Identify Equity & Diversity Issues
Equity and diversity issues need to be considered throughout the recruitment process and strategies determined to address these issues.
Reviewing the Need
Consult with less heard voices such as those of:
- administrative and academic staff
- younger female and post doctorate students
- key student groups.
Identifying Potential Hazards
Some jobs will have potential hazards, and be unsuitable for certain types of people. Information must be clear, so that individuals can make their own assessment and where necessary, seek medical advice.
Approval to Recruit
- Make decisions about drawing up a search plan.
- Identify whether the advertisement will include an explicit invitation to women or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply.
Equity & Diversity and the Appointment Committee
Existing EO representatives are available to Committees until the new policy of a set percentage of staff to be trained in equity and diversity issues takes effect. They are:
- full members of the Committee who can comment on, and be involved in, the whole selection process and therefore should be chosen from a relevant area
- peer members of the Committee and should be at the appropriate level – whether academic or administrative
- not expected to take responsibility for the process but rather to add value to it by allowing the Convenor and Committee Members ready access to understanding of the legal and policy frameworks concerning unlawful discrimination.
Gender Balance and the Appointment Committee
The value of having gender balance is in the diversity of input and the ways in which the different presentations of candidates are interpreted. If a gender balance is not possible, then options include:
- inviting colleagues from a cognate department or area
- developing a partnership approach with a department or area which has the opposite gender bias
- consulting colleagues of the missing gender on a confidential basis about the draft selection criteria and suggested selection processes.
Conflict of Interest
- Is there a policy position that guides the conduct of the particular situation? If it is a close personal relationship, follow the policy.
- If there is no apparent close personal relationship, but a potential conflict (eg. referee for a candidate, or best friend), decide on the manner in which the Committee will deal with it.
Useful things to consider include:
- Transparency – everyone knows what the issue is and how it is dealt with
- Personal integrity – no staff member should be put in the position of having to act in a way that will be ethically uncomfortable for them. So if the conflict means they don't feel they can be on the Committee but they are the most expert in the field, consider other ways in which they might be able to be part of the assessment
- Common sense – small conflicts of interest occur regularly. Once declared they can be dealt with by, for example, agreements to not advocate for that person, speaking last in relation to them and so on.
Contribution by Members of the Appointment Committee
The Convenor is advised to consider the following:
- Is there a Appointment Committee member who is particularly dominant in expressing their views, or one who is particularly reticent? How might their contributions be evened out? Could you draw attention to different personal styles from the beginning and suggest taking turns for comment. Or could you advise that you will regularly solicit comment or curtail it in the interests of all being heard?
- Are there administrative arrangements in place to ensure all members are fully informed? This might particularly be relevant where one Committee Member is on another campus, or from another area.
- Have you thought about articulating your preferred process for conducting the meetings? It usually makes it easier for Committee Members if they understand the process as these can be idiosyncratic. Additionally, an early discussion about process may lead to its improvement.
Obtaining candidates by outsourcing to a Recruitment Agency
- The University has a vicarious liability for any actions entered into on its contracted behalf. Thus, if the Agency short-lists women out because they think they would be unsuitable engineers, or refuses to provide job related information to a blind candidate in other than a printed form, the University may find itself liable.
- No agency can be expected to read the collective minds of a department or area. If you have identified a need to attract a particular group of candidates, this information should be conveyed. Relevant University policy (such as Clause 62 of the Enterprise Certified Agreement) demonstrating commitment to the recruitment of Indigenous Australians needs to be drawn to their attention.
Obtaining candidates by appointing internal candidates or graduate students to short term projects
Are these positions always given to the same person or to people with similar personal characteristics? If so, are there others who might be missing out because their gender, race, first language or disability imposes a filter over their relevant strengths?