Tools for recruitment of academic staff (VIP)

As the hiring manager, you will find useful tools and templates for the recruitment of academic staff on this page. The tools and templates are for inspiration and can be adapted as required and supplemented by any local procedures.

The university has adopted seven norms for recruitment of academic staff to permanent positions. The norms are intended to help strengthen recruitment practices, e.g. by helping to ensure quality and diversity in the pool of applicants for positions at all five faculties.

(Please note that the tools do not currently cover PhD fellowships.)

Planning the recruitment process

When planning the recruitment process, it is necessary to create an overview of deadlines and sub-processes within the overall recruitment process. Therefore, it is a good idea to draw up a plan for the entire recruitment process.

The template for a schedule and process plan in the toolbox to the right can be adapted to match local practices and the type of position. HR can provide guidance on deadlines for each type of position (please note that a recruitment process typically needs to be initiated long before you might expect).

Job profile and qualification requirements

Careful thought about the job profile and qualification requirements will ensure consistency with the strategic objectives and is the foundation for recruiting the right person for the job. It is also an important element in preparing a good job advertisement. The hiring manager prepares the job profile and qualification requirements document, preferably with input from the appointment committee, other relevant employees and HR.

In addition to using the job and personal profile to prioritise and select important keywords that can be included in the specific job advertisement, it can also serve as inspiration for search committees or external search work. It is important to use keywords that have broad appeal and thus increase the chances of attracting a diverse pool of applicants. To help ensure this, you can use a language screening tool.

The job profile and qualification requirements can also be used to prepare a description of functions, which can be sent together with the employment contract and may subsequently form the basis for discussion in the annual staff development dialogue.

If the position is new, it must be defined. If you are refilling an existing position, you must consider whether the position needs to be redefined, whether any reorganisation or reallocation of tasks should be carried out in the unit, and whether new competences are required.

A job profile is a description of the organisational context, requirements and core tasks of the position.

Requirements and conditions for the appointment will typically be set out in the ‘Ministerial Order on the job structure for academic staff’ (in Danish) and in the relevant collective agreement.

HR can assist in matters relating to collective agreements, job structure, renewal of employment etc.

Qualification requirements are based on the job profile and defines the professional and personal qualifications required for the position. A thorough analysis of these will help to ensure the best possible match between the position and the new employee.     

Job advertisement

Careful thought about structure, language and content is the foundation for a good, inspiring and targeted job advertisement. The advertisement should ideally be prepared with input from the appointment committee, other relevant employees and HR. Furthermore, it should be based on the main aspects in the job profile and qualification requirements.

Good writing rules and linguistic aids

When you set out to design a job advertisement to attract a strong and diverse pool of applicants, it is important to have different parameters in mind:

  • Place the most important things first – if you make the readers wait, there is a risk that they will lose interest. Information must be sorted, packaged and served. For example, catchy and descriptive headings can help to maintain the readers' interest. 
  • Write as concisely as possible. Long sentences will obscure the message.
  • Watch out for internal abbreviations – for example, AU, TAP and VIP are internal designations and abbreviations which the reader will most likely not know.
  • Polish the text – Use up-to-date words that appeal directly to the reader. For example, salary rather than wages.
  • Write correctly – spelling and punctuation errors give a sloppy impression to the reader. A job advertisement with a professional style must be linguistically and grammatically correct. Remember to proofread and ask someone else to take a look, as they may pick up slips that you missed yourself.
  • Consider the use of prose and bullet points in relation to the target group. A mixture of prose and bullet points may often be preferable.
  • Use varied and active language – Varied and active language makes the text more relevant and interesting. Consider whether the text can be made more personal by using ‘you’ and ’we’, and avoid ‘him/her’.
  • Be cautious of linguistic stereotypes – Use words and expressions that have a broad appeal. If you wish to screen the text for linguistic stereotypes in order to attract a diverse pool of applicants, you can use a programme for language screening.

With inspiration from CORE:WORKERS


All vacant positions with employment for more than one year must be advertised publicly. According to AU’s norms for recruiting academic staff, all positions must be worded in broad terms and advertised both nationally and internationally.

Job advertisements are created in AU’s e-Recruitment system in cooperation between the hiring manager and the local HR office. The deadline for applications should be at least 14 days but may vary depending on the type of position.

Consider which channels, recruitment portals and media are most likely to attract the right candidates (online, print, geographical location, networks, relevant forums etc.).

All vacancies are advertised on and Advertising slots can also be purchased on national and international, online and printed media via the media agency, Signature, which AU has a purchasing agreement with. The website about purchasing agreements contains information about the agreement, including how to make purchases under the agreement and the prices of the various services.

Social media

During the advertising period, it is a good idea to share the job advertisement on social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter etc., depending on the target group. This will enable you to reach a wider audience – active as well as passive job seekers.

Vacancies can be advertised free of charge via AU’s Company Page on LinkedIn: It is also possible to pay for increased visibility on LinkedIn by targeting the advertisement based on criteria such as function, industry, seniority, company size, geography etc.

You will find guidance on how to share a job advertisement on LinkedIn here

Please contact HR for guidance and advice in relation to advertising.

Job interviews

Good and structured job interviews can help to ensure a good match between candidates and positions. Also, a good match is crucial to the performance of core tasks and to the employees’ well-being at work. According to AU’s norms for the recruitment of academic staff to permanent positions, an appointment committee must be used.

Job interviews that are structured in a way which ensures that all candidates are asked the same questions and assessed on the same terms will help reducing the risk of unconscious bias influencing the conclusion.

Interview guide
The interview guide in the toolbox to the right can be used as inspiration for the appointment committee. The guide can be adapted to match local practices, and questions tailored to the specific type of position can be added.    

If the job interview is to be held online, you can find 'Advice for online interviews' in the toolbox to the right.

Prior to the actual interview, several preliminary meetings may be held (e.g. via Skype). The most suitable candidates can also be invited to an event at the department/school, such as a lecture or similar, in order to gain an impression of each candidate. Therefore, several of the questions in the interview guide (in the toolbox to the right) may have been discussed before the actual interview, so it may be appropriate to add more questions.

Biases in recruitment processes
At a European level, the ERC (The European Research Council) encourages all assessors to watch this video developed by CERCA (the Catalan Research Centres Institute). The video is relevant for everyone who assesses candidates in connection with a recruitment process, including, among other things, assessment and appointment committees. The purpose of the video is to illustrate biases in recruitment processes and in connection with assessments of research projects which may prevent a fair assessment of the relative qualifications of male and female applicants.

Using tests and cases in the recruitment process
Consider whether it may be beneficial and relevant to use testing tools to assess the candidate, such as personality, skills or language tests or other tools. It can also be a good idea to make use of a specific case-study or take-home assignment to see how the candidate solves or approaches a particular problem. Contact HR if you want to know more about the possibilities for testing.

After the job interview
If a candidate has been interviewed, it is important for the hiring manager to give personal, oral feedback – whether the candidate has been offered the position or been rejected.

Person profile analysis in recruitment

Person profile analysis is a relevant tool in a professional and successful recruitment process.
At AU, person profile analysis is used in the recruitment of managers at levels 1, 2, and 3.
This should be conducted by an external provider.

Furthermore, it's recommended to use person profile analyses in the recruitment of middle managers (level 4) and professors, where possible, after dialogue and agreement with your HR partner. In particular cases, person profiles can be used for positions such as administrative specialists and key roles.

Read more about AU's principles for using person profile analysis in recruitment.

International employees

AU Relocation Service offers pre-recruitment meetings with candidates for positions from associate professor level and up and their partners. During the meeting, a relocation officer will answer questions about living and working in Denmark, including offers for accompanying family members. Please contact AU Relocation Service for further information. Read more about Relocation Services at Aarhus University.

If the partner requests information/support during the recruitment process itself, the Expat Partner Programme can help. The Expat Partner Programme offers accompanying partners a preliminary meeting, where job opportunities, professional and social networks etc. are discussed. Contact the Expat Partner Advisors for further information. Read more about Expat Partner Programme.

Onboarding and introduction

When the recruitment process is completed, and the new employee is to start his/her new position, it is important to have prepared a plan for job commencement and onboarding. It is a good idea to:

  • Appoint a mentor and a buddy to help the new employee with academic/professional questions, practical matters but also with understanding the culture, rules and processes and to answer questions.
  • Make a plan for start-up dialogues between the new employee and their immediate supervisor, colleagues and relevant collaborators.
  • Think in terms of long-term intervals in relation to dialogues, follow-up and feedback; e.g. 3, 6 and 12 months.

Onboarding includes more than just introducing the new employee to AU and starting work, for example how to get the new employee to feel part of AU even before they start, ongoing feedback and staff development, and retention.

Fundamentally, it is about giving the new employee the best opportunities to succeed with their tasks at AU.

Read more about onboarding and introduction