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Recruitment, Selection and Appointment Procedure

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Section 1 - Purpose

(1) To specify the process for recruitment, selection and appointment of professional and academic staff via Competitive Selection and set out Macquarie University’s (the University’s) standards and principles for recruitment and selection.


(2) The University is committed to the recruitment, selection and appointment of a suitably qualified, skilled, and diverse workforce who will contribute positively to the University’s values and objectives.

(3) The University is committed to providing a fair and transparent approach to recruitment and seeks to ensure that its recruitment, selection and appointment process:

  1. is merit based and all candidates are assessed on their relevant skills, knowledge, behaviours and experience against the role requirements in order to determine the candidate best suited for the role;
  2. is guided by the principles of equal employment opportunity and the objective of a diverse workforce within the University to ensure that the most capable candidates are selected based on merit;
  3. is compliant with relevant legislation and other statutory obligations; and
  4. provides a positive experience for all applicants in line with the University’s values.


(4) This Procedure applies to recruitment for all academic and professional positions where a Competitive Selection process is undertaken.

(5) A Competitive Selection process must be undertaken for recruitment to all continuing and fixed-term positions, except in limited circumstances where direct appointment is permitted.

(6) A Competitive Selection process may also be conducted in circumstances where direct appointment is permitted, but it is not mandatory under this Procedure.

(7) Circumstances where direct appointment is permitted are:

  1. fixed-term appointments of up to twenty-four (24) months;
  2. fixed-term grant funded appointments (e.g. fellowships funded by Australian Research Council (ARC) grants);
  3. where it is part of a staff member's return to work program;
  4. where a staff member is redeployed or transferred to a comparable position to mitigate the effects of workplace change in accordance with the relevant Macquarie University Enterprise Agreements;
  5. where a candidate has been deemed appointable through a Competitive Selection process but was not appointed and the same or similar role becomes vacant in the following twelve (12) months (see the ‘Eligibility Lists’ section of this Procedure);
  6. niche roles that require a highly specialised skill set which does not exist in the University;
  7. appointment of eminent academics or professionals; and/or
  8. other circumstances at the discretion of the Chief People Officer.

(8) This Procedure does not apply to:

  1. recruitment of casual employees, which is covered by the Casual Employment Policy / Casual Employment Procedure; and
  2. conferral of honorary academic titles including Emeritus, Honorary, Visiting, Adjunct, Conjoint or Clinical titles, which are covered by the Honorary Academic Titles Policy / Honorary Academic Titles Procedure and the Professor Emerita Emeritus Policy / Professor Emerita Emeritus Procedure.
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Section 2 - Policy

(9) Nil.

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Section 3 - Procedures

Roles and Responsibilities

Hiring Manager

(10) The Hiring Manager is a staff member who is responsible for the recruitment and selection process. The Hiring Manager has overall oversight of the recruitment process and will act as the main point of contact.

(11) The Hiring Manager is responsible for ensuring that:

  1. appropriate approval has been obtained;
  2. the recruitment and selection strategy is appropriate for the role, and Human Resources are consulted;
  3. budget is available to cover the cost of the position;
  4. selection criteria are appropriate for the role;
  5. pre-employment screening requirements, including criminal history checks and working with children checks, are identified; and
  6. the Selection Committee Chair is appointed in accordance with this Procedure.

Human Resources (HR)

(12) HR plays an advisory role at all stages of the recruitment process, including advising on the recruitment strategy and selection methods. HR is also responsible for:

  1. validating the Position Description and determining the classification for professional staff;
  2. advising on appropriate remuneration taking into account internal and external relativities;
  3. arranging advertising;
  4. notifying applicants who were not shortlisted for interviews;
  5. pre-employment checks as required; and
  6. issuing letters of offer.

Selection Committee Chair (Chair)

(13) The Chair leads the Selection Committee in the recruitment and interview process and is appointed in accordance with the Selection Committee Composition Schedule. The Hiring Manager may also be the Selection Committee Chair.

(14) The Chair is responsible for ensuring this Procedure is followed and that the principles of merit-based selection, equity and fairness are upheld throughout the selection process.  The role of the Chair is to ensure that:

  1. a Selection Committee is established in accordance with the Selection Committee Composition Schedule;
  2. all members of the Selection Committee have an opportunity to participate in the relevant stages of the selection process;
  3. methods of longlisting and shortlisting applications are agreed upon with the Selection Committee;
  4. actual, perceived, and potential conflicts of interest are identified and managed appropriately;
  5. minimum reference check requirements are conducted for the preferred candidate(s);
  6. unsuccessful interviewees are notified, via phone where possible, and where requested provided with feedback in a timely manner; and
  7. confidentiality is maintained throughout the selection process.

(15) Where applicable, in the event of an appeal from an unsuccessful applicant in accordance with the Enterprise Agreements, the Chair is also responsible for providing a written report on the reasons for non-selection. The Chair must provide the written report within seven (7) working days of receiving the request, in accordance with the relevant Enterprise Agreements.

Selection Committee

(16) It is the role of the Selection Committee to fairly and equitably assess the merits of each applicant and recommend the best candidate for appointment. 

(17) Each member of the Selection Committee is responsible for:

  1. assessing the merits of each applicant against the selection criteria;
  2. declaring any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest;
  3. participating in interviews and other assessments as required;
  4. recommending a preferred candidate for appointment; and
  5. maintaining confidentiality throughout the selection process.


(18) There is a Recruitment Procedure Flowchart available for this Procedure.

Prepare to Recruit

Consider Current and Future Workforce Needs

(19) When preparing to recruit, the Hiring Manager should consider their overall staffing needs and develop an appropriate recruitment strategy.

(20) A decision to recruit should be made in the context of:

  1. current and future workforce requirements of the work area;
  2. available current and future financial resources; and
  3. relevant workforce planning strategies, including strategies for staff retention, succession planning and career development within the University and work area.

(21) The Hiring Manager may consider alternatives to recruiting for the position, in particular when:

  1. the role is no longer essential to the operation of the University / work area and can cease;
  2. other areas of the University are providing the same function or service;
  3. other staff can take on all or some of the tasks or responsibilities; and
  4. there is a possibility to fill the role from existing University staff via a secondment, transfer, or redeployment pool.

Conduct Job Analysis

(22) To find the most suitable person for the job, the Hiring Manager needs to consider:

  1. requirements of the job (i.e. outcomes, responsibilities, tasks, and functions of the job and how the job relates to other jobs within the team and the University); and
  2. person specifications (i.e. skills, knowledge, experience, and behaviours required for successful performance in the job).

Develop Position Description (for Professional Staff)

(23) For professional staff positions, the Hiring Manager, in consultation with HR, should develop or update a Position Description to ensure it accurately reflects the requirements of the role.

(24) A Position Description describes the key accountabilities for the role, its organisational context, the parameters and scope of the position and the skills, knowledge, experience and behaviours required for successful performance. A Position Description also includes information on any specific requirements, including any pre-employment checks.

(25) Often applicants look at Position Descriptions to determine whether it is a good match for them. It is important that the Position Description provides an accurate job preview to increase retention rates once an appointment has been made.

(26) HR will evaluate the Position Description in the following circumstances:

  1. the position is new; or
  2. there has been significant change to the existing position; or
  3. the Position Description has not been evaluated in the last three (3) years; or
  4. a review has been requested by a staff member.

(27) When the Position Description is evaluated by HR, an appropriate classification level will be determined by HR using the Professional Staff Position Classification Descriptors in the Macquarie University Professional Staff Enterprise Agreement 2023.

Develop Selection Criteria

(28) The Hiring Manager, in consultation with HR, should develop appropriate selection criteria for the position.

(29) Selection criteria are the critical skills, knowledge, qualifications, experience, and behavioural attributes required for competent performance in the job.

(30) For professional roles, selection criteria should relate to the Position Description.

(31) Selection criteria are included in the job advertisement and should allow potential applicants to self-select for the role.

(32) As a guide, between four (4) and eight (8) selection criteria should be developed.

Define Recruitment and Selection Strategy

(33) An effective recruitment and selection strategy ensures that the recruitment process is efficient and cost-effective, the right pool of potential applicants apply, and, in the longer term, the University has the necessary skills, knowledge and attributes to meet its current and future organisational needs.

(34) When deciding on the recruitment and selection strategy, the Hiring Manager may wish to consider the following:

  1. timing of recruitment;
  2. budget;
  3. advertising strategy;
  4. engagement of external recruitment agencies(subject to approval by the Chief People Officer);
  5. selection methods; and
  6. Selection Committee composition.

Gain Approval to Recruit

(35) The Hiring Manager (or nominee) should set up a job card in the online recruitment system to raise a job requisition.

(36) The Hiring Manager must follow their local work area approval process in accordance with the Delegations of Authority Register.

(37) Following local approval, the job requisition, including a brief rationale for the position, will be submitted to the Recruitment Exceptions Board(REB). The REB comprises the:

  1. Vice-Chancellor
  2. Vice-President, Professional Services;
  3. Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) and
  4. Vice-President, Finance and Resources.

(38) The Panel will review the job requisition and will approve or deny the request.

Advertise Position

Prepare and Publish Job Advertisement

(39) Once a job requisition has been approved, HR will prepare a job advertisement and will arrange internal and external advertising in consultation with the Hiring Manager.

(40) All job advertisements must include:

  1. an Equal Employment Opportunity statement to encourage applications from candidates from diverse backgrounds; and
  2. information on any pre-employment checks required for the role.

(41) Jobs must remain open for applications for the duration of time that is included in the advertisement, noting that:

  1. academic positions are generally advertised for four (4) weeks; and
  2. professional positions are generally advertised for two (2) weeks.

Manage Applications

(42) All applications must be submitted via the online recruitment system. Where circumstances such as disability or remote location limit access to the online system, applicants can contact the enquiries person listed in the advertisement for assistance.

(43) Hiring Managers can access applications via the online recruitment system. Hiring Managers should review the applications as they are received and assess the quality of the applicant pool. A Hiring Manager may wish to revise the advertising strategy or extend the closing date of the job to increase the number of suitable candidates.

(44) Any applications received directly by the Hiring Manager should be forwarded to HR to be recorded in the online recruitment system.

(45) Late applications can only be accepted at the discretion of the Hiring Manager.

Conduct Selection Process

Convene Selection Committee

(46) The Hiring Manager will nominate a Selection Committee Chair. In some instances, the Hiring Manager will also act as the Chair. The Chair will then form the remainder of the Selection Committee in accordance with the Selection Committee Composition Schedule.

(47) The Chair must ensure that:

  1. any actual, perceived or potential conflicts of interest are managed appropriately (see the ‘Conflict of Interest’ section of this Procedure); and
  2. methods of longlisting and shortlisting applications are agreed upon with the Selection Committee.

(48) The Selection Committee must:

  1. assess the merits of each applicant against the selection criteria and recommend the preferred applicant for appointment;
  2. declare any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest as soon as it becomes apparent (see the ‘Conflict of Interest’ section of this Procedure); and
  3. maintain confidentiality before, during and after the selection process.

(49) If changes to the Selection Committee are necessary, they should occur before interviews begin. When this is not possible, the Chair is responsible for ensuring this does not affect the equity and fairness of the process.

Longlist Applications

(50) When a large number of applications are received, the Chair or HR may decide to longlist applications prior to convening the Selection Committee.

(51) Longlisting is a process of eliminating applicants who, based on their written applications, do not meet selection criteria for the position or are ineligible to apply (e.g. do not have required qualifications).

(52) The longlisting of applicants may be conducted by one or more members of the Selection Committee.

Shortlist Candidates

(53) Shortlisting involves reviewing applications against the selection criteria to determine the candidates who should continue to interview and other assessments.

(54) The Chair will determine shortlisting methods in consultation with the Selection Committee and will provide the Selection Committee members with all relevant documentation.

(55) If a current Macquarie University redeployee applies for an advertised position, they must be given priority consideration. Under the Enterprise Agreements, priority consideration includes a right to interview for any advertised position identified as a potential redeployment opportunity.

(56) If no applicants meet the selection criteria, the Hiring Manager and HR will discuss re-advertising the position.

Notify Applicants Unsuccessful at Shortlisting

(57) The Chair will provide HR with the list of applicants unsuccessful at shortlisting.

(58) HR will notify unsuccessful applicants of the outcome in a timely manner.

(59) The Chair will notify any internal applicants who were not shortlisted,and provide them with the opportunity for feedback on request.

Prepare for Interviews

(60) The Chair, in consultation with the Selection Committee members and HR, will develop interview questions prior to the interview. The interview questions should relate directly to the selection criteria and must not be unlawfully discriminatory.

(61) The Selection Committee will determine each member’s role in conducting the interview, i.e. who will be asking which questions and who will be taking notes.

(62) The Hiring Manager (or nominee) should ensure:

  1. Each candidate receives all relevant information, including:
    1. the time and location of the interview;
    2. the Selection Committee composition;
    3. any preparation requirements; and
    4. any additional assessment methods.

(63) The interview venue is accessible as necessary (i.e. in a room on the ground floor without steps, or in a room accessible by a lift), and creates a comfortable, welcoming and professional environment.

(64) Any specific requirements due to a disability are catered for (e.g. providing interview materials in alternative formats, booking an Auslan interpreter or allowing the candidate to bring a support worker or aide). It is good practice to ask all candidates proceeding to interview, not just those who advise they have a disability, if they have any specific requirements for participating in the interview.

Conduct Interviews and Other Assessments

(65) The interview should be a structured discussion during which members of the Selection Committee ask questions and seek clarification to elicit information from candidates about their skills, experience, and behavioural attributes relevant to the selection criteria for the role.

(66) The core set of interview questions should be the same for all candidates. However, it is entirely appropriate for the Selection Committee to ask additional questions (which will be different for each candidate) to clarify information given by the candidate in the interview, or specific questions about the individual’s application, work history, etc.

(67) Additional selection methods are encouraged. Additional selection methods may be used before, after, or in conjunction with the interview. Candidates should be advised in advance about the additional selection methods to give them enough notice to make appropriate preparations.

Select a Preferred Candidate and Complete Post-Interview Questionnaire

(68) Following interview and any other selection methods, the Selection Committee will determine the preferred candidate based on who best meets the selection criteria.

(69) The following can be used to make this determination:

  1. the written application;
  2. qualifications;
  3. the interview(s);
  4. other assessment information if relevant; and
  5. verbal (or, in limited circumstances, written) referee reports as relevant.

(70) The Chair will record the Committee’s decision on each candidate and provide a brief rationale in the post-interview questionnaire available on the online recruitment system.

(71) Where a unanimous decision is not reached, a majority decision of the Selection Committee is acceptable.

(72) Where a majority decision cannot be reached, the Selection Committee members can prepare minority reports. The minority reports should clearly set out the reasons why the decision was not unanimous and specify if members hold concerns that merit based selection has not been followed. Minority reports should be lodged with HR and will be considered by the Chief People Officer for professional staff positions or the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for academic positions. 

Perform Reference Checks for the Preferred Candidate

(73) The Hiring Manager or an appointed Selection Committee member will conduct reference checks for the preferred candidate and document the verbal references in the Reference Check Form (see Reference Check for Academic Staff Form or Reference Check for Professional Staff Form).

(74) It is mandatory to obtain at least two (2) confidential verbal (or, in limited circumstances, written) referee reports for the preferred candidate.

(75) At least one (1) reference should be obtained from a person to whom the preferred candidate reported directly in the last five (5) years. If a candidate does not include their current or most recent manager as a referee, the candidate should be asked for permission to contact them. If there are good reasons for not contacting a current or recent manager (e.g. the person is external and the manager is not aware of the application), the Selection Committee should discuss another suitable person to provide a reference and seek the candidate’s consent.

(76) Permission will be deemed to have been given where referee contact details are listed on the application. Candidates should be consulted before approaching alternative or additional referees.

(77) The University may seek a confidential referee report from managers of applicants who are currently or have previously been employed at Macquarie University even if the supervisor has not been listed as a referee on an application.

(78) The Hiring Manager must send the completed Reference Check Forms to HR to place them in the personnel file.

Broader Due Diligence

(79) For senior and business critical roles, a more detailed pre-employment screening is recommended. It should be conducted with the permission of the candidate and may include off-list reference checking, conducting reference checks in person and a broader due diligence process. HR can advise on appropriate strategies for such positions.

Notify Candidates

(80) Preferred candidate:

  1. The Hiring Manager, or a nominated Selection Committee member, will contact the preferred candidate to advise them they are the preferred candidate, and that the University intends to make a formal offer of employment.
  2. The Hiring Manager / nominated Selection Committee member must not make a formal verbal or written offer of employment. All formal offers of employment are made by HR.
  3. Contact with the preferred candidate may result in discussions concerning terms and conditions of employment. The Hiring Manager / nominated Selection Committee member must not commit to any terms or conditions which are outside their delegation of authority, have not been otherwise approved, or are outside the control of the University (e.g. the issuing or timing of visas).
  4. The Hiring Manager / nominated Selection Committee member will contact HR to discuss the offer to be made and any visa / relocation requirements for the successful candidate.

(81) Unsuccessful candidates:

  1. The Hiring Manager or a nominated Selection Committee member must notify candidates unsuccessful at interviews in a timely manner and via phone where possible, and provide them with feedback on request.

Eligibility Lists

(82) If, following a Competitive Selection process, more than one candidate is found to be suitable for appointment, the post-interview questionnaire form can be used as an eligibility list. The eligibility list will be valid for twelve (12) months. If a vacancy occurs for the same or similar role within this period, a candidate on the eligibility list may be offered the role without the need for a further selection process. However, the Hiring Manager is not obliged to appoint from the eligibility list and can decide to conduct a further recruitment process at their discretion. If a person is appointed directly from the eligibility list, the individual will be considered to have been appointed through a Competitive Selection process.


Conduct Pre-employment Checks

(83) HR undertakes pre-employment checks in accordance with the Pre-Employment Checks Matrix to ensure that the University meets its legislative obligations and the information a candidate has provided is accurate.

(84) For all roles, an offer of employment will be subject to the following pre-employment checks:

  1. identity check; and
  2. right to work in Australia (citizen and visa status).

(85) For roles with specific requirements, an offer of employment may also be subject to additional pre-employment checks in accordance with the Pre-Employment Checks Matrix, including:

  1. qualifications check;
  2. Working with Children check;
  3. criminal record check;
  4. professional registration check; and
  5. other necessary checks depending on the specific nature of the position.

(86) All offers of employment are conditional on the satisfactory completion of these checks, which should be completed prior to commencement of employment.

Offer of Employment

(87) Making an offer:

  1. All offers of employment must be made in writing by HR on the University approved employment template to ensure compliance with relevant legal instruments. Under no circumstances should anyone other than HR make an offer of employment (including verbal offers).
  2. The base salary for academic and professional staff appointments would normally be Step 1 of the applicable level in accordance with the relevant Macquarie University Enterprise Agreements.
  3. Any variation to the terms and conditions of an offer or contract will be made by HR in accordance with the Delegations of Authority Register.

(88) Acceptance:

  1. The candidate must not commence employment until they have accepted the written offer of employment.
  2. If the preferred candidate declines the offer of employment, the Hiring Manager should consider whether an offer is made to the next recommended candidate following reference checks and any pre-employment screening. If this is deemed not appropriate, the Hiring Manager may consider re-convening the Selection Committee for further discussion or re-advertising after consulting with HR.

(89) False statements:

  1. The University may rescind an offer of employment to a candidate who has provided false or misleading information during the selection process. In these circumstances, the Hiring Manager must immediately contact HR and seek advice before taking any action.

Visa Requirements

(90) All appointed staff members who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents, are required to hold an appropriate Australian visa. Employment at the University cannot commence until an appropriate visa with the relevant work right condition is obtained.

(91) The University may sponsor appointments from overseas. Information on suitable visa types and visa processes are outlined on the University’s Working Rights and Visas webpage. The Hiring Manager should notify HR as early in the process as possible when visa sponsorship is required.


(92) An internal staff member may appeal against a recruitment and selection decision in accordance with the Enterprise Agreements.

Important Considerations

Academic Promotion and Recruitment

(93) The University has an established process for promoting academic staff as set out in the Academic Promotion Policy and Academic Promotion Procedure, which also includes an out of rounds process. Accordingly, current academic staff of Macquarie University should not be appointed at a level higher than their current academic level via a recruitment process, except as follows:

Appointment at a Higher-Level Scenario Approval
Significant change in grant or in work requirements for a research-only academic (including recruitment onto another grant, especially personal fellowships) Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), and
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), and Chief People Officer
A named chair funded from specific funds, recruited through an external selection process Normal recruitment approval as per this Procedure
Internal early career academic (up to Level C) employed on a research-only or teaching fellowship applying for a teaching and research role at a higher level Normal recruitment approval as per this Procedure
An academic currently on a short fixed-term contract applying for a longer-term position that is externally advertised Normal recruitment approval as per this Procedure
Appointment to senior leadership role, e.g. Head of Department Normal recruitment approval as per this Procedure
Appointment to an academic position at a higher level in another Faculty where the nature of the position is substantially different Normal recruitment approval as per this Procedure
Other exceptional circumstances Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) for appointments to positions up to Level D;
Vice-Chancellor for appointments to positions at Level E

Conflict of Interest

(94) In accordance with the Macquarie University Staff Code of Conduct and the Conflict of Interest Policy, each person involved in the recruitment process, particularly the Selection Committee, are required to consider whether there is any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest. This may include a business, personal or familial relationship with an applicant.

(95) If any person involved in the recruitment process identifies such a conflict, they must declare it to the Hiring Manager or Selection Committee Chair. If a Selection Committee member is also a referee for an applicant, this must also be declared upfront to the Chair.

(96) If an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest is declared, the Hiring Manager or Selection Committee Chair will, in consultation with the Selection Committee, determine an appropriate method for managing the conflict. Conflicts of interest can normally be effectively managed, with disclosure and transparency being the key principles. If members remain on the Selection Committee, their views should be canvassed last. In rare circumstances (e.g. when a candidate is a family member) a person may need to step down from a committee.

(97) Selection Committee members and others involved in the recruitment process are encouraged to discuss any conflict of interest matters with HR.

Reasonable Adjustments

(98) Macquarie University will consider reasonable adjustments to accommodate candidates with a disability or health condition.

(99) There is no legal obligation for a candidate to disclose a disability or health condition, unless it is likely to affect their ability to meet the inherent requirements of the role, including the ability to work safely. A candidate may choose to disclose a disability or request reasonable adjustments at any stage of the recruitment process.

(100) If a candidate discloses a disability or health condition, the Hiring Manager should discuss with the candidate what changes or adjustments they may require to perform the role more productively. The Hiring Manager should contact HR for further consideration of the requested adjustment.

(101) Personal information in relation to a candidate’s disability must be treated with strict confidentiality, and not shared with third parties without the candidate’s consent.

(102) It is good practice to ensure that all stages of the recruitment process are as inclusive and barrier-free for candidates as possible. The Health Management Advisor, Human Resources can provide advice to the Hiring Manager on reasonable adjustments.

Privacy and Confidentiality

(103) Personal information collected from candidates must only be collected for purposes necessary to complete the recruitment and selection process. The University will ensure that the information collected is relevant to the position, is not excessive and does not intrude to an unreasonable extent on the privacy of the candidate.

(104) The University regards the selection process as confidential and will maintain the privacy of the personal information contained in recruitment documents, including applications, referee reports, Selection Committee deliberations, reports and recommendations.

(105) Recruitment related documentation will be handled in accordance with the Records and Information Management Policy.

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Section 4 - Guidelines

(106) Nil.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(107) The following definitions apply for the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Competitive Selection means a position has been advertised at least internally and all steps of this Procedure applied to the appointment.