At the University of Plymouth, we have a system to filter out bogus job applicants who then try to claim for discriminatory selection practices (News, Personnel Today, 30 August).
Our application form is in two parts: one is the ‘personal details’ form, giving full name, address, telephone number and any other relevant personal information. The other is the main application form, which covers all other information, together with the applicant’s initials and postcode for cross-referencing purposes.
Our administrator (who is not involved in shortlisting) separates the two forms, having numerically referenced them, and only forwards the main section to the shortlisting panel. This ensures that the selection process is based entirely on each candidate’s suitability, as the panel has no knowledge of the applicant’s race, sex, creed, marital status, age, address, or even their name.
Once the shortlisting is complete, the panel notifies the administrator (using the numerical reference), who then invites candidates to interview. The panel only gets the personal details form on the day of the interview for reference.
This system is also useful where there is a chance that the panel might know one of the applicants, avoiding the risk of favourable (or unfavourable) bias in the selection process.
University of Plymouth Students Union