Making the decision

Selection Action navigation

This section provides guidance on the process of deciding which candidate you would like to offer the job to.


An excellent selection process will make the process of choosing who to appoint more straightforward. Extensive notes should be taken throughout the process by all panel members, and it is often best to use a scoring system to decide who to recruit. The successful candidate should be the person who shows the best ability against the person specification for the role. If nobody is appointable then it is better to go back to the drawing board than employ someone who does not fit with the role. The way we choose candidates should be clear and transparent, so that effective feedback can be given and decisions are easily explainable.

Scoring and the decision

For almost all jobs at the university a scoring system can be used to assess candidates. The only possible exception to this is for joint appointments (particularly those in Medicine, Dentistry and Health) and in certain senior appointments, where ability to lead and inspire large staff groups may be harder to score. For other appointments every element of selection should correspond to the Person Specification and should therefore be scored accordingly.

Key points for scoring and the final decision:

  • Scoring should be carried out based on the candidates performance against each Person Specification criteria. Decide at the outset how many 'marks' you would like to allocate against each Person Specification criteria. Some Essential criteria, such as educational level, may not warrant a mark as such as they are a minimum standard, although you may wish to allocate some extra marks for performance above what is required (if it is relevant to the job). How you allocate marks is up to you (so long as it remains consistent throughout), and the weighting you give items should be allocated according to the requirements of the job. For example if a job extensively requires one particular ability such as knowledge of processing financial transactions then you may wish to give this a greater weighting than personal attributes.
  • An example scale for scoring could be:

Person specification item

doesn't meet criteria at all meets criteria partially meets criteria in full exceeds criteria
Standard item 0pts 1pt 2pts 3pts
'key' item 0pts 2pts 4pts 6pts

The scores in this scale could be adapted to need and the categories could be changed for desirable criteria to represent the role of potential as well as experience. Whatever scoring system you choose you should record your method alongside the notes taken about candidates, to ensure the process is transparent.

  • Remember that marks should not just correspond to the interview. They should cover all stages of assessment including shortlisting. If aspects of a particular item are assessed in two separate interview questions, for example, then ensure you are dividing up the marks allocated to this item between both responses.
  • Incorporate potential into scoring. If a candidate does not have a desirable skill but demonstrates they have the potential to gain it then they can still be given a high mark.
  • Your final decision should be to appoint the candidate who has scored highest overall. If you have created an accurate Person Specification and scored properly then you will never feel that the best candidate is not the one with the top marks.
  • You should also agree a second and possibly third chice candidate (so long as they are considered appointable) in case your preferred candidate does not accept the position.
  • Decisions must be fair, objective and transparent. Decisions must not be made on the basis of:

         -Snap judgements


         -Stereotyping and presumption

         -Halo or horns effects

         -Mirroring (selecting candidates "in their own image")

         -Personalities rather than abilities

         -Over-reliance on a single element in the selection process

         -Information provided informally

  • If you have candidates that tie or score extremely closely, then you will have to make a judgement. Please ensure that you are aware of the possible role of unconscious bias in this decision and consider the matter in an objective manner. Make sure time is taken to make the decision. Performance in all elements of the process should be reviewed. Where a panel is tied and agreement can't be reached, the Chair of the panel has the deciding vote, though panels should always aim for a consensus decision.
  • If nobody is appointable then it is better to reopen the recruitment process than to employ someone who is not up to the requisite standard. Hiring the wrong person could create problems in the long run, so it is better to spend a bit more time find the right person.
  • Agree constructive feedback for unsuccessful candidates based on their performance against the Person Specification. See the section on feedback for unsuccessful candidates for more information on this.
  • Once you have decided who you want to appoint, keep all your scoring notes from the entire process. This is to ensure that the fair process through which a decision is made can be demonstrated if the outcome of your deliberations is challenged. See the section on retention and disposal of documentation in recruitment and selection for more information. The outcome of the selection process should be recorded in e-Recruitment. This information will be held on the system.

By this point you should have decided on which candidate to offer the job to. For candidate experience information relevant to this stage see the feedback for unsuccessful candidates section. From here move on to the final checks and job offer section to see how to finalise the appointment of your chosen candidate.