Academic Staff Recruitment Procedures


This document applies to all academic heads and other academic leaders hiring academic staff members at the University.


To outline the directions for employing academic staff members at the University.  


Define the position and gain approval

1. Prior to commencement of recruitment, all new or replacement positions must be approved in accordance with the HR Delegations Schedule, on the basis of an approved budget and an overall workforce plan.

2. Prior to engaging with an External Recruitment Agency, approval from the Associate Director Talent and Recruitment must be obtained.

3. Prior to making an offer of employment, all offers must be approved in accordance with the HR Delegations Schedule, on the basis of an approved budget.

4. Draft or review the position description in conjunction with HR Advisory to accurately define the position requirements. Consideration is to be given to current and future requirements for clarity in identifying required and preferred experience.

5. All employment beyond the base salary for the approved academic level and any Variable Supplementary Payment (VSP), in excess of $20,000, will be signed off in accordance with the HR Delegations Schedule prior to offer.

6. If applicable, additional detail on the Variable Supplementary Payment (VSP) component and any other aspects that may form part of the offer must be provided.

7. Existing positions will have a position number; for new positions, a new position number will need to be requested (link).

Note - Please familiarise yourself with the different recruitment services and contact HR Advisory or the Talent and Recruitment team for further support if required.


8. Once the position is approved, the appropriate Talent and Recruitment team member will prepare the new job advertisement and ensures it adheres to the University of Auckland branding and style guidelines and includes the approved equity statement.

9. The Talent and Recruitment team member will consult with the hiring manager and disciplinary specialists to agree on the most appropriate media in which to advertise, including discipline-specific websites, online journals, and list servers.

10. Costs are to be approved by the hiring manager prior to advertising.

Note - Information about advertising costs can be obtained from the Talent and Recruitment team located in Human Resources

11. The Talent and Recruitment team will arrange all advertising.

12. Once advertised, the academic head is to send the advertisement including a link of the job opening to all staff members in the academic unit in order for them to disseminate via their personal and professional networks.

13. The closing date for the advertisement, the shortlisting meeting and proposed interview dates are to be confirmed at the beginning of the recruitment process.

Note - This will help to ensure a timely recruitment process and enable the candidates and the interview panel to make appropriate arrangements to be available on the proposed interview dates.

Managing applications and shortlisting

14. A selection and interview panel will be established according to the Academic Selection and Interview Panel Guidelines.

15. Consideration must be given to expertise as well as gender balance and ethnic diversity when selecting the panel members. In addition, any Conflict of Interest needs to be declared.

16. The academic head will have access to training on recruitment processes, equity considerations, and unconscious bias.

17. Confidentiality is to be assured throughout the recruitment process.

18. Prior to shortlisting stage, no candidate names, details or information are to be shared outside of the panel.

19. The chair of the interview panel is to remind all panel members of their responsibility in this area and confirm that no “informal reference checking” is to be undertaken.

20. All selection panel members must screen all applications received, as soon as possible after the closing date of the advertisement. Initial contact with candidates must be made within ten working days after closing date.

21. In instances where there are a large number of applicants (e.g. in excess of 50 applicants) it may be agreed that applications are split between selection panel members so that each member screens a more manageable number of applications. In this instance, the selection criteria are to be re-confirmed by all panel members, and an agreed ranking system applied, to ensure a fair and consistent screening process.

22. If it is impossible for a selection panel member to attend the shortlisting meeting, they must provide their comments and recommendations/ranking of candidates to the chair in advance of the shortlisting meeting.

23. At the shortlisting meeting, a shortlist of candidates for interview are to be agreed upon: typically, three to four candidates.

24. Selection panels will aim for equitable candidate representation by gender and ethnicity when shortlisting.

Note – HR will monitor applicant and appointment rates by gender and ethnicity.

25. If the selection panel is unable to agree a reasonably sized shortlist, phone or video conferencing conversations can be conducted in the first instance.

Note - This is a good way to find out more about candidates, ensure expectations are aligned (particularly in regard to teaching load, research funding, and infrastructure, salary and timing/relocation) and give candidates an opportunity to learn more about the position and the discipline, which can help to narrow the field. A sub-committee will be delegated to conduct these initial conversations in a timely way to ensure consistency.

26. For appointments at lecturer or PTF level only, the hiring team may request written references prior to shortlisting. This also applies for where a lecturer level position is advertised as lecturer/senior lecturer.

Interviews and decision making

27. The interview panel are to arrange and conduct all interviews and ensure that all candidates have the same interactions throughout the recruitment process.

28. Where candidates cannot be interviewed in person e.g. budgetary or time constraints, arrangement must be made for an interview via videoconferencing.

29. Support for candidates with disabilities will be provided, such as ensuring the interview location is suitable for applicants. The Equity Office can be contacted for advice.

Note - Group Services will assist with arrangements if required.

30. Interviews involving whānau - candidates may bring whānau or a support group to the interview. If required, the faculty office is to consult with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Māori) to suggest the name of a facilitator who will be co-opted in this case.

31. Scheduling is to be carried out to ensure all candidates have the same interactions in the same sequence.

32. Every effort is to be made to avoid candidates overlapping and meeting each other.

33. Candidates from out of town are to be accommodated in different hotels if their visit overlaps.

34. Each candidate is to be assigned a contact from within the academic unit who will ensure they know how to find meeting venues, to answer questions and be made to feel welcome.

35. Academic units are to make every effort to host candidates (separately) for either lunch/morning tea/dinner to allow informal interactions with the candidates.

36. Where candidates cannot be interviewed in person e.g. budget or time constraints, preliminary conversations with the chair of the panel or a delegate/subgroup are recommended to be arranged to provide further information about the position and answer questions the candidate might have.

37. Where it is part of the recruitment process, seminars must occur prior to interview, including presentations via videoconferencing if candidates are not interviewed in person.

38. All panel members must make every effort to attend seminars, however, if that is not possible, they need to attend either all or none

Note - Consideration must be given to recording seminars for senior positions so that any unable to attend can view it later.

39. All available information gathered via the application and demonstrated through the interview process including focus group meetings, seminars and meetings with key people and in conjunction with the interview panel, is to be used to select the preferred candidate against the key requirements of the position.

40. A member of the interview panel must be identified by the chair to facilitate seminars and focus groups and introduce candidates at meetings with key people, and then provide feedback to the interview panel.

41. Academic heads will advise members of their academic unit on their roles and the appropriate way to contribute feedback following attendance at seminars and focus groups.

42. Interview panel members must be able to attend all interviews with all shortlisted candidates to ensure balanced and objective decisions.

43. For sub-professorial appointments, the Faculty Staffing Committee (FSC) members on the selection and interview panel will advise and recommend the appropriate academic level for the appointable candidates immediately at the conclusion of the interviews and communicate this to the Chair.

44. The Director, Staff Equity, and/or Human Resources representative or nominee may be present at interviews.

45. The panel must follow a structured interview process to ensure all candidates have a consistent interview experience and are assessed on the same key criteria.

46. Where two candidates are deemed to be of equal merit and one of the candidates is Māori or a member of an equity group, then that candidate is to be offered the position.

Note – Smart Recruiters will provide functionality to rank candidates against the key criteria for the position and a structured interview template will be available.

47. Candidates must be informed about the outcome of the interview within ten working days after interview.

48. Where there is no candidate to be offered the position, the position is to be reconsidered or re-advertised.


49. A minimum of two oral references must be secured prior to offering the preferred candidate the position. Where appropriate, an offer may be made to the preferred candidate “subject to satisfactory references being obtained”.

50. In exceptional circumstances, oral references can be taken on all shortlisted candidates prior to interview.

51. At least one reference will be with a recent or relevant manager unless exceptional and stated circumstances do not allow for this to be completed.

52. Oral references are to be conducted by the hiring manager on the preferred candidate. The HR Manager or Talent and Recruitment team can provide support.

53. A transcript of the oral references must be taken and saved in the recruitment system against the candidate’s application.

54. Only the interview panel may read the summary of references and must do so in strict confidence. Referees' reports must not be made available to anyone who is not a member of the interview panel.

55. Where an academic candidate seeks greater confidentiality, the dean and the academic head are to consider whether or not such a request is to be accepted; and where the request is declined, the application and all other documents are to be returned to the candidate.

56. Additional information on a candidate may be sought by the chair only from referees agreed by the candidate. No other person will be approached, formally or informally, without the knowledge and agreement of the chair and the candidate.

Note – Some positions at the University require pre-employment vetting and/or safety checks and the incumbent may not be able to start prior to receipt of the results from the vetting organisation. Please visit the Pre-employment checks page for more information, or contact the Talent and Recruitment team.

Visa/immigration support

57. All candidates employed by the University must have the legal right to work in New Zealand.

Note - An in-house licensed immigration adviser can provide support to staff in interpreting the immigration legislation correctly and applying for the correct visa for eligible candidates.

Note - If required, international candidates can meet with the University Immigration Adviser for immigration support and advice. An initial meeting may occur when the candidates are attending interviews in New Zealand, or at a later date once a preferred candidate is identified. Consult the Talent and Recruitment team member or Immigration Adviser directly, for assistance.

Offer and approval

58. For sub-professorial appointments, the chair of the interview panel along with the HR Manager recommends the appointment to the dean for approval.

Note –The dean may seek additional advice from Faculty Staffing Committee regarding the recommended academic level.

59. The candidate’s details, the approvals and the salary level are to be entered into Smart Recruiters.

60. Offers must be approved by the appropriate approver before being extended to the preferred candidate.

61. Any salaries beyond the base salary for the approved academic level must be approved in writing in accordance with the HR Delegations Schedule.

Note - Contact HR Advisory for further support if required.

62. The hiring manager or Talent and Recruitment team member will contact the successful candidate and make a verbal offer of employment.

63. The hiring manager or Talent and Recruitment team member is to manage any offer negotiations with the candidate and answer any queries.

Note - HR is available to support and advise on these discussions.


64. The academic head is to arrange all details relating to the successful candidate’s induction.

Candidate care

65. Unsuccessful candidates who have not been shortlisted for interview are to be advised of the outcome through Smart Recruiters/Talent and Recruitment team, upon advice from the hiring manager.

66. Candidates who were interviewed and were unsuccessful are to be verbally declined by the hiring manager or Talent and Recruitment team member and are to be given a brief explanation as to the reasons for their decline.

67. The hiring process will be conducted as expeditiously as possible and always be completed within a three-month period wherever possible.

68. While negotiations are occurring with the preferred candidate, the second-ranked candidate must be kept informed of the process.

69. Once the recruitment process is complete, the hiring manager must ensure that all documents relating to candidates must be uploaded into the recruitment system (candidate notes, verbal references, etc.) and any hard copies are to be securely disposed of by shredding/confidential disposal bins.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Chair of interview panel is the person with the delegated authority to recommend an appointment to the dean, such as academic head.

Staff member refers to an individual employed by the University on a full or part-time basis.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Director, Human Resources
Content manager: Associate Director, Talent & Recruitment
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date approved: 16 October 2020
Review date: 16 October 2023