The search guide is not intended
to address all requirements and expectations related to faculty searches.
Screening committees should work closely with the respective department chair
and dean to ensure that they are aware of and comply with the chair's and
dean's expectations, and also be aware of those points in the search process at
which the Provost's approval is required.
Effective outreach and recruitment are critical
to finding the best possible candidate.
Developing the selection
It is critical that a screening
committee carefully consider what will most effectively assist them in
identifying the best candidate for a position, and the selection
matrix/criteria review process is an important tool in distinguishing between
the applications received for a position. This tool serves several functions:
- The criteria review
process compels the committee to find common ground as to the kinds of
experience, training and other job-related attributes necessary to succeed in
- The matrix or review
sheet ensures that all candidates are evaluated against a common set of
Documenting the review process
provides an institutional memory and defensible analysis if the selection is
Typically, there are two distinct
steps in evaluating applications, one addressing minimum qualifications and the
other addressing preferred qualifications. If a candidate does not meet minimum
qualifications, there is no need to evaluate the application against preferred
qualifications since the candidate cannot emerge as a viable candidate for the
Job-related criteria, specific
Each of the criteria
included in a selection matrix or other criteria review process must be:
and grounded in the position as announced
by the committee when criteria are subjective in nature, in order to ensure all
committee members have a common understanding of the specific kinds of
experience, training, and/or other job-related attributes that are relevant to
each criterion and to the position
The committee can consider
relative strengths not specifically mentioned in the job announcement, but the
committee cannot include criteria that a candidate would not reasonably have
understood to be relevant based on the job announcement.
Documentation regarding the specific
kinds of evidence the committee considers relevant to each of the subjectively
stated criteria should be attached as a footnote or attachment to the selection
matrix or criteria review process.
Job-related criteria, overall
While the selection matrix is a
valuable tool for assisting in the hiring process, it is important to monitor
usage of it, because:
selection matrix or criteria review process should not limit committee review
of the overall, job-related strengths of candidates for a position
a scored matrix is used, the scoring provides an initial indication of which
candidates most closely meet the criteria for the position
Matrix scores aren't necessarily
a good measurement of the best candidate for a position. In those cases, strict
adherence to a scored selection matrix could result in selecting a candidate
with less potential to offer the most significant contribution to the
university over truly outstanding strength and experience.
One way of ensuring a more global
consideration of the overall strengths and contribution of applicants is to
include within a selection matrix or criteria review process a criterion that
specifically addresses the overall strength of each candidate.
For example, such a criterion
might read like this:
"Overall mix of job-related
strengths as reflected in above criteria, as well as overall contribution to
the goals and objectives of the educational program and to the experience of
students within the program."
In an effort to avoid unintended
results, screening committees are advised to consider using a non-scored
selection matrix or criteria review process focusing on relative strength
without assigning numbers. The intent is to encourage committees to think more
globally about the overall strengths of each candidate and to avoid having
scores control, but not fully support, the review process.
Note from the U.S. Equal Employment Commission
The U.S. Equal Employment Commission recognizes
in its Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures that numerically
scored selection procedures are not always used or required, and suggests in
such circumstances that employers utilize selection procedures which are as job
related as possible and which will minimize or eliminate adverse impact on
candidates - the risk of a substantially different rate of selection in hiring
which works to the disadvantage of members of a race, sex or ethnic group.
Document the selection process
Regardless of what tool is used, it is important to adequately document the job-related
reasons supporting selection decisions at each point where some candidates are
advanced and others are eliminated from further consideration. That
documentation provides the institutional memory and defensible analysis if the
selection is later challenged.
Diversity in the selection
The value of diversity needs to
be considered as an integral part of the selection process. Diversity is
broader in concept than gender, race, and ethnicity - it includes age,
disability, sexual orientation, citizenship, geographic location, etc.
While diversity should be
considered in those broad terms, it is also important to keep in mind that as a
federal contractor Northern Arizona University has a specific obligation to evaluate
whether women and/or people of color are underutilized within its workforce and
to engage in a good faith effort to correct any identified underutilization.
Relative to correcting
underutilization, it would be inappropriate under the law to prefer one
candidate over another strictly on the basis of gender, race, or ethnicity,
except that it can be a factor in the selection. Consult with AA/EO in these
Prior to personal interviews of candidates, screening committee members
typically are unaware of a candidate's race or ethnic background. Some
committees have questioned how they can act affirmatively to support Northern Arizona University's commitment to
diversity without that information.
In the application review stage,
a screening committee can look for evidence of a non-traditional background
that might suggest the potential for a more diverse perspective and
contribution to their program.
Evidence of support for the value
of diversity might also be found in a candidate's identified efforts to infuse
his/her teaching or research with:
thinking about how to teach effectively to students from a broad range of
backgrounds and different levels of preparedness
teaching or working within a diverse environment
To emphasize just how important diversity is to Northern
Arizona University, and hopefully get more information
regarding a candidate's understanding of and commitment to diversity, a
screening committee might consider asking, as part of the application packet,
that candidates include a statement specifically addressing the role and value
of diversity within higher education and their past and intended efforts to
contribute positively to creating an environment that values and enhances
Finally, it would be entirely appropriate for a screening
committee to contact the Affirmative Action Office to inquire about the
diversity of the applicant pool for a position, or even to inquire about the
diversity of a short list of candidates proposed for further consideration in
the search process.
The screening process
Screening committees need to think critically
about how to effectively consider diversity in the screening process. While a
single question, given some limited weight in the selection process, is one
approach, it is an approach that is not likely to help us in making measurable
gains in the diversity of our workforce. Likewise, non-probing questions such
as "Do you have experience with and are you committed to diversity?"
are not likely to be useful. We will be far more successful when:
consciously make diversity an integral part of the selection process,
considered in connection with each criterion in the selection matrix or
criteria review process and in the telephone interview process
that are posed really explore the extent of a candidate's understanding of and
commitment to the value of diversity
traditional and non-traditional measures of excellence are considered, and the
committees critically consider the value that different perspectives and
experience contribute to the program's overall objectives and the experience of
students within the program
interviewing is important to reaching a sound hiring decision. Inappropriate
interview questions can create potential liability for the institution.
Therefore, careful thought should go into the development of your interview
questions so that those will provide a sound basis for assisting in identifying
the best candidate for your position.
to legal interviewing is to stay focused on job-related topics. What are the
essential functions of the position for which you are interviewing, and what
job-related experience, training, skills or other attributes does the candidate
bring to the position that will enable him or her to most effectively perform
the essential functions of the position? While a candidate may share personal
information with you during an interview, to avoid inappropriate and possibly
illegal questions you should stay focused on job-related information. By
keeping the interview focused on job-related topics, you will be assured of
getting information that will assist in identifying the best candidate for the
position and you will avoid potential liability.
following links are lists of sample questions to give you an idea of what can
and cannot be asked of candidates during the interview process. Additionally,
we have included a link to the hiring and recruitment page of the Northern
Arizona University Human Resources
website where you will also find a list of interview questions.
are an important part of the hiring process because they confirm the
candidate's ability to perform the duties of the position for which he or she
is being considered, and they provide an opportunity to learn whether there are
legitimate reasons why the candidate is not appropriate for the position or for
employment with Northern Arizona University.
Reference checks provide an independent means of verifying the qualifications claimed
by the candidate.
Which references to choose
A screening committee can choose to contact references
beyond those identified by a candidate. Although permission is not required,
the committee should alert the candidate that they may be contacting additional
references and give the candidate the opportunity to identify any potential
reference the candidate thinks may not be objective or fair. While it is not
essential that an identical number of references be contacted for each
candidate, it is important that the screening committee have a reason for its
If significantly more references are contacted for one
candidate than for another, there should be a compelling reason for that
decision. Otherwise, it will raise questions regarding equity in the search
process. Pursuant to the Faculty Hiring Process, at least two references are to
be contacted for each candidate for whom reference checks are conducted.
Typically, if a person with whom you are speaking is
supportive and positive about the candidate, they will not mind spending time
talking with you. Sometimes a reticence to talk might be an indication of a
possible problem. If you get that response, make every effort to contact others
in order to better assess whether there are issues that might be of concern or
simply a stiff reference. One negative or neutral response should not
automatically disqualify a candidate. A more defensible position is to have
contacted more than one reference to see if the negative or reticent response
is a trend or an isolated case. Document your attempts at getting additional
What questions to ask
interview questions, inappropriate reference check questions can create
potential liability for the institution. Therefore, it is important to keep reference
check questions focused on the functions of the position and the candidate's
ability to perform those functions. Below are links to sample reference
A final reference check question
As a way
of encouraging references to let screening committees know of anything that
raises serious questions as to whether a candidate is right for a position with Northern Arizona University,
the Provost has asked that screening committees include a final reference check
question along the following lines: "Is there anything else you think we
should know about this candidate before considering an offer of
the reference provide information that raises a question, the screening
committee should attempt to get definitive information regarding the possible
concern before making a final decision. The screening committee is encouraged
to contact the Provost's Office, Human Resources, or the Office of Affirmative
Action for assistance with respect to any troubling information and how to
appropriately follow-up on that information.
The following links are samples
of letters for use by faculty hiring committees.
This letter would be
appropriate when acknowledging receipt of an application.