Finding and Selecting Staff


There are a variety of ways to get the word out that you are seeking to employ a paid staff member: your website, on-air, advertising in the local paper, through community networks and by word of mouth.

There are also other specific recruitment sources such as private recruitment agencies, government funded job networks and various online recruitment services ( or find a local job network member (try or check your local phone book. Place ads on the websites of other community radio stations and sector organisations If you choose to use a recruitment agency, ensure you check what fees are involved, commissions paid (if any), contractual obligations and other legal issues.

The Federal Government has various employment programs to assist Indigenous, youth and long-term unemployed people gain jobs and some of these attract financial support for the employer. Check these programs out at

The Federal Government also has assistance available for employers to access recruitment services, for people returning to work and support and subsidies to employ staff. Visit to find out more.

Another source of support and ideas for recruiting staff may be your local Council or Chamber of Commerce. If you are located in a remote or economically depressed area where it is difficult for all sorts of businesses to recruit staff, you should contact these organisations to see if they have developed regionally appropriate recruitment strategies or incentives to recruit people to the area.


Some identified staff positions may be best filled by outsourcing the work to a private contractor. The types of roles that often are outsourced in organisations include website management, IT support, technical support, payroll functions or perhaps even sales or marketing roles.

Outsourcing became popular during the 1980s and often refers to the delegation of non-core operations from internal production and staff positions to an external provider who specialises in the delivery of that function or task. The decision to outsource is often made in the interest of lowering costs (although this is not necessarily the end result), redirecting or conserving the organisation’s energy so you can focus on your core business (broadcasting), or to make more efficient use of worldwide labour, capital, technology and resources. This may be an option for the station if the resources and skills are not available in your local area.

Critics of outsourcing see it as a loss of local jobs, potentially a loss of terms and conditions of employment and a loss of localised staff strength and unity. It may be difficult to manage and in particular performance manage the work produced by a contractor. Some suggest that quality of work can be an issue. Another concern is that contractors external to the organisation do not necessarily share the values and ethos that particularly a community organisation wishes to demonstrate.

Selecting Staff

The process of selecting a successful candidate for a volunteer or staff position at the station will be guided by your recruitment and selection policy and procedures. As with the recruitment policy and procedure, this policy and procedure could include: purpose, scope, principles, reference to relevant legislation, codes and industrial agreements.

When preparing a selection policy and procedure, consideration needs to be given to the following concepts and steps in the process.

Merit based selection

Most selection processes take the best available person for a position through open competition. Selection takes into account the abilities, qualifications, experience, standard of work, performance and personal qualities of a person and measures these against inherent job requirements of the position.

Selection criteria

The selection criteria describes the skills, knowledge, experience and, where required by legislation or industrial award, the qualifications necessary for performing the inherent requirements of the job. The selection criteria are used to assess the suitability of all applicants for the position.

An example of essential criteria, where an exemption under the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act has been granted for an identified ATSI position, could read:

“Must be of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent. This exemption is claimed under Section 14 of the Anti-discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)”. Another selection criteria may be that the applicant must supply a letter from a recognised community organisation to authenticate their Aboriginality.

Application management

The application management describes the process of sending out job information packages and providing further information to potential candidates as required; receiving and collating applications for the selection committee and keeping applicants informed of the progress of their application.

It is important to ensure that the same information is supplied to all candidates. In other words, no applicant is to be provided with any additional information that would not be made available to any other candidate.

As they are received, all applications should be dated and checked to ensure all information is provided. Ideally, receipt of all applications should be acknowledged. The selection committee or convenor may have to consider whether to accept late applications. A grace period of 24 hours may be allowed.

Any decision must be applied fairly to all late applications. Records should be kept of all the applications received.

Job information kits

Job information kits are provided to all potential applicants. The kit may include the position description and selection criteria, and some information about the station, the mission statement and values. It may outline the selection process and anticipated timeframe. It may also clarify what referee contacts are required, when the applications are due and who to contact for further information. Often employers will note in their advertising that an information package must be collected in order to apply.

Selection committee

The selection committee is responsible for assessing the relative merit of applicants for the position in order to find the best possible person for the vacancy.

The members of the selection committee should have the skills required to assess the applications and be fair and professional in exercising their responsibilities.

Committee members should be asked to declare any real, potential or perceived conflicts of interest. The committee should be representative of the needs and diversity of the station community in terms of age, gender, race etc. All applications must remain confidential.

If the position is an identified or targeted position, a representative of that EEO group should be on the committee. Where possible, all members should have received cross cultural training or include at least one person that has received that training. Committees are usually comprised of an uneven number of members in case there are opposing views of the recommended candidate. A committee of three is a reasonable size.

Conflict of interest

A conflict of interest exists when a person involved in the recruitment and selection process (e.g. selection committee member, selection decision-maker) could be, or could be seen to be influenced by a personal interest or relationship in carrying out their duty. This could mean that they know the applicant well; the applicant may be a relative or previous work colleague. They should make the potential conflict of interest known and the committee discuss whether they can be involved in a limited capacity or stand down.


The convenor is the chairperson of the selection committee. They ensure the administrative details of the process are attended to. These include: application management; establishing the selection committee; ensuring timely progress of the process; communication with applicants; and ensuring the process is conducted without bias and all relevant information is considered.


Shortlisting is when the selection committee makes an initial assessment of the applications against the selection criteria to determine whether they will progress to the next stage of the selection process (i.e. interviewing).

As a general rule, all selection committee members who participate in the shortlisting process, should have a common understanding of the standard required of the applicants and use any tools provided to select candidates for interview.

Attaching a rating or score to each selection criteria may help in the process.

Some considerations would include:

  • Is the applicant eligible for appointment? For example, if it is a targeted position, people from outside that group are not eligible.
  • Do they meet the selection criteria? These can often be met and the requirements of the job performed in a number of different ways.
  • Is there a group of applicants whose skills, knowledge and experience are substantially superior to the rest of the field?

The reasons for shortlisting should be documented.

Assessment methods

Ideally, more than one assessment method may be used to give a comprehensive picture of what the applicant is capable of doing and is likely to do on the job.

Such methods include: structured interviews, work samples, work tests, ability testing (e.g. literacy and numeracy tests), psychological testing, a presentation by the applicant, group exercises or role plays, the use of assessment centres (which combine several methods).

Consideration needs to be given to how the skills, knowledge and experience listed as selection criteria can best be assessed? Will a particular method disadvantage or advantage people from particular community groups, and if so, how can this be avoided? Are there cultural issues that require consideration such as translations or are there people on the interview panel who have received cross-cultural communication training?

Assessment centres

Assessment Centres are usually only used by large companies in Australia. They undertake a collection of tests and exercises that are designed to simulate the employer’s work environment and gather information about the applicants.

Reasonable adjustment

Reasonable adjustment is the practice of making adjustments to a job or workplace to allow a person with a disability to use their skills effectively.

Adjustments can range from modifications to interview techniques and from work design to alterations to facilities, etc.


Redeployment means placing an existing member of staff in a new job for which they are deemed suitable where:

  • an occupational illness or injury prevents them from continuing in their current position or
  • their position has been removed and they are deemed to be displaced or in excess

Thanks to the Community Media Training Organisation for this resource.