COVID-19 Senate Search Guidance

Creating the Search Plan

Selection Criteria & Planned Evaluation Process

All search committee members should agree upon detailed, and well specified, selection criteria and a thorough plan for the evaluation process, taking into account that search committee members’ ability to participate in later stages of the search process could be inhibited by extenuating circumstances relating to COVID-19.

The selection plan should specify a contingency plan for how the committee will hold search committee meetings, interviews, and remotely host finalists for “campus visits” if in-person meetings are not possible.

Campus Visits

Given that it will be impossible to mirror the in-person experience with virtual “campus visits,” consider alternative ways to provide the same information that a finalist would receive from a campus visit. 

  • Websites on the campus environment 

  • Brief department/college informational videos for faculty (similar to videos created for prospective admitted students)

  • Information on housing and childcare options

  • Options for candidates to meet with particular faculty, research centers, etc

Try to optimize the virtual experience to gather the same information from candidates as you would from an in-person visit. With differing time zones and work-from-home limitations, search committees should consider spreading out the job talks and various meetings with department/college leaders over a few days, rather than trying to fit all meetings into one long day of video calls. The number of meetings should be reduced to those most critical in the process, and breaks between meetings should be sufficiently long to reduce "Zoom fatigue." Introductions to additional stakeholders could be postponed to the onboarding stage to ease the virtual interview process.

Job talks may need to be recorded and distributed to the department. Ensure that all participants consent to recording.


During the Search

Significant Changes to the Search Plan

As a reminder, any significant anticipated modifications to the approved Search Plan, including search committee membership, should be discussed with OFEW in advance of implementation.


Create a respectful, consistent, structured process centered around the agreed upon selection criteria. Set ground rules for the interviews in advance, including who will ask questions, how follow-up questions will be handled (e.g., "raise hand" feature), when department faculty or search committee members will have video on (for example, when asking a question of the candidate), when the candidate will be allowed to ask questions, etc.

Ensure that those interviewing or meeting with candidates convey enthusiasm and engagement for each candidate.

Zoom video conferencing is available for video interviews. The campus has a number of resources to provide Zoom support:

Ask all candidates in advance what, if any, accommodations are needed to support their equal access and success. Provide all candidates with detailed information about the remote interview/meeting schedule, as well as login/connection information, expectations, etc.

Ideally all candidates will be interviewed in the same format. If public health mandates allow for in-person interviews, but some candidates (particularly those in international locations) are unable to travel, it is better to keep all interviews remote.

Plan for the unexpected - dropped calls, computer malfunctions, unstable internet connections, interruptions by children or pets, etc. Be flexible and compassionate. Some interviews or meetings may need to be rescheduled.

Faculty Equity Advisors can serve as an important resource in ensuring equity throughout the interview process.

Candidate Evaluation

Speculation of candidates’ health status, exposure to COVID-19, likely ability/desire to relocate over a given time frame, and other COVID-19 related matters is prohibited. National origin and other protected statuses cannot be taken into consideration in the selection process. As with all searches, candidate evaluation discussions should be limited to the predetermined selection criteria. Additionally, be aware of the tendency to fall back on stereotypes and unconscious biases in times of uncertainty or perceived risk.

Distribute evaluation forms (e.g., google forms or surveys) to all attendees as soon as possible after each remote event (e.g., job talk, meetings with search committee, gathering of graduate students) to get timely feedback and evidence-based assessments from participants.

Attracting the Finalist

When the finalist has been identified and a soft offer has been made, connect them to the New Faculty webpage. You can also connect them directly to Becky White for questions about housing, and/or arrange to have them meet virtually with OFEW to help with other types of relocation questions. 

Find out what additional information the finalist needs. Do your best to help them feel connected to potential opportunities at Berkeley. It may be helpful for them to meet virtually with research center or institute directors or staff, faculty in other departments, or with leads of particular campus organizations.

We also encourage you to invite your finalist candidates (those with a soft or formal offer) to attend one of two special Berkeley Candidate Finalist Forums. These will be hosted by AVPF Inkelas and VPF Hermalin, and include the Chancellor, Paul Alivasatos, Oscar Dubon, Lisa Garcia Bedolla, Heather Archer, Karie Frasch, and Dana Jantz (staff). This will provide an opportunity to showcase our university and to answer questions that candidates may have. The two forums will take place on February 5, 2:30 - 4:00pm and April 2, 2:30 - 4:00pm. To sign a candidate up to attend of the two forums, please complete this brief online form to share their contact information. A Zoom link will be sent directly to you and to the candidate. 

Some candidates may feel strongly about visiting the Berkeley campus prior to making a decision about their offer. In those cases the following procedures apply (effective beginning December 2020):

  • Touring the campus. Candidates may engage in a self-guided tour of the campus (the campus map is available here). Berkeley employees cannot accompany candidates. 

  • Visiting buildings indoors. As appropriate, and depending on individual building accessibility requirements (which may change depending on university policy and public health conditions), hiring departments/authorities may be able to work with building managers to seek access for a brief self-guided or supervised walk-through of a building or other indoor space (e.g., office area, lab space, library). The building manager, or other individual allowing admittance to the building should provide their contact phone number in case of questions, and also ensure that the candidate leaves the building after the agreed upon period of the walk-through.

  • Meetings. As of December 2020, Berkeley employees may not engage in in-person meetings of any kind. Please consult the current public health restrictions for the City of Berkeley for the most up-to-date information. 

  • Public health mandates. All candidates who visit the Berkeley campus must follow current public health mandates for the City of Berkeley (including face coverings and physical distancing). Candidates who are unable to do so must use virtual campus visit options. Use of the Berkeley campus ‘daily screener’ is not required.

Questions regarding interpretation of these guidelines can be directed to the Office of Legal Affairs


Completing the Search

Search Report

Provide documentation of any significant changes to the planned search process, including changes to search committee member participation, interviews/campus visits, department input, etc.