Blog Header Test 05 Community participation in the recruitment process – a case study

April 4, 2017

Community participation in the recruitment process – a case study

Why include community in the recruitment process?

Working with community is a key part of many staff roles at HealthWest. Involving community in the recruitment process allows the selection panel to observe how candidates interact with community members in a task-focused situation. Additionally, HealthWest values community as vital partners in our work so it is fitting for community members to have input when selecting this person.

What did we do?

In the past HealthWest has included community members on more traditional interview panels, however this is not possible or appropriate in all situations. We wanted to trial a different process that would enable effective and relevant input by community members.
HealthWest’s established recruitment process were used to conduct an initial round of interviews. Preferred candidates were invited to a second-round interview. This interview required each candidate to work with community members to complete a specific task.
Candidate performance was assessed based on:

  • Performance on the task, and
  • Feedback from community members after the interview

This process was developed and piloted for recruitment to a position which would require the staff member to work with community members regularly. The community members involved were experienced in community participation.

What was the outcome?

Feedback from the selection panel was positive:

  • The task-focused interview provided additional information and clarity around how candidates approach and manage tasks, and how they interact with community members.
  • Interviewers felt more confident in their knowledge of the candidates and ability to make a good hiring decision.
  • It was noted that a decision might not be clear if different candidates excel at different interview stages.

Feedback on the process from community members was overall positive.

  • Community members appreciated the chance to be involved and contribute their thoughts to the selection process.
  • Community members felt relatively comfortable participating in the task. They noted that more information in advance would help them feel better prepared, while more time allotted to the interview task itself would allow them to engage more fully.
  • Community members worried that what they said would affect a candidate’s future. They felt more at ease when they understood how their feedback would be used within the broader selection process.

“Your approach for a new way of recruiting will, in my opinion, have a very positive result in the quality of the work… Well done. And thank you for the great experience.”
– Interviewing community member.

Feedback from the candidates indicate that they found the task-focused interview to be challenging. They found it stressful and commented that it was difficult to do the task within the limited time frame. A longer time limit or a simpler task will be considered in future.

What did we think overall?

Overall, this process was positive for HealthWest. It provided the selection panel with valuable additional information, enabling them to make a more informed decision. While this process isn’t appropriate for all roles, we plan to use a similar method to facilitate community participation in the recruitment process for relevant positions in future.

Interested in including community members in your recruitment process?

If you would like more information about the process used by HealthWest:

• See our Sample interview agenda.
• Read more about important considerations when Preparing for and conducting the interview.
• Get in touch with Mindy Allott, Access & Inclusion Project Manager at or (03) 9248 9658.



Community Participation