Recruitment gets a makeover

07 December 2009

recruitmentIt had been clear for some time that UCT's bureaucratic staff recruitment procedures needed reviewing. Appointments were often delayed (finding open spots in a DVC's diary was the stuff of nightmares), and as more and more posts opened up, costs were rising steeply, notably for advertising.

Now, after a lengthy consultation process, HR has unveiled a sleeker set of policies that they believe will streamline the entire appointment procedure and have the important added advantage of saving significantly on the costs incurred in the process.

The revised recruitment policies officially kick in on 1 January 2010, while some streamlined administrative procedures have already commenced. The new policies can be found on the HR website.

HR will communicate extensively and host workshops to ensure proper implementation of the policies and procedures over the coming months, but here's a potted introduction to some - but not all - of the changes in the processes. Key changes include:

  • Chairing of selection committees
  • Final sign off on appointments
  • Quorum requirements for selection committees
  • HR advisor role changes
  • Recruitment advert changes
  • Printing of applications
  • Questions of professional misconduct and crime

Then: The VC or a DVC had to chair selection committee meetings for professorial level posts. Now: Respective deans (or nominees) may chair meetings for all academic posts. The VC or DVC may also chair these, but generally need only attend the final interviews for professorial posts.
Then: Final signoff on appointments recommended by selection committees was the responsibility of the VC or DVC for academic posts, and of the ED HR for PASS posts Now: The VC or DVC must still approve professorial appointments, but the dean or relevant executive director will be the delegated authority for other posts. (Or the head of department in the case where a PASS department has no executive director.) This will cut back on the post-interview appointment time, and successful candidates could well hear the good news within a day or two after being interviewed.
Then: Two-thirds of voting selection committee members had to be present for a meeting to be quorate. Now: Quorum is now 50% of voting committee members. The chair, HoD and EE representative are 'key members', however, and must be present at all meetings. This should speed up the process of trying to get busy committee members in the same room on the same day at the same time.
Then: HR were ex officio members of all PASS selection committees in payclasses 9 and above (with voting rights). Now: There may still be a need for HR advisors to serve on selection committees as assessor members, but they may not necessarily be voting members. The HR recruitment advisors are still there, of course.
Then: It was not uncommon for a whole spate of large, pricey UCT recruitment ads to appear in one edition of a newspaper. Now: UCT will now run a weekly composite banner ad in the media with short write-ups on each post. (Six to eight ads can now fit into a space previously allocated to just one.) The ads will include weblinks to the full advert and relevant information, including a new standardised application form, on the UCT website. The detailed application form will replace the requirement of a one-page CV (which was often not very helpful to the selection committee). It will also provide relevant information required in the selection process, eg notice period, visa/work permit requirements, etc.
Then: All applications were printed for selection committee members, who had to make a special trip to Bremner to do their grading/screening of the applications and relevant documentation. Now: There is no longer a need for bulky files crammed with printed applications. Committee members will have electronic access to all applications, and can review these in their own time (with the proper security and confidentiality measures in place, of course). Only the documentation of shortlisted candidates will be printed, cutting back on costs - and saving trees. (Some academic applications can be as long as 70 pages.)
Then: Questions on professional misconduct or crime were seldom raised by selection committees, although HR did run verification of qualifications and credit/criminal checks on appointees. Now: The background checks done by HR remain, but issues of professional misconduct or crime will be tackled in the new application form. Selection committees will also have to raise these issues clearly in interviews, and appointment letters will also carry a declaration which must be signed by the appointee when accepting the offer. This should extensively reduce the risk to UCT

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