Recruitment Policy

Document Number000924
Date Approved4 November 2010
Date Last Amended21 February 2012

1.      Introduction

1.1       The University of Newcastle must be able to attract, select and appoint the best possible candidates in a timely manner for all positions across all levels within the University if it is to remain competitive in the future and deliver on its strategic plan.  It is, therefore, critical that the University has a range of approaches to attract and appoint the highest calibre of staff both external and internal to the University. 

1.2       In addition, the University strives to create a learning and working environment that reflects and celebrates diversity.  It seeks to be at the forefront of equity and access issues and strives to recruit from under-represented groups, monitoring its compliance with state and national equity legislation.

1.3       Equally important is the need for management to be able to adopt the most appropriate approach and have the flexibility to adapt these to their particular circumstances.  These approaches need to be based on the principles of merit, equity and diversity, fairness, transparency, responsiveness and the operational and strategic needs of the institution.

1.4       This policy must be read in conjunction with the relevant Human Resource Recruitment Policies and Guidelines referred to throughout this policy document. 

2.      Policy Scope

This policy applies to the recruitment of Academic, Professional and Teaching staff.  It covers all modes of employment including ongoing, fixed term, contingent and casual appointments. 

3.      Policy Intent

3.1       The intention of this policy is to provide a framework that provides a range of recruitment options for management to utilise at the University of Newcastle. 

3.2       This policy supports flexible and tailored approaches to the recruitment of staff that can address their specific requirements. It:

  1. enables management to adopt strategies that optimise the competitive positioning of the University while ensuring equitable practices are maintained
  2. recognises tensions may exist between operational demands and the principles of merit, equity and diversity, fairness, transparency and responsiveness and makes it clear that management are responsible for decision making, and balancing the various principles within the particular context.

4.      Relevant Definitions

In the context of this document:

Continuing employment means all employment that is not contingent, fixed-term or casual employment, and for which there is no set date for the employment to cease.

Contingent employment means employment provided from identifiable funding external to the University (not being the operating grant) for the life of a specific task or project or for the duration of the funding.  Such employment has no fixed end date and the contract is not terminable by the University, other than during a probationary period, or for unsatisfactory performance, or for serious misconduct; or by the occurrence of the contingency.

Fixed term employment means employment for a specified term, for which the instrument of engagement will specify the starting and finishing dates and for which during the term of employment the contract is not terminable by the University, other than during a probationary period, or for unsatisfactory performance, or for serious misconduct; or where the work is no longer required to be undertaken, in which case the fixed term staff member is entitled to payment equivalent to either 6 months salary or the balance of the contract, whichever is the lesser.

Casual employment means employment by the hour and paid on an hourly basis that includes a loading in lieu of benefits.  Casual employment may be on an hourly or sessional basis.


5.      Policy provisions / principles

5.1      Principles

In any recruitment, selection and appointment process the University expects management to respect the following principles which need to be evident in any process adopted. 

Merit: All applicants will be appointed to positions based on their skill, knowledge, competencies, qualifications, previous experience and understanding of the position requirements.

Fairness: Fairness is demonstrated through inclusiveness and equity.  All applicants have a right to expect fair treatment through clear expectations and a consistent approach.

Transparency: The University recognises the importance of transparency in relation to the recruitment process.  This needs to be balanced with respect to confidentiality and privacy of applicants and selection committee members.

Responsiveness: Responsiveness is the capacity to adapt University practice to meet individual circumstances, taking into account the principles of merit, equity and diversity, fairness and transparency.  It is important to acknowledge that timely decision making can be critical in securing the best possible applicant.

Operational and Strategic Need: All recruitment and selection decision-making should be aligned with the University’s strategic and operational priorities.

5.2      Recruitment Practices

The University recognises the following range of recruitment practices:



Appropriate circumstance

1. Standard recruitment practice

Human Resource Services (HRS) supports management in the advertising and recruitment of continuing, contingent, fixed-term and casual positions.


See: Continuing, Contingent and Fixed-term Appointments Guideline 000930

  • Normal process for all continuing, contingent and fixed-term appointments
  • Fixed-term positions that are 12 months or greater for academic, professional and research positions
  • A short-term or research appointment where there is no identified candidate(s)

2. Short-term fixed-term appointment

(< 12 months)

A potential staff member can be directly appointed to a position for a specified term without applying the standard recruitment practice.


See: Casual and Short-Term Appointments Guideline 000931

  • Fixed-term appointments can cover full-time or part-time fixed term or casual staff for periods of up to 12 months

3. Casual appointment

Casual staff may be employed for a specific task where hours and days of employment are irregular


A staff member can potentially be appointed through a locally managed process(es).


  • One-off task
  • Hours and days of employment are irregular
  • Capacity to end employment as soon as it is no longer required
  • Sessional work

4. Research staff

(12 months to 3 years)

Appointment of a staff member who is recruited solely to work on a research project funded by non-operating funds.


See: Recruitment of Research Staff from Non-Operating Funds Guideline 000929

  • Fixed-term appointment funded by non-operating funds (research funds)
  • Appointment is from 12 months to 3 years

5. Eligibility list

A List of candidates who were interviewed as part of a University recruitment process and were deemed appointable is maintained by HRS and may be used for equivalent / similar positions for a period of six months.


HRS will advise whether a candidate on the eligibility list can be appointed directly without the need to undertake the recruitment process for a second time.


See: Eligibility List Guideline 000932

  • Cost-saving and time-saving method of recruitment which utilises previous recruitment process
  • Commonality between roles

6. Appointment to Professor: Exceptional Circumstances

Appointment to Professor: Exceptional Circumstances may be used for the recruitment of outstanding external Professorial staff where an opportunity arises to make an appointment that is critically important to the strategic direction of the University.


There will be a committee deliberation to determine the outcome.


See: Appointment to Professor: Exceptional Circumstances Policy 000805

  • Generally external professorial appointments


7. Appointment by invitation: Exceptional Circumstances

Appointment by invitation may be used for the recruitment of a recognised leader with an outstanding reputation and / or to employ an emerging, recognised leading talent.  Appointment by invitation may be applied as the opportunity arises or is created.  In this circumstance the candidate’s merit and value is beyond challenge and the person would make a significant contribution to the University’s strategic direction and reputation. 


There will be a committee deliberation to determine the outcome.


See: Appointment by Invitation: Exceptional Circumstances Policy 000927

  • Exceptional leader and/or primary professional or technical specialist
  • Question of suitability beyond challenge
  • Appropriate opportunity arises
  • Necessary to expedite the process and remain discrete to ensure competitive position
  • Interests of the University and contributes to the strategic direction



5.3      Supporting recruitment strategies

At times a recruitment strategy may be required to attract and retain a highly sought after candidate.  In some cases, there may be circumstances where targeted incentives need to be used alongside targeted recruitment practices to ensure the best candidate accepts the position. 

The following supporting strategies are examples of the range of potential initiatives.  These, and any other options identified by management, should be discussed with the appropriate delegated officer before proceeding with any action. 

Note: All costs for tailored recruitment and incentive strategies are funded by the relevant Faculty/School/Organisational Unit unless otherwise approved within delegations.




Appropriate circumstance

1. Head-Hunting

Engaging a Search Firm to seek the best candidates for a position may be the most effective way to attract a specialist staff member, particularly if the potential pool of candidates resides overseas.  This strategy may be used in conjunction with or in lieu of a standard recruitment process.

  • Senior appointments
  • Emerging or current disciplines in high demand
  • Professional staff in high demand professions
  • If standard advertising has not been successful
  • Discrete/selective targeting across the sector.

2. Networking

Regardless of strategy, the University encourages informal networking with colleagues from other Universities or from outside the tertiary sector.  This is an effective way of notifying potential staff of an advertised position or a fixed-term position.  Networking may include speaking to colleagues at conferences, communicating via industry websites, liaising with future staff while on study leave or emailing potential applicants directly or through professional bodies.


A link to the Future Staff website could also be included in the email which lists University benefits such as leave entitlements, salary and employee discounts:

  • All positions
  • Staff are actively encouraged to utilise networks to ensure the best possible field of candidates

3. Facilities

(eg. laboratory space)

The appointment of a senior researcher may involve an investment in infrastructure that the researcher requires to continue their work.  This could include additional laboratory space, facilities or equipment.  The offer of additional infrastructure may be an attractive incentive, however the costs are significant.  Any infrastructure incentive must be approved and funded through the appropriate delegations and/or committees. 

  • Senior Research appointments

4. Market loadings

Market loadings may be necessary to assist in the competition for highly qualified and sought after staff in the global market.


A market loading may be initiated as part of a recruitment process or to retain and reward existing staff in discipline areas where there is evidence of market-based salary loadings at comparable universities.


See: Market Loadings Policy 000794

  • Senior appointments
  • Emerging or current disciplines in high demand
  • Professional staff in high demand professions generally at HEW 8 or above.

5. Living Away from Home Allowance

A Living Away from Home Allowance may be offered to eligible staff to compensate for the additional housing and food costs they will incur as a consequence of being required to live away from their usual place of residence,  


See:  Salary Packaging User Guide (s.2.6)

  • Staff who are eligible under Australian taxation legislation and provided the associated tax rule and conditions are satisfied.

6. Partner employment

In certain cases the ability to fill a critical or hard-to-fill position may be contingent on the University offering employment to the future staff member’s partner.  In these cases, the partner may be offered a short-term fixed-term appointment if their qualifications and experience meet the essential criteria, and if there is an appropriate position available.


Employment on a long- term basis must be through the standard open / competitive recruitment process.


The Casual and Short Term Appointments Guideline 000931 provides relevant information on short-term appointments.

  • Supplements a Senior appointment or where there is a highly competitive market
  • Partner will be appointed to position based on their skill, knowledge, competencies, qualifications, previous experience and understanding of the position requirements

7. Additional support strategies

Alternative Incentive options may also be used to encourage the preferred candidate to accept the offer of employment.  As with the above options, any other attraction strategies are funded by the relevant School/ Unit.


HRS staff can assist in the construction of other incentive options.

  • Senior appointments
  • Emerging or current disciplines in high demand


6.      Essential Supporting Documents  

Continuing, Contingent and Fixed-term Appointments Guideline 000930

Casual and Short-term Appointments Guideline 000931

Recruitment of Research Staff from Non-Operating Funds Guideline 000929

Staff Selection Committee Guideline 000928

Eligibility List Guideline 000932

Appointment to Professor: Exceptional Circumstances Policy 000805

Appointment by Invitation: Exceptional Circumstances Policy 000927

Market Loadings Policy 000794

Delegation of Authority Policy 000083

Conflicts of Interest Policy 000934

7.      Related Documents

Academic Staff Workplace Agreement 2010

General Staff Workplace Agreement 2010

Teachers Workplace Agreement 2010

The University of Newcastle Code of Conduct

NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977;

Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act 1975;

Commonwealth Sex Discrimination Act 1984;

Commonwealth Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986;

Commonwealth Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1986;

Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992;

Commonwealth Age Discrimination Act 2004; and

Fair Work Act 2009.



Approval AuthorityVice-Chancellor
Date Approved4 November 2010
Date Last Amended21 February 2012
Date for Review3 November 2013
Policy SponsorDeputy Vice-Chancellor (Services)
Policy OwnerDirector, Human Resource Services
Policy ContactManager, HR Services Team
Amendment History

Minor amendment requested by Manager, Remuneration and Benefits to reflect change in legislation, effective 1 October 2012, of LAFHA rule (Section 5.3.5) 26 September 2012.

5.3.5 Living Away from Home Allowance link updated 16 April 2012

Minor amendments to hyperlinked policy documents in tables 5.2 & 5.3 and 6 & Uni documents in 7 on 12 April 2012.

Change in terminology from "general" to "professional" staff, approved by Vice-Chancellor 21 February 2012, effective 1 January 2012.

12 May 2011 - link to new Conflicts of Interest Policy added

14 January 2011 - minor corrections to formatting.