When a Staff Vacancy Arises - Essential First Steps
When a vacancy arises, pause and consider your options. Take this opportunity to review the proposed job and the structure of the department, before you begin planning any recruitment and selection action. If you do opt to recruit, then investing time and effort into a thorough review at this stage will mean that the job description and person specification that you create will fully meet your business needs.
1. Examine the context of the vacancy
- Use the opportunity of a vacancy as a catalyst to review the existing organisational structure.
- Changing the structure to meet your current and future business needs may lead to a different recruitment need from the one at the outset, eg through development of existing staff, the ultimate appointment could be at a different level than originally expected.
2. Establish the core responsibilities of the post
If you are recruiting to replace a colleague consider:
- are any parts of the job no longer required?
- could parts of the role be allocated to other staff as a development opportunity?
- should any new responsibilities be included?
3. How should these responsibilities be delivered?
- does the post have to be performed on a full-time basis at set times to meet business needs?
- could a more flexible and/or part time arrangement be accommodated?
4. Future-proof the post as much as possible
- where does this post fit in with your departmental strategic plan?
- are you aware that the workload or departmental structure likely to change within the near future?
- Will a different set of skills be needed then?
5. What type of appointment will meet your needs?
- Is there a defined time limit for the need of this appointment eg due to external funding or providing cover due to staff absence?
- are you considering making the post a fixed-term appointment? If so, under The Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, there must be an objective justification for doing so, e.g. to cover staff absence, or when a post is funded by a temporary funding source.
- do you need specialised skills for a brief time only? If it is in the areas of administration/clerical, portering, security or cleaning services then we have a framework agreement in place with preferred external agencies who can source potential agency workers for you to consider. Details of university procedure for engaging Agency Workers is available from the right hand links. You also have the option of engaging people directly for short-term specific work, eg specialist teaching, via the Atypical/Bank worker process, see the right hand link for more information.
6. Developing existing University staff
- Could existing strong performers be considered for this role, or an element of this role, as part of the department´s action on succession planning and talent management?
- Are there any departmental staff on fixed-term contracts who could be redeployed into the vacancy, thereby retaining skills and experience within the University? We have a legal obligation to explore the possibilities for suitable alternative employment for staff who are at risk of redundancy (including the expiry of fixed term contracts). Human Resources will provide you with access to existing staff from across the University whose contract is coming to an end and who meet the minimum criteria for your vacancy.
- Could the post be considered suitable for a secondment opportunity?
7. Cost saving possibilities
- Could you restructure responsibilities to offer other staff development opportunities and create a vacancy need at a lower salary scale?
- Could you hold on filling the vacancy for a reasonable period prior to filling the post?
Starting your Recruitment & Selection Action
Once you have considered all of these key areas, you will be in a stronger position to decide which form of recruitment and selection action you need to follow next.