Non-Senate Search Guide: During the Search


External Advertising

Once the search plan has been approved and the search is published, conduct additional outreach/advertising to external locations as planned. 

Applicant requests to update materials after submission

Applicant requests to update materials after submission will not be permitted. Before submitting their application, applicants are warned, “When you submit, your application will be sent to the committee, and no further changes will be possible. By submitting your application, you are confirming that your information and materials are correct and ready for review.” Applicants can use the interview to update the search committee on recent publications, or other updates to their record, if they make it to that stage. 

Assessment of Basic Qualifications

The Office of Federal Contractor Compliance Programs (OFCCP), Department of Labor requires the assessment of basic qualifications 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. After the initial review date passes, use the basic qualifications as stated in the advertisement to assess each complete applicant. The search must be open for at least 15 days. Additional review dates can be added if the initial review window does not yield a viable applicant pool.

Pool Demographics

To assess the value of outreach efforts, review the demographic profile of the applicant pool now that it includes only individuals who met the basic qualifications, and compare it to the diversity benchmarks available in AP Recruit on the diversity tab for the search. An additional review can be added if the pool is small and/or lacks diversity. However, it is not necessary to submit the applicant pool for review or approval in AP Recruit.  

Managing Review Dates 

Proactive management of review dates is an essential part of running a successful search. We recommend that analysts set additional review dates in advance of the search committee’s review of applicants (rather than retroactively) to provide prospective applicants the chance to complete their application before a stated deadline. Review dates should not be set too far in the future (we recommend no further than two weeks). Once a review date is set it cannot be moved to an earlier date, and the search committee must wait until that date passes before they can review applicants who have submitted an application in that review window. If a search committee reviews any given applicant in a specific review window, they must review all applicants who are complete in that window. 

Applications will only be visible to committee reviewers if they are submitted before a review date (deadline is 11:59pm PST the night of the review date). If an application is submitted after a review date and there is not an additional review date, the application will remain hidden from reviewers.

Applicant Evaluation

Guidelines for search committee evaluation of applicants

  • 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 biases.

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

  • 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.

  • 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 or deselection.

  • 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.

Countering Selection Bias

Regardless of the social groups we belong to, we all perceive people differently based on their demographic characteristics (race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religion, politics, etc.). However, and importantly, most people try to overcome their stereotypic preconceptions. In searches for academic personnel at UC Berkeley it is unacceptable to act on biases, conscious or unconscious. There are many successful strategies for overcoming the tendency we all share to fall back on preconceptions and stereotypes in decision-making. Click here for more information on countering selection bias.


Interviews can take place in person, by telephone, or by video call. It is important to make every effort possible to interview all candidates in the same manner. This is sometimes not possible if one candidate is local and another is out of state. It is not necessary to submit a short list for review and approval in AP Recruit.

While the expectation is that all committee members attend all interviews and/or job talks, if they must miss a particular session, it can be recorded for their later viewing. The recording should be shared only with those who are participating in the evaluation of candidates. Candidates should be informed of the intent to record the interview (including who will see it and for what purpose). The candidate should also be given the opportunity to opt out of being recorded; if they do, the committee should do their best to provide an equitable evaluation of the candidate.

Ask each candidate if they need any accommodations to be successful during their visit or interview. Needs may include physical access, breaks, dietary restrictions, prevention from exposure to scents, gender-neutral restrooms, etc. In addition to physical access, the University is required by law to provide accommodations such as a sign language interpreter, captioner, written materials in an alternate medium, or flexibility when scheduling appointments. Every effort should be made to accommodate other types of requests. Please see the Disability Access & Compliance website for more information.

Create a list of interview questions based on the job description and evaluation criteria to ask of all candidates interviewed. These interview questions will need to be provided as part of the final search report. Take notes during the interview. Interview notes in one of the following formats will also need to be provided as part of the search report:

  • Notes on each candidate's response to each question (can be typed or handwritten)
  • Summary of interview responses for each candidate
  • Ranking sheet/evaluation template created for each interviewed candidate

Interview Topics to Avoid

Topic Discriminatory Question
Family Status

Are you married?

What is your spouse's name?

What is your maiden name?

Do you have any children or plans to have them?

Are you pregnant?

What are your childcare arrangements?

Race What is your race?

What is your religion?

Which church do you attend?

What are your religious holidays?

Sex Are you male or female?
Arrests or Convictions of a Crime Have you ever been arrested?
Citizenship or Nationality Are you a U.S. citizen?

Are you disabled?

What is the nature or severity of your disability?

What is your condition?

Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?


In what branches of the armed forces did you serve?

If you've been in the military were you honorably discharged?

Letters of Reference

If letters are requested at any point in the search, candidates must have all required letters uploaded to AP Recruit before they can be put forward as the proposed candidate. For searches requiring referee “contact information only,” the search committee is not obligated to contact the referees, but 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 was provided to all applicants. Analysts can send email reminders to applicants regarding missing letters of reference and re-request letters from referees. Applicants can also re-request letters of reference from their referees, even after the final date. Applicant requests to swap out referees after the deadline should be granted.

Please note: Reference writers have two ways to submit their letter in AP Recruit - by uploading the document as a PDF, and by copying and pasting the text of the letter directly into the provided text box. Letters pasted directly into the text box may lack typical identifying information available in letter head, and occasionally lack a signature line if the referee neglects to include it in the text box. These letters should be treated the same as letters uploaded as PDFs.

Unsolicited Letters

If an unsolicited letter from a referee arrives, it should not be reviewed by the faculty member or search committee. 

Requests for search-related documents from applicants

If a selected candidate requests their redacted file, such a request should be submitted to the Academic Personnel Office ( 

Selecting the Final Candidate

Making the final selection

Every search committee or faculty member conducting a recruitment should establish protocol for making the final candidate selection, including procedures for evaluating, discussing, voting and making recommendations on top candidates. Any significant departures from the established protocol should be discussed and agreed upon in advance.

Communicating with Candidates

Maintain communication with candidates. Keep them informed about where the committee is in the process, so they know whether or not they are still under consideration.

Respect unsuccessful candidates’ time by notifying them of their non‐selection as soon as a firm decision has been made, and prior to public announcement of appointments, rather than waiting until the entire search process has been completed. As soon as possible after an offer is accepted, finalists not chosen should be notified.

Discussing the Offer

The discussion of the soft offer should make it clear that all terms are contingent on approval by the campus (whether central campus or Dean). A formal offer or hire cannot be made prior to approval of the search report.