A Talanoa webinar on Merit Based Recruitment and Appointments was organized and facilitated by the NZ PSC Fale in November 2020. Human Resource advisors from Samoa and Fiji were invited to present and share their experiences with the rest of the Commissions across the Pacific. Mr. Jason Hisatake, Assistant Chief Executive Officer for the Senior Executive Services, Samoa Public Service Commission, and Ms. Salilo Margraff, Assistant Chief Executive of Human Resource Management, were Samoa’s lead presenters. Ms Susan Kiran, Permanent Secretary for the Civil Service of Fiji and Secretary to Cabinet, shared Fiji’s experience.

Samoa’s presentation focussed on the Merit Factors under Section 36 of the Public Service Act 2004 which are:

  1. Skills and Abilities
  2. Qualifications
  3. Experience and Past Work Performance and
  4. Personal Attributes.

Samoa shared its experience in implementing its Merit Policy 2017 and the challenges. The webinar also provided a platform for participants to engage and share their views on the interpretation and application of merit across the public sector in the Pacific region, the articulation of the merit factors into position competencies and job descriptions, scoring and assessment tools and the level of subjectivity when assessing merits. Fiji was also able to share their Recruitment and Open Merit systems, which mirrors Samoa systems.

Overall, the varying systems on recruitment is to ensure that recruitment is based on Merit with greater focus efficiency and transparency in recruitment and selection processes. It was encouraging to learn from the discussions that Merit-Based Recruitment is considered by the participants as best practice for recruiting the right people, at the right time, to do the right job.