Timescales and costs

If you have a vacancy or other resourcing need then you should contact your Faculty or Divisional HR Team in the first instance to discuss how best to take this forward and the support that HR will provide

When planning the recruitment and selection process it is important to establish realistic timescales for the different stages. There is often a temptation or pressure to complete the process in the shortest possible time to that you can have the new person in place. This can be counter-productive if timescales are too tight or unrealistic. If the vacancy is being placed in any external media then the relevant advertising deadlines will be a constraint that you will have to work with. Other issues to think about are availability of your panel members, whether any holiday periods fall within your proposed timescale and whether there are any preferred times for the new recruit to commence employment.

As a general rule of thumb think of the following as a guide to minimum timescales for the different stages, although it is worth building in extra time where you can to cover for slippage. Timescales will often be longer for more senior roles (e.g. Chairs), for which there may be a more complex selection process or the appointed candidates notice period may be longer.

For academic posts where an appointment is required for the start of the next academic year it is recommended that planning is ideally commenced in the summer term. This will enable networking and advertising to take place in the Autumn term (aligned, for instance, with the normal academic recruitment cycle in the US). 

You may need to consider flexibility and changes to the dates or times of interviews to avoid unlawful discrimination, particularly indirect discrimination if you cannot objectively justify what you are doing, or a failure to make reasonable adjustments for a candidate with a disability.


Activity Timescale

Planning and preparation (including authorisation, and writing job description/ job evaluation to confirm the grade where required)

2-4 weeks

HR to process the vacancy details, post on the web and place in external media (subject to the relevant advertising deadlines)

2-5 days

Time that vacancy is live for applications (until the formal closing date)

2-3 weeks (or 28 days minimum requirement where there is the prospect or likelihood of appointing an overseas candidate who requires a work visa)


1 week (but may well be longer if a large volume of candidates is expected)

Notice given to short-listed candidates of interview/ selection process

2 weeks

Issue of formal offer and contract of employment

1 week

Notice period your selected candidate is required to give

Normally 1-3 months if in current employment

General recruitment costs

HR centrally fund advertising costs in the majority of cases and also pay reasonable interview and relocation expenses. Therefore the main departmental outlay is in management and administrative time, with some small potential costs relating to room bookings, refreshments etc.

Externally-funded (research) recruitment costs

In some cases, research grants will cover costs relating to the recruitment of research staff.  When submitting a grant proposal you may be required to provide an estimated figure for recruitment costs. Click here to download a document detailing estimated costs for a research vacancy. (Office document, 22kB)