Recruitment without advertising

Page last updated March 2024

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:

  • The department must ensure that there are no priority candidates (staff who are at risk of redundancy,  or coming to the end of a fixed term contract) within the department for whom the role might be a suitable redeployment opportunity, taking special care where the priority candidate is pregnant, on a period of family leave or has recently returned from family leave (within 18 months of the birth/placement for adoption of their child).
  • The usual procedures must be followed before confirming the offer of appointment, including Right to Work checks, grading of the post, interview, receipt of satisfactory references (especially where the candidate is internal to the University, a reference must be obtained from the most recently employing department), 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.
  • If the individual requires a visa to work in the UK the advice of the Staff Immigration Team should be sought as early as possible.


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 Pro-Vice-Chancellor (People), or the Registrar (for administrative posts), as appropriate, for example in the case of posts that are particularly sensitive from a security perspective.

It is also recognised that in order to retain a member of staff who is subject to the EJRA to work beyond the EJRA where their case would not meet the criteria for an EJRA extension, there maybe cases where departments wish to make a direct appointment to, eg,  a grade 9 or 10 post . In these circumstances the relevant HR Business Partner should be consulted, and approval will normally be granted provided that:

i) the duties of the proposed new post are commensurate with the proposed grade; and

ii) funding is available (eg from outside grants) to cover the costs of the proposed new post without proving detrimental to the department’s ability to refill the academic post.

If one or both of these conditions is not fulfilled, or in any other case of doubt, the HR Business Partner will seek advice from the Pro Vice-Chancellor (People).


i) Any local recruitment protocol procedures must be complied with.

ii) If it is proposed to offer Professorial Merit Pay as well as the relevant scale point on grade 9 or 10, a case must be made to the Senior Appointments Panel.

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PeopleXD guidance

For guidance on managing the PeopleXD systems changes please visit: