Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: How do hiring managers assess 70% of the overall requirements of a role?
A When recruiting, hiring managers should assess the overall requirements for a role throughout each stage of the recruitment process, including when reviewing applications, interviewing and conducting referee checks.
Start with developing a position description and job advertisement that makes clear the inherent requirements of the role and include key selection criteria (KSC) consistent with the classification and value range descriptors in the Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement.
Your interview questions should align with the KSC and probe for a candidate’s potential for growth (see FAQs on growth potential). At interview, departments can use existing assessment or scoring methods, providing they align with the Robust Assessment Guidelines (v2.0) and the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) recruitment principles and standards. The method used should be applied consistently to all applicants in that process.
Reference checking should seek to confirm the candidate’s responses at interview and may allow for review of interview scoring, if warranted. Reference checking is also an opportunity to ask questions to further determine growth potential.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: If the preferred candidate scores less than 70%, can they be appointed to the role?
A Yes. If an applicant has scored less than 70% and they are first in the order of merit, they can be appointed to the role if they are deemed suitable.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: Can a candidate who does not meet a mandatory requirement be shortlisted for a role?
A No. Think of a mandatory requirement as a threshold for shortlisting. If the candidate does not meet the mandatory requirement, there is no purpose in shortlisting them given their inability to undertake a crucial requirement of the role.
Examples of some mandatory requirements for roles include a certain qualification, professional accreditation (e.g. a law degree or legal practising certificate), or a Driver licence, without which it is not possible to be selected for the role.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: Can selection criteria be weighted to emphasise their importance?
A Yes. The Guidelines do not prevent weighting of the key selection criteria and related interview questions to highlight their importance to a role. Where this occurs, you should be aware of the requirements of the Employment Standards, particularly the requirement that processes are clear and transparent to applicants.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: Even after taking growth potential into account, what if the panel does not consider any of the candidates are suitable for the role?
A If the panel remains concerned about the collective shortlisted candidates’ ability to undertake the role following interviews, a further competitive exercise (eg. written assessment; respond to a relevant hypothetical scenario) may be provided. It is important that this exercise is provided to all shortlisted candidates and that the further assessment is undertaken in a fair and consistent manner.
Where an additional exercise may be required, it is important that this is made clear to all candidates upon application.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: How is growth potential assessed?
A Growth potential broadly encompasses the ability to learn, pick up tasks quickly, problem solve, learn from mistakes and adapt to working with others. Growth potential should be considered throughout the recruitment process; that is, at application, interview, reference checking and selection.
Consideration of a candidate’s growth potential involves assessment of whether a candidate is committed to self-improvement, is coachable, and can learn from mistakes. These indicators can be assessed as part of all key selection criteria.
Hiring managers can look at existing behavioural questions and consider how they can be adapted to probe for growth potential, or consider adding a part (b) to a question, such as:
- ‘What did you learn from that experience?’
- ‘If you had the opportunity again, would you approach things differently and why?’
The selection report should outline the hiring manager’s consideration of the preferred candidate’s growth potential, though noting that growth potential is assessed within the existing key selection criteria and not as a separate consideration.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: Do hiring managers need to still consider growth potential when hiring for a fixed-term position?
A For fixed-term roles under 6 months, there is no expectation to consider growth potential.
For fixed-term roles over 6 months, growth potential should be considered as set out in the Guidelines.
You should assess candidates’ growth potential in relation to the position; that is, their ability to grow into that role in that time.
Q How do the Robust Assessment Guidelines support the principle of merit in recruitment?
A Multiple candidates may score above 70% of the overall requirements for a role and could be deemed suitable. In these circumstances, the top performing/preferred candidate should be selected.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: What circumstances would give rise to a ‘review of actions’?
A Section E of the Guidelines refers to the review of actions process.
If the recruitment process is not conducted in a fair or consistent manner (consistent with Section 8 of the Public Administration Act 2004, Employment Principles and Standards) this may lead to a review of actions on the basis of a 'significant deficiency' relating to the selection process.
Further information on review of actions can be found at the VPSC website.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: When do hiring managers need to apply the VPSC Recruitment Principles and Standards?
A The Robust Assessment Guidelines (v2.0) support the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC) recruitment principles and standards. The Principles and Employment Standards are binding and a requirement on all employment processes in the Victorian public sector.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: What kind of information should be included in a selection report?
A The Guidelines require that candidates are evaluated for their suitability for a role based on the key selection criteria (KSC) and that consideration be given to their growth potential. The selection report should:
- detail the merit-based selection process, justifying the selection outcome;
- clearly define the criteria against which the successful candidate(s) met the requirements to a greater extent than others shortlisted; and
- consider how the candidate demonstrated growth potential within each KSC.
In circumstances where the recruitment process was unsuccessful in selecting a candidate, the selection report must outline how a shortlisted candidate, not recommended for appointment, fell below 70% of the overall requirements of the role.
Hiring managers are only required to provide a statement summarising the key reasons why other candidates, not shortlisted, were not suitable.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: What documentation should be kept around assessing the initial 70% while shortlisting?
A The Guidelines do not change existing obligations around documenting the selection process, noting that documentation should be clear and sufficiently capable of review. Hiring managers should keep a list of the names of candidates not shortlisted to include in the selection report, together with a brief statement summarising the key reasons why the candidates were not suitable and therefore not shortlisted.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: Are there any training tools for hiring managers?
A Hiring managers are encouraged to join the JSE to access these FAQs and any updates on the Guidelines and Policy.
Hiring managers should familiarise themselves with the VPSC Standards.
Section B and Section C of the Robust Assessment Guidelines (v2.0) contain a check list and flow chart designed to assist hiring managers to step through the recruitment process and remind them of their obligations.
Q Robust Assessment Guidelines: Does the robust assessment process need to be referred to in job advertisements?
A It’s not a requirement that advertisements reference the Robust Assessment Guidelines, however, it is recommended that the Guidelines be referenced/attached to departmental recruitment policies. The Guidelines (which are available on the JSE website) should be made available to candidates when requested, and could also be provided if a candidate seeks more information on how a recruitment process will be undertaken.
Reviewed by Simon Carter, VPSC
1 September 2020
Reviewed by Andrew Thackrah, JSE
10 September 2020
Reviewed by Allison Harding, JSE
15 September 2020