What to do when you know applicants

You are a member of a selection panel and you know one or more of the applicants. They may be existing staff or you may know them from some other context. What do you do to make sure you make an effective, professional contribution to the panel?

Here are nine points to consider.

  1. Advise the panel chair of a potential conflict of interest.
  2. If you are a referee, write your reference before applications close.
  3. Do not prejudice other panel members by providing comments, either positive or negative (but particularly negative), about the person, at any stage before all the evidence is provided.
  4. Do not short-list a person just because they are an internal applicant.
  5. Do not confuse performance management with the selection process.
  6. Do not have a favoured result fixed in your mind and steer the process to achieve that result.
  7. Do not use one person as a benchmark, such as the person acting in the job, as a point of comparison.
  8. Do not inflate one negative experience to be more than what it is. Keep a balanced view about what a person does.
  9. Do not assume you know a person’s work as well as they do.
Dr Ann Villiers, career coach, writer and author, is Australia’s only Mental Nutritionist specialising in mind and language practices that help people build flexible thinking, confident speaking and quality connections with people.