Senate Search Guide: During the Search


Once the search plan has been approved and the search is published, conduct all outreach and advertising, as specified in the search plan. 

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 final date passes, use the basic qualifications as stated in the advertisement to assess each complete applicant. It is recommended that each individual is assessed as soon as possible after the deadline.

Guidance on handling late/incomplete applicants

Applicants who do not submit by the deadline cannot be considered for the position. On occasion applicants may reach out after the deadline with requests to submit their application late. It's unfortunate when applicants can’t complete in time and/or make mistakes that prevent them from being considered, but strict adherence to deadlines is part of ensuring a fair application process where all applicants understand the terms of the search and are given the same opportunity to provide their materials by a set date. The system has a number of built in features (including auto-generated reminder emails) to ensure that applicants are aware they must submit by the deadline. 

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. 

If an application appears complete, but an applicant has uploaded placeholder/duplicate documents, the application should be marked as not meeting the basic qualifications and assigned the following disposition reason, “Application was incomplete, materials submitted were not the required materials.”

Exceptions to allow consideration of late applications are only granted in very rare circumstances (e.g., disability, serious injury/illness). Please reach out to OFEW before making any promises to potential applicants if there's a situation that you think warrants an exception to the deadline.

Reviewing the Applicant Pool and Managing Review Dates

Applicant pool review - managing review dates

To assess the value of outreach efforts, review the demographic profile of the applicant pool and compare it to the diversity benchmarks available in AP Recruit on the diversity tab for the search. 

If the search committee feels that the applicant pool is not sufficiently strong/diverse, they can extend the deadline by adding an additional review date. Be sure to select an additional review date far enough into the future to allow time for the search committee to conduct outreach and for applicants to apply (a minimum of 2 weeks is recommended). The final date should be extended to match the additional review date. Please be careful not to set review dates too far into the future. Once a review date is set it cannot be moved to an earlier date. 

Additonal review dates cannot be added to accommodate individuals who missed the deadline to apply. It is also important not to add numerous additional review dates for a search - this confuses applicants and adds unnecessary complication to the search process, potentially making it impossible for the committee to follow their approved Search Plan.

Submit the applicant pool for review and approval

As soon as possible following the deadline for applications, the department analyst is responsible for creating a report of the demographics of the applicant pool in AP Recruit (benchmarking availability data will be included in the report), confirming that all Applicant Pool Report Checklist items are complete, and submitting it for approval by the search committee chair and the equity advisor. As part of the applicant pool report, confirm whether all proposed outreach efforts were conducted in the 'actual search and recruitment efforts' field (if not, indicate what the differences were). If the applicant pool is sufficiently diverse compared to the availability pool, both the search committee chair and the equity advisor should approve the pool. This will trigger a notification to the Office for Faculty Equity & Welfare to review the pool, and if appropriate, approve it as well. Please note that only individuals who meet the basic qualifications will appear as applicants on the report.

Committees that review an initial pool and decide to extend the deadline to receive more applications (i.e., for a larger or more diverse pool) should wait to submit a single applicant pool report after the extended deadline.

Conflicts of Interest - updated January 2023

The guidelines below set forth procedures to minimize potential risks and preserve fair processes when search committees consider candidates who have worked closely with faculty at Berkeley. Such candidates might include our own recent PhDs or postdoctoral scholars, or individuals who have close personal or professional relationships with Berkeley faculty.

When considering such candidates, we need to be mindful of several possible risks, including: 

  • We may appear to compromise the fairness and equity of the search process. For example, upon hearing that Berkeley made an offer to one of its own PhD students, or a candidate who collaborates with a committee member, other candidates may conclude that the selected candidate had an unfair advantage.

  • There is a special burden on a faculty member asked to assess a candidate who is/was an advisee or close collaborator. For example, after working hard to provide strong mentoring and support to a PhD student, it may pose a challenge to make comparative assessments with other applicants. Since collaborators, by definition, have worked with the candidate, evaluating a collaborator puts a faculty member in the position of having to evaluate their own work.   

  • The interplay of differing points of view within a department may be especially complex when the candidate is a recent PhD or postdoctoral scholar. For example, other faculty may feel that they need to defer to a colleague who is advocating for her/his own advisee.

The goal of these guidelines is to minimize such risks, while simultaneously treating all applicants as fairly as possible. We should not discourage or prevent any candidate from applying for faculty positions at Berkeley. Nor, of course, should we set the bar higher for one group of candidates than for others.   

A first step in reaching these goals is for faculty members involved in candidate selection to disclose conflicts of interest they have with any of the applicants (including committees that involve department colleagues in evaluation or discussion of candidates). Conflicts of interest typically include:

  • An emotional relationship with a candidate (such as a personal friend, near relative or current/former romantic partner).

  • A business or commercial relationship with a candidate.

  • A mentoring relationship with a candidate, such as the doctoral or postdoctoral advisor.

  • Having been mentored by a candidate.

  • A professional relationship, including current or former collaborators on academic work (e.g., articles, essays, chapters, contributions to conference proceedings, books, creative work, grant applications, software, technology, and intellectual property). 

As a general guide, faculty members with a conflict of interest with an applicant should not serve on the search committee or participate in faculty deliberations to select a finalist. The risks are greatest if a candidate under consideration is a recent PhD student or postdoctoral scholar, or recent or current collaborator (within the past five years), especially when the candidate has not held an intervening faculty position elsewhere. 

Fewer special risks are at issue when hiring holders of Berkeley PhDs or postdoctoral fellowships if their careers as teachers and independent researchers have already been well established in a faculty position at a peer institution, or in cases where collaboration occurred many years ago, or was limited (e.g., collaborated on a single project a decade ago, or co-authorship was the result of completely independent work). Depending on the extent and timing of the relationship, it may be possible for a faculty member with the conflict of interest to participate in the search, as long as a process for minimizing risks is discussed with OFEW. There are no exceptions for romantic and business relationships.

Faculty who supervised postdoctoral scholars who were fully independent (e.g., no financial connection, an independent research agenda, no collaboration or co-publication), as is sometimes the case with programs such as the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program (PPFP), may not represent a conflict of interest and should consult for advice.

The guidelines below are intended to assist departments in minimizing potential risks while preserving fair processes, and should be followed in most cases. Given the significant differences between academic disciplines, including the role of scholarly collaborations in some fields, a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible. Sometimes there may be appropriate reasons for a different process. OFEW is available to consult on appropriate modifications consistent with the goals of conducting a process that is fair to all applicants. Common situations requiring discussion include searches in very small departments or very narrow fields, professional collaborations with completely independent work, or unforeseeable situations that arise during the process.  

Guidelines for managing risks associated with conflicts of interest

1. Search committee membership: Information on likely candidates should be taken into account when establishing the membership of the search committee. In situations where a conflict of interest is known ahead of time, the faculty member in question should not serve on the search committee for the period during which the candidate is under consideration. In smaller departments, in which search committee constitution is always more challenging, departments can exercise the option of inviting appropriate faculty from outside of the department to serve on the search committee.

2. Search Plan: All search plans should include a description of the process by which conflicts of interest will be handled in the search process.

3. Candidate review: As soon as the full applicant pool is available, and before candidate materials are assigned for review, committee members should indicate with which candidates they have a conflict of interest, if any. Committee members who may ultimately need to recuse themselves from the committee can participate in the initial review process if they are not assigned any candidates with whom they have a conflict of interest. Once a candidate with whom a committee member has a conflict of interest makes it to the “long list,” the committee member should be recused from the search committee for the remainder of time in which the candidate remains under consideration. It is typically not sufficient to simply “step out of the room” when the candidate is under discussion.

*[January 2023 addition]* For searches in narrow fields, or where few or no faculty are available with the necessary expertise, a modified process may be followed. For discussion of the long or medium list to select the short list, faculty with a conflict of interest may participate in non-comparative discussion of candidates with whom they do not have a conflict of interest. If necessary, they may participate in comparative discussion that does not include the conflict of interest candidate, but must leave the room (physical or remote) when any discussion includes the conflict of interest candidate. If the candidate is eliminated the committee member can return and participate fully. If the candidate with the conflict of interest advances to the short list, the committee member should step down from the committee for the remainder of the committee’s activities. See #6 below for participation options for that faculty member during any subsequent departmental review and selection process. 

4. Letters of recommendation: If a committee member provides a letter of recommendation for a candidate, it is likely that the conflict of interest threshold has been met. In these cases, recusal from the search committee is generally necessary to assure fairness in the process. Simply refraining from providing a letter may not be sufficient to avoid recusal, and could disadvantage the candidate. Committee members who write a letter of recommendation for a candidate and also remain on the committee would have, in effect, twice the influence in the evaluation process. 

5. Proposed short list: A memo must accompany all proposed short lists for faculty candidates, stating all conflicts of interest that were identified and how they were handled (uploaded into AP Recruit).

6. Departmental discussions and voting: The candidate’s formal advisor, or other faculty members who have collaborated with the candidate, should not attend departmental discussions concerning the search for the period of time during which the candidate is under consideration. They should also make an effort to minimize inequities by refraining from informal conversations that promote their advisee or collaborator or make favorable comparisons at the expense of other candidates. In cases where the expertise of the faculty member is needed, the faculty member may participate in one of two ways: provide noncomparative written comments on all candidates on the shortlist; or attend a committee or unit discussion to answer specific questions posed by the committee regarding the candidate’s scholarship. The faculty member with the conflict of interest should not interject opinions or information beyond what is asked.
If a unit holds a vote of all unit faculty to decide who among the finalists will be the candidate to be voted upon for an offer, advisors and collaborators may vote. However, to avoid undue influence, any such vote must be by secret ballot. Once a preferred finalist has been selected, all department faculty may vote on whether to extend an offer to that individual.

7. Appointment letters: Campus policies require at least three external letters for appointment at the Assistant Professor level.  External letters are those that are written by referees who are not Berkeley faculty or members of its affiliated laboratories and institutes.  This requirement applies to all candidates recommended for appointment, including those who are recent Berkeley PhDs or postdoctoral fellows.  After deciding upon the candidate or candidates being recommended for appointment, the unit should solicit additional letters as needed. Any letters from Berkeley affiliates provided in the original application dossier should, of course, also be included with the appointment case. 

Applicant Evaluation

Use the agreed upon selection criteria and process to evaluate the applicants through the following stages:

  • Initial review of the entire pool to determine the long list of candidates under serious consideration. For large applicant pools the candidates are typically divided among the search committee, with all candidates receiving evaluation by a minimum of two committee members. The number of initial reviews should generally be the same for all applicants. However, in some cases an additional review is necessary, for example when the first two evaluations are significantly divergent, or when additional scholarly expertise is needed to make an informed assessment. 

  • Review of the long list to determine the short list of finalists for campus visits. At this stage all candidates are reviewed by the entire committee. Some committees opt to conduct "soft interviews" of long list candidates either in person at academic conferences or by video conference. Soft interviews should be conducted uniformly, with the same questions asked of all candidates.

  • Determining the final proposed candidate. The selection of the proposed candidate relies on formal feedback from students, postdocs, and department faculty.

Guidelines for search committee evaluation of applicants

Adequate time to evaluate the applicants. The amount of time needed obviously depends greatly on the size of the applicant pool, but committee members should agree that the timeline is sufficient to allow for their full review of the selection criteria for each candidate. Rushing or spending too little time with an application increases reliance on proxies of excellence, as well as the influence of unconscious bias. Excellent candidates can be overlooked.

Noncomparative review first. Review applications in the initial stages without comparison between them. For example, have all search committee members independently assess each application, assigning it a score/value, rather than asking each member to review all of the files and determine which ones in their group are in "the top 10." Comparative assessment and discussion can better used at a later stage to determine, for example, the medium or short list.

Competitiveness screen for very large applicant pools. To save search committee reviewers time, and allow them to focus their time deeply on candidates most likely to be competitive for a Berkeley position, consider creating an initial "competitiveness screen." These are most appropriate for large applicant pools (~ 200 or more candidates), or in cases where many candidates may be ruled out because their research is not aligned with the specific search area. The competitiveness screen creates a "floor" rather than a ceiling, below which candidates would not be considered viable for a Berkeley position. Committees using this process should clearly define and quantify in advance the criterion for advancement or deselection. Every discipline and field has specific expectations and definitions for a minimum level of accomplishment, and must select the appropriate cutoffs for their area. For example, in consideration of the CV and research statement, publication count is sometimes used as a floor for evaluation. Opportunities to more deeply assess the content, caliber and other important elements of candidates’ research impact should occur at a later stage. Similarly, for teaching, a search committee may expect a minimum amount of teaching and/or mentoring experience. Note that for searches where many candidates are currently PhD students it may be more difficult to assign a minimum expectation, and therefore a competitiveness screen may not be valuable. As in all aspects of evaluation, a minimum of two search committee members should review each application in a screening process.

Unconscious bias. It is important that those involved in the selection of a new colleague reflect on stereotypic preconceptions, unrelated to quality and talent, which can play a role in choosing one individual over another. Most faculty work hard to overcome such preconceptions.

Be careful not to inadvertently 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.

When evaluating statements on contributions to diversity, take care not to inadvertently hold differing expectations for different groups. All candidates should be held to the same standard and expectations. For example, individuals from certain groups should not be assumed to “naturally” contribute more in this area, nor should other candidates be praised for doing what is actually less than others, or international candidates evaluated more cautiously. There can also be a tendency to rationalize an anemic record in advancing equity and inclusion if the candidate’s research is stellar. Excuses may include stating that the candidate just hasn’t had a chance to do anything yet, that the institution they’re at doesn’t provide opportunities for this kind of work, or that when the person comes to Berkeley “where it matters” they will begin engaging. The campus is looking for candidates who have already developed a commitment to advancing equity and inclusion, and have a consequential track record in this area.

Tendency to over-rely on “proxies” for excellence. Review all of the written materials submitted by the candidates using the agreed upon selection criteria, rather than relying on factors such as PhD institution and PhD advisor, postdoc institution and postdoc advisor, publication locations (candidates working at the boundaries of fields may not publish in the dominate journals), number of publications, or citation index to determine “excellence.” These factors also assume that excellence consists only of research accomplishments, rather than the range of values and strengths considered important for success at Berkeley.

Consider the potential use of ChatGBT or other AI software in application materials. Candidates may use AI to assist them in writing their application materials. Emphasize review of candidates' track record/activities, and plans specific to Berkeley. For example, platitudes about the importance of inclusive teaching are easy to write, but harder to describe having actually done. Consider what the actual practice was, how it was implemented, what impact it had on students and learning outcomes. 

Family/partner status. 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 cannot be taken into account when evaluating or discussing candidates.

Disability status. Assessments about candidates cannot be based on real or perceived, former or current physical or mental disabilities.

Informal information. It is nearly impossible to avoid receiving informal information about candidates outside of materials submitted by candidates with their application. Indeed, certain types of informal information are quite valuable in identifying promising candidates, or following up on identified concerns. There are a few important guidelines for consideration of such information:

  • Some types of information should not be shared, especially hearsay.

  • Every effort should be made to gather similar information for all candidates at a given stage.

  • If references are contacted, there should be a consistent set of questions asked for all candidates.

  • If additional letters are obtained, the committee should obtain consent from the candidate.

Confidentiality. Candidates have the expectation that their application is shared on a need-to-know basis. This means that faculty members who have access to applications should not be discussing candidate information outside of the faculty in the department/school, and especially not with colleagues at other institutions. In addition, search committee members have an expectation of confidentiality during committee deliberations.

Evaluating tenured applicants for searches allocated at the NT level

All applicants should be considered for the position to which they applied, including candidates who currently hold tenure at another institution. There are valid reasons why a candidate with tenure at another institution may want to relinquish it to accept a non-tenured position at Berkeley (e.g., prestige, geographic location, family reasons, opportunities for interdisciplinary scholarship, etc.). We recommend communicating with the candidate as soon as they are under serious consideration to confirm that they understand that they cannot be appointed with tenure if they are selected for the position. The selected candidate may only be hired at the NT level. It is not possible to change the rank of a search midstream. 

The one exception is for candidates who currently hold tenure at another UC campus. Under no circumstance would they be allowed to be hired as an assistant professor. Tenured UC faculty applicants should be deselected without review. 

Short List

Using the agreed upon selection criteria for the search, propose a short list of candidates to invite for campus visits. In most searches the short list is developed from a longer list of candidates under serious consideration. Nearly all short lists have a minimum of three candidates (consult with OFEW if an exception should be considered).

All candidates proposed for the short list should be “above the bar” in their knowledge, understanding, and track record with respect to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, taking into account their career stage (see the Support for Faculty Search Committees page  for more information).

When the proposed short list is ready for consideration, the department analyst is responsible for ensuring that all Senate Short List Report Checklist items are completed in AP Recruit and submitting the short list report for approval by the equity advisor and OFEW. The equity advisor cannot share the gender and race/ethnicity of particular applicants with anyone on the search committee, but instead should discuss whether the short list is sufficiently diverse compared to the applicant pool, and whether all candidates meet the expectations for contributions to diversity.

All proposed short lists must include a memo (uploaded in the Documentation section) stating all conflicts of interest that were identified and how they were handled, according to the conflicts of interest policy. Please also upload any evaluation/rating spreadsheets/documentation created to determine the short list (e.g., at the first stage for the full pool, and at the second stage to create the long or medium list, etc.) as part of the shortlist report submission.

OFEW nearly always reviews the short list within 24 hours of submission. OFEW questions regarding the short list are directed to the department equity advisor. Allow enough time: the short list must be approved prior to inviting candidates to campus for interviews.


General principles

  • Be welcoming! The candidates are evaluating the department/school and the University. First impressions are important on both sides. The goal is to both assess the candidates and also to market Berkeley as the best place to thrive in their academic career.

  • Provide each candidate with the same opportunities during the campus visit.

  • Identify primary staff support to coordinate all necessary documentation, travel arrangements and reimbursements.

  • Use the campus visit as an important opportunity to learn more from the finalists about their commitment to advancing equity and inclusion, and to share information about the department’s commitment as well.  


  • Use standard welcoming language for the invitation for a campus visit/interview - convey enthusiasm for their candidacy.

  • Ask each candidate what would help make their visit to Berkeley a success - are there particular individuals or groups on campus they would like the opportunity to meet with?

  • If asking candidates to give a talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, consider using this invitation language:

“As part of your interview, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the department/college’s commitment to advancing equity and inclusion, and to discuss your own vision for how you propose to contribute to these efforts. Please be prepared to share any prior experience and concrete ideas that you have for: developing your understanding of diversity-related issues; creating inclusive research and learning environments; outreach activities; and supporting underrepresented students, staff, and faculty.”

  • Ask each candidate to provide their preferred gender pronouns with their reply, and ensure that all department students, staff, and faculty they interact with know and use them appropriately.

  • Ask each candidate if they need any accommodations to be successful during their visit. Needs may include physical access, breaks, dietary restrictions, prevention from exposure to scents, etc. Please see the disabiliity section of the OFEW website for more information. 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.

Campus visit

  • In addition to assessing strength in research and teaching, use the campus visit as an important opportunity to learn more about the candidates’ commitment to advancing equity and inclusion in their research, teaching, and service. Opportunities include interviews with the equity advisor, meetings with graduate student committees, and a presentation as part of the job talk.

  • Prepare an agenda for the candidate’s visit ahead of time. Provide the agenda to the candidate and to appropriate members of the department or school (faculty/students/staff). Clearly define the expectations for the seminar, job talk, etc. to the candidate.

  • Provide candidates the opportunity to interact with faculty and students in multiple venues.

  • Discuss the variety of programs currently taking place in the department and/or college to advance equity and inclusion.

  • If the candidate is from a group underrepresented in the department or school, make an effort to include a broad cross‐section of the campus community in the visit.

  • Distribute information about family responsive policies (dual career, maternity leave, ASMD, etc.) to all candidates.

  • Do not ask candidates for certain types of personal information, especially such questions that might be perceived as a criterion for appointment (gender, marital status, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, religion, national origin, age, etc.), including during informal conversations such as those that often take place at candidate dinners or other gatherings. Department faculty who attend informal dinners may need to be reminded ahead of time about the legal prohibition on asking these types of questions.

Interviews and Job Talks

  • 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.
  • In advance of the job talk, give each candidate clear instructions about what is expected. For example, clarify whether the department or school is interested in hearing about a specific research topic or a broad overview of research programs and future plans.

  • Prior to each presentation briefly review appropriate behavior with audience members (students, faculty, staff), including making clear to all if, when, and how questions/interruptions during the presentations are allowed (for example, questions will only be allowed by addressing a raised hand, no questions will be taken for at least the first ten minutes of the presentation, talks should not be "held hostage" with lengthy back-and-forth). The search committee chair or department chair should moderate the session, paying attention to who has already been called on, who may have been overlooked, and generally considering courtesy and respectful behavior.

  • 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.

  • Additional ground rules to consider: Faculty who need to leave before the end of a talk should sit near the back and make as little disruption as possible. All audience members should refrain from using electronics (laptops, tablets, or phones) during the presentation. Audience members should avoid sidebar conversations with other participants to reduce distraction for the presenter.
  • Introduce all faculty candidates in the same manner, being careful to use formal names (Mr./Ms./Dr.) rather than first names, include only information relevant to the candidate’s research and other accomplishments, use positive language when describing the candidate, and ensure the length of the introduction is similar for all candidates. Avoid leading with "pedigree."

  • In conducting interviews and job talks, use a consistent format for each candidate, focusing on information relevant to the selection criteria agreed upon in advance. Use a standardized Google Form to collect feedback on each candidate from both graduate students and faculty (may be different forms).

  • Ask candidates to give a talk and answer questions about their record and plans for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can be part of the research presentation/job talk/chalk talk, or as a standalone presentation. Some questions to consider:

    • What types of experience do you have related to equity and inclusion?

    • What specific ideas do you have for how you would like to contribute to advancing equity and inclusion at UC Berkeley?

    • How do you plan to be an effective mentor and create and inclusive research climate for your research group?

    • What strategies are you familiar with or do you use to create inclusive teaching environments?

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

Unsolicited letters cannot be reviewed or considered as part of the candidate materials.

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 they have been notified of the missing letters and given an opportunity to rectify the situation. 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.

Letters of reference are often an important part of candidate evaluation. However, because a body of research indicates that women and candidates from minoritized groups on average receive more negative evaluations regardless of the level of their qualifications, care should be taken when giving them weight. Even a single “doubt raiser” phrase among many positive accolades (e.g., “the candidate has a somewhat challenging personality,” “she may be a good leader in the future”) can be sufficient to skew search committees’ overall assessment of a candidate.

Selecting the Final Candidate

Every department or school should have established protocols for making the final candidate selection in faculty searches, including procedures for evaluating, discussing, voting and making recommendations on top candidates. The department or school protocol should be followed consistently for each faculty search. Any significant departures from the established protocol should be discussed and agreed upon in advance.

General guidelines for selection protocols and voting procedures

The role of the search committee in putting forward a recommendation about the finalists: Will the search committee be tasked with recommending a single candidate? Providing a ranking of the finalists (first, second, third)? Writing a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the finalists? Whatever the method, the search committee should know at the outset of the search what the expected outcome is.

Differences of opinion: Determine how differences of opinion about the finalists among the search committee members will be handled. Does each member provide their own rank ordered list? Does the committee need to come to consensus on the finalists? Is there a vote taken among search committee members to determine the order of the finalists?

Presentation to the faculty: Determine how the search committee recommendation or summary will be presented to the department faculty. If department faculty will engage in discussion regarding the candidates put in place a standard protocol, ensuring that the discussion focuses on the selection criteria rather than one-off comments, or individual experiences.

Department voting procedures. Candidates should be evaluated on their own merit. Votes taken should be based on individuals rather than in relation to other candidates. It is sometimes necessary to hold several if/then votes if there are multiple strong finalists. For example: (1) Is Candidate X above the bar for appointment at Berkeley? (2) Is Candidate Y above the bar for appointment at Berkeley? (3) (If votes are positive for both candidates) Which of the two candidates do you recommend for appointment, Candidate X or Y? (4) (Depending on whether X or Y receives the most votes) Do you recommend making an offer to (the other one) if (the first one) declines?

Communicating with Candidates

Maintain communication with candidates. Keep them informed about where the department or school is in the process, so they know whether or not they are still under consideration. These processes are often long, which is not understood by some prospective first‐time faculty.

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 soft offer and updating applicant statuses

When the top candidate has been identified through a vote and the unit has communicated this to the individual, assign the status of 'soft offer extended.' The discussion of the offer should make it clear that all terms are contingent on approval by the Chancellor. The discussion should include salary, anticipated start date, start-up needs, space requirements, housing support and partner hiring or child care needs (if any).

Be careful not to make promises that cannot be kept. Offers should not include guarantees on matters such as child care, housing, or transfers of sabbatical credit. If something is beyond your immediate control or not supported by UC policy, do not promise or imply it in the process of making the offer or in hiring‐related conversations.

When the candidate has agreed to the preliminary soft offer (agreement "in principle"), move the status to 'proposed candidate' and put forward a search report and appointment case. If the candidate declines the soft offer at any point before the campus makes an official offer, use 'soft offer declined.'

Evaluating the Process

Debrief as a committee after each search to evaluate the process and explore aspects that can be improved in future searches.