Recruitment without advertising

In most cases vacancies must be advertised, at a minimum, on the University’s own Jobs website to ensure that a fair and transparent process is followed and, importantly, that staff who are at risk of redundancy around the University have the opportunity to apply.

However, in some circumstances departments may recruit without advertising. This is referred to as ‘direct appointment’.

Whenever a direct appointment is to be made:

  • Care must be taken to ensure that there is no other member of staff in the department concerned who could consider themselves to be a suitable candidate. Where this may be the case it is advisable to advertise the post internally, enabling all candidates to be fairly considered.
  • The usual procedures must be followed before confirming the offer of appointment, including Right to Work checks, grading of the post, interview, seeking references, Occupational Health Service clearance (if appropriate), completion of an equal opportunities monitoring form, etc. For further detail see the guidance on pre-employment checks
  • The guidance on setting up direct appointments in the University's HR systems must be followed.
  • Under the Skilled Worker visa rules it can be possible to sponsor a chosen candidate without advertising if the reasons for making the ‘direct appointment’ are justified, in circumstances such as those listed below, but this should be discussed with the Staff Immigration Team website.


The particular circumstances in which posts may be filled without advertising are listed below.  

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Where a suitably qualified member of staff is available who is coming to the end of a fixed-term contract, otherwise at risk of redundancy, or is seeking redeployment on grounds of disability it is appropriate to appoint them to ‘suitable alternative employment’ without advertising.  Further information is available in the guidance on Redundancy.

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Departments may wish to meet operational needs through internal reorganisation. This may involve reassessing the optimum structure of the posts in a particular area, and/or relate to the desirability of developing, rewarding, and retaining valuable and talented staff. Where there has been an internal reorganisation of duties and responsibilities, and an existing member of staff is clearly the most appropriate person to undertake a redefined set of duties (having the necessary skills, experience and personal qualities to undertake fully all requirements of the role), there is no requirement to advertise the new role - indeed it would not make sense to do so since the appointment of an external candidate would make the existing member of staff redundant. There is also no requirement to advertise a role if there is a recognised career development path within a department and the department wishes to assign that role to an existing member of staff who has developed over recent times, has the appropriate experience, and is the best internal person to fulfil the specific requirements of the role.

When following these routes, it will obviously be desirable that all staff feel that the process of selecting those who will benefit from reorganisation or career development is fair. The risks of internal dissatisfaction need to be understood, and balanced against:

  • the steps that managers will have taken to keep the talents and aspirations of their staff under review
  • the advantages of restructuring and career progression in terms of rewarding, developing and retaining valued individuals
  • moving towards more effective working structures

The department’s HR Business Partner in University HR will advise, bearing in mind the pitfalls and benefits (but will not second-guess informed local management judgements).

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Where a post is set up as a result of an application for an outside grant to support a named individual, it will not be necessary to advertise the post.  However, all the standard approval processes will still apply including:

  • the need for a staff request
  • grading of posts following the normal procedures
  • application of the University's normal pre-employment checks at an appropriate level for the post
  • any other necessary approvals such for employment of relatives, if the individual is related to an existing member of University staff, or Conflict of Interest, etc.

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It is recognised that departments will wish to be able to respond (often for key strategic reasons) to unique and serendipitous opportunities to appoint individuals external to the University, for example where a high profile researcher 'comes onto the market' and whose services can be secured by rapid action. Given that the new post would not exist or be set up without the availability of a particular person, departments may make an appointment without advertisement provided that the post is graded in the usual way and, in the case of appointments at RSIV or ALC6, the Senior Appointments Panel has approved the grading, the salary, and appointment without advertisement.

In such cases, approval to dispense with advertising should be sought from University HR (by contacting the relevant HR Business Partner), who will if necessary seek advice from the Chair of the Personnel Committee (research and University support staff posts), the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (People), or the Registrar (administrative posts), as appropriate, for example in the case of posts that are particularly sensitive from a security perspective.

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PeopleXD guidance

For guidance on managing the PeopleXD systems changes please visit: