The Selection Committee has been an electoral body established by the Preparatory Committee for electing the current chief executive and Provisional legislative council after the establishment of the new Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The Selection Committee has been responsible for selecting and advising the chief executive through various local consultations undertaken by them. The chief executive is elected by a public vote on the basis of a simple majority plus one vote for each of the candidates who receive a simple majority of votes. The Committee members constitute a quorum, which means that they must be present at every meeting and must unanimously agree to all matters concerning the affairs of the Executive Council. They have the power to decide and order the closure of public meetings and proceedings and refer them to the Chief Executive and other higher officials.
The role of the selection committee is very important as it sets the potential candidates through the selection committee meeting and checks their suitability for the post. Candidates are required to submit personal references and be duly verified before being offered a place on the interview panel. The interview panel consists of the following members: the Chairperson (or members of the Executive Council), who makes the final decision; Secretary, who carries out the role of a counselor and assists the Chairperson in the interview processes; Public Accountant, who ensures the accuracy of financial records and the generation of tax returns; and any one other members chosen by the Chairperson or Secretary. Once the names of the candidates are submitted for selection, the Secretary of Government along with the candidates’ representation are to visit them personally and conduct interviews, to assess the suitability of each candidate. After the interviews, the candidates are presented with a list of names and are given further notices, inviting them to attend a meeting the next day to discuss their candidature.
Candidates who accept the offer are then presented with a list of questions, which they need to answer honestly and to the best of their knowledge, so that the Selection Committee can reach a consensus about the candidature of each candidate. The candidates are asked some questions pertaining to their background, which is also an important part of selection criteria. Candidates are required to declare their marital status and to state whether they have ever filed for bankruptcy, which will automatically disqualify them from being a candidate. They are required to state whether they have ever taken up arms in any war, which might qualify them for a military position. Candidates are also asked whether they have ever tried to procure political office, and what were their achievements in this regard.
It is the responsibility of the Selection Committee to ensure that all the questions being asked are relevant and important to the post. Therefore the questions that are most likely to be asked at an interview are those that relate to the successful candidate’s experience, background, and achievements, as well as those related to his / her suitability for the post. This means that the questions are crafted to assess the strength of each candidate’s suitability for the post and to eliminate those who are deemed unfit for the post. It is important for the Selection Committee to keep the lines of communication open with all the candidates. Communication helps to avoid any unnecessary delays that might affect the success of the Selection Committee in finding the best person to fill the post.
At the end of the interview, when the final candidate list has been completed, the selection committee then seeks the presence of each candidate. Before recommending the person, the Selection Committee makes sure to review all the questions and verify that the answers are truthful and devoid of any embellishments or fabrications. If a candidate is found to have lied, the entire selection process is annulled and the person is not allowed to take the post.
After the interview, the interviewee is asked to sign a document that states that he / she has fully cooperated with the Selection Committee and that all questions have been answered to his or her satisfaction. In conclusion, the entire interviewing procedure is characterized by open dialogue between the candidate and the Selection Committee. This ensures that the best possible candidate is selected for the post.