Imperial’s future as a world-class university is dependent upon attracting and appointing excellent academic staff.  In addition, the College Globe with people around wishes to promote diversity and improve upon its current academic representation, particularly in relation to gender, ethnic origin, sexual orientation and disabled people.  One way to achieve this objective is in the key area of recruitment and selection, and, specifically, to ensure that we seek a diverse range of potential applicants for posts and in how we handle our shortlisting and interview processes.

This guidance supplements the Recruitment & Selection procedure and details examples of good practice intended to open up opportunities to a wider pool of potential recruits and to ensure the process runs efficiently.

Learning tool box Training

It is essential that as a recruiter you are aware of the potential effects of unconscious bias and stereotyping when attracting and appointing new staff.  Our Learning and Development Centre offers training in both unconscious bias and recruitment and selection.

Please note: that it is College policy that at least one member of the panel must have been trained in recruitment and selection.

  Faces circled on listActive Recruitment

To attract an excellent and diverse range of applicants, you should think beyond the standard advertising and recruiting practices to more proactive methods of engaging and recruiting staff.

Departments have found the following actions successful in attracting potential excellent applicants from the widest possible pool and we recommend that you consider these ideas as part of your recruitment process:

Advertising Locations:

To reach a diverse pool of potential applicants, positions should be advertised as widely as possible. Advertising locations such as, and are recommended to aid this.

Circulating the advertisement is also a useful way of widening the pool of potential recruits, whether through informal or formal networks known to the department or though diversity or research specific networks such as or

 Publications such as Nature, New Scientist and The Guardian also issue diversity and ‘women in science’ specific editions which offer a good opportunity to publicise a vacancy to a diverse audience. Your local HR representative can provide dates of such editions and further guidance on diverse advertising locations.

 Establish a departmental search committee:

 A departmental search committee would be dedicated to identifying potential excellent candidates (including those from underrepresented groups) and building relationships, so that they feel encouraged to apply when an appropriate position becomes available. The committee should consist of staff with diverse research interests, disciplines and at different stages of their career, so that a wide net is cast for each opportunity.

Potential recruitment bank:

A bank of potential excellent future recruits could be established and updated regularly by academic staff members. Potential recruits might include the wide and diverse range of people met at conferences, former staff, students and collaborators. The bank could be used as a mailing list to circulate job opportunities and share departmental news to engage potential recruits.

Engage and build relationships with potential recruits

Departments have found it an effective recruitment strategy to establish relationships with potential candidates from a diverse pool, both within and outside of the College. This might be done by fostering collaborations with potential recruits, inviting them to departmental seminars and events, attending seminars given by them, and generally ‘keeping in touch’ with them throughout their careers.

Share recruitment opportunities widely

Information on potential recruitment opportunities should be shared widely with collaborators and research networks, with the request that the opportunity be cascaded to potential candidates.

 Open call recruitment

This might be used where overall funding approval has been granted but the exact number, level and subject area of posts is dependent on the calibre of applicants.

This approach can be effective in attracting a wide range of applications but care should be taken to ensure good communication is maintained and candidates are not kept in the dark about the status of their application.

Good practice in managing open call recruitment includes:

  • Acknowledging applications received
  • Prompt responses to candidates’ queries
  • Sharing updates with candidates on the timescale of the recruitment process
  • Giving reasonable notice and, where possible, flexible arrangements for the interview
  • Communicating with unsuccessful applicants about the outcome of their application
 Panel pools

 If your department struggles to draw together a diverse Appointment Committee, you may find it helpful to develop a ‘panel pool’. This would consist of a list of individuals (either internal or external to the department) trained in recruitment and selection and/or unconscious bias, or those with particular insight into matters of equality and diversity in recruitment, such as those who sit on the College’s equality-related committees. These individuals could then be approached to form part of the Appointment Committee, or to suggest suitable members.

Departments that adopt this approach should make sure that the pool is well populated and rotated frequently.

HR on keyboard If you have any questions or require any further information please contact your local HR representative.