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Merit-Based Selection Practices


Merit-Based Selection Practices & Procedures Terry Lisson Director Promotion Appeals & Grievance Reviews NT Public Sector Merit Selection Pursuant to PSEMA selection ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Merit-Based Selection Practices

Merit-Based SelectionPractices Procedures
  • Terry Lisson
  • Director Promotion Appeals Grievance Reviews

NT Public SectorMerit Selection
  • Pursuant to PSEMA selection is based on the merit

What is Merit?
  • Defined in PSEMA as The capacity of the
    person to perform particular duties, having
    regard to the persons
  • knowledge
  • skills
  • qualifications and experience
  • potential for future development

Across-Government Selection Process Workshop
  • A workshop was recently held with a number of
    senior HR representatives with the goal of
    developing an across government approach to
    selection, that concentrates more on substance
    and less on procedure.

Practice and Procedures
  • The intention is to move away from selection
    processes that are unnecessarily rigid, and
    emphasise that it can be a very flexible process,
    with the only requirement being that it must be
    clear that merit is the reason for the selection.

Merit Selection Guide
  • Employment Instruction No.1 Part 10
  • All employees involved in the selection process
    should refer to agency selection procedures and
    to the Merit Selection Guide.
  • The Guide provides the principles and guidelines
    for the filling of vacancies in the NTPS.

Merit Selection Guide
  • Is flexible, non-prescriptive, does not require
    specific processes to be followed
  • Does not set out any hard and fast rules for
    assessing merit or running selection processes

Need for Structure
  • Although the Merit Selection Guide is flexible,
    it is apparent that many people want a concrete
    procedure that is more than just use your
    common sense, or you can be as flexible as you
    want, as long as you apply the merit principle.

Changes to Selection Processes
  • Nothing proposed in regard to changing practices
    conflicts with the Merit Selection Guide, the
    Employment Instructions, or the guidelines for
    selection found on the OCPE website.

Selection Report Templates
  • Most selection templates say something like The
    panel determined that the best method of
    assessment would be to draw on information
    obtained from written application, interview and
  • This is probably the main contributor to the
    mistaken belief that merit- based assessment must
    be based on on application, interview, referee.

The Pillars of Recruitment
  • The pillars of recruitment are not application,
    interview and referees.
  • They are
  • knowledge
  • skills
  • qualifications and experience
  • potential for future development

Proposed new Selection Template
  • Applicants were assessed on their capacity to
    perform the particular duties of the position
    having regard to their knowledge, skills,
    qualifications and experience and potential for
    future development in the Public Service.

So how will selections be made?
  • Some will wonder how to conduct merit-based
    selections if there is more flexibility in
  • They must remember that it is all about hiring
    the person with the best capacity to perform in
    the position (Not the best capacity to perform in
    the selection process!)

  • Your application is the first crucial step in
    showing that you possess superior merit to the
    other applicants, and its function is to bring
    you to the selection advisory panel's attention.
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  • If the function of an application is to attract
    the attention of the selection panel, then why
    make applicants whose merit is already well known
    through their work performance, supply lengthy
    written applications?

Unnecessarily Requiring Detailed Applications
  • Recent appeals to PAB resulted from situations in
    which applicants with many years experience
    working in the agency were still required to
    submit lengthy applications which were then used
    to shortlist.

Unnecessarily Requiring Detailed Applications
  • When asked why the panel didnt just ask for
    expressions of interest and then go on to select
    using theirs and referees long-term knowledge as
    to the applicants capabilities, the response was
    that they didnt know they could that, and
    thought it wouldnt be allowed.

  • Merit-based selection is not an
    application-writing contest. (PAB decision)
  • Remember applications are intended only to assist
    in identifying which applicants warrant further

DBE Forms
  • DBE Applicant Information Form currently says
    applications should contain claims addressing
    the selection criteria along with brief working
    history and examples of experience and knowledge
    for each criterion.
  • Nothing in the form says application has to be
    written in any particular form, or that the
    examples cannot be simply I have been performing
    in a position that has all the same essential
    criterion for x years.

DBE Selection Forms
  • As a flow-on from the HR Selection Workshop DBE
    forms will be changed to better reflect that
    applications can be in any form and are
    intended only to provide evidence to assist
    panels in deciding that an applicants warrants
    further consideration

  • The Merit Selection Guide states clearly that an
    interview is only one method of assessment that
    may form part of the selection process

Dont interview when you dont have to
  • Remember An interview is just a tool to gather
    more information if you need it!

Interview Questions
  • Interviews should be used to discuss issues
    specific to particular applicants, not to ask a
    series of identical questions to then rate the
    applicants on the quality of their answers.

Interview Questions
  • Careful thought should be given to exactly why a
    question is being asked, and whether or not you
    really need to know the answer from the applicant
    themselves or could instead obtain the
    information from appropriate referees.

Why interview people whose merit for a particular
job is already well-known?
  • The practice of conducting interviews of
    long-standing employees often makes little sense
    and produces results where a person ends up
    losing the job on the day. (Or perhaps winning
    the job at interview.)

DBE Forms
  • Will be changed to no longer automatically
    contemplate being selected for interview, but
    rather being selected for further consideration.
    (Current form says things like Prior to
    interviews being conducted, please inform DBE
    Recruitment of applicants who have not been
    selected for interview, when what is meant is
    who have not been selected for further

Examples of Changes - DET
  • DET has now introduced selection guidelines that
    specifically state that interviews should only be
    conducted to obtain information which cannot be
    otherwise obtained and verified through referees,
    and that both the reason for the decision to
    interview, and the focus of questions asked of a
    particular applicant, must be stated.

How will people react?
  • Concern has been expressed by some that varying
    assessment methods for applicants, including not
    interviewing some has real potential to create
    discontent amongst applicants who may believe
    they have been treated unfairly or that a panel
    is biased.
  • These concerns can be easily dealt with by
    providing honest feedback

How will people react?
  • The concerns about non-interview of some
    applicants will evaporate once people begin to
    believe that it will not be interview performance
    that wins them a job, but rather their actual
    merit as demonstrated though their work history.

Performance Based Assessment
  • The best source for assessment of applicants
    should be their known and demonstrated work
  • Any employee should be able to rely on the fact
    that their day-to-day performance on the job will
    count towards their achieving promotion

The Importance of Referees
  • If the main source for assessing the merit of
    applicants is to be their demonstrated work
    performance, then referee reports become very
    important in the selection process
  • The best way to assess work performance is
    through the knowledge of supervisors and managers

Message from the Commissioner
  • If an employee has been promoted to a position
    where they are supervising and managing staff
    then it becomes part of their job to give fair,
    complete, honest and accurate information about
    work performance, as part of any NTPS selection
    process involving their staff.

Future Direction - PDPs
  • As the NTPS puts in place Performance Development
    Plans those regular written reports will become a
    source perhaps the best one of information to
    inform selection processes.
  • This does not mean the PDPs will be used
    against people it simply means that the best
    available information about an employees
    demonstrated work history is being used to assess

Who are Referees?
  • Referees are not just someone nominated by an
    applicant to say good things about them
  • Referees must be the persons best-placed to give
    current, relevant feedback on an applicants
    merit e.g.present supervisors and managers,
    clients, perhaps colleagues of the applicant, or
    staff the applicant has managed

Speaking to Referees
  • If you want information about both general and
    specific job performance, and capacity to perform
    in the job in question then ask!

Things you can ask Referees
  • How would you summarise the applicants
    performance in general?
  • What degree of supervision do they require?
  • Have there been poor performance issues and what
    was the outcome?
  • What are the applicants strengths and weakness
    in relation to this job?
  • Would you hire this person if you had a similar
    job in your workplace?

Referees as a Source
  • In order to protect against an unreliable
    referee it is usually best practice to canvass
    several available sources, particularly in
    situations where there may be personal conflict
    between the referee and the applicant, or where
    little is known about the applicants
    demonstrated work performance

Using Referee Reports to compare Applicants
  • Referee reports limited to an individual
    applicants merit are often not particularly
    helpful in distinguishing between suitable

Using Referee Reports to compare Applicants (con)
  • If a referee is in a position which supervises a
    number of applicants for a position, then it is
    not only permissible, but sensible, to ask them
    for comparative information about the capacity of
    each of the applicants to perform in the

Selection Reports
  • Current process for writing up individual
    selection reports is cumbersome, time-consuming,
    not useful or meaningful to applicants, and a
    major contributing factor to the unacceptable
    delays in finalising selection processes.

Selection Reports
  • Many times a Promotion Appeal is made simply
    because the appellant is not given an adequate
    explanation of why the promotee is of superior
  • The best Individual Selection report should be
    one that answers all the questions the
    unsuccessful applicant might have

New approach to Selection Reports
  • One of the easiest things for the HR Workshop
    group to agree to was scrapping the current
    practice of the practice of writing up Individual
    Selection Reports by way of a paragraph against
    each criterion, with no comparative information
    about the successful applicant

New approach to Selection Reports
  • Reports will be done in a Narrative style,
    setting out the reasons why the successful
    applicant was found to have more merit, in terms
    of knowledge, skills, qualifications and
    experience, and potential for future development,
    and incorporating referee comments in the body of
    the report.

What is Coming?
  • A good practice Information Sheet setting out
    some specific information about what is permitted
    in selection processes
  • A generic Selection Template emphasising merit
    rather than set process designed for use,
    perhaps with minor adaptations, by all agencies
  • Sample narrative style selection and individual

What is Coming (con.)
  • Examples of questions that can (and should) be
    asked of referees
  • Specific information, for both selection panels
    and potential referees, about the issues
    surrounding referee reports
  • Training and education on selection processes

What is Coming (con)
  • A letter from the CPE to CEOs explaining that
    these new, good practice procedures have been
    developed in collaboration with Agencies and,
    while entirely optional, are supported and
    encouraged by OCPE

(No Transcript)
  • Please feel free to contact
  • Terry Lisson
  • 8999 4128
  • Promotion Appeals
  • Grievance Review