Involving Young People in the Recruitment Process

If you work at NCB you may have been interviewed by young people as well as your work colleagues-to-be.

This is because we have found that feedback from young people is valuable when making a decision on which candidate to appoint. As someone who was appointed (with the help) of children and young people, I can appreciate this might be nerve wracking experience for the interviewee. However, it enables you to demonstrate your skills in communicating with young people, shows your commitment to working with and for them and enables you to receive direct feedback from the young people you could be working with.

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Zahra

If done well, including children and young people in the recruitment of staff is a valuable part of the recruitment process with huge benefits for everyone involved. Aside from the obvious benefits to the organisation, there are many benefits to the young people who have the opportunity to gain a range of experience and skills that they can use in the future for when they go for job interviews, including the importance of answering the questions asked by employers. They are able to have their voice and recommendations heard by senior professionals and decision makers, help to shape and develop services so that they meet their needs. A surprising element to the process is that it can also be lots of fun!

However, involving children and young people in this process can be time-consuming, needs thoughtful planning and a commitment to learning to get it right. When starting out it may not run smoothly so being clear at all times about supporting, listening to and acting on what children and young people are saying will help maintain the focus on  effective  participation. This is not easy when everyone has a big stake in who is appointed and there is a risk in this process that children and young people could feel disempowered, even if this is not the intention of the adults involved. The process of involving young recruiters can be as limited or extensive as you are comfortable with and your organisation is able to support. It is vital that your organisation is working within Fair Employment law (you can find advice from The Equality Commission NI who have a Code of Conduct).

It may be a good idea to start out slowly and evaluate the process as you go along; include the young people in the discussions of what went well and what you learned for next time. Different ways of involving them could include:

1. Identifying the need for a new post and its potential roles and responsibilities

2. Helping write the job description/person specification

3. Contributing to the job advertisement

4. Short-listing

5. Input to the adult panel members’ questions

6. Forming a panel, designing assessment and questions, and interviewing candidates

7. Meeting candidates informally and feeding back views.

The LINKS young people advisory group is developing a handy resource for organisations wishing to include young people they work with in the recruitment and selection of staff. The resource will include information on how best to involve young people in the process and links to resources/activities and guidance, so watch this space…