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Recruitment and Selection Policy

Reviewed October 2021

Policy Statement

The Uniting Church SA (“UCSA”) values each individual person and the unique skills, gifts and talents they bring and seeks to be an employer where people feel valued, safe, fulfilled, encouraged and grown.  UCSA has responsibility in the stewardship of its resources and endeavours to attract and retain employees who fit well with the position (position fit) and whose values are consistent with the values and ethos of the Uniting Church (cultural fit). 

This UCSA Recruitment & Selection Policy & Procedure provides a framework in which to discern and make decisions, by means of:

  • Determining the cultural and position fit of applicants for the position available
  • Providing an equal opportunity for making deliberate and considered decisions
  • Enabling transparent and equitable assessments

Uniting Church SA seeks to recruit the best person for each position.

Inherent Requirements

The following criteria is also considered to be inherent to the requirements of the recruitment and selection of the following key leadership lay positions within UCSA:

  1. Executive Officers, and the Associate General Secretary are generally members of the Uniting Church. Other positions who in their Position Description & Person Specification are required to act for the Executive Officers , Personal and Executive Assistants to Executive Officers, Manager Human Resources, Communications Manager, Directors of Leadership - Uniting College of Leadership and Theology, General Manager Resources and the General Manager-Uniting Venues SA , will have a mandatory requirement that they be active members of the Uniting Church or another mainstream Christian denomination as well having an active involvement in the life of a Uniting Church in Australia congregation or other mainstream denomination congregation. Uniting Church SA reserves the right to determine other positions within the organisation that require this mandate in accordance with the inherent requirements of the position and associated industrial relations compliance.

This requirement is to be stated within advertisements and the Position Description & Person Specification.

  1. All of the positions indicated in point 1 above and all lay positions, will have a mandatory requirement that employees will be required, at a minimum, to commit to the values and ethos of the Uniting Church. This will be explained in more depth during the recruitment process and the induction process.

This requirement does not need to be stated in the advertisement, but does need to be included within the Position Description & Person Specification.

Recruitment and Selection Compliance

UCSA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks to apply a consistent approach to the recruitment and selection of employees.   It is important that recruitment and selection decisions are compliant and not based on irrelevant factors such as a person’s gender, race, disability, age, sexuality or any other personal bias.  Such factors in decision making may result in the best person not being selected for the position.

Merit Principle

The merit principle means that selection will be based on the overall skills, knowledge, experience and relevant qualifications of the applicant as determined by the requirements of the Position Description & Person Specification. This principle requires that judgements about the suitability (and chemistry) of people for the workplace must be based on their ability to carry out the duties associated with the position for which they are being considered and not other information or opinions about the person which are irrelevant to the position.

Position Vacancies

When a position vacancy arises, the Executive Officer (or manager) responsible for the position will seek approval from the General Secretary or their delegate in order to commence the recruitment process.  The decisions process will commence in accordance with the Approval to Recruit flow chart and HRRC Mandate. The decisions process will include the requirements for the position, the development of the Position Description & Person Specification, advertising sources, sourcing applicants, appointment of interview panel members, remuneration/salary and the recruitment budget.

Generally all positions that become available within UCSA shall be advertised through various UCSA external (seek.com.au) and internal sources (UCSA Positions Vacant site, UCENews, intranet).  Please note:  The exceptions to this are:

  • all fixed-term positions for a period of less than three (3) months, and
  • casuals located at Uniting Venues SA due to the nature of the seasonal work.

The application processes will help to ensure that all employees are given the opportunity to be considered for transfer or promotion within UCSA. ,

External advertising generally occurs concurrently with internal advertising. External advertisements are overseen by Manager Human Resources and shall be approved by the Executive Officer prior to publishing. The advertisement will state that applications need to address the essential and inherent requirements of the position. The Manager Human Resources will ensure that the advertisement conforms to legislative requirements and UCSA branding protocols.

Applications for Employment

Personal information collected by UCSA from applications shall not be used for any other purpose than recruitment purposes, without the consent of the applicant.

UCSA will demonstrate efficient, ethical and professional behaviour in all recruitment and selection undertakings, whether applicants are successful or not. The selection of applicants is based on objective selection criteria (merit principle) including competency assessment and must be consistent with the Equal Employment Opportunity Policy.

When approving each recruitment and selection process, the HRRC will consider any potential conflict of interest that may arise prior or during the recruitment and selection process. For example, this may include situations where an applicant’s family member or someone known to them has been assigned as a member of the interview and selection panel. It is a responsibility of all interviewers assigned to interview and selection panels to declare any interest, or potential interest, to the HRRC or Manager, Human Resources.  It will be the responsibility of the HRRC, in consultation with the interviewer, to determine if there is a conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest has potential to impact (both negative and positive) applicants and the integrity of the recruitment and selection process. It is important that every applicant has an equal opportunity, free from conflict, discrimination and bias. It is expected that an interviewer that has a pre-existing (non-working) relationship with an applicant/interviewee, for transparency, fairness and integrity purposes, declares this relationship prior to commencement of the interview.  Where possible a replacement interviewer should be sourced, and if a replacement is not possible or practicable, the interviewer may participate in the interview but not in the assessment or decision making process (or otherwise) of the applicant.

Pre-Employment Assessment


Applicants applying for positions within UCSA may be required to provide medical information or undergo a Pre-Employment Health Assessment, if deemed relevant to the requirements of the position.  All information sought and obtained by UCSA will relate exclusively and directly to the requirements of the position. Information provided to UCSA by means of these processes, will remain confidential and will only be used for the purpose intended.

Personal history

Successful applicants applying for positions within UCSA will be required to have an approved current and satisfactory National Criminal History Record check (NCHRC) throughout their employment.

Recruitment and Selection Procedure

Following the approval process of the recruitment of new and replacement positions, the position may be advertised in accordance with the advertisement provisions of this Policy. Recruitment agencies will not be used by UCSA unless approved by the General Secretary and the appropriate Executive Officer. For further details on UCSA’s preferred recruitment agencies, please contact the Manager, Human Resources.

The Executive Officer (or their delegate) responsible for the vacant position, in consultation with Manager, Human Resources, will:

  • ensure the Position Description & Person Specification for the vacant position is developed and accurately outlines the requirements;
  • prepare an advertisement or internal notice detailing the vacant position and outlining the application process including the time frame;
  • via Human Resources, will arrange external advertising, within the allocated budget, and
  • via Human Resources, will liaise with an external recruitment agency where required and approved .


The advertisement, approved by the Manager, Human Resources (or delegate) must be written using clear, concise and non-discriminatory language and must contain:

  • the title of the vacant position;
  • list of responsibilities/key result areas;
  • an outline of the essential criteria;
  • information about what needs to be included with applications (e.g. resume/application forms);
  • contact person;
  • the closing date for receipt of applications, and
  • a request for applicants to address the selection criteria of the role.

Receipt of Applications and Initial Screening Process

Internal Human Resources receipt of applications

Applications are received by Human Resources and the receipt of application is acknowledged in writing to the applicant. The written acknowledgement will include that ‘only the applicants short-listed for an interview will be contacted’.

External recruitment consultant

Human Resources will liaise with the appointed external recruitment consultants in relation to all aspects of the recruitment process. 

Interview Process

It is a critical that the interview panel members are able to discern and make decisions about the applicants’ suitability in terms of their competency, character and chemistry.  The interview process provides the framework in which to do this and consists of a first and (generally a) second interview, reference checking (between the first and second interview) and any relevant pre-employment testing.

An initial interview panel-briefing will be facilitated by Human Resources as part of the preparation prior to interviews being conducted.  This will include reviewing the questions prepared, and a desk top review of the applicants’ applications.  The initial interview should provide a qualitative and quantitative assessment on a merit principle basis of the applicants’ character, competency and chemistry, and call if the position has a missional focus. At the conclusion of each interview each interviewer should provide a brief (written) qualitative and quantitative assessment of the applicant.  Notes from the interview are retained by Human Resources

It is in the best interests of the process that panel members make every effort to reach consensus on decisions relating to applicants. Where consensus is not reached the discussion should be escalated to the Ministry Centre’s Executive Officer (EO) for consideration.  The EO at his/her discretion will take into consideration the differing panel members’ perspectives and assessments which may result in (i) progressing one or more applicants in the process or (ii) recommending a recommencement of the recruitment process.

It is acknowledged that Human Resources personnel are often the most experienced within the organisation in relation to recruitment and selection processes.  The professional expertise and advice from Human Resources personnel should be respected.  It is also recognised that Human Resources personnel work within teams to facilitate good recruitment and selection outcomes.

An interviewer resource is currently under development to ensure that interviewers have the information required outlining their responsibilities. The availability and access to this resource will be communicated and / or distributed as appropriate at its completion.

Interview Venues

First interview venue

Wherever possible, first interviews for positions vacant should be conducted within the principal workplace at which that role will be undertaken, so that interviewees can gain a sense of the work environment. It is critical that this process is conducted in such a way that maintains confidentiality and the privacy of interviewees throughout the recruitment process.

Second interview venue

Second interviews may be conducted at the work site or at an alternative appropriate location.  Human Resources can assist with the organisation of an alternative venue if required.

Interview (Selection) Panels

Wherever possible, recruitment and selection decisions will be made by interview selection panels.  Generally there is a first interview for the short listed preferred applicants.  The interview panel members work collaboratively and determine which applicants will progress to a second interview. A minimum of two (2) members form an interview panel, however three (3) is preferred. 

The interview panels shall include the following:

  • Executive Officer or their delegate (generally 2nd interview only)
  • Manager, Human Resources or their delegate (generally 1st interview only)
  • Technical specialist (note technical specialist can be the Executive Officer or delegate, or Manager Human Resources or their delegate) (generally 1st and 2nd interviews)
  • Direct reporting manager (or supervisor), if not one of the above, or their delegate (generally 1st and 2nd)

The Interview (selection) panel will be responsible for:

  • Using the essential and desirable criteria outlined in the Position Description & Person Specification as a reference for determining the questions to be asked of applicants. The essential criteria are those factors crucial and compulsory to fulfil the position. The desirable criteria are those that will be beneficial to the applicant in fulfilling the position. By concentrating on the essential and desirable criteria of the position, the panel will have a consistent basis for comparison of each applicant. An applicant can only be successful where it can be demonstrated that the applicant is able to fulfil all the essential requirements outlined in the Position Description & Person Specification to a greater level than other applicants. Where more than one applicant fulfils all the essential criteria to a similar level, the successful applicant will be determined by assessing which of these applicants most satisfies the desirable criteria.
  • Creating and documenting an interview plan and interview questions to be asked at the interview. The questions will be restricted to those relevant to the position. The Human Resources department will assist with the preparation of the draft interview questions in consultation with other interview panel members, to ensure that the interview provides consistency, equal opportunity and a safe place.
  • Reviewing the applications received and compiling a short list of applicants who appear to meet the essential criteria for the position, in consultation with Human Resources. Human Resources will arrange suitable interview times with the short listed applicants.
  • Conducting interviews in a way that reflects the values and is consistent with the policies and practices of the Uniting Church SA.

Conducting the First Interview

Applying the responsibilities outlined above, the interview (selection) panel will conduct the first interviews by:

  • providing details about the position and UCSA;
  • investigating and discussing the applicant’s skills and experience as they relate to the position, and
  • answering any questions the applicant may have.

The interview questions must be directly related to the position and must be consistent for each applicant. The interview must include information about the next steps in the selection process to avoid unnecessary concerns to applicants. Applicants are to be updated on the progress of their applications as required.

Permission to contact referees must be obtained from the applicant during the interview and prior to doing so. If pre-employment assessments (health and background) or other technical assessments and selection tests (for example computer skills, writing skills or aptitude tests) are to be used, applicants shall be advised prior to the interview.  Alternate referees may be sought from applicants, but should not be contacted without the applicant’s permission.

Offers or promises of employment shall not be made ‘on the spot’ at interviews.

Selection of Preferred Applicants, Reference Checking and Conducting Second Interviews

Following the first interviews, the interview (selection) panel will decide which of the applicant(s) it wishes to progress in the recruitment process.  The most suitable applicant (s) must have their work history and references checked, and other pre-employment processes conducted at this time. 

Reference Checking and other pre-employment testing:

Human Resources will conduct the reference checking on behalf of the interview panel by means of pre-determined and structured questions and contacting the nominated referees. Only information appropriate to the position will be sought.  In some instances Human Resources may request additional referees from the applicant.  Human Resources will also organise the appropriate pre-employment testing, which may include computer skills, other technical skills, and medical assessments.

Second Interviews 

The interview (selection) panel decide which of the applicant(s) they wish to progress in the recruitment process for second interview, following the positive reference checking processes and other testing results as identified for the preferred applicant(s).  The second interview is intended to provide opportunities for both the panel and the applicant to further explore outstanding matters not resolved at the first interview or matters that have been discovered since the first interview, for example information established through reference checking.  The emphasis of a 2nd interview is also to further determine the applicant’s cultural fit within the organisation.

Offer of Employment

When the preferred applicant has been selected and all tests, interviews and reference checks have been satisfactorily completed, an offer of employment will be made verbally and in writing. The applicant will be required to sign the letter of offer / employment contract as an acceptance of the offer of employment. This must occur before employment commences.

A letter of offer and an employment contract must include the specific terms and conditions of employment. These terms and conditions shall be consistent with those approved by HRRC and General Secretary, and any amendments approved during or following the interview. Employment contract templates can be sourced from the Human Resources department. These contract templates are approved by the HRRC and shall not be modified without HRRC approval.

Informing Unsuccessful (interviewed) Applicants

Unsuccessful applicants will be informed by Human Resources by phone and/or in writing.  However specific feedback will not be provided to the applicants, regarding the reasons why they were unsuccessful.

If a Suitable Applicant is Not Appointed from the Recruitment Process


At times a suitable applicant is not discovered through the recruitment and selection process.  In the event that the interview panel’s decision is that an appointment cannot be made from the recruitment process, the panel is to inform the Executive Officer and HRRC and recommend a strategy which may include re-advertising and reviewing the Position Description/Person Specification to establish if modifications are required in order to attract the calibre of applicants required.


Related Policies and Associated Documents:

Human Resource & Remuneration Committee (HRRC) Mandate

Uniting Church SA Theology of Human Resources (under development)

Approval to recruit flowchart

Code of Conduct

Confidentiality Policy

Equal Opportunity Policy

Induction & Orientation Policy

Work Health & Safety Corporate Policy

Guidelines for Recruitment & Selection for Uniting Church SA congregations

Executive Officer, Resources

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