Appointment processes for guidance officers: what’s new?

The QTU has secured a number of enhancements to the new recruitment and selection model for both permanent and temporary (acting) guidance officers.

The Union received significant feedback about workload issues for panellists and about consistency in panel and moderation processes when the new system was rolled out in September/October 2011.  It has since met with the department to review and improve upon last year’s processes ahead of this year’s round.

Timelines

Foreshortened timelines and consequent workload issues will be addressed by bringing the process forward.  Positions will be advertised on the Smart Jobs website by the end of July to ensure finalisation of the recruitment and selection exercise by the September vacation.

Standing panels

Standing panels will be considered as a mechanism to minimise workloads for panellists.  However, funding for release of panellists is ultimately a budget consideration, so standing panels cannot be guaranteed.

Training

Enhanced training will emphasise that all panellists (not just panel chairs) should read all applications in order to particpate fully in the shortlisting process.

State-wide panels

State-wide panels will be established which, along with enhanced training, will help ensure comparability across panels in relation to shortlisting and moderation issues.

Allocation of successful candidates to permanent positions

Appointments are made from the successful cohort on the basis of skills and “best fit” for the position, as with other classified appointments.  In the last round, preferences largely dictated decisions for appointments to remote areas.

Candidates who accept a position but then receive a better offer can rescind their acceptance of the first offer and take up the second, but should act quickly.

Inability to apply for specific locations

Applicants must apply to a region, because guidance officers are allocated to regions, not schools. Given that circuits and placements for guidance officers are subject to annual review, it is not possible to advertise permanent locations. However,  applicants can express a preference for sub-regions, which should help them decide where they are willing to go.

Gazetting of positions

The new process requires all appointments, both permanent and relieve above level (RAL), to be gazetted.  This is particularly important for RAL (acting) guidance officers, because if appointed to a temporary position within 12 months of the initial recruitment process, they can be extended on a 12-monthly basis for an indefinite period, providing that the ongoing temporary appointments are within the region for which they originally applied.

However, if RAL guidance officers wish to be considered for a permanent position, they will have to re-apply every 12 months.  Similarly, those who met the threshold of merit for an RAL position but did not secure a gazetted temporary position within 12 months of the initial recruitment process  will have to go through a subsequent process to be considered for further RAL positions.

Feedback and rankings

Applicants can seek generalised feedback from the relevant panel chair about where they performed well and the areas in need of improvement. The department does not provide candidates with their ratings or rank order.  As in the recruitment processes for all promotional positions, candidates are only told whether they have met the threshold of merit for appointment.

Outcomes from the first recruitment and selection round

There were more than 300 applications for 20 permanent positions and an unknown number of ongoing RAL positions, and it would appear that about 80 per cent of RAL guidance officers have picked up an ongoing temporary appointment.  The next round is likely to see a significant number of applicants, given that those seeking a permanent position and those not currently holding a temporary appointment will need to apply in the mid-year cycle.

Recruitment and selection v relocation

The department has advised that permanent guidance officers seeking relocation should also apply in the merit process to maxmise their chances, as the Vacancy Review Panel process scheduled for term 3 will run concurrently with the recruitment and selection process.

Louise Comino
Industrial Services Officer

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 117 No 3, 20 April 2012, p24