Selection Methods

You may wish to include a variety of selection methods within the recruitment process, in order to thoroughly assess a candidate's skills and experience against the requirements of the role.

There are a number of selection methods, in addition to the interview, that can be included to thoroughly assess a candidate's skills and experience against the requirements of the role which are outlined in the Person Specification.  Guidance regarding interviews and the other available selection methods is provided below.


The recruitment process for all vacancies must include an interview.  The interview enables - 

  • the Department/School to assess the quality of the applicants against the Selection criteria and explore their credentials in depth where necessary
  • candidates to get a feel for York St John University and obtain valuable information about the role

Interview scheduling

It is advised that a maximum of six candidates are interviewed in one day.  If the panel is unable to make a decision following this it is possible to invite the candidates to invite a second stage interview.

As a guide, the time allowed for each interview should be a minimum of 40 minutes per interview plus 5 minutes for candidate questions. For Professional roles it is recommended that the interview process is 60 minutes or longer.

Wherever possible candidates should be given a 10 minute break between stages of the selection process, e.g. between interview and presentation/demonstration.

The interview schedule should be given to HR who will write to the candidates to invite them to interview, providing them with at least 7 days’ notice to prepare.

Interview documentation

The following documentation will be sent to the Vacancy Chair and members of the formal interview panel prior to the interview date -

 To all members of the interview panel:

  • Interview schedule
  • Job description
  • Person specification
  • Candidate applications including personal details.
  • Interview questions (if Chair has specified these when completing the Online Recruitment Request)
  • Unconscious Bias summary sheet

Pre-interview panel discussion

A pre-interview discussion attended by all panel members is crucial to the process.  As a minimum, 30 minutes should be set aside on the day prior to the interviews.  HR will provide advice and guidance to the Panel, where appropriate.  The discussion should cover, but is not limited to:

  1. Any issues arising from the application forms/CV’s
  2. Format of interview
  3. Order of questioning

If any issues arising from the application forms are identified these issues should be discussed during the pre-interview discussion and any unresolved issues should be raised with the candidate to obtain further clarification. This ensures the final decision is based on the selection process and not preconceived ideas.

Interview questions

A set of interview questions should be asked of each applicant, but further probing questions will differ according to each applicant and their response.  The interview questions should be pre-determined at the very beginning of the recruitment process when the Online Recruitment Request is submitted, and all must relate to the requirements outlined within the Person Specification.

Further information regarding the interview process can be found in the interview guidance document


A presentation may form part of the selection process, particularly for senior/management appointments.  Candidates will be asked to prepare and deliver a presentation on a prescribed topic relevant to the role at the point of being invited to interview.

The competencies assessed in the presentation will link to the requirements identified in the Person Specification.

Following the presentation you may wish to allocated a further period for a question and answer session during which the Panel can explore the presentation further and seek clarification if necessary.

Assessment of teaching ability

It is recommended that candidates being interviewed for academic teaching posts within the University are asked to deliver a lecture, tutorial or workshop so that their ability to teach and engage with an audience can be assessed.

The candidate is provided with a brief, outlining the topic and the requirements of the teaching assessment, at the point of being invited to interview so that they are able to prepare sufficiently.

The audience must include a subject specialist and often, where available, students are invited to attend the lecture, tutorial or workshop to contribute to the assessment of performance. All members must be in a position to judge the suitability of the candidates.

Test / Assessment

Tests / assessments (often known as 'work samples') are used to assess a candidate's ability to perform a certain aspect of the role, for example their PC skills or ability to prioritise. They may take a variety of formats including:

In / E-Tray exercises

In / E-Tray exercises are used to assess a candidate's ability to prioritise. At the beginning of the exercise the candidate is provided with background information regarding their role in the organisation / or a certain scenario and asked to prioritise several tasks. Time is allowed for the candidate to read through the information and decide how they would prioritise each task. At the end of the exercise the candidate would usually be asked to confirm how they would prioritise each task and their rationale for doing so.     

Report writing exercises

If report writing is a key requirement of the role you may wish to include an exercise to assess this. At the start of the exercise you would provide the candidate with a scenario outlining for example an incident that has occured. The candidate would then be required to produce a report detailing the key information. 

Computer based tests

You may wish to assess a candidate's PC skills if using a certain package is a key part of their role. For example if a role requires reporting skills you may wish to ask the candidate to undertake an assessment of their Excel skills.

Psychometric assessments

Psychometric tests can be used to measure abilities, aptitude, behaviour preferences or likely behaviour and are divided into two categories:

Ability tests

Ability tests assess the candidate's specific ability at verbal, numerical or abstract reasoning skills

Personality Assessment

Personality Assessments provide a rounded profile of the candidate (behaviour and preference) which cannot be easily assessed by other methods of assessment.

Some members of the HR department are licensed to administer certain psychometric tests and should you wish to make use of such a test as part of your selection process then please contact the Recruitment Officer.

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