Phase 1: Preparation

Preparation Overview

Step 1: Position Authorization and Search Committee Approval


Step 2: Writing the Job Description



Complete Faculty Posting Worksheet

Job Description Approval

Step 1: Position Authorization and Search Committee Approval

In this step, the department completes the Position Authorization Form I and Search Committee Approval Form II-A. After appropriate signatures are obtained, the department sends the forms to Human Resources (HR) for review.

  • The Position Authorization Form is used to gain approval to post the position and hire the employee.
  • The Search Committee Approval Form II-A documents the search committee member names and acknowledges they have completed Faculty Legal Aspects and the Diversity Literacy Online Workshop (DLOW).

For information on hiring Postdoctoral Scholars, please visit the Graduate School Guidelines for Hiring Postdoctoral Scholars.

Form a Diverse Committee

To facilitate a strong hiring process that aligns with institutional goals, an earnest effort should be made to ensure that underrepresented individuals have an equal opportunity to serve on search committees. Having diverse perspectives on a search committee means that various identities and thoughts will be represented. It also enables committees to move away from affinity bias and groupthink.

As a best practice, a search committee should consist of a minimum of three members. It is recommended that at least one member is from outside the reporting structure of the hiring department. If the search plan is to have a larger committee, then additional external department search committee members should be considered. 

The Department Chair, Dean, or designated individual will determine the search committee membership, complete the top part of the Search Committee Approval Form II-A, and then send it to Human Resources. A best practice is to send it along with the Position Authorization Form (Form 1).  

Once received, Human Resources will confirm that the Diversity Literacy Online Workshop and Faculty Legal Aspects have been completed by all committee members. Equal Opportunity Compliance will review the search committee diversity balance.

Form II-A will then be sent to the Dean for review. By signing Form II-A, the Dean is verifying a diverse and trained search committee. The Provost then gives the final approval of the search committee.

Select a Search Chair and their Role

The Search Committee Chair plays an important role. The chair leads the committee in the recruitment and selection of quality candidates and is also responsible for maintaining a consistent, confidential, and defensively compliant search. This means making sure all committee members follow the Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Compliance procedures, moving all applicants in the employment hiring system (PageUp) system, and submitting paperwork and recordkeeping documents to Human Resources. The Search Chair also plays a large role in creating a meeting environment where all committee members are empowered to participate, as well as acts as a watchdog to ensure elimination of bias in all hiring steps.

All inquiries and requests from candidates must be referred to the chair of the search committee only.

Confidentiality Statement Signed

To protect the privacy of all applicants and the integrity of the search, search committee members, including students, are required to maintain confidentiality during and after the search. Any breach in confidentiality must be reported to the search chair or Human Resources.

  • It is the responsibility of the Search Chair to read the Confidentiality Statement to the entire committee at the beginning of the process, before the committee discusses criteria, drafts interview questions, reviews applications and/or resumes, or begins any work.
  • Failure to read this statement may result in cancellation of the search.
  • Search Committee members then must sign the statement and the Search Chair must return it to Human Resources.

Conflict of Interest

Please note that if any search committee member knows an applicant or has any Conflict of Interest, this must be disclosed to the search chair.

Form Approval Process

After review of Form I, by Human Resources, and Form II-A, by Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Compliance, the forms are provided to the Provost for approval. The forms are then returned to Human Resources and the department is notified of the approval.

Equity Advisor

An Equity Advisor will be assigned to the search committee. An Equity Advisor is:

  • A faculty member external to the hiring department who will provide helpful advice to the search committee to assist in making sure that diversity and equity remain at the forefront of every step in the search process.
  • Ensures federal/state/university employment laws/policies are followed.

Dean and/or Chair Involvement

The Dean and/or Chair of the department have administrative oversight for hiring so they will be involved at various points of the search process, for example in writing the job description. They should give guidance on what the committee's role will be in the search and how they plan to be involved. For example, they may ask the committee to provide 2-3 applicants that are recommended for hire in a non-ranked format. However, the Dean and/or Chair should not serve on search committees, nor should they sit in on committee meetings or have access to candidate materials until candidates are invited to campus. This ensures that a power imbalance does not influence the process.   


As mentioned in the introduction, Michigan Tech requires that all search committee members complete the Diversity Literacy Online Workshop (DLOW) and Faculty Legal Aspects training. It is the department's responsibility to ensure that search committee members have completed this training. To check completion status, please visit the DLOW Status page (SSO login required). If a committee member does not have a current status, they will need to take either the DLOW full course or the DLOW refresher course, if the full course was taken less than 4 years ago.

Diversity Literacy Online Workshop Registration

Additionally, completion of the Legal Aspects Review for Faculty Search Committees course is required annually. It will be assigned automatically upon joining a search committee.

Step 2: Writing the Job Description

The next step is to draft a job description that includes a clear position description and the minimum required Education, Experience, and Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities. Additional desirable Education, Experience, and Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities may also be identified. A well developed position description is vital to successful recruitment and hiring for many reasons. We can't hire the best candidate if they don't apply. This is important to keep in mind while drafting the position description. The job description can easily encourage or discourage candidates from applying. Also, a well written, succinct position description is very important because all applicants must be evaluated equally based on required and desired qualification, as noted in the job description. 

Use the Faculty Posting Worksheet to create the job description. It is a best practice for the department to develop an initial draft of the job description. This draft is then shared with all search committee members for comments and input. It is also a good idea to develop the evaluation rubrics for applicant screening and interviews using the initial job description. This process is invaluable in evaluating the usability of the job description for evaluation of applicants. See Step 5 for evaluation information.

If you include a statement regarding a full consideration date in your job posting/description, applications submitted after said date should not be reviewed by the committee until those submitted on or before that date are fully considered and moved appropriately in the workflow (i.e. Turndown or Withdrawn). As there are varying options for "full consideration" language, please contact your HR employment rep for further clarification and guidance.

Establish Job Requirements

It is important to be clear when adding Essential Duties and Responsibilities, which are listed at the top of the job description. Applicants should be able to understand what the job entails and what will be expected of them in that position. Also keep in mind that you'll get a much better applicant pool if you define the job requirements as broadly as possible. Minimum “required” qualifications and “desirable” qualifications are located below the Essential Duties and Responsibilities.

For example, when establishing the essential duties and responsibilities and the required and desired qualifications, steer clear of focusing on subfields which can easily exclude potential applicants. Setting requirements too high may exclude applicants based on qualifications that are not necessary to perform the job, which may create disparate impact resulting in discrimination against applicants. Setting requirements too narrow may limit your applicant pool and you may miss out on a well-qualified applicant.  It is a great idea to include opportunities for interdisciplinary scholarship and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging  to attract applicants. 

All applicants will be evaluated according to the minimum requirements established. The requirements must be appropriate, realistic, and reasonable. You will identify minimum requirements in the areas of education, experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. You will also identify desirable education, experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities.  These will assist the secondary evaluation of applicants. A minimum of one requirement, along with four to six desirable qualifications, is expected. It is a best practice to include at least two requirements.

Beware of Gendered Language

When writing your job description, be aware of the use of gendered language. Using language that is inadvertently gendered may drive away candidates who feel excluded by certain words, even though they're highly competitive. We recommend reading Job Advertisements That Use Masculine Wording Are Less Appealing to Womenfrom Harvard University before drafting your position description. We also recommend copying your draft texts into a gender decoder to assess bias in position descriptions and ads.

Diversity Statement

Dean, Department Chair, tenure-track and instructional-track applicants must submit a diversity statement that describes how their past and/or potential actions support a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and sense of belonging where all members of a campus community can excel. 

By providing a diversity statement, the applicant is provided with an opportunity to discuss their contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion.  As with the other application materials, it is important to determine ahead of time how you will evaluate a diversity statement in order to reduce the influence of unconscious biases. See Step 5 for evaluation information.

In order to recruit scholars who have demonstrated structural DEIS practices and commitment to DEIS in their scholarship, research, and pedagogy you may also include a requirement in the position description such as "demonstrated experiences that would contribute to a diversity of viewpoints. e.g., workforce sector, social, cultural, and educational backgrounds, and professional affiliations."

DEIS Position Description Language and/or Job Advertisements Examples

Here are some examples that may assist in developing DEIS position description language and/or job advertisements from National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institute for Health (NIH) and The National Academies.


  • Preparing a diverse, globally engaged science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce;
  • Integrating research with education, and building capacity;
  • Expanding efforts to broaden participation from underrepresented groups and diverse institutions across all geographical regions in all NSF activities; and
  • Improving processes to recruit and select highly qualified reviewers and panelists.


At the NIH, diversity is our lifeblood. To maintain our relevance as the nation's premier biomedical research enterprise, the NIH Office of Intramural Research (OIR) incorporates inclusive excellence into all its policies, practices, procedures, and operations. Our goal is to cultivate a workforce that better reflects the diversity of the U.S. population itself in order to most efficiently pursue the NIH mission of enhancing health, lengthening life, and reducing illness and disability.

How do you define inclusive excellence? For the OIR, inclusive excellence means:

  • Creating and fostering an environment in which all talented individuals are allowed to contribute;
  • Defining what it means to be qualified in such a way that all persons with potential value to the mission are given full consideration for opportunities;
  • Leaving no stone unturned to identify individuals and communities who can contribute to the mission; and
  • Considering who has the potential to make the greatest long-term contribution to the NIH mission, rather than only focusing on projected short-term productivity.

The National Academies

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine value diversity in our members, volunteers, and staff and strive for a culture of inclusion in our workplace and activities. Convening a diverse community to exchange ideas and perspectives enhances the quality of our work and increases our relevance as advisers to the nation about the most complex issues facing the nation and the world.

To promote diversity and inclusion in the sciences, engineering, and medicine, we are committed to increasing the diversity of the National Academies' staff, members, and volunteers to reflect the populations we serve. We pledge to cultivate an environment and culture that promotes inclusion and values respectful participation of all individuals who help advance the mission of the institution.

Submit the Job Description

Once the position description has been drafted, reviewed by the committee, revised, and finalized, re-read it to make sure that the description does not unintentionally exclude certain groups (e.g. women and minorities), then send it to Human Resources for review.