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At the screening stage, the role of the search committee is to evaluate applicant’s qualifications and to subject them to intense scrutiny to determine which applicants are the most qualified for the position.
Once applicants begin to apply for a position, the search committee members can begin reviewing the applicant pool to determine if the recruitment resulted in a sufficient number of qualified applicants for consideration, and if the pool is sufficiently diverse. If not, the search committee should confer with the hiring manager to determine the next steps in extending the search process and engaging in more additional focused recruiting.
If the search committee determines that the applicant pool is acceptable, they proceed with the screening process. The screening process begins with the analysis of materials sent in response to the job posting. This analysis is undertaken to ensure that applicants have all of the qualifications specified in the job posting.
Special note: Applicants have the option to upload application materials to the OSU Online Recruiting System or paste information into a text field; the system only accepts PDF (.pdf), Rich Text (.rtf), Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx) and Text (.txt) documents. PDFs are the system’s preference. If a document is not a PDF at the upload stage, the system converts them to PDF.
The result of pasting information into the text field or the system conversion from one format to a PDF may result in special characters like bullets or hyphens being converted to question marks, and other formatting issues. Please see the examples below.
It is important to remember that applicant qualifications, rather than document format, should be the focus of the application review. If document format raises questions about computer expertise or attention to detail, it is appropriate to explore those questions during the interview or reference check process.
Important Reminder: Application materials may include protected or sensitive information such as Social Security Numbers, Driver's License Numbers or the applicant's Date of Birth. We have asked that applicants redact this information before submitting a document, but in the event that protected or sensitive information is visible, it is CRITICAL that this information is not shared outside of the search committee or considered in evaluating candidates and IF PRINTED, this protected information be redacted before reviewing as a committee.
To increase the fairness of the screening process, each committee member should screen each application. If the pool is too large, the chair can consider dividing the search committee into sub-groups (of 2-3), giving a portion of the applications to each sub-group to evaluate for the initial screening.
Grouping of applicants is useful at every stage of the screening process. Ranking of applicants is not advised, and particularly not during the initial stages of screening. During this initial screening, each committee member should simply indicate whether each applicant is minimally qualified, and therefore should receive further consideration.
A screening checklist can help the search committee quickly verify each applicant’s possession of required and preferred qualifications:
Search committee members are encouraged to separate applicants into categories, such as unqualified or unacceptable applicants, qualified applicants, and highly qualified applicants.
At each stage of screening, the search chair considers whether members of these groups are being screened out at a rate that is disproportionate to their representation in the pool currently under consideration. After the initial review of the qualifications of each applicant and the determination by the search committee of the qualified applicant pool, the chair reviews the resulting applicant pool with the search committee to evaluate how women, people of color, and veteran applicants have fared in the screening for the qualified pool. If appropriate, the search chair may ask the committee to re-evaluate the screening process for unintentional bias or overly narrow interpretation of the criteria.
The search committee then selects the applicants they would like to consider further for an interview. The chair again reviews this list of applicants with the search committee to evaluate how women, people of color, and veteran applicants have fared in the screening. After revisiting criteria that may need refinement and/or applicants that may merit additional consideration, the chair must provide the search administrator with job-related screening reasons for each applicant the committee has decided not to invite for an interview.
Oregon law requires that all qualified veterans advance to the first round of interview and receive a preference at each remaining stage of the search and hiring process. Veterans often face detrimental stereotypes, and may lack experience applying for jobs because of their time in the military. Search committees and veterans alike may struggle with translating between civilian and military workforce terminology. Oregon State University has implemented the following procedure to assist search committees to be compliant with Oregon law and OSU policy, and to support veteran applicants.
For questions about how to give special consideration, the hiring unit may consult with a representative from their Business Center HR office or from the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access.
If the search committee decides to check professional references for the top tier group of applicants at this stage of the screening process, hiring officials are encouraged to talk with former supervisors and professional associates in order to obtain specific information about the applicant’s experience and qualifications in previous positions. Degrees, professional licenses and credentials should be checked before an offer of employment is extended to an applicant. Completing these checks at this stage of the review process is also optional. Search committee members can use the National Clearinghouse at http://www.degreeverify.com to verify degrees.
IMPORTANT: Contact candidates before contacting professional references: Before contacting any references, contact the candidates to let them know (1) where you are in the screening process and (2) that you are about to begin contacting their references. Some candidates may not yet have informed their employers that they have applied for another position. Be responsive if a candidate objects to having their references contacted, and try to address any concerns they may have.
Screening reasons provided must be accurate and specific to EACH applicant. The Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs audits OSU’s recruitments and selections, and they conduct an in-depth review of the screening reasons provided for each applicant screened out of the recruitment process at EACH STEP OF THE PROCESS. Search committee chairs will be required to provide detailed documentation for each applicant screened out of any step of the process; therefore it is critical that detailed, accurate screening reasons for all applicants be maintained with the search records. Hand-written notes created by search committee members are auditable, and should be maintained by the department – in the recruitment file - for a period of three years from the date an appointment is made.