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Module 2: Commencement and Collaboration – Putting Ideas Into Practice

5.2 Recruiting the right person

You will either be recruiting staff because you have none and you have funds to cover that recruitment, or because the roles or activities you need done cannot be covered by your current team members. To make these staffing decisions you will need to take into account:

  • what tasks you need done
  • skill sets that go together
  • appropriate levels of responsibility
  • time allocations to tasks
  • 'usual' job descriptions of various kinds
  • the research proposal
  • the personnel requested (and funded) in the original research proposal/application.

In order to employ the right person you will need to generate a clear understanding of the specific role and skills required. You will need to consider and determine the appropriate type of position you need to recruit for: e.g., casual, short-term contract, long-term contract, secondment, etc. There are pros and cons in each of these types of positions, as well as legal and/or university requirements about types of positions that can be used. Casual or short-term positions often encourage those employed within them to not be committed to the project, and they can leave at short notice. A longer term contract, or a secondment, might improve the commitment of the person to the project.

The position will then need to be advertised. This can happen differently in different universities.

If you need to manage the recruitment then you will need to develop both a position specification and selection criteria in order to comply with university recruitment policy/procedures. Writing the position specification will enable you, and your research team, to ensure that they have thought through the requirements of the position. Selection criteria should encompass not only the academic skills and experience required but also any important interpersonal characteristics on which recruitment decisions can be made. Some examples of selection criteria from the three broad areas of qualifications, experience, and attributes follows:

  • Selection criteria – e.g. for qualifications:
    A PhD in cell or molecular biology
    A background in cellular immunology and/or virology
  • Selection criteria – e.g. for experience:
    A history of safe laboratory practice, preferably in the context of virology
    Experience with flow cytometry
    Achievement in research and scholarship
    Active in, and with a long-term commitment to, fieldwork.
  • Selection criteria – e.g. for attributes:
    Excellent written and oral communication skills
    Demonstrated ability to work under limited direction
    Proven ability to work as a member of a team
    Ability to communicate with staff at all levels of the organisation
    Capacity to interact with technical staff
    Good time management and organisational skills and willingness to take responsibility.
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