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Search Committee Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q -What is the minimum number of search Committee members that can be assigned.

A – The minimum number of search committee members that can be assigned is three (3). There is no limit on the maximum number that can be assigned.

Q- Is it still required to have a woman and minority on every search committee?

A – That is no longer a specific requirement, however the search committee should reflect the diversity of the university and the search committee chair will be asked what steps were taken to ensure the search committee is diverse.

Q- What recruitments require the use of a search committee?

A –All permanent and temporary EHRA Faculty and Non-Faculty Searches require the use of a search committee. Search Committee are optional for SHRA recruitments.

Q – Can a search committee member decide to apply for the position they are serving on.

A – A search committee member cannot apply for the position they are servicing on once the committee has started to review applications. A committee member could recuse themselves from the committee and apply if they have not started to review applications.

Q –What if there is a conflict of interest between a search committee member and an applicant that has applied for the position?

A –The search committee member should discuss their concerns with the search committee chair. If the chair is not sure of the appropriate action that should be taken they should consult with Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Q – Can the search committee request the position description summary to be edited?

A – Yes, if the search committee feels the position description summary is written so narrowly that it will discourage a diverse pool of candidates from applying, they can work with the units HR Consultant to edit and repost the position.

Q – If the department is underrepresented for a position, can the search committee request the position to be advertised in additional ad sources?

A – Yes, the search committee can request the posting to also be advertised in sources that focus on the constituency that is underrepresented. Search committee members can also use their networks and contacts to advertise the position.

Q – What should a search committee member do if they feel implicit bias is being demonstrated in the search process.

A – The search committee member should discuss those concerns with the search committee chair or consult with the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Q – Should all members of the search committee meet together when conducting phone or campus interviews or can some member’s conduct separate meetings.

A – All committee members should meet together to conduct phone or campus interviews so everyone is hearing and assessing the same information. When it is not possible for a committee member to attend an interview the session should be recorded with the permission of the applicants. Individual interview sessions should not be conducted.

Q – Are internal candidates required to follow the same interview process as external candidates?

A – Yes, it is important to ensure fairness to all applicants during the screening and selectin process. There should be consistent treatment of applicants at each stage of the selection process. For example if phone interviews are being conducted, internal candidates should also participate by phone.

Q – Who else besides the search committee needs to be familiar with the list of questions and appropriate responses on the Interview Do’s and Don’ts list?

A – Any other interviewing committee or campus partners that will be engaging with applicants in the interview process. That would also include anyone assigned to transport applicants or host them for a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner).

Q – Is the search committee permitted to request applicants selected for campus interviews to participate in a job related skills assessment or test?

A – Search Committees who would like to administer a job related skills assessment or test should first consult with the units HR Consultant to complete and submit the Skills Assessment Guidelines to the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office for approval.

Q – What are the best types of questions to ask in the interview process? 

A – Experience based questions have proven to be the most effective type of questions to ask during an interview, because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.  These type of questions are much more effective than open ended questions.

Q – When should reference checks or letters be requested by the search committee?

A – The search committee can determine the process that will be used to request reference checks or letters and the timing of when they will be requested.

Q –What should a search committee do if an applicant claims that they were not treated fairly or discriminated against?

A – Before responding to the applicant the search committee should consult with the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Q – Why is it important for the search committee to market the University and department when interviewing applicants?

A – The most qualified applicants are highly sought after by other competing universities. So it is very important and helpful to highlight the history, accomplishments and national ranking of the University and department the applicant will be joining.

Q – Why is it important for the search committee to ask diversity elated questions of the applicants?

A – Since having diversity knowledge, skills and experience should be listed in the position description summary as one of the requirements for the position, the committee will want to assess the applicant’s knowledge, skills and experience in supporting diversity initiatives.

Q – If a department is underrepresented for women or minorities in the position being recruited for, does that mean the search committee has to select a women or minority for the position?

A – That is not required unless the woman or minority candidate is the most qualified candidate The University’s recruitment process requires casting a wide net to attract a diverse pool of qualified candidates from which the most qualified candidate is selected.

Q – Why is it important for a search committee to be able to explain or defend their selection decisions?

A – Applicants who feel they were highly qualified but not selected may question or challenge the committee’s selection. In those situations the committee may need to explain the process, metrics, and steps taken to conduct a fair and objective search.

Q – Why is it important to make sure the “Steps after the Search” are followed, with the selected candidate?

A – It has been proven that an employee’s positive onboarding experiences can contribute to their long term success and retention.