration and give feedback after the evaluation is complete. For trial lectures, for example, you may want to collect feedback from the audience.

Taking references

References should always be taken in order to obtain additional information about the candidate, confirm information that has arisen during the interview and clear up any question marks. Here, too, the focus should be on evaluating the qualifications set out in the person specification. References should be obtained at the end of the recruitment process, and the candidate must be informed.

The referee’s judgement should not be decisive, but is an important part of the assessment. It is an advantage if the referees have different work connections to the candidate, e.g. manager, colleague, collaborative partner etc. At least one of the referees should be a current or previous manager. It is best to make an appointment with the referee in advance so that the person can be better prepared.

Document registration – everything of relevance to a decision must be registered

Everything that affects the decision to appoint a person must be registered in the recruitment system. This means that interview documents, references, tests and other documents used to justify the selection of the final candidate must be saved. Documents relating to all unsucessful candidates should be destroyed after two years. Any issues about confidentiality should be assessed on a case-by-case basis if and when a document is requested.

International shortlisted candidates

If the final candidate is a person from a non-EU/Nordic country, they may need a residence permit to work in Sweden. It is the responsibility of the University to determine any need for a residence permit. Factor in the extra time for applications for residence permits into the recruitment process. Remember that it can take up to 6 months to get a residence permit. In order to reduce the processing time, the information submitted to the Swedish Migration Agency must be correct.

Updated information, templates and checklists for residence permits and appointing international staff can be found here.

It is also possible to use our procured relocation company for these types of services.

Read more about which relocation services are offered

Keep in mind that it is illegal to employ a third-country national if they do not have a valid residence permit.