Before you begin the recruitment process

Getting the right people, in the right roles, at the right time requires workforce planning and effective recruitment strategies. This includes attracting and retaining people from both government and non-government sectors.

1. Act and directives

Recruitment and selection processes within the public service are governed by:

Key requirements under the Act and directives:

Request advice about directives.

2. The merit principle

Section 27 of the Public Service Act 2008 states selections must be based on merit alone. Selecting an applicant from a list of candidates who have responded to a job advertisement does not constitute a merit process. The assessment process involves determining who is the most suitable, having regard to the components of merit.

The merit principle is defined in Section 28 of the Public Service Act 2008 as the extent to which the person has abilities, aptitude, skills, qualifications, knowledge, experience and personal qualities relevant to the carrying out of the duties in question, and if relevant:

  • the way in which the person carried out any previous employment or occupational duties
  • the extent to which the person has potential for development.

The merit principle is also referred to in the recruitment and selection directive.

The selection panel should use selection techniques that are relevant to the role and enable them to assess the overall merit of applicants and avoid limiting their assessment to one component of merit or one aspect of the process.

3. Ethics

You need to recruit and select staff in an open, fair and consistent manner, and disclose any potential or actual conflict of interests.

It is important to record the reasons for making a particular decision and make the records available for scrutiny when required.

4. Inclusion and diversity

Inclusion and diversity needs to be taken into account at each stage of the recruitment and selection process.

The selection panel is responsible for ensuring that panel members are aware of any hidden bias they may have and that meritorious private-sector candidates are considered fully in public sector recruitment processes.

Examples of how diversity can be a part of the merit conversation:

  • reframe the employment conversation from seeking and developing the ‘best candidate’ to seeking and developing the ‘best teams’
  • be open to flexible work arrangements
  • introduce bias interrupters at all stages of the process.

5. Reasonable adjustment

Agencies are required to offer equal opportunities to everyone and when necessary make reasonable adjustments to meet the needs of workers with a disability.

There is a legal obligation to provide reasonable adjustment to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities and failing to provide this may constitute unlawful discrimination.