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  • Overview
  • Exceptions to the Search Process
  • Screening and Evaluating Applicants
  • Interviewing Applicants
  • Selecting Finalists

  • Search Procedure: Overview

    1. Beginning a Search: Authorization to Recruit
      The formal phase of the recruitment process begins when the department/office receives authorization to recruit.
    2. Initiating the Search Process
      Once a department has been authorized to recruit, the department chairperson or director of hiring department may initiate the process through our on-line recruitment system. For details, see website -
      One or more representatives of the search committee shall meet with the affirmative action officer to discuss recruitment strategies early in the search process.
    3. Advertising
      All ads must contain the following statement: "Fredonia prides itself on an outstanding workforce. To continually support organizational excellence, the university conducts background screens on applicants. An Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity Employer, Fredonia provides for, and promotes, equal opportunity employment, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment, without discrimination."
    4. Receiving Applications
      All applications shall be acknowledged in writing by the search committee chair.
    5. Candidates to be Interviewed
      Candidates are those applicants who are recommended by the search committee for campus interview. When the search committee has narrowed the applicant pool and is ready to invite candidates to campus, the department administrator shall initiate the routing of the search folders containing applicant curriculum vitae/resumes via the on-line recruitment system, PeopleAdmin to the appropriate dean, vice president and the affirmative action officer. This list should identify characteristics of Tiers I, II and III candidates.

      The vice president or dean shall consult with the affirmative action officer and respond to the department administrator within at least 48 hours. As part of this consultation, the affirmative action officer will determine if affirmative action policies and procedures have been followed, and this determination is required in order to invite candidates for an interview.
    6. Offer of Employment
      Before a verbal or written offer is made to the recommended candidate, the department administrator or the chair of the search committee shall contact the vice president/dean who shall consult with the affirmative action officer to verify that all affirmative action procedures have been followed. The verbal offer cannot be made without the approval of the vice president/dean. These approvals will be given within a 48 hour period.

      After the vice president/dean and department administrator agree to extend an offer of appointment, the offer should be made promptly, usually by the department administrator. The vice president/dean shall be consulted regarding any negotiations or contract demands which could affect a candidate's decision to accept the verbal offer. Any special conditions to be negotiated such as, salary, workload, work schedule, or resource expectations should be clearly defined in writing and have the approval of the vice president/dean.
    7. Formal Appointment Letter
      The official appointment is made in writing by the university president, or in cases of continuing appointment by the Chancellor of the University. Appointment letters are prepared for the president's signature in the Human Resources Office.
    8. Notification of Applicants/Candidates
      After the position has been filled, the department administrator or search committee chair shall inform all remaining candidates promptly of the status of the search.
    9. Reopening the Search
      A decision to extend a search will only be made after consultation with the vice president/dean.

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    Exceptions to the Search Process

    The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Council affirms the general policy that, whenever possible, full open affirmative action searches be conducted for all faculty and non-teaching professional positions, including administrative and management/confidential positions. Under this policy, search waivers will be considered exceptions and will be judged on the merits of each situation according to these guidelines. To apply for a search waiver, please complete and submit the following form to the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  

    It is important to distinguish between those situations where it is advisable to waive a full national search and those where even a local limited search would be waived.

    1. A first necessary criteria to apply to a search waiver request is the principle of "utilization of minorities and females." In areas and/or departments of the campus where minorities and females are significantly under-utilized, search waiver requests should be reviewed first in relation to this under-utilization.
    2. When the position must be filled in less than 60 days from the beginning of the period when the normal duties of the position would begin, a national search may be waived. These situations would occur only when death, illness, disability, or a last-minute resignation causes a position to be vacant. In the case of resignation, the resignation must have been submitted and dated within the less-than-60-days period.
    3. A local search should usually be conducted, even in emergency situations, in order to insure that an attempt to meet affirmative action guidelines be made in every case.
    4. There will always be an opportunity to fill positions on an "acting" or temporary basis; however, in every case, "acting" or not, according to the affirmative action guidelines of the documents mentioned above, an appropriate affirmative action search during the year following the appointment must be conducted for every term appointment.
    5. There should be opportunity to waive searches that might be non-productive; for instance, in a case where the salary level of the position is so low that a national search might not be likely to turn up qualified candidates. However, in all such cases, at least a campus search and local area search should be conducted in an effort to reach all possible minority and female candidates.

    If affirmative action goals would be enhanced by a search waiver, especially if a minority person or a female is already in the position, the request for a search waiver should usually be granted, and the "under-utilization" principle should be a factor in making the decision.

    Where the person already occupying a position is not a minority member or female and a search waiver request is made, then the waiver should be granted only in the "uniquely qualified" phrase mentioned in the guideline documents apply. Such cases would probably be rare, but it is necessary to provide some opportunity for the person who is not a minority member or a female and who is hired in an emergency situation to have the job protected if that person is doing the job exceptionally well. It should be reiterated, however, that even in emergency situations, positions should be filled if at all possible by searching for qualified minority and female candidates in order to eliminate to the greatest extent possible search waiver requests when the position comes up for more stable appointment.

    Recognizing the desirability of maintaining opportunity for "promotion from within," one reason for a search waiver might be where there is chance for such a promotion on this campus. In such cases, a full national search might well be waived and also even a local beyond-the-campus search. However, we suggest that for every position which becomes open on this campus where the possibility of promotion exists, the complete staff on campus be searched for every possible candidate among minorities and women who might be eligible and/or qualified for such promotion and that announcement of the vacancy be made campus-wide. This should especially apply to short-range temporary periods in administrative areas which would provide minority candidates and women with opportunity for learning administrative skills.

    When the situation is one of reorganization (a reassignment of duties and changing responsibilities or when a new president wants a chance to put together a staff according to his/her working style) the following should apply:

    1. When the reorganization is simply reassigning duties to the same personnel and no new positions are created, a search is not required.
    2. Where a new position is created, an appropriate search is required.

    For every request for a search waiver, a spokesperson may attend the meeting at which the waiver is discussed in order to speak on behalf of the person for whom the waiver is requested. Where possible, that spokesperson should be the person making the waiver request-that is, the administrator involved.

    Modified June, 2009

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    Screening Applicants

    The search committee should make every effort to include members of under represented groups among the persons to be interviewed. Before identifying the group, however, the committee should discuss and come to consensus about the standards for evaluating the applications. Where affirmative action candidates are not included among the candidates to be interviewed, the committee must be prepared to discuss, with the Affirmative Action Officer and the hiring official, how the qualifications of the candidates selected exceed those of affirmative action candidates.

    In their evaluations, members of the committee should be sensitive to the following:

    1. Biases against individuals from lesser known or Historically Black Institutions.
    2. Biases against candidates who are not active participants in mainstream organizations or networks.
    3. Devaluing research and scholarship which focuses on non-white populations or concerns, or which is published in journals considered outside of the "mainstream." Applicants should not be evaluated primarily by where they have published, but on the quality of their research including such dimensions as: methodological and/or quantitative skills of analyses, the depth and scope of their research agenda, and their potential for future activity.
    4. Devaluing candidates with lukewarm letters of recommendation from professional or graduate school references.
    5. Devaluing candidates whose prior professional experience focused on working with special populations.

    In order to support a comprehensive search, committee members may wish to employ one or more of the following strategies:

    1. Ask the Affirmative Action Officer to review the applications of all affirmative action candidates
    2. Conduct telephone interviews with qualified affirmative candidates as a means of gathering more information when determining whom should be invited for campus interviews.
    3. Ask other members of the hiring unit to conduct "blind reviews" of the applicants, with names, gender and ethnicity concealed where possible.
    4. Where questions persist about candidates' credentials, ask for additional references, copies of research articles or other samples of work, etc. to assist in the evaluation.)
    5. Resist eliminating qualified affirmative action candidates exclusively on the basis of a paper review, i.e. without at least one "personal" contact, whether it be a telephone call to a reference, a nominator or to the candidate.

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    Interviewing Applicants

    The goals of the interviewing process should include selling the candidates on the merits of the position as well as offering a thorough opportunity for evaluating candidates' credentials. To make the most of the interviewing process, advance preparation on the part of the committee should be utilized as much as possible. The following steps are useful in preparing for interviews and conveying a sincere interest to the candidates:


    1. Be as thorough in attention to detail as possible when making arrangements for campus visits.
    2. Confirm arrangement for campus visits as far in advance as possible, and in writing. The arrangements should include where the candidate will be picked up and by whom, where she/he will be housed during the visit, and when they can expect the visit to formally conclude. An itinerary for the day should be included or made available as soon as the candidate arrives.
    3. Be thoughtful in determining whom it will be that candidates meet; do not unnecessarily extend the interview by including numerous "courtesy calls." Do include persons with whom the candidate may interact, and do explain to the candidate the relevance of each person on the interview schedule. Ask candidates if there are individuals with whom they may like to meet, or if there are particular questions that may best be answered by individuals outside of the interview process.
    4. Prepare a list of questions that will be posed to all of the candidates.
    5. Confirm appointments with persons on the interview schedule the day before each interview to avoid no shows and, if necessary, to identify possible replacements.
    6. Avoid large unscheduled gaps of time; although, schedule breaks during the day for the candidate to breathe and reflect on the day.

    In order to facilitate full participation it is useful to distribute a schedule, listing all interviews, dates, and times, to affected individuals including the hiring official, search committee, department staff and others on the interview schedule.

    Conducting the Interviews

    1. Encourage candidates to ask questions; answer them as candidly as possible.
    2. Do not attempt to ignore a candidate's gender or ethnicity out of politeness; acknowledge these characteristics. The search committee may elect to expose the candidate to other members of the campus community with similar backgrounds and that the committee should be prepared to respond to concerns or questions that are specifically related to the candidate's ethnicity or gender.
    3. Discuss the standards for promotion and tenure with all candidates. Be specific about expectations concerning performance, research, teaching and service.
    4. Inform candidates of the process and timeline for making a decision. Ask if there are any mitigating circumstances, other offers, extended travel plans, etc. of which the committee should be apprised. Offer the candidates the name and telephone number of the committee Chair, in the event they may have further questions about the position.

    See also: What Can I Ask?

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    Selecting Finalists

    In the evaluation process, the most qualified candidate may not necessarily be the individual with the most traditional publication record, academic or administrative experience. The criteria for selection should also include the ability of a candidate to enhance the quality and/or scope of services offered, to enlarge research and pedagogical interest and to contribute to the life and cultural diversity of a department/campus.

    The committee should identify at least two or three finalists, whom they will recommend to the hiring official. They should identify, in writing, each candidate's relative strengths and weaknesses, and indicate in which ways the candidate could contribute to the unit. Therefore assessing a potential hire's contributions might include consideration of one or more of the following:

    1. Ability to enhance services to meet the needs of previously unserved or under served populations.
    2. Ability to diversify curriculum and pedagogy to meet multiple or different interest.
    3. Ability to be a role model or mentor to majority as well as minority students.
    4. Ability to extend the boundaries of current research by directing or supervising in non-traditional areas.
    5. Ability to attract targeted external funds.

    Where an affirmative action candidate is not included among the finalists, the committee should be prepared to discuss it's decision with the Affirmative Action Officer and the hiring official.

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Dr. Vicki T. Sapp, Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator/ADA Compliance Officer

  • Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 2121 Fenton Hall State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063