Recruitment & Selection Guide

Getting Started

The recruitment and selection process is initiated once a vacant post is identified.
The PI or nominee should review the NUI Galway Researcher Competency Framework, and must then submit the following forms to HR for approval:

1. A completed Post Proposal Form‌ which must firstly be approved by the office of Research Accounts.
2. A completed Advertising Request Form (ARF). Click Advertising Request Form
3. A copy of the proposed advertisement using the Advertisement template, this includes guidelines on setting out the job description and duties of the post and the essential and desirable criteria for the successful candidate. Click Template Research Advert

Recruitment Advertising
All recruitment advertising is coordinated on behalf of the University by HR and posts will normally be advertised within two weeks of receipt of all completed documentation including the grant approval from Research Accounts.

Standard closing dates for advertisements are as follows:
Good practice is to advertise posts for a two month period from publication date. However there are some exceptions in the case of position requiring immediate cover where a shorter lead time is necessary for the effective continuance of research.  Posts are advertised for a minimum of two weeks in these instances.

Advertising media
NUIG currently utilises a “signpost” style advertisement for external websites and publications. This style of advertisement contains basic information and directs the candidate to the NUIG website for full details of the post .

Posts are automatically advertised on the NUI Galway website, Euraxess, Naturejobs, HEAnet and University Vacancies.

In addition there are a number of other forms of advertising available (see the Advertising Request Form for more details) for externally funded research posts the cost of advertisement will be covered from the funding agency/ grant fund.


Selection Process

The primary method of selection in NUIG is by means of a Selection Committee. A Selection Committee is established in respect of each post and is required to assess the merit of each applicant and to recommend for appointment the applicant with the greatest merit in relation to the criteria as specified for the post.

For the majority of NUIG’s vacancies, emailed applications, shortlisting and interviews will form the basis of the Selection Process. These may be supplemented with a presentation to the Selection Committee as required.

Selection Committee
The process for nominating and appointing the Selection Committee should be transparent and made public. The Selection Committee should be independent, members should not have any conflict of interest and the decisions must be objective and evidence based rather than based on personal preference. 

• The Selection Committee should have a minimum of three members
• With Gender Balance, not less than one third gender on the Committee

• 3 interviewers = 1 female, 1 male, 1 other
• 4 interviewers = 2 female, 2 male
• 5 interviewers = 2 female, 2 male, 1 other
• 6 interviewers = 3 female, 3 male.

• Inclusion of external (meaning outside of the institution/hiring unit) expert(s) in all committees
• Inclusion of (or contribution from) international experts
• Inclusion of experts from different sectors (public, private, academic and non-academic) where appropriate and feasible

Any derogation from certain positions, types of contract or indeed for specific disciplines should be clearly set out. The deliberations of the Selection Committee should at all times remain confidential.

Conflict Of Interest

• To avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest NUIG staff involved in recruitment and selection should avoid interviewing and/or making hiring decisions on immediate family. If these circumstances arise then it is expected that the Selection Committee member will resign from the Committee and the Chairperson will identify a replacement.
• Selection Committee members may also have a friendship or other form of relationship, positive or negative, with one or more of the applicants for a position. In these circumstances, they should inform the Chairperson and other Selection Committee members prior to commencement of the short listing and interview processes.
• If the member of the Selection Committee feels that the relationship may make it difficult for her/him to apply the merit principle, or feels that her/his participation may compromise application of the merit principle, then the Selection Committee should decide whether it is appropriate for the Selection Committee member to be part of the selection process.
• The Selection Committee may seek advice on this matter from HR. If the Selection Committee member continues in the selection process, then her/his opinion should be canvassed last in any discussion to avoid any perception of them influencing the outcome.

Changes to Selection Committee membership

It is recommended that the same selection committee is involved in all steps, although it is recognised that this may not always be feasible and that, for example, one committee may do the initial screening and another may conduct the interviews. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that the process itself is transparent and made known to the applicants,



Shortlisting Process & Procedure


The individual Research Centre or PI will receive the applications directly, either via post or e-mail. The Shortlisting Form can also be used to record applications as they are received. Click here for Shortlisting Form

Ideally all members of the Selection Committee should attend a shortlisting meeting arranged by the PI (or nominee). Each member of the Selection Committee must read each application and rate applicants according to the essential and desirable selection criteria only, those satisfying the criteria must be shortlisted and for those not shortlisted a brief note must be included.

• Shortlist all applicants who possess the essential and desirable criteria stated in the advertisement.
• Note briefly the reasons for not short listing each unsuccessful applicant.

When shortlisting, members should not:

• Make negative assumptions or decisions on the basis of perceived over-qualification.
• Make negative assumptions or decisions about overseas qualifications with which they are unfamiliar.
• Recommend for interview any applicant, whether internal or external, who does not meet the essential criteria.
• Predetermine the number of applicants to be interviewed.

If it is not possible for the Selection Committee to meet, the PI (or nominee) is responsible for contacting all members about their individual shortlists, drawing up a final shortlist acceptable to all Selection Committee members.

The Selection Committee will:

• Agree on and record a final shortlist if unanimous based on the required and desirable criteria as set out in the advertisement
• Include in the shortlist all applicants about whom there is dispute if unanimity cannot be achieved.
• Consider re-advertising the position if no applicants meet all the essential criteria.
• Shortlist further, where a substantial number of applicants possess all the essential criteria, to either remove those applicants who do not possess the desirable criteria, and/or rank those candidates who best meet the essential criteria.
N.B. Agree on the suitable range of questions, presentation title if required, suitable date and location for the interviews.

Shortlisting Documentation


• The Chairperson must complete the  Shortlisting Form in order to verify and record the Committee’s decisions. Click here for Shortlisting Form. This report will facilitate any subsequent feedback requests from candidates and should provide clear and comprehensive reasoning as to why candidates were excluded. Individual scoring comments are only necessary should an applicant fail to demonstrate a clear correlation between their skills, knowledge and abilities and the pre-defined selection criteria for the position.
• Once the Committee has agreed a shortlist the PI (or nominee) should contact shortlisted candidates and arrange the interviews for the position using the Invite to interview template, containing details of the interview venue, time of interview, expense claim information (if applicable) and any other information. Click here for .
invite-interview letter template• Those candidates not shortlisted must receive a regret template letter from the PI (or nominee) within one week of the shortlisting meeting. Click here for  template.
Regrets not shortlistedNOTE: Changes cannot be made to the official NUIG template letters or Forms

Interview Scheduling

The Principal Investigator (PI) or nominee is responsible for identifying and booking a suitable location for the interviews to take place and scheduling all interviews.

• The PI will contact short-listed candidates and invite them to attend for interview in accordance with previously proposed interview dates.
• It is essential that candidates receive sufficient notice of an approaching interview so as to allow them ample time to prepare for interview. In many cases candidates will often have the added requirement of co-ordinating travel arrangements. It is recommended that candidates receive notice of at least 10 working days prior to the interview.
• Should the candidate not be able to attend on the allotted date, the Committee will decide whether or not an alternative interview date can be facilitated.




A wide range of evaluation criteria should be used and balanced, according to the position being advertised. Depending on the specific profile of the post, this may include (in alphabetical and not hierarchical order):

• acquisition of funding;
• generation of societal impact;
• international portfolio (including mobility);
• knowledge transfer and exchange;
• management of research and innovation;
• organizational skills/experience;
• outreach/public awareness activities;
• research performance;
• supervision and mentoring;
• teaching and teamwork

NOTE: Interview training skills are available on request.  All interviewers must have completed the Unconscious bias training.

Video Conferencing

• Many of NUIG’s vacancies attract international applicants. For some of these candidates an interview via video conference can prove to be a suitable alternative to international travel.
• Candidates may be interviewed for positions by using either video conferencing or via Skype. It is essential that the links are tested prior to the scheduled interview time. The PI must ensure that the location being used for interviews is suitable and is quiet and bright so that the candidate may hear and see the interview Committee properly. All members of the interview Committee must be present.

Interview Preparation

At the shortlisting stage, the Selection Committee (under the direction of the PI) should draft an Interview Plan with specific areas of questioning identified for each Committee Member based on the competencies guidelines.

The Selection Committee should:

• Agree a set of core questions which will form the basis of the interview and will be asked of all applicants. Supplementary or clarifying questions can be used in addition to the agreed core questions
• Base their questions on selection criteria as specified in the Advertisement and criteria.
• Focus on the skills, experience and knowledge required for the job
• Agree in advance rating and scoring system to be used, to ensure consistency and transparency.

The PI (or nominee) must ensure that the questions asked are relevant to the position and based on the agreed criteria. The PI (or nominee) must also ensure that questions could not be construed as discriminatory under any of the nine areas covered by the Employment Equality Act, 1998 (Gender, Sexual orientation, Disability, Civil status, Religion, Race, Family status, Age or Membership of the Travelling Community).

Interview Documentation (All interview documentation is subject to FOI- Please see here)

Each Committee member must be furnished with the following documentation (usually via email from the PI (Or nominee) for printing):

• Interview schedule
• Job advertisement /Job description
• Copies of all candidates applications
• Guidelines for non-discriminatory interview - Click Guideline for Non Discriminatory Interview

Documentation for completing while conducting the interviews

• ‌ Each member of the Selection Committee must complete an individual Interview Assessment Form for each candidate during each interview. Click Interview Assessment Form - Research Posts V2

The PI (or nominee) must also complete:

• ‌ An Interview report Form outlining the agreed committee score and comments on how the decision was made. The report must be signed by all members of the Selection Committee. Click Interview Report - Research Posts v2

Required documentation from the Interview process to be collated by the PI (or Nominee) of the Selection Committee and submitted to the Human Resources Office in advance of the post being offered to the successful candidate.

Conducting the Interview

Prior to the first interview (ideally one week in advance) the Chairperson should:
• Allow time to discuss, and decide the order in which the questions will be asked and allocate specific areas of questioning to each member;
• Advise Selection Committee members of the procedures for documenting the assessment of each candidate and final decision.

At the start of each interview, the Chairperson should:
• Introduce each applicant to the Selection Committee
• Explain the purpose and structure of the interview to the applicant
• Indicate to the Applicant that Selection Committee members may take notes.

Determining the recommended candidate

• Merit should be judged qualitatively as well as quantitatively, focusing on result with a diversified career path, taking into account career breaks, lifelong professional development and the added value of non-research experience while also accessing competencies
• The best person for the job will not necessarily be the person who performed best in the interview.
• If the Selection Committee cannot reach agreement on the nominated candidate, the final decision rests with the Chairperson.
• If the Selection Committee determines that no candidate is deemed to fulfil the criteria for appointment, no appointment will be made and the post will need to be re-advertised.

Documentation to be returned to the HR department to appoint successful candidate

Score sheets should comment on the relative merit of recommended applicant(s) on the basis of the selection criteria only. Clear and detailed documentation will assist if post-interview feedback is requested and/or if an appeal is lodged.

On completion of the interview process, the following documentation must be completed and signed by all members of the Selection Committee and returned by the PI to HR Manager – Research, along with any other relevant documentation including notes taken during interviews.
1. Completed and signed Shortlisting Form
2. Completed and signed Interview Assessment Form - Research Posts V2
3. Completed and signed Interview Report - Research Posts v2
4. CV and contact details of successful candidate
5. Other notes taken during interviews – ideally should be recorded in the above forms.
6. Confirmation of proposed salary and start date
7. References – of the successful candidate are required by HR. This can be sought using the Reference request letter.

Note: All Shortlist and interview documentation:

• Must be retained by the PI/Unit for a minimum of 12 months, including all CVs and notes
• Must be completed in line with FOI legislation and feedback requests by candidates.

(see for further details). All duplicated documentation (including copies of applications) must be safely disposed of.



Appointment & Background Check


Gárda Vetting

Gárda Vetting: Gárda vetting is required for all posts in line with the university Child Care Protection Policy (where the person is in contact with a child (under 18) and / or vulnerable adults).


All new recruits must provide original certification to HR. No other form of verification will be accepted and if received will cause a delay in the recruitment process until the correct documentation is received. The cost of requesting an original certification will not be covered by NUIG.

No appointment will be made unless the NUIG HR is satisfied that a candidate's academic qualifications are bona fide and Gárda Vetting (if required) has been obtained.

Hiring Post doctorates who have not yet been awarded their PhD

In order to carry the Postdoctoral title individuals will be required to have submitted their thesis and provide evidence of having successfully completed their viva examination. Where a PI wishes to recruit someone who has submitted their thesis but is still awaiting examination, they will be offered a post as a Research Associate until the achievement of the required criteria. On receiving qualification showing PhD, title will be changed on our HR system.


Post Interview

Appointment Offer

Selection Committee members are not to commit the University to an appointment or to a specified salary. Candidates may be told only that salary will be within the advertised range, although notation may be made on the report of any comment an applicant wishes to make in regard to salary. The salary offer with contract and offer letter will be made to the candidate by HR, including work authorisation (if applicable), pre-employment health assessment forms, Gárda Vetting (if required) and any other required paperwork.

With agreement from HR the PI or nominee may contact the successful candidate to gather information about start date and to request permission to follow up on references.
ONLY HR can make the formal offer of Employment

Advising Unsuccesful Candidates

The PI (or nominee) will advise unsuccessful applicants within 3 weeks of receipt of the Selection Committee's Report using the Regrets After Interview template.

Selection Committee Members should not contact the unsuccessful applicants after the interview process.

Reserve Candidates

Where the Selection Committee recommends a reserve candidate, that person, should the recommended candidate decline acceptance of the post, would automatically be offered the position. Reserve candidates should be notified once the successful candidate has confirmed their acceptance using the Regret reserve letter template regret-reserve letter template.

Post-Shortlisting or Interview feedback

A personal file will be kept of the new employee in HR. Information and Records on each recruitment campaign must be returned to HR. These records are essential to support the likelihood that candidate(s) will often request feedback at either the post Shortlisting or Interview stages of recruitment.

• List of applicants
• Copies of application/Curriculum Vitae’s received for the post
• Completed shortlisting form
• Interview Assessment Forms
• Interview Summary Report

Formal feedback must be provided in either instance when requested, and in the majority of cases, this feedback will be provided by the PI; unless a suitable alternative is nominated on the basis of their specialist knowledge.
The purpose of feedback is to provide factual and accurate information on the selection and decision making process, however, feedback on areas where a candidate(s) may improve on interview skills and interview preparation might also be discussed; of course, it is important to confirm if this level of supplementary feedback is desirable before offering constructive advice.

Feedback can be given verbally or in writing. The conversation or email/letter must be confined to feedback which centres on a candidate(s) performance against clearly advertised selection criteria. In addition to the feedback above, a candidate may also be given a copy of his or her shortlisting / interview scoring form. 

Advice and assistance on preparing and delivering candidate feedback is available from HR.

Hosting Agreements

In compliance with the recruitment of researchers the EU issued COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 2005/71/EC of 12 October 2005 on a specific procedure for admitting third-country nationals for the purposes of scientific research and Employments Permit Act 2003. NUI Galway is an accredited research organisation and as such can form hosting agreements with third country nationals (non-EEA nationals) for the purpose of conducting research within the University.

The hosting agreement replaces the need for researchers and the University applying for annual work permits as the agreement is valid for the duration of the employment contract. The hosting agreement has the same benefits as the Green Card, for example, immediate family re-unification and application for residency after two years. All Hosting Agreements are processed through HR as per policy.

Contact Us

Ann Kyne
Business Partner, Research
Tel: 091 493662
 Research Recuitment Queries should be sent to