Phase 1: Preparation

Step 1: Position Authorization and Search Committee Approval

Action

Requirement

Staff Position Authorization Form

Submit search committee member names to Equal Opportunity Compliance for review

Confidentiality Statement

 

Step 2: Writing the Job Description and Developing the Applicant Screening Rubric

Action

Requirement

Staff Posting Worksheet

Job Description and Scoring Rubric Approval

Step 1: Position Authorization and Search Committee Review

In this step, the department completes the Staff Position Authorization Form. The Staff Position Authorization Form is used to gain approval to post the position and hire the employee. After appropriate signatures are obtained, the department sends the form to Human Resources (HR) for review.

If this is a hiring process for Deans or Department Chairs, the search committee must integrate both the HR Staff Hiring Steps and the University Senate procedures. You can find the University Senate search procedures in Section 800.

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

If a Department is considering the use of a third party recruiter/search firm for particularly hard to fill positions, keep in mind that HR must be contacted to initiate this process. They will assist you with suggestions for third party recruiter/search firms and will be part of the process to complete the required contract.  Third party recruiter/search firms must follow Equal Employment Opportunity laws and practices, treat all applicants equally in all steps of the search, and confirm this practice in the contract.

Select a Search Chair

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.

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. This facilitates a strong non-biased hiring process that aligns with Equal Opportunity Employer requirements.

Once the search committee members have been determined, send the names of the committee members to your Employment Services Representative in Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Compliance (eocompliance@mtu.edu) for review.

Once received, Human Resources and Equal Opportunity Compliance will confirm that the Staff Hiring Process Training Program and/or the Staff Legal Aspects Review Course have been completed by all committee members. Equal Opportunity Compliance will review the search committee diversity balance.

Training

As mentioned in the introduction, Michigan Tech requires that all search committee members complete the Staff Hiring Process Training Program. This training must be completed every four years. It is the department's responsibility to ensure that search committee members have completed this training. To check completion status, please visit the Staff Search Committee Training page

Additionally, the Legal Aspects Review for Search Committees course must be completed each time a staff member serves on a search committee, but not more than annually. EOC will check if this training has been completed by all committee members when the names are submitted to HR and EOC. EOC will assign the Canvas course to any committee member that has not completed this annual requirement. 

If you choose to have a student on your search committee, EOC and HR ask that they complete the Legal Aspects Review for Search Committees training. To request this training for student search committee members contact EOC at eocompliance@mtu.edu.  This applies to students serving on search committees for the entirety of the search but does not apply to students who are only participating in candidate interviews.

Confidentiality

To protect the integrity of the search and the privacy of all applicants, search committee members, including if applicable students, Equity Advisor, the department coordinator, and anyone else that has access to PageUp or search committee materials, are required to maintain 100% confidentiality during and after the search.

Information learned from the search must not be discussed with anyone outside of the search committee (e.g., in departmental meetings, emails, hallway conversations, and during conversations with applicants). This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Applicant names
  • How many applicants have applied 
  • Information learned about applicant(s) 
  • All discussions among committee members, including during campus interview processes
  • Any type of recommendation made for hiring or not hiring of applicants

When a committee member has participated in a previous search, applicant information cannot be shared between searches. 

Members who disclose information are at risk of involving themselves and/or the university in a federal agency complaint and/or a lawsuit. 

Any breach in confidentiality must be reported to Human Resources.

An appropriate response to questions from individual applicants or the public about any aspect of the selection process should be: Selection is a confidential process and therefore I am unable to respond to your question or the recruitment process is treated with confidentiality, so it would be inappropriate for me to answer your question.

Applicants may inquire about the status of their application packet. If this occurs, refer them to HR since HR is able to respond to the applicants questions and review the reason for non-selection based on the information that has been recorded in PageUp. 

Confidentiality Statement 

  • It is the responsibility of the Search Chair to share the Confidentiality Statementat the beginning of the process, before the committee discusses job criteria, drafts interview questions, reviews applications and/or resumes, or begins any work.
  • Failure to share this statement may result in cancellation of the search.
  • Search Committee members, including if applicable students, Equity Advisor, department coordinator, and anyone else that has access to PageUp, must sign the statement and the Search Chair must return it to Human Resources.

Confidentiality Requirements for Dean and Department Chair Searches

All information learned from the search is confidential and must not be discussed outside of the search committee. When a candidate has made it to the short list, information on the candidate will be made available to all department faculty and staff following Senate Search Procedures.

Conflict of Interest

Having personal knowledge of an individual who has applied for a position at Michigan Tech is actually quite common, especially if the committee has done an excellent job of networking. Due to this, if any search committee member knows an applicant or has any Conflict of Interest, this must be disclosed to the search chair and/or Human Resources. If a search committee member knows an applicant they should recuse themselves in all evaluations of that applicant. This removes potential bias and gives all applicants an equal opportunity to be evaluated fairly. 

Supervisor/Dean/Department Chair Involvement

The supervisor, Dean, or Chair of the department will 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 the committee's role 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. The Dean and/or Department 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. 

Equity Advisor for a Dean and Director Search

Dean and Director searches will have an Equity Advisor assigned to the search committee. An Equity Advisor is:

  • A faculty or staff 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.

Step 2: Writing the Job Description and Developing the Applicant Screening Rubric

The next step is to draft a job description. You will need to spend quality time on this step. A well developed and concise position description is vital to successful recruitment and hiring. The language in the position description can easily encourage or discourage candidates from applying and it is the basis of applicant evaluation. All applicants must be evaluated equally based on required and desired qualifications as noted in the job description.

The hiring department will develop an initial draft of the job description then share it with all search committee members for comments and input.

Also, the committee will develop an applicant screening rubric that specifically includes the job description requirements. Developing this rubric at this stage of the process is invaluable to ensure that the committee will be able to evaluate applicants based on the required and desired qualifications.

Here’s how you do this:

Job description: Download a copy of the Staff Posting Worksheet. You can use a past copy of a job description as a starting point, but it is best to use a fresh copy of this posting worksheet. The requirements for job descriptions do change so it is best to catch these changes at the start. First, the Essential Duties and Responsibilities section will be developed which will be listed at the top part of the job description. Be as clear, accurate, and inclusive as possible. Applicants should be able to fully understand what the job entails and what will be expected of them in the position.

Next, you will determine the minimum required Education, Experience, and Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities using the Essential Duties and Responsibilities. The requirements must be appropriate, realistic, and reasonable. Minimum required qualifications are located below the Essential Duties and Responsibilities section in the job description. Remember that all applicants will be evaluated according to the minimum requirements listed and in order for an applicant to move forward to the interview stage they MUST meet all requirements of the position. It is a best practice to include at least two requirements.

Then, you will also identify desirable education, experiences, knowledge, skills, and abilities which will assist with the additional items for screening of applicants. Desirable qualifications are helpful for the applicant to possess, but could also be gained while working in the job. Four to six desirable qualifications are typically expected.

All job descriptions should have this statement in the Desirable Knowledge, Skills, and/or Abilities section:

  • Demonstrated success in, or potential future contributions to, working with persons from diverse backgrounds, creating a sense of belonging, and fostering a fair, objective, welcoming place to work for persons with a wide variety of personal characteristics and viewpoints.

A few tips for you:

  • The job announcement/posting/advertising does have requirements so please see Staff Hiring Process Phase 2 Step 3. This may help you in your job description development.
  • Keep in mind that you'll get a much better applicant pool if you define the job requirements as broadly as possible.
  • When establishing 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.
  • 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 campus collaboration and commitment to inclusion and a sense of belonging to attract applicants.

Use the following forms to assist in the development of your job description:

Applicant Screening Rubric: Now you will create the applicant screening rubric. This is an easy process since you are essentially moving the required and desired list points from the job description into a rubric format. See the samples provided below. A properly constructed rubric should help with but won't eliminate biases entirely. 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 list of candidates for the interview phases. 

"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)". 

Once you have developed the rubric, complete a mock applicant review to test if the job description and rubric are adequately and fairly enabling the committee to screen a candidate for the actual position you are seeking to fill. 

Here are two sample rubrics to assist you in this process. 

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 copying your draft texts into a gender decoder to assess bias in position descriptions and ads.

Submit the Job Description

Once the position description has been drafted, reviewed by the committee, revised, and finalized, re-read it once more to make sure that the description does not unintentionally exclude certain groups (e.g. women and minorities). Along with the rubric you have created, submit both of these documents to Human Resources for review.  Once approved by HR they will let you know you can move to the next step. Please note that this will be the job description for the position you hire. During the search process, you can not negotiate items such as titles, level, flex-time, or remote work options with candidates that are not included in the job description, as it fundamentally changes the position.

Please contact your Human Resources Employment Services Representative or Equal Opportunity Compliance, eocompliance@mtu.edu, if you have any questions.

Resources