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The primary impact of legislation relevant to recruitment and selection practices is to avoid bias or discrimination and thus ensure appointments are based on merit. This page provides you with a summary of the key information to be aware of during your recruitment process.

Policies & legislation

Policies that all panel members should be aware of include:

Download the Recruitment Legislation Framework Factsheet for a summary of the legislation

Advertising job vacancies

When to advertise

University policy requires vacancies for permanent positions or for fixed term positions of more than one year's duration to be advertised. Fixed term vacancies of one year or less are not required to be advertised, though Departments may choose to do so.

In exceptional cases, Departments may seek approval from Human Resources not to advertise a fixed-term position that exceeds one year's duration. This request, setting out the reasons why not to advertise, can be sought prior to or at the same time as the specific appointment documentation is raised.

Where to advertise

The University is required to advertise a vacancy in a way that ensures an appropriate pool of suitably qualified candidates are aware of the vacancy. This will vary for different roles, for example, to attract a reasonable pool of candidates for an administrative role in Dunedin, the University website may be sufficient, but for a specialist role more extensive advertising may be required.

The University Charter states that:

“The calibre and dedication of the University's staff, both academic and general, are central to its success. To achieve a staff profile consistent with its mission and needs, the University:

8.1 Recruitment

  • recruits academic staff and senior general staff internationally as well as nationally;
  • requires a record of active research, publication and teaching expertise before academic staff are confirmed in their positions;
  • expects academic staff holding confirmed appointments to have a research-based postgraduate qualification and to be active in research and teaching;
  • provides for te reo me ngā tikanga Māori within employment processes.”

Wording in advertisements

The University is required to take care in the writing of advertisements relating to vacancies. It is unlawful to advertise any position in a manner which indicates discrimination, or the intention to discriminate, on any of the grounds listed in the Human Rights Act (see the factsheet for more information).

Selection process


The University is required to appoint the applicant best suited to the position. Appointment on merit is defined to mean appointing the person who is best suited to the position in terms of the qualifications, experience and personal qualities required for the position as outlined in the job description/information statement.

Any request for personal information in an interview should be strictly relevant to the role. Do not ask for information that you don't need to know. Specifically avoid asking questions relating to any of the grounds listed in the Human Rights Act (see factsheet), for example, family situation and children.

Clear Information Sharing

Communicating clearly and acting in good faith during the recruitment process to honestly outline the expectations of the role and working environment will help avoid potential problems or disappointments later on.

Conflict of Interest

To ensure a fair selection process, any conflicts of interest should be declared and managed appropriately. Please refer to the University's Conflict of Interest Policy.

View the University Conflict of Interest Policy

Candidate Privacy

Respect for the privacy and confidentiality of candidates should be maintained throughout the recruitment process. Please ensure that all candidate files are stored securely. If they are stored on a computer, this should be a secure file location accessible only by those involved in the recruitment process. Candidates will indicate their preferred contact number in their application - care should be taken with leaving messages for candidates on any shared or work phones. You may need to schedule interviews in such a way that applicants do not learn about each other's identity.


Under legislation, an employer's ability to seek information about applicants without their approval is very limited. It is advisable to specifically obtain the candidate's consent, preferably in writing, prior to requesting information from referees or other sources. References provided should be stored securely and kept confidential to those involved in the selection decision.

Comments and Documentation

Please be aware that applicants may raise dissatisfaction with the recruitment process, either directly with the University or with the Human Rights Commission (depending on the nature of their concerns). Keeping good comments means having appropriate records available if the applicant challenges any part of the recruitment process. This will enhance the integrity and credibility of the process.

We strongly recommended you keep written records of both the process and decisions. Be aware that any information held in the recruitment system is transparent and discoverable. In other words, we may be required to share all comments and records publically in the event of a challenge to the recruitment process.

Please note: Records of recruitment decisions, including shortlisting and interview notes, should be stored securely for 12 months then confidentially destroyed.


The University of Otago is not licensed to provide immigration advice to candidates or potential candidates. Immigration information for candidates at the link below.

Any person intending to settle in New Zealand must have an appropriate residence visa. The exception to this being Australian citizens or the holder of a current Australian permanent residence visa including an current Australian resident return visa. There are two options for skilled workers to apply for New Zealand residence: the Skilled Migrant category and the Work to Residency category.

As an Accredited Employer under the Work to Residence - Talent Policy, the University of Otago is part of a small group of New Zealand organisations who are able to recruit highly talented and skilled individuals through the fast tracked "Talent Visa" scheme.

Applications are likely to be received from people without permission to work in New Zealand for positions that are not deemed by New Zealand Immigration to be on a Skills Shortage List. You should be aware that there is no guarantee that the candidate will be able to obtain permission to work in New Zealand or to renew a current work visa. New Zealand Immigration may well decline a visa on the basis there is or should be a NZ Citizen/Resident who can take up appointment. HR advice should be sought if you are considering appointing candidates on a work visa to a permanent position.

Appointing the candidate

Once the selection panel have decided who to appoint and discussed this with approvers as appropriate, the hiring manager verbally advises the successful candidate that they are being recommended for appointment. At this stage, the proposed salary and start date should be discussed and Human Resources advised. It is the University policy that offers of employment are made only by the Human Resources Division.

The recommendation is subject to approval as defined in the Remuneration Policy (General Staff) and Authority to Appoint Academic Staff Policy.

View the Remuneration Policy
View the Authority to Appoint Academic Staff Policy


There is no right to appeal against non-appointment on the grounds of the judgement of the University. There is a right to review by University employees against non-appointment on the grounds of a failure in procedure that is so substantial that it may have affected the decision.

An applicant who indicates dissatisfaction with the process should be advised to discuss any concerns with the Chair of the panel. The applicant is also entitled to know that if there are still grounds for concern after discussing the process then the correct course of action is to write to the Director, Human Resources, seeking a review of the process.

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