Recruitment at Northern College

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Northern College has been graded Outstanding in all areas by Ofsted and is set in beautiful parklands and with excellent facilities. We employ over 80 permanent staff as well as sessional tutors who all contribute to our continued success. We offer a wide range of adult learning provision including; literacy, numeracy and return to study courses, an Access to HE Diploma, higher education courses and trade union studies.

As an employer the college is committed to promoting equality of opportunity and aims to ensure that the best possible staff are recruited based solely on their merits, abilities and suitability for the position. To fulfil these commitments it is crucial that the college adopts recruitment and selection procedures which are fair, lawful and objective. It is in the college’s interest to achieve a fair and consistent approach in its recruitment and selection procedures for all categories of employees, not only to ensure that the best candidate for the job is selected, but also to:

  • attract highly qualified and motivated academic, administrative, technical and service staff
  • ensure that all job applicants are considered equitably and consistently
  • to combat all forms of prejudice and to eliminate all forms of unfair discrimination
  • comply with employment legislation and ensure good management practice
  • to ensure that the college meets its commitment to safeguarding and promotion of the welfare of children and vulnerable adults by carrying out all necessary pre-employment checks

The line manager (with the guidance of the Human Resources Manager) will prepare a job specification showing:

  • clear statement of the main purpose of the job
  • specific duties of the post holder
  • the expectation that post holders will work to promote and support the college’s policies and procedures with particular reference to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children

A person specification will also be prepared which will indicate the qualities and characteristics to be sought in applicants, e.g. qualifications, experience, personal qualities, aptitudes and skills.

The person specification will:

  • avoid arbitrary age limits
  • avoid a combination of age limit and minimum level of experience
  • carefully consider any criteria about standards of written or spoken English
  • be capable of assessment in the selection procedure

Where it is thought essential that the post holder is required to have a ’Genuine Occupational Qualification‘ the matter must be referred to the Principal with advice from the Human Resources Manager regarding the law in these particular areas.

Posts will be advertised both externally and internally simultaneously except in situations where an agreement has been reached with the trade unions.

Advertisements will:

  • be consistent with the job/person specification
  • encourage applications from a full range of potentially suitable candidates
  • include a brief description of the nature of the work and experience/knowledge required
  • not specify age limits, gender or ethnic origin except in circumstances as described previously
  • state grade, salary or salary range and location (if not based at Northern College)
  • state the closing date for the receipt of applications
  • contain a statement relating to the college’s commitment to Safeguarding and to meeting its obligations under the Prevent duty
  • an Enhanced Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check is only requested after a thorough risk assessment has indicated that one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned. For those positions where a DBS check is required, all application forms, job adverts and recruitment briefs will contain a statement that a DBS check will be requested in the event of the individual being offered the position

The Human Resources Department will place external advertisements where appropriate giving consideration to the use of specialist publications and the ethnic minority press.

The application form is an essential part of the selection process; it is used to determine whether an individual will be shortlisted for interview and also forms part of the interview process. The application process will be co-ordinated by the Human Resources Department via the appropriate application form. A curriculum vitae will not be accepted in place of the completed application form. Should you require the application form in any other format or would like to request additional support, please contact the Human Resources Department.

Applicants will not normally be informed if they have not been shortlisted for interview (except in the case of internal applicants who will be informed as soon as practicable). The applicants will be made aware that should they not hear anything within six weeks of the closing date they should assume that they are not being considered for the post.

All application forms and supporting information will be held for a period of six months.

Normally, applications received after the closing date will not be considered. Late applications may be considered under particular circumstances at the Principal’s discretion.

Shortlisting will be carried out by a minimum of two people including the chairperson of the interviewing panel and/or line manager.

The Board of Governors will determine shortlisting procedures for recruitment relating to senior posts.

Shortlisting criteria will be devised based on the following principles:

  • they must be based on the job description and person specification
  • they must be capable of assessment by considering the application documents
  • they must not be based on generalised assumptions, traditions or stereotypes

In accordance with the college’s commitment to Disability Confident, all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post will be offered an interview.

A record of shortlisting criteria will be kept for a period of six months after the appointment is made.

The Human Resources Department will invite shortlisted applicants for interview. The invitation will give details of interview times, procedures and other information relating to the day’s arrangements. It is recommended that you spend some time prior to your interview researching both the college and the post for which you have applied. Review your own skills, abilities and experience so that you are able to present yourself clearly and provide appropriate examples to the panel.

A member of the Human Resources Department will meet candidates prior to their interview to outline the day’s arrangements.

The interviewing panel will normally consist of the line manager, a member of the team with whom the successful candidate will be working and a member of the Human Resources Department. In the case of academic and management appointments the Clerk to the Governors will consult with the Chair of the Governing Body with a view to nominating a fourth member of the panel should the Chair deem this appropriate. The interviewing panel will have undertaken general training in relation to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults and children and at least one member of each interviewing panel will have received training in safer recruitment practices.

The college will use a mixture of tools during the assessment process which may include (but is not limited to):

  • group exercises
  • individual exercises
  • presentations
  • written exercises
  • individual interviews
  • micro-teach sessions

The assessment process will be relevant to the post and each candidate will be asked the same questions. The purpose of using a range of assessment methods is to obtain more information about the abilities of each candidate. They also offer candidates the opportunity to display their skills in a wider variety of ways than just simply attending an interview. Supplementary questions may be asked which are relevant to the original question or where a candidate’s response raises the need to clarify details for reasons relating to Safeguarding. Questions will not be asked about marital status, marriage plans or family intentions. Where it is necessary to assess whether personal circumstances will affect the performance of a job, this will be discussed objectively without questions based on marital status, children or other domestic obligation. Questions will not be asked about trade union membership or activities unless relevant to the post.

The panel will be provided with a scoring sheet outlining the criteria used in the selection process for both shortlisting and during interviewing.

A copy of all candidates scoring sheets will be kept for a period of six months from the date of interview.

The Human Resources Manager or the Chair of the interviewing panel will contact the successful candidate to offer them the post. When the candidate has verbally accepted the post, the Human Resources Manager will issue a letter of appointment. At the point of offer, it will be explained that the appointment is conditional on the pre-employment checks as outlined below.

The successful candidate will be issued with a full contract or written statement of particulars within eight weeks of commencing the position.

The college carries out a number of pre-employment checks in respect of all prospective employees.

All applicants who are invited to interview will be required to show evidence of identity, right to work in the UK, proof of address and original copies of qualifications.

Where an applicant claims to have changed their name by deed poll or any other mechanism (e.g. marriage, adoption, statutory declaration) he/she will be required to provide documentary evidence of the change.

All offers of employment with the college will be subject to the receipt of satisfactory references. One of the references must be from the applicant’s current or most recent employer. All referees will be asked whether they believe the applicant is suitable for the job for which they have applied and whether they have any reason to believe that the applicant is unsuitable to work with vulnerable adults or children. All referees will be sent a copy of the job/person specification for the role for which the applicant has applied. The college will also seek to confirm the applicant’s dates of employment, salary, job title/duties, reason for leaving, performance, sickness and disciplinary record. The college will only accept references obtained directly from the referee and it will not rely on references or testimonials provided by the applicant or on open references or testimonials. The college will compare all references with any information given on the application form. Any discrepancies or inconsistencies in the information will be taken up with the applicant and the relevant referee before any appointment is confirmed.

Some positions within Northern College are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Where an individual within a role meets the new definition of undertaking ‘Regulated Activity’ an application will be made for an enhanced DBS check and a relevant Barred List check. These disclosures show spent and unspent criminal reprimands, cautions and convictions. Enhanced Disclosures will also sometimes show information from local police records. All staff whose posts require a DBS check will be required to renew their application every three years.

As an organisation using the DBS to assess applicants’ suitability for positions of trust, Northern College complies fully with the DBS Code of Practice (available on request from the Human Resources Department) and undertakes to treat all applicants for paid and voluntary positions fairly. It undertakes not to discriminate unfairly against any individuals subject to a Disclosure on the basis of a conviction or other information revealed.

Having a criminal record will not automatically bar an individual from working or volunteering at the college. Any individual with a criminal record will have their application assessed and consideration will be given to the nature of the position applied for and the circumstances and background of their offences.

We actively promote equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential and welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, including those with criminal records. We select all candidates for interview based on their skills, qualifications and experience.

We make every individual completing a DBS check aware of the existence of the DBS Code of Practice and make a copy available on request. The Recruitment of Ex-offenders Policy is made available to all DBS applicants at the outset of the recruitment process.

We undertake to discuss any matter revealed in a DBS check with the person seeking the position before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment or volunteering.

All prospective employees are required to complete a medical questionnaire and undergo (where required) further investigations by the Occupational Health Unit (OHU). Information relating to individuals will remain confidential between the OHU and the individual. The college will not withdraw any job offer without first consulting with the applicant, considering medical evidence, considering reasonable adjustments and suitable alternative employment.

Unsuccessful candidates will be informed by email or letter and given the opportunity to obtain feedback from their interview.

All newly appointed staff will receive an induction upon commencing employment with the college. This will include (but is not limited to) a health & safety briefing, IT induction, college and role orientation, provision of photo identification and training in relation to Safeguarding and the Prevent duty.

Opportunities for internal promotion and secondment will be advertised by email and on the college noticeboards. Applications will be invited and the same selection procedures as outlined above will be used, although the need for a full induction process may be waived.

The college will consider applications for job share. In each case the operational issues will be considered and a judgement on each case made on its merits.

If a request for an internal job share is approved, the share will be advertised internally amongst all college full and part-time staff.

Applications, interviews and appointment procedures will follow the standard college procedures.

Should one of the sharers leave their post:

  • the college will advertise internally to attempt to fill the vacancy
  • the remaining partner will have no automatic right to the full-time post
  • consideration will be given as to whether the post should remain a job share
  • if the vacancy cannot be filled internally, it will be advertised externally

Information provided by candidates in relation to equal opportunities will not be divulged to the selection panel and will be used for monitoring purposes only. The college will undertake an analysis of the composition of the workforce on an annual basis. The results will be reported to the Equality & Diversity Committee with a view to reviewing the effectiveness of current procedures and to develop programmes for improvement.

Any complaint by existing staff relating to the recruitment process will be dealt with through the relevant procedures.

Complaints by unsuccessful external candidates will be acknowledged and processed by the Human Resources Manager in conjunction with the Principal.