3. Selection and interview

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To make an objective and gender-neutral selection of the most appropriate candidate for a post, it is important to focus on merits and skills.

You can find information in Swedish on how to carry out gender-neutral recruitment, Hundra möjligheter att rekrytera utan att diskriminera.

Handling application documents

There are several different ways to sort and select applications in our recruitment system. For example, you can mark by status, make colour markers or assign points. The user guide for the system provides more information in this area. 

Interviews

The purpose of interviews is to evaluate the candidates’ abilities compared with the competencies named in the advertisement. Interviews are most effective if they are standardised and structured. This means that the questions are fixed in advance and the interviewer puts the same questions to all the candidates. All the candidates are then treated equally and we avoid any discrimination.

In common with many other authorities, as well as private companies, we recommend a method based on skills. By selecting interview questions carefully you can estimate the behaviour and actions of a person in different working situations.

The number of interviews required and their length is difficult to say, since this varies with the post in question and other factors, such as how many qualified applications are received. One recommendation is to have a first round of short interviews and then arrange a longer interview for fewer candidates. 

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Proposal for an interview structure
Question guide based on competency requirements included in the advertisement.

Supplementary exercises at the time of the interview 

Knowledge test

A test of knowledge can be used to establish the candidate’s learned knowledge of data, language or specialist areas, for example. There are three methods of doing this: a written test of knowledge, knowledge-related questions in the interview and simulation exercises. A test of knowledge is easy to administrate and can be used in large groups. It is a good method of screening applicants and reducing the number invited to an interview.

Simulation exercises and work samples

Work samples are examples of work that the candidate has carried out on previous occasions. Simulation exercises are designed to mimic realistic work-related situations under standardised forms. It is possible to evaluate knowledge and skills areas that are important for the post through such exercises. For example, you can ask the applicant to write an abstract for a relevant article that you have selected. It is important that the tasks and instructions are standardised to ensure equivalent conditions for all the candidates.

Skills and talents test

The purpose of the skills and talents test is to assess the candidates’ underlying intellectual aptitude and skills. The information you obtain from this test may be useful to see if the person has the ability to process complex problems or learn new things.

Expert opinion for the recruitment of researchers and research assistants

When recruiting researchers and research assistants, always seek an expert opinion from at least one person. This is done when the application deadline has passed and any supplementary information has been submitted. The person giving the opinion must meet the following requirements:

  • Expert in the subject.
  • At least a lecturer or the equivalent.
  • No connections with KI - must be external.
  • If appointing two experts, they may not be working at the same academic institution.
  • Both sexes must be represented in the selection. If there are specific reasons for this not being so, the head of department or the recruitment group must provide an explanation and document this in the file.
  • Not be biased in respect of any of the applicants.

The head of department decides on the appointment of an expert.

If there is only one applicant and it is clear that a test of skills is not necessary, an exemption can be made from this requirement.

Obtaining references

Obtaining references is a compulsory part of the recruitment process and is to be seen as an important complement to other information. The purpose is to confirm the information that the applicant has stated in the application. It is also a way of following up the competence requirements set out in the advertisement.

You can request references for one or more final candidates. Keep in mind that you must do this before you give an oral or written promise of employment. The referees should preferably be two previous superior managers, or supervisors.

References for people who have previously worked at KI

If a candidate has previously worked at KI, you should ask for references if they come from another section or department. It is important to ask for the most current and relevant references if the candidate does not give these. 

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Examples of questions to ask when obtaining references

Documentation

Be thorough in documenting the selection process in a structured manner, such as by using an assessment matrix.

Information that KI obtains during the recruitment process should be noted and saved in so far as it has been a determining factor in the employment process. For example, there may be two candidates with equivalent qualifications and information about their personal qualities and skills are noted during the interview which determine the selection. Another example is where a reference is to a candidate’s disadvantage. 

It is important to make a habit of carrying out structured recruitment processes with thorough documentation. Personal suitability is often judged on what comes up in the employment interview, which is why this must be well documented.

The recruitment process

1. Preparations prior to recruitment
2. Publication and advertising
3. Selection and interview
4. Decision and reception

Recruitment