OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Roles in the Search Process

Forming and Charging a Search Committee (The Hiring Manager’s Responsibility)

Before the hiring manager gathers and charges a search committee with their duties and obligations, the following important issues must be addressed:

  • What will the hiring manager’s role be throughout the search process?  Will s/he be there primarily to guide the committee in its efforts?  Or, will s/he serve as a member of the committee?  If the hiring manager decides on the latter, s/he must use caution and avoid dominating the committee activities in such a way that the committee ultimately feels that their overall purpose was only to serve as a rubber stamp approval for the hiring manager’s personal hiring preferences.
  • What is the time frame for filling the vacant position?  What date should the new employee be “sitting in the chair” performing the job duties?  Remember to build in enough time for the following events to occur:
    • Once a committee is formed and charged, the position description must be finalized and entered into the Online Position Description and Recruiting System. This work may have already begun by the time the committee is formed, but the committee should participate in a final review of the position description.
    • Allow a minimum of seven to ten business days for the Business Center Human Resources Office to review and approve the position description.
    • Allow a minimum of three to five business days for the Business Center Human Resources Office to create, approve, and post the vacancy to the Online Position Description and Recruiting System.
    • Allow the search committee adequate time to screen applications before determining which applicants to invite for interview. Two to three weeks is considered a reasonable amount of time, given the challenges of bringing the committee members together and the time it takes to screen applications.
    • Allow seven to fourteen business days for interviews to be conducted.
    • Allow a minimum of seven business days for the committee to evaluate the interviews conducted.
    • Based on the hiring manager’s instructions to the search committee, s/he may be involved in interviewing the top candidates for the position. Other constituents within the college, department, or unit (Dean, Department Chair, etc) may also be invited to meet the finalists. This process can take a minimum of five business days.
    • Will the finalists be required to give professional presentations to faculty and/or staff members?  If so, this can typically be accomplished in five business days.
    • Once an offer of employment is made, there could be some “negotiation” time to build into the process before an offer is officially accepted.
    • Allow adequate time for the appointees to complete their employment obligations to their current employer, as appropriate.
  • How large should the committee be?  Almost all search committees should have at least five members, but no more than nine (this includes the chair). Research tells us that committees with fewer than five members lack critical mass. A committee of ten or more diminishes each person’s sense of belonging, and member contribution falls off sharply. Consider that the size of a committee should reflect the importance of the vacant position (the
    more important the position, the greater the number of committee members). A minimum of five members is recommended in order to bring diverse perspective to the selection process.
  • Will the hiring manager involve the search chair in selection of the search committee?  At this point in the process, the hiring manager should begin compiling a “short list” of possible names for appointment to the committee.
  • Will an Affirmative Action Associate be invited to speak with the entire committee regarding unconscious cognitive bias and diversity in the search process?
  • Will an Affirmative Action Search Advocate be assigned to work with the search committee throughout the search process?

Search Committee Composition

For the hiring manager, the place to start in committee-building is with the chair. No other person will play as significant a role in the process:  the chair sets the tone and pace of the committee work. Their work commitment will be two or three times that of other committee members.

The chair must be someone the hiring manager trusts. The qualities one wants in a search committee chair are those sought for all committee members, plus a few special qualities:  excellent communication skills, abilities to motivate and keep a group on track, and quick and efficient with paperwork.

Search committee members should be savvy about people – discerners of talent who know and insist upon high-quality work. They must possess sound independent judgment, personal integrity, and the ability to maintain confidentiality. Committees should be diverse in terms of gender and race in order to bring diverse choices and perspectives to the committee work. Each member should possess technical expertise sufficient to make astute comparisons among applicants. Each member should be willing and free enough to assume the committees assignments.

Once the chair is appointed, s/he and the hiring manager can recruit and form the full search committee. Committee members should have interest in the outcome of the search – stakeholders in the success of the appointee. In addition to faculty members, one should consider inviting students, support staff, retirees and constituents within the community that will be working with the person appointed to the position. It is always recommended that an Affirmative Action Advocate participate on the committee as well, and that an Affirmative Action Associate be invited to meet with the search committee at the first committee meeting.

Charging a Search Committee

Search committees should always formally receive their charge (instructions and required outcomes) from the hiring manager BEFORE they begin their work. These would include without any ambiguity, the committee’s task, timeline to conduct the search, the budget, skills, knowledge and abilities of the applicants the hiring manager wants to attract to the applicant pool.

Committee Charge Checklist

Typically, a search charge covers the following essential items, but this list is not exhaustive – there may be other items for the hiring manager to discuss with the search committee. At a minimum, the hiring manager should charge the committee with:

  • Knowing and understanding their assigned roles as outlined above.
  • Knowing and understanding the implications of any placement goals in the job group revealed by the Affirmative Action Plan.
  • Understanding and demonstrating the letter and spirit of affirmative action practices and regulations.
  • Understanding regulations governing record-keeping associated with the search process.
  • Knowing and understanding the importance of the vacant position. Reviewing the DRAFT and assisting with the final completion of the position description.
  • Using appropriate, job-related criteria (based on the qualifications for the position) in the screening process.
  • Knowing and understanding the search timeline. By what date does the hiring manager expect to have someone appointed and working in the position. The hiring manager should lay out a timeline, taking into consideration all of the tasks outlined above that need to be completed throughout the process.
  • Understanding the scope of the search – will it be a local, national, or international search?
  • Creating a search plan that encompasses advertising sources and the committee’s commitment to outreach and networking to spread the word to a wide, diverse, qualified pool of applicants. Search committee members are encouraged to invite qualified applicants to apply for the vacant position.
  • Understanding and demonstrating fair and equitable practices in screening applicants, conducting interviews, and conducting reference checks.
  • Understanding what steps, if any, the hiring manager desires to participate in or be consulted about.
  • Understanding how the committee’s final recommendations are to be brought forward to the hiring manager.   This task varies. Typically, the search committee is asked to provide an unranked list of acceptable finalists with an in-depth assessment of strengths and areas for development. Occasionally, the search committee is instructed to rank candidates for the hiring manager, or even to make a hiring recommendation. The charge should be made very clear that the hiring manager is not bound by the committee’s ranking or recommendations in making his or her selection. It should also be made clear that the hiring manager can reject any recommendations made by the committee if not satisfied with the final candidates. The committee may be instructed to start over if the applicant pool is not acceptable for any reason.
  • Understand which party will conduct reference and credential checks on the finalists. It may be that the search committee members will be requested to conduct these checks before making recommendations to the hiring manager. Or, it may be that the hiring manager wants to conduct these checks. The hiring manager must make sure this assignment is clear to all parties!
  • Understanding the role of a search firm or consultants if they are to be brought into the recruitment process.
  • Maintaining strict confidentiality throughout the search. Names, qualifications, personal demographic information, and how applicants are progressing through the search process should only be discussed among committee members and the hiring manager.
  • Submit all search records, including interview evaluations and other screening materials to the hiring manager when the search process is complete and an appointment accepted.

Search Administrator (Support)

1.   Manages applicant files by:

  1. Communicating with applicants and responding to requests for information.
  2. Ensuring strict confidentiality about applicants: their status in the search and their personal demographic information.

2.   Compiles applicant demographic information and provides reports to the search chair at each stage of the screening process.

3.   Performs other administrative support tasks that may include, but are not limited to placing approved ads and announcements, managing the status of applicants in the online system (including requesting interviews for qualified applicants), scheduling meetings and interviews, and making travel/lodging arrangements.

4.   Maintains strict confidentiality throughout the search process (includes, but not limited to applicants names, qualifications, personal demographic information, and committee discussions regarding applicants).

5.   If instructed by the hiring manager, enters the appropriate position description “action” into the Online PD and Recruiting System at website: http://jobs.oregonstate.edu/hr.

Hiring Manager

1.   Completes a position analysis for a vacant position to determine the essential functions of the position. Selects search committee members with subject matter expertise or experience, diverse perspectives, integrity, independent views, good judgment, strong group skills, open-mindedness, and commitment to the university’s standard of promoting and enhancing diversity. Appoints an Affirmative Action Search Advocate (AASA), as required/needed.

2.   Meets with the full search committee and formally “charges” them with the responsibility to participate in the development of the position (including development of the position description). Identifies the search “timeline” for the committee’s work, and with the committee, collaboratively develops a “search plan” that includes personal outreach to produce a diverse pool of qualified applicants. The hiring official is responsible for describing the vision, priorities, focus, and considerations to be adopted throughout the search process, and for introducing the AAASA to the committee.

3.   Reviews screening results, as needed - especially if there is concern about some aspects of the screening process or lack of diversity in the finalist pool.

4.   Interviews applicants at the end of the campus visit (after the search committee, department representatives, stakeholders in the position, etc.) and answers any questions, and describe the next steps in the search process.

5.   Selects the appointee based on the available information (including application, interview results, reference checks, and the search committee’s written discussion of each applicant’s strengths and weaknesses), or makes a decision to reopen the search.

6.   Unclassified Appointments Only: Negotiates a verbal offer with the proposed appointee, including terms of employment such as salary, start date, start-up package (applies to some academic faculty positions), moving expenses, etc. Secures approval of offer from the Business Center Human Resources Office prior to finalizing the offer and presents the offer to the appointee.

 Hiring managers MUST obtain permission from their Business Center Human Resources Office prior to making any offer of employment for a classified position (including verbal offers).

7.   Announces the appointment, and creates a comprehensive plan to orient the new employee to the university, college, and department/unit.

8.   Maintains strict confidentiality throughout the search process (includes, but not limited to applicants names, qualifications, personal demographic information, and committee discussions regarding applicants).

9.    Gather ALL record related to a search, including committee notes, applicant evaluations, etc.  Retain according to regulations governing record-keeping associated with a search

Search Committee Chair

1. Establishes favorable search practices that will:

  1. Involve the search committee members in active recruitment and personal outreach to a diverse group of potential applicants.
  2. Encourage search committee members to recognize and avoid unintentional bias.
  3. Provide each applicant with full consideration in order to maintain equal opportunity and fairness throughout the process.
  4. Conform to regulations governing record-keeping associated with a search.

2. Directs the affirmative action efforts of the search by:

  1. Working collaboratively with the Affirmative Action Search Advocate if appointed to the search.
  2. Monitoring the demographics of the pool by requesting demographic summary information from the search administrator at each stage of the screening process.
  3. Identifying any groups screened out of the search process at a disproportionate rate, reviewing their applications, and determining when to have the search committee revisit a particular screening stage to evaluate application of criteria that produce such impacts.
  4. Acting affirmatively to advance women, people of color, and qualified veteran applicants at each stage of the screening process, especially to the interview stage, unless there is no reasonable chance for their success.
  5. Increasing good faith affirmative action efforts at every stage of the process when underrepresentation of women and people of color is present. These efforts include, but are not limited to: early review of qualifications and screening criteria, targeted recruiting; personal outreach; inclusive screening; and monitoring outcomes to assess and modify the current course of action, as necessary.

3.   Manages timely communication with applicants, search administrator, the hiring manager, stakeholders, and their Business Center Human Resources Office.

4.   Maintains strict confidentiality throughout the search process (includes, but not limited to applicants names, qualifications, personal demographic information, and committee discussions regarding applicants).

5.   Contacts applicants interviewed, but not selected, to inform them of their status.

6.   Serves as liaison between the search committee and the hiring manager.  Consults with their Business Center Human Resources Office and the Office of Equity & Inclusion, as appropriate.

7.   Calls and chairs committee meetings. Ensures the committee “charge” is carried out.

8.    Collects all documents related to the search, including screening of applications and interviews and forwards them to the hiring manager where they will be maintained for three years from the date of the initial appointment.

Search Committee Member

1.   Makes a commitment to participate in all aspects of the search process by:

  1. Evaluating the position and assisting with the development of the position description (highly recommended).
  2. Participating in active personal outreach to a diverse group of potential applicants.
  3. Recognizing and avoiding unintentional bias throughout the screening process. Provide each applicant full consideration in order to maintain equal opportunity and fairness throughout the search process. Act affirmatively to advance women, people of color, and qualified veteran applicants at each stage of the screening process, especially to the interview stage, unless there is no reasonable chance for their success.
  4. Increasing affirmative inclusionary efforts at every stage of the process when women or people of color are underrepresented in the job group.
  5. Providing a fair and equitable assessment of each applicant’s skills, knowledge and abilities to perform the functions of the job.
  6. Considering whether or not each applicant has “transferable” skills; those that might be used to meet minimum qualifications, in an effort to avoid unnecessary exclusion from further consideration.
  7. Reconsidering applicants who have been screened out of the process, as requested by the search committee chair.
  8. Providing an in-depth evaluation of each finalist’s strengths and weaknesses as part of the recommendation to the hiring manager.
  9. Understand and participate in the agreed upon recruitment activities, strategies, and timelines.
  10. Conform to regulations governing record-keeping associated with a search.

2. Maintains strict confidentiality throughout the search process (includes, but not limited to applicants names, qualifications, personal demographic information, and committee discussions regarding applicants).

Use of Applicant Demographic Information

Applicant demographic information (race/ethnicity, gender, and qualified veteran status is collected in an effort to build and support our affirmative action plan. In order to use this information appropriately, OSU is committed to:

1.   Keeping individual applicant demographic information confidential and separate from applicant files.

2.   Sharing demographic information only with the search committee chair as necessary, to evaluate success of recruitment efforts, and to assess potential exclusionary effect at each stage of the screening process.

Strategic Staffing/Workforce Planning Staff List

Strategic Staffing/Workforce Planning - 122 Kerr | general email
Robbin Sim Robbin Sim Employment Program Manager 541-737-3203
Applicant Helpdesk

For technical assistance email employment@oregonstate.edu

For questions about a specific posting, refer to the “Special Instructions to Applicants” section of the posting for contact information.