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.
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:
The Academic Innovation Studio hosts events on connecting remotely
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.
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.
Completing the Search
Provide documentation of any significant changes to the planned search process, including changes to search committee member participation, interviews/campus visits, department input, etc.