Access keys

Skip to content Accessibility Home News, events and publications Site map Search Privacy policy Help Contact us Terms of use

Appendix A14.4ii

Interviewing ‘at risk’  employees - Briefing for Panel members and Redundancy and Redeployment Committee nominees

1. Introduction

1.1 This guidance is for you if you are taking part in an interview panel that is considering an applicant who is an existing employee, but who is at risk of redundancy. It applies to all panel members, including the Redundancy and Redeployment Committee’s nominee.

1.2 As an employer, we are obliged to avoid redundancies wherever possible. The reasons are:

  • To avoid redundancies as part of our duty of care as a “good employer”
  • To spend money on science rather than on redundancy compensation
  • To reduce the possibility of litigation

2. Treatment of ‘at risk’ applicants

2.1 Please note that ‘at risk’ applicants are to be given a degree of preferential treatment. The extent of this depends on:

  • How suitable the applicant appears to be for the vacancy in question and
  • The point at which they come to the attention of the recruiters

2.2 For example, if the ‘at risk’ applicant is already seen as a close ‘fit’ for the post before the vacancy is trawled or advertised, they can simply be redeployed into the vacancy without competition. Alternatively, the selection panel may see the ‘at risk’ applicant before any other applicants are considered.

2.3 However, the ‘at risk’ applicant should be considered in competition with other applicants if:

  • They have some, but not all of the necessary knowledge, skills and experience (in which case they should also be considered in terms of the possibility of their gaining the required knowledge or skills within six months of starting in the post) and/or
  • They only come to the attention of the selection panel at or after the shortlisting stage

2.4 Shortlisting

2.5 If an ‘at risk’ applicant is considered borderline at the shortlisting stage, they should always be given the benefit of the doubt and interviewed. If at shortlisting they are considered unsuitable however, (e.g. if they lack one or more of the essential selection criteria set out in the person specification and would not be able to gain them within six months of starting), the selection panel must make it very clear why they have not been short listed. The panel may be required to provide feed-back to the committee.

2.6 ‘At risk’ applicants who are one pay band (and, exceptionally, two) higher than that of the vacancy should still be considered for redeployment.  This is known as ‘overbearing’.

2.7 The interview

2.8 If an ‘at risk’ applicant is unavailable for an arranged interview (e.g. because of unavoidable work or domestic commitments) the selection panel should make arrangements to see the ‘at risk’ applicant separately.

2.9 If, after interview, your panel agrees that the ‘at risk’ applicant is appointable but not the best applicant, your panel Chair is to specify in the panel report why that person is considered to be inferior and why their appointment would be problematical. Please ensure that you and the panel members cross-reference your assessment and comments to the person specification for that vacancy.

2.10 Where an ‘at risk’ applicant is on a par with another applicant, the ‘at risk’ applicant is always given priority for the vacancy.

2.11 Throughout the selection process, panels must consider the possibility of:

  • Retraining and/or
  • A trial period

2.12 Retraining

The Redundancy and Redeployment Committee takes the view that retraining should be given to achieve knowledge, skills or experience which can be gained within 6 months of taking up appointment. Funding is sometimes available for this. 

2.13 Trial periods

Trial periods are usually monitored by the Redundancy and Redeployment Committee; a minimum of 20 working days must be given, but the norm is 6 months. In certain circumstances, an ‘at risk’ employee has a statutory right to a trial period.

3. The role of the committee nominee

3.1 Where an ‘at risk’ employee from another institute is being considered for a vacancy, the committee will normally require a nominee to take part in the interviews, to ensure that the ‘at risk’ employee is given a fair hearing and is not penalised or discriminated against because of their redeployment status.

3.2 If you are the committee nominee, your role includes the following:

  • Sitting with the panel and taking part in pre-interview discussion
  • Be present for every candidate’s interview
  • Ensuring that the ‘at risk’ candidate is treated fairly in terms of questions they are asked and the chance to ask questions or make statements
  • Asking questions of the ‘at risk’ candidate for clarification where necessary
  • Taking part in discussion of the merits of each candidate
  • Ensuring that the ‘at risk’ applicant is not discounted at the assessment stage
  • Ensuring that retraining/trial periods are considered where necessary

3.3 Additionally, you are asked to submit a report to the committee, whatever the final decision of the panel. Your report should cover the following:

  • Details of the vacancy
  • Date and location of the interviews
  • A list of panel members
  • Name(s) of ‘at risk’ candidate(s)
  • How many candidates were interviewed
  • Details of any tests or presentations that were expected of candidates, including scores for candidates ‘at risk’
  • A summary of the performance of ‘at risk’ candidates against the person specification, quoting example questions and responses
  • A summary of the panel’s summing up discussion of the candidates
  • The panel’s recommendation about appointment, with reference to training and/or trial period options for candidates ‘at risk’
  • Your view as to whether or not this represented fair selection, giving reasons if not
  • Good and (if appropriate) not-so-good points about the interviewing process or arrangements you witnessed

3.4 As the committee’s nominee, you can veto an appointment if you believe that the ‘at risk’ employee has not been treated fairly. In such cases, you would report this back to the committee and no further action can be taken to fill the post until the committee has reached a decision. The committee reports directly to the Chief Executive or the Head of RESAS (in the case of MRPs) and can ask either to intervene as appropriate.

4. Further information

You will find more information about redeployment in the Redeployment and Redundancy Agreement appendix A14.1 and the associated annexes. You can also contact the Redundancy and Redeployment Committee secretariat at

Last updated 20/12/12
Amendment: 149 - December 2012