Identify conflicts of interest in recruitment and selection

This self-assessment tool is designed to assist public sector employees meet their obligation to identify, disclose and manage any conflict of interest which may arise during a recruitment and selection process. In particular, the tool is designed for panel members and delegated decision makers in accordance with Recruitment and selection (Directive 12/20), sections 102 and 186 of the Public Service Act 2008 and the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service.

  • What is a conflict of interest?
  • Do I have a conflict of interest?
  • How do I deal with my conflict of interest?

Step one–what is a conflict of interest?

A conflict of interest occurs when your private interests interfere, or appear to interfere, with the performance of official duties. Private interests include personal, professional or business interests, as well as the interests of individuals that you associate with, such as family, dependants and friends.

All employees involved in recruitment and selection decisions have an obligation to put the public interest first by selecting the most meritorious candidate for appointment in a fair and unbiased way. Recruitment and selection decisions must not be influenced by self-interest, private affiliations or the likelihood of personal gain or loss.

Expand the sections below to find out more.

A conflict of interest may arise in recruitment and selection where a panel member or delegate to approve the appointment identifies that they have a personal or professional relationship with, or any connection to an applicant or any person involved in the recruitment and selection process that may create the perception of bias.

Conflicts of interest can be actual, perceived or potential.

There is a direct conflict between your duties and your existing private interests.

Example: A panel member does not disclose that their sister is an applicant. The panel member is unable to assess their sister’s performance during the selection process in an unbiased way due to their personal relationship.

It could appear to others that your private interests could improperly influence the performance of your duties - whether or not this is in fact the case.

Example: A panel chairperson has a close relationship with an applicant who is a subordinate in their team. The panel chairperson and the applicant regularly go for coffee catch ups and this has been observed by other members of the team who are not invited to these meetings. The applicant is considered the most meritorious candidate and is recommended for appointment. An unsuccessful applicant submits a complaint against the alleging nepotism by the panel chair due to the perceived close relationship with the applicant.

Your duties and private interests could conflict in the future.

Example: A Director of Nursing is the delegate responsible for signing off all nursing appointments at the local hospital. The Director of Nursing has a son who is studying to become a nurse. This could become a conflict of interest in the future if the son applies for a nursing position at that hospital.