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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Recruitment and Selection

We follow the company's prescribed recruitment process but offers to the successful candidates are not being accepted. Why?

You should consider whether your recruitment process is being conducted effectively and if it's providing the right image of the organisation. You should also investigate the length of time it's taking from the commencement of the recruitment process to the job offer – particularly the period between conducting the interviews and making the offer. If it's a lengthy period then the candidates may be accepting other job offers in the interim. Finally, ask the candidates why they have turned down the job offer – this could provide you with useful information to improve your organisation's recruitment processes.

A significant number of new recruits are not staying with the company beyond the probationary period. Why?

Does what was promised to the new recruit match what was delivered? It is important that the organisation does not over promise on job terms, responsibilities, benefits, etc.

It is also worthwhile considering whether the organisation has provided appropriate induction and support for the new recruit during the probationary period – maybe a 'buddy' system might help, maybe the induction process needs to be reviewed, or perhaps an informal follow-up meeting can be held with the new recruits on a weekly basis to see how they are settling in.

Those that do not stay with the organisation beyond the probationary period should be interviewed to determine the reasons for the departure.

How can we ensure that new recruits are quickly and properly settled with the company so they can commence productive work?

A thorough induction process should be provided to ensure the new recruit has all the necessary information and support they need to do their job. It is useful to spread the induction program over a period of time to provide the recruit with ongoing support. In addition, it can also be beneficial to have a social event to welcome the recruit and the time should be taken to ensure that the recruit is developing good working relationships with others in their area. A 'buddy' system may also help the recruit settle in more quickly.

We have had too few candidates apply for the position. Why might this be the case?

Firstly, make sure the advertisement for the position has been placed in the relevant and most appropriate place to attract the highest number of suitable candidates.

Consider whether the advertisement for the position is effective and is likely to interest potential candidates. Also ensure that the salary range provided in the advertisement is appropriate for current market rates.

Consider using multiple sources such as a recruitment agency, print advertising, internal advertising, social media etc.

All the shortlisted, interviewed candidates meet the selection criteria. What do we do now?

Revisit the selection criteria for the position – do they need to be refined? Reconsider the essential and desirable criteria for the purposes of shortlisting candidates.

Review the selection techniques used. Are these techniques appropriate? Are there other, more targeted techniques that could be used?

If you are not already using a recruitment agency, consider using a specialist agency that can assist in determining the most appropriate candidates for the role.

If you are using a recruitment agency ask them to detail their selection process for shortlisting and to refine the criteria where necessary.

Do you have any information on what should and shouldn't be asked during a job interview?

Certain questions in a job interview may disadvantage some people and could amount to discrimination.

For example, it may be against the law to ask job applicants whether they have ever made a workers’ compensation claim, how much sick leave they have taken or other questions about health conditions that do not relate to their ability to do the job.

If a position is demanding, a question that asks whether the person can complete the inherent requirements of the job – such as interstate travel or long hours, is in preference to asking personal questions.

You may need to ask a candidate with a disability for information about their disability to determine whether they will be able to perform the inherent requirements of the job, to assess any health and safety risks or to identify any adjustments to the workplace that may be required.

We are looking at revising our on-boarding process. We use on-boarding, induction and site orientation. In terms of current practice and trends in Australia & NZ, are we right?

In short, yes, you would be correct in using all three terms if they are relevant to your organisation. In regards to current trends, it's difficult to say as it depends on the organisation. Dependant on the type/nature of the organisation the terms used will differ, hence, there is no real consistency across all organisations. Many companies wouldn't require site orientation as all employees would only be required to work out of the head office. While for other organisations where employees work at both head office and at site level, its vital the new starter has both head office and site orientation as activities are performed differently, there could be safety issues, etc. Furthermore, many organisations may use the words 'on-boarding' & 'induction' interchangeably as they would merge the two functions.

However, if your process is clear and you can differentiate between the two, then there wouldn't be an issue is using them in separate ways. ie, On-boarding would be the time between when they accepted the offer to when they commence employment and induction would be the program designed to provide the new starter with the information they require to complete their role and further understand the company. 

Are companies obliged to provide references for past employees?

Organisations are under no obligation to provide a reference, they are able to refuse to provide a reference. Recent trends would suggest that organisations and managers have moved away from written references (sometimes due to company policy) and will only provide an over there phone reference. Irrespective of whether the reference is verbal or written, an employer is under no obligation to provide one.

Please refer to our information sheet: Conducting an effective interview.

Please also review our information sheet: Equal Employment Opportunity.

During the recruitment process is the feedback provision, to the external as well as internal unsuccessful applicants, necessary? If so, could you provide me with a legislation supporting this?

There is no legislative requirement to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates in the recruitment and selection process. However, applicants may be able to gain access to any opinion or information recorded in a material form regarding their non-selection via the Australian Privacy Principles by virtue of the fact this information would be considered to be personal information which is able to be accessed by the individual. Therefore, any feedback given to the applicant may be compared with any file notes you may have on the applicant on request by that person.

In saying this however, it is often considered appropriate to provide honest feedback to a candidate as long as there is no discrimination or otherwise unethical information being passed on. For example, if their job application did not address the selection criteria appropriately or their resume did not provide enough information, then this is a perfectly acceptable reason for declining their application. Likewise, if they did not provide the information required in an interview situation and another interviewee did, then it is appropriate for you to say that another candidate was selected based on their responses to your questions. As long as any information or feedback you are providing does not cross any legal or ethical lines and is done tactfully, diplomatically and with the intent of potentially helping the candidate improve their job prospects then honest feedback is appropriate.

How long do we need to retain recruitment & selection records for unsuccessful candidates who were not employed?

There is no obligation to keep notes from an interview with an unsuccessful candidate. These are not considered to be employee records for the purposes of the record keeping obligations under the FW Act.

If your organisation is covered by the Privacy Act (you have an annual turnover of greater than $3 million or you are otherwise expressly covered by the Act), you will have an obligation to take reasonable steps to destroy or de-identify the personal information contained in these notes if they are no longer needed for any purpose.