The purpose of a selection process is to choose the applicant who will perform successfully in the advertised position and do so better than all other applicants. The selection panel can use a range of instruments or selection tools designed to predict successful performance on the job. The selection panel should be able to demonstrate the rationale for the selection tools used to identify and assess the required competencies. The selection process can be illustrated as follows:

Selection process

1 selection panel established 2 applications received 3 short listing 4 all shortlisted applicant (including all those with priority or redeployment status) interview and referee comments sought 5 selection panel recommendation based solely on the relative merits of the applications 6 selection decision
Selection process

Selection process

  • selection panel established
  • applications received
  • shortlisting
  • all shortlisted applicants (including all those with priority or redeployment status) interviewed and referee comments sought
  • selection panel recommendation based solely on the relative merits of the applicants
  • selection decision
Download Selection process

All vacancies must be filled in accordance with the department’s selection procedures set out in this Guide and comply with the relevant Ministerial Orders. Selection to advertised positions is determined solely on the basis of merit assessed in relation to the selection criteria of the position to be filled.

Employees with priority or redeployment status must be interviewed for any position for which they are an applicant and considered on merit against all applicants.

The following principles should be applied in the selection process:

  • selection criteria are relevant to the work to be performed, free from bias, documented and made available to all applicants and consistent with any core elements for the relevant classification set out in Part 9 of Ministerial Order 1388
  • the applicant’s skills, knowledge and abilities, relevant to the work to be performed, are fairly assessed
  • selection methods are relevant to the work to be performed
  • decisions and processes provide procedural fairness
  • decisions are documented and capable of review
  • appropriate confidentiality is maintained
  • all applicants receive fair and equitable treatment without regard to age, breastfeeding, carer status, disability, employment activity, gender identity, industrial activity, lawful sexual activity, marital status, parental status, physical features, political belief or activity, pregnancy, race (including colour, nationality, ethnicity and ethnic origin), religious belief or activity, sex, sexual orientation, an expunged homosexual conviction or personal association (whether as a relative or otherwise) with a person who is identified by reference to any of the above attributes.

When assessing applicants, selection panel members must ensure that they do not directly or indirectly discriminate. Panel members should be aware of individual bias, assumptions and stereotyping which may impede the selection of the best applicant for the position. Panel members should be aware of the diverse pathways of experience and approaches which candidates may bring to the interview and to the workplace, including people of diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and people with a disability. This diversity should be viewed as an attribute and should in no way diminish the assessment of the applicant’s suitability for the position. Panel members may choose to complete the department’s Inclusive Recruitment e-learn module available on LearnED on eduPay prior to shortlisting applicants.

The department has a positive duty under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 to provide reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate discrimination and a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for people with a disability. Further information is available from the department’s Disability and Reasonable Adjustment — Employees page.

Panel members should also be aware that it is unlawful to discriminate against an applicant on the ground of an attribute or ask a discriminatory question, in contravention of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010.

For assistance or advice on inclusive recruitment processes contact

Panel members should focus on abilities, skills, knowledge, potential and qualifications required for the position and not seniority, length of experience or familiarity with the position. This is important as to focus too much on length and continuity of experience may impact negatively on people who take career breaks for many different reasons and on those who have not had an opportunity to ‘act’ in the position.

Principals and panel members are to avoid any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest in the selection process including the selection decision. A conflict may arise where it could be reasonably perceived that a principal or panel member is influenced by the private interest of facilitating employment (for example, the employment of a family member or associate). Where there could be a perception of possible favouritism and bias, to mitigate the risk the principal and, or panel member should remove themselves from the selection process and, or selection decision. A principal or panel member who considers they may have a conflict of interest must declare their conflict of interest and any steps taken to manage the conflict. Further information is available from Conflict of Interest.

Position description

A position description should be prepared for any vacant position which should include the classification, range where applicable, and tenure of the position, any particular qualification requirements, the role and responsibilities of the position and the selection criteria. For information, refer to Roles and Responsibilities — Teaching Service. All position descriptions are to include the following statement:

'Victorian government schools are child safe environments. Our schools actively promote the safety and wellbeing of all students, and all school staff are committed to protecting students from abuse or harm in the school environment, in accordance with their legal obligations including child safe standards. The school’s Child Safety Code of Conduct is available on the school’s website'.

To demonstrate the department’s commitment to workplace inclusion, a position description can include inclusive language and consider equal opportunities. For assistance or advice on inclusive position descriptions contact:

To assist applicants, it is recommended that principals provide information specific to the school such as the School Strategic Plan and the school’s special characteristics, features and programs. All applicants must receive the same information in relation to a particular position. Additional material may be provided at the request of the applicant.

Selection criteria

Selection criteria should specify the relevant skills, personal qualities and abilities required for the efficient performance of a particular position. Selection criteria must be clear, objective and relevant and must not contravene the requirements of any ministerial instructions, regulations or relevant legislation such as the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 and the Public Administration Act 2004. In developing selection criteria:

  • criteria must be consistent with the work requirements and classification and, where applicable, range of the position
  • criteria should be set at a level which enables the selection of applicants of the highest quality
  • for assistant principals, leading teachers, learning specialists and classroom teachers criteria must be consistent with the key areas from the relevant Ministerial Order
  • for education support class employees, the criteria must be consistent with the role description of the position and the Dimensions of Work for the relevant salary range
  • criteria should be listed in order of importance
  • criteria that require previous work experience must not be so narrowly specified that only someone who has actually performed that particular job can satisfy the criteria.


All applications received by the closing date are to be considered by the selection panel. Applications should be lodged electronically through Recruitment Online by the advertised closing date. Applicants who are unable to access or use Recruitment Online may submit a written application (hard copy) which must reach the school no later than the advertised closing date. It is recommended that employees with priority or redeployment status, clearly indicate they hold this status in their application.

Late applications may be accepted during the selection process at the discretion of the principal or, where authorised by the principal, the Chair of the selection panel. Factors that may be considered include the reasons as to why the application is late and the number of applications already received. A late application cannot be accepted after applicants have been advised of the selection decision.

Where a late application is accepted, the principal must keep a record of the reasons for acceptance. When an application is received after the closing date and rejected, the applicant is to be advised in writing that, as the application was received after the closing date, it will not be considered.

Acknowledgement of the receipt of applications will be sent automatically to applicants who apply through Recruitment Online. Where applicants provide hard copy applications only, the principal is responsible for ensuring that a letter acknowledging receipt of the application is sent promptly. The application and accompanying materials become the property of the selection panel and are not returnable to candidates.

Selection panels

The principal is responsible for the selection decision at each school and must ensure that, as part of the selection process, a selection panel of at least 3 persons is established for each advertised vacancy. Where possible the panel should include an employee from the same employment class as the position being advertised.

Principals should ensure that members of the selection panel comprise people who between them possess the following qualities:

  • detailed knowledge of the position requirements
  • an understanding of the position and its relationship with other organisational functions within the school
  • selection skills and an understanding of the selection process

In determining the composition of selection panels, principals must ensure that:

  • at least 1 member of the panel is a person trained by the Merit Protection Boards in the principles of merit and equity
  • provision is made for gender representation.

Selection panels represent the community that we serve. This means considering diverse staff in a selection panel. Showcasing a schools workforce diversity on a selection panel can improve the school’s reputation as an employer of choice and lead to attracting more diverse candidates for future roles.

The purpose of the selection panel is to recommend to the principal the best applicant on the basis of the evidence available. The role of the selection panel is to objectively assess each applicant’s skills, knowledge and capacity against the selection criteria. The selection panel may use other appropriate selection tools determined by the panel provided that they are applied consistently to all applicants.

Students may not be used in the selection processes except in exceptional circumstances. Should a school wish to use a student in a selection process please contact School Human Resources Division at for advice.

Selection panel members should:

  • ensure familiarity with any relevant Ministerial Order
  • observe procedures required to be followed by the panel
  • complete the required selection documentation

Short listing

Short listing may be used to identify those applicants who, on the basis of the information available, best meet the selection criteria and show evidence that their qualifications and experience are competitive with other suitable applicants.

Employees with priority or redeployment status must be short listed for interview.

Any experience and available evidence relevant to the selection criteria should be taken into account by the panel. Account may also be taken of an applicant’s potential to acquire new skills. Specific job knowledge necessary to carry out the duties of a position can be less important where this knowledge can be acquired in a reasonable time.

Only nominated referees may be contacted at the short listing stage of the selection process.

A panel may decide that an applicant does not meet one or more of the selection criteria and not shortlist that person.

A record should be made of the qualifications (where relevant) and the reasons, in relation to the selection criteria, for not short listing applicants for interview.


The selection panel should develop a set of questions based on the selection criteria and assess, at interview, each short listed applicant’s ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours that best matches the competencies necessary to perform the role. The panel may develop a consistent and fair scoring mechanism to focus attention on the selection criteria and differentiate between applicants’ responses.

The interview complements the written application and detailed referee checks. The interview assists the panel in the assessment of the relative merits of each short listed applicant. The performance of an applicant in an interview should be integrated with information provided by the application, referee reports and any other assessment tools used in the selection process.

Short listed applicants should be given adequate notice of interview time and location. Nothing precludes an employee agreeing to be interviewed through an alternative medium (such as video conference). If such arrangements are not possible, the panel should judge the applicant on the best available information.

Information may be given to the candidate to ensure they understand the interview process and can seek reasonable adjustments if needed. When an interview is offered, it is advisable that a candidate be asked if they require any reasonable adjustments to participate and, if so, accommodate these where possible.

An employee is entitled to reasonable release with full pay to attend an interview for an advertised position in a government school. The principal of the school that has the vacancy and the employee will take all reasonable steps to ensure the timing of any release occurs at a time that avoids or minimises the need to provide a replacement employee during the period of release. Selection panels should, wherever possible, schedule interviews at times that take into account the short listed applicant’s commitments.

To ensure that all applicants are fairly considered, interviews should have a similar structure with each applicant being given the opportunity to respond to similar areas of questioning. Questions are to relate specifically to the selection criteria in the context of the role to be performed and should not be ambiguous or unnecessarily complicated. Before closing the interview, the selection panel is advised to provide an opportunity for the applicant to seek or give any relevant additional information that may not have been covered.

Referee reports

Referee reports are a critical part of the assessment of the relative merits of short listed applicants who are in high contention for the position. Such reports allow for a rigorous checking of claims made by those applicants and the gathering of evidence on work performance.

Referees are nominated by the applicants to clarify, verify and add information to what is learned in the interview and from other parts of the selection process. The main purpose of using referees is to elicit information from past employers, employees about the applicant’s ability to perform the essential functions of the role and to verify an applicant’s claims.

Referees should be invited to comment on the applicant in relation to all of the selection criteria. The selection panel or a nominated member of the selection panel may seek referee reports either verbally (by telephone or teleconferencing) in person or in written form. The selection panel should accurately record both written and verbal referee comments. Where referee comments are provided verbally, the comments should be noted and read back to the referee to confirm the comments.

Panel member referees

Where an applicant nominates a panel member as a referee, any referee comments made by that panel member should be documented in the same way as other referee comments.

Non-nominated referees

The use of non-nominated referees may assist the process by confirming particular perspectives or providing more balanced information. Selection panels who do contact non-nominated referees to assist in assessing an applicant's ability, capacity and suitability for a position can do so provided that the applicant is advised of these extended inquiries prior to a selection panel taking any action to contact a person(s) not nominated as a referee. In such instances, the applicant is to be informed at or after interview of the name of any person whom the panel intends to contact and provided with an opportunity to comment. The applicant is advised that in such situations information may be disclosed to non-nominated referees relating to the applicant’s application.

Panel member knowledge of applicant

Members of the selection panel may know or have knowledge of one or more of the applicants. Rather than only disclosing this knowledge as fact in a statement to the panel, members can contribute their perspective in order that the panel develops a richer understanding of a particular applicant’s knowledge, skills and behaviours. Prior knowledge statements should be treated on the same basis as referee reports.

Referee reports must remain confidential.

Assessing and ranking short listed applicants

The selection panel must assess all short listed applicants against the selection criteria on the basis of their written application, interview, reports provided by referees and any other selection tool used by the panel. It is important that the selection panel does not make its assessment solely on the basis of interview performance. At the completion of the assessment, the selection panel must rank all suitable applicants in order of merit.

Selection panel documentation

Selection documentation must include the following items.

Position description

The position description will include the classification, range where applicable, and tenure of the position, any particular qualification requirements, the role and responsibilities of the position and the selection criteria that were used as part of the selection process.

Selection panel report

On completion of the selection panel’s assessment and ranking of applicants, the panel must prepare a selection panel report to the principal. The selection panel report should include:

  • details of the position to be filled
  • details of the selection panel
  • name and gender of applicants not short listed and reasons for not short listing
  • name and gender of applicants short listed for interview and reasons why any shortlisted applicant could not be interviewed
  • a comparative assessment of each short listed applicant
  • the individual selection report for each short listed applicant that includes the names of persons contacted for referee comment
  • the name(s) of the preferred applicant(s) ranked in order of merit
  • the signatures of panel members and the date

Short listed applicants may request a copy of their individual selection report from the principal once the selection decision has been announced.

Retention of selection documentation

All selection documentation, including copies of applications, interview notes, referee comments and selection reports, must be retained by the school for 10 years after confirmation of the selection decision. This material remains the confidential property of the school and may be destroyed 10 years after the confirmation date. Unsuccessful applications that were not shortlisted can be destroyed 6 months after the recruitment process is finalised.

A selection documentation checklist is available and is to be attached to each selection file.

Selection decision

Under the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, the power to employ, transfer or promote has been delegated to principals. Principals have a professional responsibility for ensuring that all parts of the selection process have been undertaken correctly. In considering the recommendation of the selection panel, principals should ensure that the applicant who best demonstrates that they meet the selection criteria and is capable of performing the duties of the position is selected.

Applicants seeking part-time employment are encouraged to apply for any teaching service position and, if they are the successful candidate, request a reduced time fraction. Such requests will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis and will be subject to the operational requirements of the school.

Where the principal’s decision does not concur with the panel’s recommendation, reasons for this decision must be recorded.

Suitability for child connected work

Ministerial Order 1359 requires that schools ensure that people working with children are suitable for child connected work. To satisfy this requirement, once the selection decision is made, the suitability for child connected work check must be undertaken. This must occur before any employment, transfer or promotion action is taken.

The principal (or nominee) is required to contact preferred applicant’s current or immediate past employer (which cannot be the school making the offer of employment) as part of the pre-approval process and ask the following questions:

  • have you directly observed [applicant's name] work with children?
  • during the period that [applicant's name] worked in your organisation, did you have any concerns about [applicant's name] behaviour or conduct when working with a child or children? If yes, what steps were taken to deal with these concerns? Were these concerns satisfactorily resolved?
  • do you have any concerns about [applicant's name] working directly with children?
  • has any disciplinary action been taken against the applicant in relation to inappropriate or unprofessional conduct towards a child?
  • were there instances where you had concerns that [applicant's name] did not always behave with integrity in their employment, such as not dealing with others in an ethical manner, not declaring or managing a conflict of interest appropriately or not dealing with sensitive or confidential information in an appropriate way? If yes, what steps were taken to deal with these concerns? Were these concerns satisfactorily resolved?

Where these suitability for child-connected work questions elicit information about past or present concerns that were either resolved satisfactorily or that would not necessarily amount to an employment limitation or termination, it is important to afford natural justice to the applicant when making a final selection decision.

The information provided may not be sufficient to determine the person is not suitable to work with children but may be important information to record for the purpose of ongoing monitoring, coaching, support and supervision of the applicant if they are appointed to the role.

Where the person does/did not work with children in their current or immediate past employment, the principal or delegate must make reasonable efforts to determine if there are any past employers that could reasonably attest to the person’s suitability for child connected work. If no such employer exists or if the person has never worked with children, this should be noted on the recruitment records.

Where the panel assesses the applicant as not suitable to work with children as a result of these questions, no employment offer should be made. Where the questions were asked after the employment offer was made (but noting the applicant must not have started until the child safety questions and other pre-employment checks have taken place), and the responses raise child safety concerns, schools must contact the Employee Conduct Branch for advice on:

Notification to applicants

At the completion of the selection process the successful and unsuccessful applicants are to be advised of the outcome of their application.

All applicants for a position may seek feedback on their application and, or interview performance from the principal or principal’s nominee on the selection panel. Detailed feedback on the application and, or interview performance should not be provided until the conclusion of the review process.

However, short listed applicants may request a copy of their individual selection report following the notification of the outcome of their application.

Second or subsequent employment to an advertised vacancy

A second or subsequent employment offer may be made from the field of applicants for an advertised school vacancy (other than principal vacancies) where:

  • the principal is reasonably satisfied that further advertisement would not attract a different field of applicants;
  • the offer is made within 6 months from the date the position was advertised;
  • the term of employment is equal to or shorter than the term of the original vacancy;
  • the positions are at an equal or lower classification, time fraction and duration, and have similar duties;
  • the applicant being considered for appointment was an applicant for the original advertised position; and
  • (where applicable) subsequent employment offers for graduate teacher vacancies are within the school’s graduate teacher quota for that year.

Where it is intended to make a second or subsequent appointment, Schools Recruitment Unit should be contacted at for advice regarding processing that subsequent employment.

Chapter on position descriptions, selection criteria, applications, selection panels, shortlisting, interviews, referee reports, ranking, documentation, decisions and notification

Reviewed 08 January 2024

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