Confidentiality preserves the integrity of the selection process and protects the privacy of the candidates. All members of a search committee, including students and individuals outside the department or school, have access to confidential search information on a “need to know” basis. All members of the search committee with access to search records are ethically bound to the utmost level of confidentiality. Specifics of the committee deliberations should not be discussed with anyone outside the search committee, with the exception of the department chair, dean of the school, or the Office for Faculty Equity & Welfare. The requirement for confidentiality extends to all aspects of the search, including written and verbal communications. Discourage discussions about candidates that do not focus on the established criteria for the position. Demographic characteristics, family status, spousal/partner issues, or other non-job related information or rumors should not enter into deliberations about the candidates.

Guidelines for applicant evaluation

  • Review the written materials submitted for each candidate who meets the minimum qualifications, ensuring that sufficient time is spent on the initial review of each application to provide a thorough assessment. Rushing or spending too little time can increase the influence of unconscious bias.

  • Each candidate’s file should be reviewed by more than one search committee member.

  • Evaluate each candidate’s entire application using established selection criteria; don’t depend too heavily on only one element.

  • Be careful not to subject women or minority candidates to different expectations. The work, ideas, and findings of women or minorities may be undervalued or unfairly attributed to a research director or collaborators despite contrary evidence in publications or letters of reference.

  • Be careful not to make assumptions about possible family responsibilities and their effect on the candidate’s career path that would negatively influence evaluation of a candidate’s merit, despite evidence of productivity. Considerations of potential spouse/partner hiring needs should not be taken into account when evaluating the candidate.

  • A candidate may be selected for his/her track record in diversity‐related research or working with diverse students, but State law prohibits use of characteristics of the individual (e.g., race, sex, color, ethnicity, disability, veteran status, or national origin) as a basis for selection. This constitutes preferential treatment.

  • Candidates should not be selected based on University/college/graduate advisor’s reputation. This is hard to justify as job‐related, and it may discriminate by race or gender.

  • The search committee should not rank the finalists too early in the process; instead summarize the strengths, weaknesses, and likely contributions to the department or school and the campus for each candidate.

  • The search committee should consider creating several ranking lists for the top candidates, with each list focused on one particular criterion. This allows the department or school to understand their priorities and contemplate several different “top choice” options.

  • Consider creating a “medium” list prior to the creation of the short list to evaluate whether there are women or minority candidates on it. If there are not, consider intensifying the search before choosing the short list.

Provide disposition reasons for applicants who will not move forward for serious consideration

Applicants who are reviewed and determined not to merit serious consideration or a campus visit should have at least one disposition reason assessed to them at that time (refer to section on disposition reasons for more information).

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