Working together - Students as partners in our recruitment process

Chris Burton and Rebecca Galeandro

Attending for a job interview can excite a range of emotions, not all of them obviously positive. But on the day, it is possible to get a sense of how a School works, and the values that drive its work. Is everyone friendly and welcoming?  Are the communications around the interview process well organised? Are you able to be your best possible self?

For the first time, students were involved in the School's staff recruitment processes. Students attended awareness-raising training around governance issues such as equal opportunities and worked together to construct a feedback sheet for forming a collective view on strengths and weaknesses, and also key areas that they had decided were important qualities that they would wish to see in members of the academic team.  Following the interviews, they presented feedback to the Appointments Panel. They were supported in this work by two existing staff members to answer questions, and advise on any aspect of the recruitment process. The staff helped to facilitate the overall process, but it was led by student opinion and perceived needs.

What were the benefits of this engagement?

We held a debrief event with the students who took part. The overwhelming feeling was that this initiative was a worthwhile experience.

From the student's point of view, it was an eye-opening experience. Being part of the recruitment process enabled us to see a different side to the School. It was enjoyable engaging with the staff and extremely worthwhile as it highlighted how Bangor is evidently student focused.

From an Appointments Panel perspective, students' contributions had different key impacts. Their feedback provided a useful reference point for decisions, particularly where candidates were comparable across some domains of the role. Before all candidates were discussed by the Panel, students provided an opportunity to check out whether presentation styles were engaging. Did applicants introduce themselves? Were the candidates well prepared? Was the material presented interesting and current? Did the candidates acknowledge all members of the group equally? This contribution energised the Panel's discussion, and ensured that teaching and learning did not get lost in discussions about a candidates' possible contributions to School life.

We feel that the process sent a strong signal to all applicants about the importance that we attach to the student experience.

As Head of School, I am delighted that we have recruited an excellent group of new academic staff who I know will make a significant contribution to the future of the School. I am looking forward to hearing more suggestions about new ways of working in partnership with students to develop our School life.

We are keen to offer some advice for future applicants to Lectureships within the School. Our 'top tips' include:

  • Ensuring good preparation, and checking the timing of presentations
  • The importance of friendly introductions to students, and checking their programmes of study
  • Ensuring the currency of content and its relevance to Wales
  • Being aware of the context of the School and students. For us in Bangor, we are proud of our bilingual heritage, and would expect a simple greeting in Cymraeg as a minimum.

Our thanks go the following students and staff facilitators who took part in the recruitment process:

  • Sophie Burgess (Year Three Adult)
  • Rebecca Galeandro (Year One Adult)
  • Layna Goodey (Year One Adult)
  • Anita Kellet (Year One Adult)
  • Wai Pak Lam (Year Two Adult)
  • Alison Lester-Owen (Staff)
  • Carol Westwell (Staff)
  • Sarah Wynne (Year Two Adult)