Phase 3: The Applicant Pool and Interviewing

The Applicant Pool and Interviewing Overview

Step 5: Review the Applicant Materials

Action

  • Develop rubrics to evaluate submitted applicant materials including the Diversity Statement
  • Review candidate materials in PageUp

 

 

Step 6: Narrow the Applicant Pool

Action

  • Discuss candidates' materials as a search team
  • Determine which candidates the committee would like to interview
  • In PageUp complete reasons for non-selection in the applicant flow log for all applicants that have not been chosen to interview

Requirement

Enter reasons of non-selection for applicants not moving forward in the process.

Step 7: Interviews

Action

Requirement

  • Obtain approval from HR for interview questions
  • Contact HR with the names of candidates to interview before contact is made with the candidate
  • After interviews, enter reasons of non-selection for candidates not moving forward in the process

Step 5: Review the Applicant Materials

It is essential that a search process is conducted in a consistent, confidential, and audit defensible manner. All applicants must be evaluated equally based on job description requirements and there must not be any lobbying for or conversations about specific applicants outside the committee meetings. Responsibilities listed in the 'Essential Duties and Responsibilities' section of a job description must be supported by the required or desired attributes as listed in the job description. The duties can be used to craft interview questions once you are in the interviewing phase of the hiring process. However, applicant non-selection reasons should be determined using the required and/or desirable education/experience/knowledge/skills sections of the job description. All applicants must be reviewed until the day that the first interview takes place. Candidate materials are found in PageUp.

Biases Can Exist in the Evaluation Process

We're all aware that both conscious and unconscious biases can exist in evaluation processes. It is important that we take adequate steps to identify and address bias when we review applicant materials. These biases can arise from many sources and may lead to incorrect assumptions about a candidate. For example, a committee notices that a candidate has a gap in employment and speculates about what occurred during that gap in time. Gaps in employment are not relevant to an applicant meeting the education/knowledge/skills, etc. as listed in the required and/or desired sections of a job description and should not be considered in the evaluation process.

Use Job Description to Develop Criteria for Evaluation

It is a best practice to develop criteria and evaluation material for determining if candidates meet the required and desired qualifications. To do this, committees develop a rubric listing the requirements of the position based on the job description. Using a non-numerical rubric will help the committee avoid ranking the candidates, keep focus on the requirements of the position, and help move the committee to a short list of candidates. A properly constructed evaluation rubric should help with this but won't eliminate biases entirely. "Be open to the possibility that you and your search-committee colleagues are evaluating a candidate's style based on what makes you comfortable rather than what is essential for the job you're seeking to fill. (Vaillancourt 2021)". It is helpful to draft this rubric while developing the job description as it will help the committee fine tune the job description prior to any candidate evaluation.

Evaluation of Diversity Statements

A diversity statement is required as part of the applicant material and it is important to determine ahead of time how the committee will evaluate the statementThe candidate was required to provide this diversity statement: Describe how  your past and/or potential actions support a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion where all members of a campus community can excel. Because these individuals will interact with students/staff/faculty with a wide variety of backgrounds and identities, the baseline expectation is that they are able to do this in an aware and empathetic manner that equitably situates those individuals for success.

Since a number of search committee members may not be familiar with the importance or implications of a diversity statement, this evaluation rubric is intended to help individuals better quantify desirable skills and actions related to diversity and inclusion. The stages (Identify, Apply, Analyze/Relate, Craft) demonstrate increasingly higher orders of thinking about diversity in a framing similar to Bloom’s Taxonomy.

  • Identify: Statement demonstrates awareness of a wide variety of student/staff/faculty identities (e.g. race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion/spirituality, nationality, socioeconomic status, and additional visible/nonvisible attributes).
  • Apply: Statement describes candidate’s experiences analyzing situations and demonstrating awareness of reasons why an individual or group did/does not feel welcome in particular situations.
  • Analyze/Relate: Statement demonstrates prior or planned activities in research, teaching, or service that increase engagement, inclusion, sense of belonging and/or culturally responsive mentorship of diverse individuals. 
  • Design: Statement describes strategic efforts that the candidate has undertaken or plans to undertake to design systems, conditions, or environments within which all students, faculty, and staff can excel. 

It is important to remember in your assessments of diversity statements that the candidate's identified characteristics, (for example race, religion, political viewpoints, gender, disability, etc) should not be considered in these evaluations as they are irrelevant to the task at hand.

For more information regarding this resource, please contact Shari Stockero, Assistant Provost for Faculty Development, at stockero@mtu.edu

Translating Military Skills to Civilian Skills

If you have Veterans in your applicant pool, we encourage search committee members to review the Veteran Hiring page to assist in translating military skills to civilian skills.

Documentation

Remember to document any decisions made about applicants when examining CVs, supporting documentation, or during interviews. All documentation must be turned in to Human Resources after the completion of the search. Use only search evaluation tools for written feedback. Never write anything directly onto a CV, resume, application, etc. For example, if someone on a search committee circled an activity listed on a CV that is related to the applicant's identity, the circled area could be considered in a documentation review as discrimination. See Step 6 for information about documenting reasons for non-selection of an applicant.

Once Interviewing Begins, Applicant Review May End

All positions at Michigan Tech are considered open until filled. However, Human Resources will hold all applications received after interviewing begins so the committee does not need to continue to review applicants. If this option is chosen, the search chair must notify Human Resources and they will code all applications after the date of the first interview as late applications in the system. If any applications that were held by Human Resources are reviewed after interviews began, then all previously held applications must be reviewed.

Step 6: Narrow the Applicant Pool

After reviewing applications, those applicants who are not advancing further (ie: to a phone or virtual interview), must be given a reason for non-selection and disposition code in PageUp, which will remove the candidate from the applicant pool. You can not begin interviewing until this process is completed and reviewed by Equal Opportunity Compliance.

Reasons of Non-Selection and Disposition Codes for Applicants NOT Advancing Further 

The search chair or search administrator must move applicants in the workflow by entering reasons of non-selection for all applicants not advancing further in the process. When moving applicants, you will be required to document reasons of non-selection for applicants based on required and desired qualifications as listed in the job posting. A suggestion is to copy and paste wording directly from the job description required/desired section qualifications into the reasons of non-selection. This helps Equal Opportunity Compliance, and an auditor, easily see which qualification(s) the reason of non-selection is referring to. The Applicant Flow Log (AFL) Disposition Codes webpage has detailed information on this process and acceptable reasons of non-selection.

In addition, the following chart provides examples of reasons of non-selection that were not accepted by the OFCCP auditor during Michigan Tech's last compliance audit.

Unacceptable Reasons Auditors Comments
Did not interview well. Please explain.
Did not meet search criteria. Please explain what each was lacking in comparison to the hire in relation to the advertised criteria.
Lacking demonstrated expertise in required topics. Explain what was lacking.
Citizenship. Why is this a requirement? Please explain how not being a US citizen played in the applicant not being further considered.
Not as strong as top candidate. Please explain how this candidate is weaker when compared to the hire.
Department goals/needs - Rejected background not meeting departments goals. Please explain. If you have specific needs/background, the advertisement should not be generic – advertisement should ask for specific needs.
Considered Finalist/ Still being considered. You still need to give a reason for non-selection.
Research area not a good fit. Explain why.
Poor Communication: If not interviewed and there was no contact. Explain how this was determined.
Written communication skills not as good as candidates interviewed. Explain referencing the application package.

Step 7: Interviews

Once the search committee has identified candidates for phone or on-campus interviews, the importance of showcasing Michigan Tech's values, attributes, and workplace climate becomes extremely important. Most of the new faculty we hire are classified as millennials; 84% of millennials utilize reputation in the decision to stay with their present position or to accept an offer (Kandefer 2017; Kaplan et al. 2016). For women and underrepresented individuals, climate reputation on sites like Glassdoor plays an important role in their decision to apply or accept an offer. Timely and professional communication with all applicants is important for both the current search and future searches by Michigan Tech.

During a phone or virtual interview, maintaining a welcoming environment is just as important as it is for an in person interview. You want the best from the candidate, so set them up to give you their best. One example of this is to introduce yourself using your pronouns and/or list them on your video conference credentials. By sharing your pronouns, you are highlighting inclusion without pressuring others to do so. Another way to do this is to say, “ I’d like everyone to introduce themselves by name. If you would like, you may also share the pronouns you use to identify yourself.” However, you should never insist that someone share this information as there may be several reasons a person is not comfortable sharing their pronouns. If someone chooses not to share, that's ok. It is important to establish a good rapport with your candidates to ensure they choose Michigan Tech just as much as you choose them.

Before Setting up Interviews

Develop interview questions and submit them to Human Resources for approval. All interview questions must be related to the position description and asked consistently to all who are being interviewed. This is a place in the hiring process that could bring in bias once again, so be cognizant of this when developing the interview questions. Also it is time to determine the interview evaluation method for the interview process, which should be similar to evaluation methods used in earlier parts of the search process.

Internal Candidates

The search committee must define when the materials of an internal candidate will be considered so an advantage/disadvantage is not created. The search committee must adhere to the procedures that apply to all candidates for the position. In other words, the internal candidate needs to be treated like any external candidate. The internal candidate should only have contact with the search committee chair, except during an interview. The internal candidate cannot be part of discussions from which external candidates are excluded and applicant information for the impending hire must not be shared with an internal candidate.

Internal candidates must stay out of the interview process of external candidates, even if there are public presentations. Normally an external candidate is unable to attend the public presentation of an internal candidate, therefore the internal candidate should not attend the public presentation of an external candidate. It can be perceived as an unfair advantage if an internal candidate attends the presentation of an external candidate.

If an internal candidate is not selected for an interview, they must not be a part of the departmental deliberation process. However, it is good practice to alert the internal candidate once they are no longer under consideration for the position. 

Interview Documentation

During the interview process, take only job related notes that support reasons for hire and non-hire documentation. No opinions about candidates should be written and refrain from physical descriptions (e.g. clothing, age, color, height, accent, etc.).  All notes and e-mails can be viewed via a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request. Notes are turned in to HR and kept with the hiring packet. 

The committee will be required to provide reasons of non-selection for candidates who were not hired. These reasons should be related to the "Requirements and the Desirables" of the position description. If Equal Opportunity Compliance finds the reason to be too general, the applicant will be sent back in the workflow with an email request for more information.

Phone or Video Conference Interviews

Face-to-face interactions allow for more fluid communication. Don't shy away from using Zoom, Google Meet, or a similar video conferencing software for your interviews. If the committee would like to record the interview, candidates must agree to be recorded, without pressure, and will need to know how the recording will be used. Also recording must be equally applied to all interviews.

Prior to starting the Phone or Video Conference Interview, make sure that all members of the search committee are familiar with what constitutes an inappropriate inquiry.

Determine Who to Invite to an Initial Interview

Refrain from asking committee members to rank candidates to avoid bias effects. Move the top candidates to the short list for campus interviews as a result of discussion of each of the candidates.

When scheduling interviews, committees should attempt to contact applicants at least two times before removing them from consideration. Please document how many attempts were made to contact an applicant and what method of communication was used. In a compliance audit, the OFCCP would expect to see that applicants were given ample opportunity to respond.

Preparing for Interviews

Throughout the search process, information about the candidates must remain confidential unless they explicitly grant permission to make it public. This includes posting seminar flyers on blogs, websites, etc.

Contact your Human Resources (HR) employment representative with the names of the applicants you would like to invite for a final (typically on-campus) interview. This must be done before you invite the applicant for a campus visit.

If the vitae/resume is for an individual with international education or employment, or another significant international indication, HR will forward a copy of the CV to the Senior Research Security Specialist (SRSS) with a request for review. This is being done in support of the University's efforts to comply with the University's Research Security and International Collaboration Policy. If there are no notable concerns for proceeding with the interview, the SRSS will inform HR that the process may proceed. In the event that concerns exist, the SRSS will confer with the Vice President of Research and/or the General Counsel (both of whom currently hold clearances) and a decision will be made regarding the next steps. HR will communicate to the search committee chair if candidate(s) can continue to be considered for the position. Candidate(s) removed from this pool will be disqualified by HR based on the internal review.

Searches that proceed to the final interview stage without prior approval by HR will be considered to have failed and will have to be re-posted.

Candidate Guests

Let the candidate know they are invited to bring a guest. If they choose to bring a guest, contact the Partner Engagement Program at provost@mtu.edu or 906-487-2440. 

Be sure to offer each candidate the ability to request disability accommodations for the interview, as well as providing campus information on things such as benefits, childcare, etc. This ensures that all candidates receive important information without having to ask questions about circumstances they may want to keep private. If a candidate mentions the need for an accommodation due to a disability please contact your HR Employment Rep, in a timely manner, for assistance.

It is important to remember that when candidates are visiting, there should be no overlap between the schedule of the candidate and the guest. Prior to the start of the campus visit, ensure that all members of the search committee and others who interact with the candidate (ex: graduate students, staff) are familiar with what constitutes an inappropriate inquiry.

On-Campus Interview

During this phase, candidates are evaluating your department and the campus as much as you are evaluating them. Give the candidate a chance to meet a diverse group of people (including graduate students and anyone on campus they may wish to meet) and provide a thoughtful introduction for seminars. Make sure individuals and groups meeting with the candidate have a base level of understanding of what constitutes an inappropriate inquiry. Helping the candidate feel welcome can elicit their best performance. Again, it is important to remember that information about the candidates must remain confidential unless they explicitly grant permission to make it public. To collect feedback about the candidate during an on-campus interview, it is permissible to use Google Forms provided the responses are stored in a confidential location.

Communications

Applicants should receive timely communication from the search committee via phone, email, or written letters. When communicating internally, keep in mind that candidate confidentiality is paramount. Communications shared with your unit regarding seminars should only include information that the candidate has approved making public. Here are some communications examples provided by ADVANCE.

Resources a Candidate Needs To Be Successful

Startup packages can assist a new faculty member in recruiting graduate students and getting their research program up and running. At Michigan Tech there are certain restrictions on what can and cannot be included in a startup package. Michigan Tech Startup Guidelines and Formsprovided ideas to ensure that you offer start up packages equitably.

Committee Recommends a List of Candidates

Once all interviews are completed, discussion among committee members can occur to determine the top candidates who will be recommended to the Chair or Dean for hire. Once again, don't ask each committee member to prioritize the list as this can induce an anchoring or focusing effect. Let the prioritized lists arise as a result of discussion of each of the candidates.

Resources