It is a good idea to offer shortlisted candidates the opportunity to look around the department and the university campus, meet departmental staff and to ask questions informally. This opportunity will give the candidates more information on which to base a decision should they be offered the post. Although these arrangements tend to be rather informal it is important they are managed properly as they constitute part of the recruitment process.
Before a post is advertised decide whether a visit/tour of the department/University is to be included in the recruitment process and the purpose of such a visit. Informal contact and conversations all form part of the candidate's experience.
Heads of Departments should ensure that all staff involved are clear about the purpose of the visit and fully briefed about their individual roles during the time that candidates are in the department. Informal contact and conversations all form part of the candidate's experience. The member of staff conducting the visit/tour should not attempt to 'interview' the candidate informally e.g. gathering information on personal circumstances, such as childcare responsibilities, would be inappropriate.
Whatever the purpose of the visit/tour is, care should be taken to ensure that all candidates are treated consistently and that they are all afforded the same opportunity to clarify or give additional information about themselves. The Departmental contact should, therefore, ensure, for example, that the same information about the department is given to all candidates; they are all shown the same facilities and allocated the same length of time. Wherever possible the same member of staff should be responsible for conducting the visits/tours. Internal candidates should be offered the same opportunity as external candidates.
Adjustments may be needed for disabled candidates.
If candidates are to be invited for a visit/tour of the department/University the details of this must be provided on the Candidates for Interview form, including the purpose of the visit and what is required of candidates. This will be included in their invitation to interview letters.
It is important to remember in arranging and managing these visits that they may influence a candidate's decision.