Non-Senate Search Guide: Creating the Search Plan



Formatting the title correctly is important for maintaining consistency when UC Berkeley’s job postings are “scraped” automatically from AP Recruit and posted to other online locations. Use the following format:

“Job Title – Area of specialization if applicable – Department/school/college.”

For example:

  • Lecturer Pool – Composition – College Writing Programs
  • Lecturer – Nuclear Engineering – College of Engineering
  • Academic Coordinator II – Executive Director – Henry Wheeler Center for Emerging and Neglected Diseases
  • Postdoctoral Scholar – Semiconductor Nanocrystals – Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Assistant Project Scientist – Center for Effective Global Action


Open date: The date the search is published and live

Initial review date: The first date of review (minimum of 15 days from the open date); qualified applicants who complete by this date are guaranteed consideration

Additional review dates: Additional deadlines (added by the analyst) to consider additional applicants, typically 1 - 2 weeks apart

Review window: Period of time between review dates

Final date: The last day individuals can apply for the position

Note: when OFEW approves the search plan, the open date is set to the date of search plan approval, the initial review date (IRD) is set to 15 days after the open date, and the advertisement is published immediately. We will not update lecturer pool open dates if they are in the future.

Search committees have the option to add later additional review dates as needed to extend the application period and review additional applicants.


Salary range

Please direct questions to the Academic Personnel Office.

Anticipated Start

Please note that this field cannot be edited after search plan approval. For a variety of reasons, many searches cannot accurately predict a start date at the outset of the search, so we recommend only using this field if the start date is fixed and/or critical to advertise. Otherwise, search committees can leave this field blank and work with finalists to determine appropriate start dates at a later stage of the search process. If necessary, we recommend using language that is less specific than a particular date, for example: 

  • “As soon as May 2022. Exact start date negotiable.”

  • “Fall 2023”

  • For lecturer pools: "Positions usually start in January, various times throughout the summer and August"

Review Timeline

This field is intended for lecturer pool recruitments that need to communicate planned review timelines at the outset of searches so applicants know when to apply for consideration for specific semesters (e.g., “Applications are typically reviewed for summer session course needs in April, fall course needs in May, and in November for spring course needs.”)

Please note this field should not be used to communicate internal hiring processes/timelines (for example, do not include statements such as “the search committee will begin reviewing applications after the initial review date,” etc.). Any information put in this field will be displayed in the public job advertisement, so it should only be used for the intended purpose stated above.

Percent time

If an exact percent time, or range, is provided in the search plan, the job offer must be within 25% of the posted percent time or range.


Position description

The position description should include only the job duties and responsibilities, additional information about the department/unit or campus, and relevant department/unit information related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. Do not include any information that has a designated field in AP Recruit (e.g., qualifications, requirements, apply link, help contact email address, deadline dates, etc.) in the position description.



All recruitments that use letters of reference should set the reference type in AP Recruit to “contact information only.” Exceptions may be granted on a case by case basis for hiring units with specific needs for reviewing letters of reference of all applicants (please contact OFEW if needed). 

Setting up references as “contact information only” allows the search committee to request letters of reference from select applicants at a later stage in the search (e.g., requesting letters for only longlisted or shortlisted candidates).

Requiring letters of recommendation for all applicants at the outset of the search can be problematic for the following reasons:

  • Some candidates, particularly those who are more vulnerable such as current assistant professors, women, or individuals from minoritized groups, may choose not to apply to the position if they must reveal the fact that they are seeking employment. This is typically less of a concern if a candidate knows they are being seriously considered for the position. 

  • Search committee reviewers can be prematurely influenced by the assessment of an outside individual before making their own independent evaluation of the candidates’ qualifications. Letters of references can suffer from biased language, particularly for women and candidates of color. Some candidates can also be advantaged or disadvantaged by signaling of prestige or “pedigree.”  

  • In most searches a significant proportion of the applicant pool is not competitive for a position at Berkeley. For those candidates, letters of reference are not useful, and instead become a large source of unnecessary labor for many faculty letter writers. In searches with hundreds of applicants this can equate to thousands of letter writers submitting letters that will not be carefully read or support the hire of their advisee or collaborator.  

Please note that for searches set up with the “contact information only” reference requirement, the search committee is not obligated to contact the referees. However, if letters are requested of one candidate at a given stage, they should be requested of all candidates at that stage. Applicants should not be deselected for lacking letters of reference unless a deadline for a specified required number of letters is provided to the applicants, and the search committee deems letters particularly critical. Analysts can send email reminders to applicants and referees regarding missing letters of reference and re-request letters in the system. Applicants can also re-request letters of reference from their referees, even after the final application deadline.  Applicant requests to swap out referees after the deadline should be granted.


Set up the document requirements in AP Recruit to indicate which documents individuals must submit to be considered for the job, and which (if any) are optional. Notice that the system automatically includes a Curriculum Vitae as a default requirement; other listed choices are optional. All the default document requirements can be edited and deleted.

Provide a unique upload slot for each document. For example, if three publications are required, there should be three slots with labels such as Publication One, Publication Two, and Publication Three, rather than as “Three Publications.” Beware of requiring more information than is considered necessary to adequately evaluate the candidates adequately; an applicant with an incomplete application cannot be reviewed or hired for the position. Carefully select the documents relevant to your search and remember that the document requirements cannot be changed once the recruitment is published and the first applicant applies.


Basic Qualifications

The OFCCP, U.S, Department of Labor, requires that basic qualifications be established and listed for all academic positions. These requirements must be met at the time of application and are necessary for consideration as an applicant for the position. Each individual who applies for an academic position will be considered “unknown” until assessed by the Analyst or Chair for meeting the basic qualifications. The assessment will move the individual to the “qualified” or “unqualified” group. Only those individuals who meet the basic qualifications will be considered applicants according to the federal government. Individuals with incomplete applications should remain in the “unknown” category and should not be assessed for the basic qualifications. Individuals who do not meet the basic qualifications listed for the job should not be considered further and cannot be hired.

Basic qualifications may only include the required degree (e.g., Bachelor's, Advanced degree, Master's, Doctoral), or enrollment in the required degree program. If stating anything other than advanced degree, the qualifications must include "or equivalent international degree." Fields and disciplines are not allowed in the basic qualifications. This applies to all degrees and programs.


  • Bachelor's degree
  • Advanced degree


  • Bachelor of Science
  • Advanced degree in Physics

Additional and Preferred Qualifications

Please direct questions to the Academic Personnel Office.


There are two data representations that provide diversity benchmarks and goals for academic recruitments: (1) “Availability Demographics” provide information about the national availability pool for a particular position; and (2) “Affirmative Action Goals” provide information about demographic groups in broad job areas that are currently “underutilized” at Berkeley according to their national availability.

Availability demographics

The availability demographics serve as the benchmark by which the applicant pool should be compared, by gender and race/ethnicity. For most positions at Berkeley the data come from the Survey of Earned Doctorates, and provide information about the national availability of PhD recipients over a relevant recent time period (typically five years for non-senate academic positions).

The search committee should review the availability data, and compare the applicant pool to this information in order to evaluate the general effectiveness of the search and recruitment outreach efforts.

AP Recruit invites all individuals to voluntarily self-identify their gender and race/ethnicity, as well as disability status, and status as a protected veteran. While we are required to ask individuals this information, they may decline to state with no negative repercussions. The gender and race/ethnicity information provided is presented in aggregate as a comparison with the benchmark data.

Affirmative action goals

As a federal contractor, UC Berkeley establishes and maintains an Affirmative Action Program and a yearly written Affirmative Action Plan (“AAP”), and fulfills requirements established by the Federal Department of Labor, Office for Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) to provide equal employment opportunity and nondiscrimination in hiring and personnel processes. The UC Berkeley AAP provides yearly data on groups that are “underutilized” on the Berkeley campus by broad job type and by schools and colleges. Underutilization is defined as having fewer minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, or protected veterans in a particular job group than would reasonably be expected given their availability in the job market.

The Affirmative Action goals for searches reflect this underutilization (shaded cells in the Affirmative Action goals table denote current underutilization of a group). Annual goals are equal to availability for underutilized job groups; the University must make good faith efforts to address the underutilization through recruiting a broad and inclusive pool of applicants. Outreach to individuals from particular groups is often necessary to meet the goals.

It is important to know the distinction between federal affirmative action law that requires efforts to address underutilization in our workforce, and California law, which prohibits the selection of individuals based on their demographic characteristics. California Proposition 209 prohibits discrimination against or preferential treatment to “any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, education or contracting.” It does not, however, prohibit actions necessary to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in loss of federal funds to the University. Therefore, UC Berkeley is obligated to take affirmative action to ensure equal opportunity in employment, but we may not set aside positions for individuals from specific groups.

The prohibition against discrimination described in Proposition 209 is consistent with University policy(link is external) prohibiting discrimination in employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer‐related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran. The prohibition against discrimination supports the University’s commitment to address the barriers that face under‐represented groups in academic careers and to serve the needs of our diverse state.


Advertisement Documents

After the search plan is approved, the apply page text or the pdf advertisement generated by AP Recruit can be used for external ad postings. All short- and medium-length ads must at a minimum include the apply link, the salary range, and the following statement:

“All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status.”

Note that all job advertisements and postings will need to be retained and uploaded to AP Recruit as part of our federal requirements for record retention. 

Posting and publishing advertisements

All advertisements for academic recruitments are automatically posted to the following locations:

Central posting of academic job advertisements to these locations meets the University’s OFCCP diversity outreach compliance requirements. However, it is ultimately up to the hiring unit to generate a robust applicant pool. Search committees are encouraged to use discipline-specific locations and to post job advertisements on websites, listservs, and blogs that serve a diverse audience within the specific field or specialization (for example, Science, Nature, the Modern Languages Association, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, social science listservs, Association for Women in Science, National Society of Black Engineers, etc.). 

Support for posting job advertisements in additional locations

Job Elephant is available to assist with most advertising, at no additional cost from the normal posting fees. The Berkeley campus representative from Job Elephant is Michael Ang ( Please note that units may choose to use this service, but there is no requirement to do so.

Determining the Selection Process

Selection criteria

It is best practice with non-senate searches to provide a description of the selection criteria to be used in evaluating the candidates, but this is not required. Although you do not need to submit the criteria for review, it is important to determine evaluation and selection criteria prior to beginning the search in order to equitably evaluate all applicants. These criteria should be job related and taken from the position description and qualifications. Choose selection criteria that can be consistently applied to all candidates, and consider quantifying the evaluations with a ranking system. The Sample Candidate Evaluation Form can be used as a template from which to create the criteria. If using a search committee, ensure that all members agree on how the evaluation and selection criteria should be interpreted and how they relate to the goals for the search. For example, the search committee should discuss:

  • The qualifications that an applicant must demonstrate in order to be considered for the position
  • The specific attributes or dimensions along which qualified applicants will be distinguished
  • The evidence the committee members will look for to determine if applicants have met the criteria

Do’s and don’ts for selection criteria and evaluation

  • The search committee should rely on evidence in the discussion of candidates’ qualifications. Statements about candidates should be supported by materials in the application or from the interview. 
  • The search committee should not use criteria that are difficult to defend with evidence.
  • Be able to explain your decision for rejecting or retaining a candidate based on evidence in the candidate’s file that follows agreed upon evaluation criteria.
  • Review the evaluation of candidates at each stage of the search to be sure that the criteria are applied uniformly.
  • Do not use years of experience since Ph.D., or anything age‐related as a criterion. If the criterion is education in a specific, recently developed sub‐discipline, state the criterion in terms of the sub‐discipline, not years since degree.
  • Do not require uninterrupted periods of employment, as this may adversely affect women in their childbearing years and persons with medical conditions or disabilities.
  • Do not use demographic characteristics to describe why a candidate either would or would not be a good fit for a position. 

The role of contributions that promote diversity and equal opportunity

The University of California Academic Personnel Manual (APM 210-d) states that search committees should consider contributions to diversity in their evaluation of candidates for faculty positions at Berkeley.

The University of California is committed to excellence and equity in every facet of its mission. Teaching, research, professional and public service contributions that promote diversity and equal opportunity are to be encouraged and given recognition in the evaluation of the candidate’s qualifications. These contributions to diversity and equal opportunity can take a variety of forms including efforts to advance equitable access to education, public service that addresses the needs of California’s diverse population, or research in a scholar’s area of expertise that highlights inequalities.

The ideal way to evaluate contributions to diversity is to require applicants for academic positions to provide a statement regarding their past or potential future contributions as part of their application in AP Recruit. This allows search committees to have clear information to evaluate, rather than having to guess or rely on applicants’ other materials. It also communicates to applicants the University’s commitment to hiring academic employees who will best serve the needs of our diverse student body and public institution. AP Recruit has a default “Contributions to Diversity” application requirement, set as “optional.” To require the statement of all applicants set the document to “required” when creating the application requirements.

Selection plan

It is also best practice to provide a description of the selection plan to be used in evaluating the candidates, but this is not required.

Although you do not need to submit the selection plan for review, it is important to have a selection plan to evaluate the applicants and choose the proposed candidate. The selection plan should include the screening process, interview procedures, voting procedures (if relevant), etc.

Search Committee

Search Committee Composition and Size

Searches for non-senate academic employees vary greatly in the extent to which a formal search committee is used versus relying on a single individual, such as a faculty Principal Investigator, to conduct a search. This is a recommended guide for the most common non-senate titles: 

Type of Appointment Committee Member(s)
Lecturers Single faculty member, depending on the needs of the department
Academic Coordinators, Continuing Educators, Librarians, and Coordinators of Public Programs Search committee
Specialists, Project Scientists, Researchers, and Postdocs Faculty Principal Investigator. For research centers or units, a committee is often used.
Extension HR Manager

Committee Member Roles

Core committee: For all lecturer searches, core committee members must be senate faculty, and any other non-senate academic/staff reviewers should be added to the 'additional access' section as 'additional reviewers.' For all other non-senate searches, all individuals (faculty or staff) who will be reviewing application materials should be listed as Core Committee members. 

Additional access: This role is for individuals not on the search committee who have a business reason to view applicant information.

Committee members who are non-Berkeley affiliates: To assign a non-Berkeley affiliate access as a search committee member, a Calnet Sponsored Guest account must be created. Click here for instructions and more detailed information. Once the Calnet Sponsored Guest account has been created please allow 48 hours AP Recruit to refresh before adding them as a reviewer. 

Please note: It is not necessary for analysts to have “additional reviewer” roles – all analysts with access to searches in a particular department automatically have analyst access to the search.

Guidelines for Search Committees

Each department or school should establish its own procedure for appointing a search committee or individual to conduct the search, depending on the needs of the department and the job type. Department analysts, dean’s analysts and department managers may not serve on search committees for academic positions.

One member of the search committee should serve as the chair, and the committee should consist of individuals with a demonstrated commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Whenever possible, the committee should represent a diverse cross section of individuals, including men and women, and majority and minority group members.

Any conflicts of interest must be acknowledged and addressed (see the conflicts of interest policy for senate faculty searches, and contact OFEW with questions).

Confidentiality preserves the integrity of the selection process and protects the privacy of the candidates. Specifics of the committee deliberations should not be discussed with anyone outside the search committee, with the exception of the department chair, or OFEW. The requirement for confidentiality extends to all aspects of the search, including written and verbal communications, and through all phases of the search process.

Setting up Disposition Reasons

After reviewing applicants, one or more “disposition reasons," or reasons for deselection of a candidate, must be assigned to individuals who submitted a complete application for the position, but were not selected. AP Recruit has one set of reasons that can be used for individuals deemed “unqualified” because they did not meet the basic requirements for the position as stated in the advertisement, materials submitted were not correct or were incomplete, or they withdrew prior to being invited for an interview. Another set of disposition reasons is used for all applicants who met the basic qualifications. Refer to the Dispositions Reasons tab in AP Recruit for the complete lists.

The search committee also has the ability to create additional custom disposition reasons that relate to the specific search being conducted if the preselected list is not sufficient. Custom disposition reasons should be clearly related to the job and must be entered as part of the Search Plan (they cannot be added after the recruitment is published). It is also possible to suppress disposition reasons that do not apply to a particular recruitment. The suppressed reasons will not appear as options when assigning disposition reasons to applicants.

Search Plan Submission and Approval

Refer to the Non-Senate Search Plan checklist for a list of all items that must be complete prior to submitting search plans for approval. When all checklist items have been confirmed the search plan can be submitted for approval. The Recruitment will be in a “Draft” state, as shown by the badge on the Recruitments page, and edits can continue to be made as needed until the Search Plan receives final approval by OFEW. However, once OFEW starts review please do not make additional changes. OFEW will publish the search, once approved.