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Imperial Employment

Imperial College Employment

Based in the heart of London, our diverse workforce supports our international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. We aim to inspire our staff within a dynamic and stimulating working environment.


RA Recruitment

Guidance on Research Assistant / Associate recruitment for Physics Staff

The Physics Department is committed to ensuring that the most able RAs are given an opportunity to be hired. The following guidelines set out the College legal position and the guidelines to ensure that our hiring policy is transparent and also embraces best practice including equality and diversity:

1. Legal issues require all positions to be advertised.

It is a legal requirement that any position is advertised and applications are dealt with through HR. Typically the group administrator will be able to help with this formal part of the process. The total number of applicants should be noted, the names of the shortlisting and interview panel should be recorded. There are various policies and legal issues of which staff should be aware. You can find all HR guidance notes on our Human Resources webpages.

2. Job Descriptions must conform to the position that is created.

In order to attract and recruit the most suitable candidate, it is important to ensure the Job Description clearly sets out the required criteria related to the position you want to fill. All Job Descriptions in Physics should also contain the following text:

We are committed to providing a positive supportive environment. The Department of Physics is an Athena Silver SWAN Award winner and an Institute of Physics Juno Champion. The College offers a range of benefits including professional development, family friendly policies, and encourages participation from the College’s diversity networks,

Optional text that we would encourage you to include:

The Department is led by the Head of Department Professor Jordan Nash and is one of the largest and most prestigious Physics departments in the UK. It has an outstanding reputation for excellence in research, undergraduate education and postgraduate training. We have a vibrant and internationally leading research programme that provides a broad-based coverage of fundamental and applied physics, that strongly supports interdisciplinary collaborations and that actively fosters the development of new fields.
You are strongly encouraged to invite applications from women and other under-represented groups. HR will provide the correct wording that is required under legislation. 

3. Interviews are required when there are multiple candidates that meet the selection criteria.

In the event that more than one candidate meets the formal person specification, to the extent that it is possible to discern from the paper application, it will be necessary to conduct interviews. At a minimum the interview must be performed by 2 members of staff, at least one of whom has been trained in effective recruitment and selection. Questions need to be identified in advance of the interview that will allow the candidate to demonstrate whether they have the appropriate set of skills described in the job advert. It is the Physics department’s policy to try and ensure that if there are female applicants then at least one member of the interview panel is a woman. The department can also call upon trained staff from the diversity networks, to assist on recruitment and present and reflect greater diversity on panels.

Fellowship Applicants

Departmental guidelines regarding nomination of fellowship applicants

Many of the fellowship schemes impose a fixed quota or the department chooses to adopt a similar cap on total applicants and a selection process is required to limit the total number of submissions. It is desirable that all HoGs adopt the same selection procedure and adhere to agreed guidelines.

  • The process must address explicitly a defined set of selection criteria which may be different for different schemes. The criteria should be made available to all candidates and the selection panel. Usually criteria are based on the quality of publications, demonstration of research independence, and fit of the proposed research area to the agreed research strategy of the Group. Indeed a similar set of criteria is now used to select JRF candidates going forward from the Department.
  • The process of selection of candidates should involve an initial consultation of as many members of permanent staff within the Group as possible. The HoG may choose to delegate the selection process to a sub-set of that Group. The process should be made as consultative and transparent as possible, subject to the requirement that the confidentiality of individual applications is respected. In this respect the selection process should be similar to that followed in the selection of candidates for permanent academic posts. . It must be stressed to candidates that success with an application for a fellowship does not lead to a promise of a permanent academic post as it is departmental policy that all academic posts are filled through open competition. Having followed this process of consultation and discussion the final selection of candidates rests with the HoG.
  • Academically excellent candidates should be actively sought and encouraged to submit an outline application and CV to the Head of Group. Bearing in mind the College Policy on Equal opportunities, Groups are encouraged to seek applications from able individuals who would enhance the diversity of the Department's staff complement.
  • HoGs submit ranked lists of candidates, together with a brief explanation of their rankings, to the HoD. At a meeting between the HoD and the relevant HoGs a final selection of candidates is made whose applications will be supported by the Department. For some fellowships there may be insufficient time hold a final selection meeting, but in all cases the final decision is taken by the HoD following consultation with the relevant HoGs.

The Physics Department is committed to making all processes of hiring and promotion as transparent as possible, and to collecting accurate data to monitor these processes. Applicants will be sent the College monitoring form and the information will be kept centrally by the departmental administrator.