Begin through Preparation: Important Hiring Manager To-Do's
The hiring manager sets the stage for the search committee's work and this task begins with an updated position description. Once identified, the hiring manager and search chair should meet to define expectations for the search process, identify minimum and preferred qualifications, research and follow through with advertising and outreach sources, and develop screening and selection criteria prior to the beginning of any search. At the discretion of the hiring manager and depending on time constraints, the task of finalizing and posting the position announcement can be delegated to the search chair and/or search committee.
- An up-to-date Position Description is a great tool to help identify the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities that are important for a person to be successful in the position. The specific format for the position description is determined by the job classification of the position (e.g., managers, AFSCME, APSCUF, SCUPA, etc.).
- The Position Description should be defined in the widest possible terms consistent with the department's needs. Aim for consensus on specific specialties or requirements, while planning to cast the hiring net as broadly as possible. Work to ensure that the position description does not needlessly limit the pool of applicants.
- Consider as important Selection Criteria for all candidates (regardless of their own demographic characteristics), the ability of the candidate to add intellectual diversity to the department, to work successfully with diverse students and colleagues, and to mentor diverse students and junior colleagues.
- Establish Selection Criteria and procedures for evaluating, interviewing candidates, and keeping records before advertising the position. Make sure that selection criteria are directly related to the requirements of the position, clearly understood, and accepted by all members of the committee.
PLEASE NOTE: Search Committees should include women and individuals from underrepresented groups whenever possible. If possible, strongly consider the appointment of search committee members from outside the department.
Choosing Search Committee Members: the composition of the search committee and its charge are factors likely to have consequences for the outcome of the search. Once the hiring manager/department head identifies a search chair, they should work together to assemble a diverse committee with different perspectives and expertise and with an expressed commitment to equity and diversity.
Choosing a Search Chair: the search chair serves as the spokesperson for the search committee throughout the process and, therefore, should be familiar with WCU search policies and procedures and be an encouraging ambassador. Consider the following questions when appointing search chairs and other search committee members:
- Has the person worked at WCU for at least a year? (Strongly recommended)
- Has the person participated in at least two searches? (Strongly recommended)
- Are they already serving on another committee?
- Would serving as the Search Chair be a conflict of interest?
- Does the person have the time to commit to the search committee?
- Do they have a vested interest in the position?
- Are they familiar with the position or is there at least one person that can be included on the search committee who is familiar with the position?
- Does the person have campus connections to help fulfill the search committee roles?
- Is the person organized, efficient, and do they take initiative?
- Is there a benefit to using an individual outside of the department, college, or division?
Appointing a Search Support Staff Person - to help facilitate a smooth process, a Search Chair should have support staff available to help with scheduling and planning interviews. In direct consultation with the Search Chair, the staff support person for each search committee shall use, NeoGov, the online employment system to keep documentation of:
- Position descriptions, position announcements, interview questions (phone and on-campus), search timelines and calendars, and Diversity Recruitment Plans.
- Major criteria used to select applicants beyond initial screening.
- Major criteria used to select candidates for interviews (phone and campus).
- Major criteria used to select finalists.
- Specific reasons for rejection of candidates interviewed but not selected.
The hiring manager, in consultation with the search chair, should develop an agreed upon search timeline and work ahead with relevant individuals and/or groups to reserve important dates on their calendars in advance.
The search chair should begin to develop and implement a Diversity Recruitment Plan for advertising and outreach to produce its desired results. This includes advertising widely and going beyond the traditional methods of identifying applicants. Departments and search committees are encouraged to use electronic job-posting services targeted at diverse groups such as minority caucuses or female and minority professional association job boards of specific disciplines or fields. Many professional organizations and associations maintain directories of underrepresented professionals. There are numerous other strategies to assist departments and search committees in "casting a wide net" when we recruit for position vacancies:
- Make personal contacts with minorities and women at professional conferences and invite them to apply.
- Contact colleagues at other institutions to seek nominations of students nearing graduation, recipients of fellowships and awards or others interested in moving laterally, making sure to request inclusion of qualified women and minorities.
- Identify suitable junior or mid-level faculty at other institutions and send position announcements. Telephone calls, emails, and letters to nominees and applicants can send a strong message of openness and welcome.
- Place announcements in newsletters (electronic and print), journals, and publications aimed specifically at under-represented groups.
- If applicable, all tenure-track positions must be advertised in a national publication with broad circulation, you can also send announcements and request nominations from departments in Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic, American Indian and Asian serving institutions.
- Consult with faculty/staff of color, veterans, women, and persons with disabilities already on campus on outreach strategies.
Once the Diversity Recruitment Plan is completed, it should be sent along with the position description and position announcement to firstname.lastname@example.org for review and then uploaded to NeoGov after approval. Upon receiving approval from ODEI, contact Human Resources to determine the job boards that they will post to and the ones that you will be responsible for posting on your own. Note that position announcements have to be approved by the Hiring Manager and some outlets charge for postings. Please be prepared to provide the HR with a designated cost center to pay for the charges.
The Hiring Manager and/or Search Chair should develop the Position Announcement, keeping in mind that it can be a tool to widen the pool of candidates by eliminating unnecessary qualifications. The position Announcement is the search committee's – and WCU's – first opportunity to clearly communicate about the position to the wide range of candidates we hope to attract. First impressions are really important - make sure the position announcement is clear, accurate, welcoming, and free of grammatical errors.
Language for Writing Position Announcements
Proactive language can be included to indicate a department's commitment to diversity. This may make the position more attractive to women and underrepresented candidates. While the race and/or gender of candidates may not be factors considered in hiring decisions, search committees may indicate an interest in service, research or other factors that contribute to intellectual diversity or the ability of the department to meet the needs of diverse students. National advertisement for all vacant administrative and faculty positions at West Chester University is highly recommended. All position announcements must include the following statements:
- West Chester University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, status as an individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.
- Individuals with disabilities requiring disability-related accommodations in the application and interview process, please call 610-436-2433.
Other suggested statements which may be included in addition to the required statements in the recruitment advertisement are:
- "WCU is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their research, teaching, and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community"
- "Women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply."
- "West Chester University is especially interested in qualified candidates who can contribute, through their experience, research, teaching and/or service, to the diversity and excellence of the academic community."
Coordinating with HR and ODEI
Hold the Search Committee Orientation/Training well before posting the position - Holding the first search committee meeting well before posting the position will allow search committee members an opportunity to develop and implement an effective Diversity Recruitment Plan and will provide the time needed to discuss and establish selection criteria for evaluating applicants. The first meeting shapes the attitudes of the search committee members about the process and their role in it. The goal is to demonstrate how important the work of a search committee really is and what they are doing is important so that they will make time for the meetings and for work outside the meetings. It is essential that the committee members feel that attending committee meetings is a good use of their time and that their presence will make a difference.
Topics covered at the Search Orientation/Training
Search Committee Orientations (The First Search Committee Meeting) - The Search Committee Orientation/Training should include the Hiring Manager, Search Chair, search committee members, and a representative from ODEI and HR. At this meeting, the Hiring Manager delivers the search committee charge and discusses roles and expectations of search committee members. Make sure committee members know what is expected in terms of attending meetings, building the candidate pool, evaluating candidates, etc. Make sure your search committee members know that participation in this process will require considerable time and effort. Some of the roles/expectations for search committee members include to help publicize the search, recruit candidates, develop evaluation criteria, evaluate candidates, develop interview questions, interview candidates, and host candidates who interview on campus. Assure that the search process is fair and equitable and that everyone maintains confidentiality.
- Set a clear expectation that the committee will cast a broad net for prospective candidates. Focus on equitable search practices and the goal of identifying outstanding candidates.
- Articulate the fact that diversity and excellence are fully compatible goals and can and should be pursued simultaneously.
- As is consistent with federal equal employment opportunity regulations, at the beginning of the search establish plans to actively recruit women and underrepresented groups into the applicant pool.
- Be sure that all members of the search committee understand the potential role that evaluation bias could produce an unfair and inequitable search process.
- Develop long-term strategies for recruiting diverse faculty and staff that go beyond any single search.
- Detail the required outcome, e.g., “We have been asked to provide strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for each candidate for the hiring manager or department to discuss” OR “We have been asked to recommend an unranked list of 3–4 candidates. Because the committee is advisory, the candidates recommended to the Dean must be unranked.”
- Establish a target deadline date of when the hiring manager/department head would like recommendations by.
- Introductions of Search Committee Members - Make sure to build rapport among committee members. Active involvement of all committee
members can help you reach a broad base of applicants. Begin with brief introductions
to get committee members talking and comfortable with each other. The assumption is
that committee members already know one another may not be accurate - particularly
if the committee includes a student or members from outside the department. Remind
committee members that in this age of tight budgets each position is precious and
that it is up to them to ensure that the best candidate is in the pool.
- Process - Outline the search timeline and frequency of meetings as well as expectations concerning
attendance, decision-making, and confidentiality. Discuss the process that the search
committee will use to generate a short list of candidates to interview via phone and
invite to campus. Discuss any approvals, such as approval to interview, that the committee
must seek before proceeding. Remind committee members that internal candidates, if
there are any, should be treated the same as external candidates. Make sure the process
allows each search committee member of the group to contribute to the evaluation of
all applicants. Discuss how the search will be concluded.
- Unconscious or Implicit Bias - Research demonstrates that every one of us has a lifetime of experiences and a cultural
history that influences our judgments during the review process. A first step toward
ensuring fairness in the search and screen process is to recognize that unconscious
biases and attitudes not related to the qualifications, contributions, behaviors,
and personalities of candidates can influence our evaluations.
It is important to recognize that diverse paths and experiences can make positive contributions to a candidate’s qualifications. Acknowledge the value of candidates who are “less like us” and consider their contribution to our students who are increasingly more diverse. As a search committee, you are encouraged to think carefully about your definition of “merit”, taking care to evaluate the achievements and promise of each applicant, rather than relying on stereotypical judgments.
The search committee is cautioned to be mindful of biases in the screening process that could inadvertently screen out well-qualified applicants with non-traditional career paths, with non-traditional research interest or publications, and from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) or other minority-serving institutions. It is important to be aware of our biases and create a safe environment within the search committee meetings where demonstrated biases can be challenged and discussed openly in order to be eliminated from the evaluation process.