Search Committee Resources

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Auburn University is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students, faculty, and staff.  Keeping that diversity objective in focus with each search gives us an opportunity to attract, hire, and retain the talented faculty and staff we want and need to continue our legacy of academic and service excellence.  This objective will also benefit Auburn as we strive to inspire, innovate, and transform our campus, our state, and the world. 

One focus of this commitment is the recruitment and hiring process.  One of the most important decisions that a manager makes is the selection decision.  A “good hire” can maintain and enhance an institution's reputation, improve morale, and increase productivity. 

Attracting, hiring, and retaining talented and diverse faculty and staff members are top priorities for colleges and universities nationwide; therefore, educating and reinforcing the education about the process is important.  With that objective in mind, we have developed the following Online Search Committee Training resources which provide information, advice, and techniques to enable committees to run effectively and efficiently.  The training is also designed to increase knowledge and competency of compliant and consistent administration of selection practices within the University community.

Recruitment Resources

Human Resources has compiled a list of sources which may be used as a guide in your recruitment planning.  This is not an inclusive list as there are many organizations/associations that have their own professional network by discipline. This list will continue to be developed as additional resources are identified.

Characteristics

A search committee should represent a variety of perspectives on the role, function, and customers of the position in question. A good committee might include individuals who will be peers of the new hire, people in his or her reporting chain, and other appropriate constituents.  The committee should reflect diversity in aspects of gender, race, and discipline to inform discussions of different thoughts, experiences, and perspectives. A diverse committee will include representation from different organizational levels, where appropriate. 

The committee should also have at least one member who can technically qualify the candidates as having the knowledge, skills, and competencies to successfully perform the job.  

Requirements

The dean, department head, director, or other hiring official is responsible for selecting the committee members, designating the chairperson, and ensuring inclusion of diverse members.  Non-faculty positions must include African-American representation on committees for positions that are grade 35 and above.  If you have questions, seek guidance from your employment specialist.

The job’s scope, impact, and diversity of responsibilities will assist in determining how many members should serve on the Committee.  It is best practice for a committee to consist of an odd number of members.  It is also best practice to include a Human Resources professional as an ex-officio member to advise the committee regarding laws and regulations surrounding the hiring process, as well as Auburn University’s procedures to ensure a smooth and efficient process.

Primarily, the search committee’s role is to evaluate applicant materials and their experience, recommending the best candidates for a vacant position. In order to do this effectively, each committee member must have a working knowledge of the position that must be filled and expertise to assess specific skills of the applicants.

Online Training Course

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The Online Search Committee Training available through CANVAS provides instruction and guidance for our faculty and staff search committees as they go through the process of attracting, assessing, and identifying an excellent and diverse faculty and staff workforce.   Note that committees may serve in different capacities depending upon the charge from the supervisors.  Committees may be referred to as search or selection committees, depending upon the purpose of the information shared.

All supervisors and search committee members should complete the online training before beginning the search process for any new hire.  We hope you will find this training a valuable tool when performing this important service for the University. 

Pre-Employment Inquiry Guidelines

To comply with anti-discrimination laws and to reduce legal liability, there are important legal guidelines for inquiries that are permissible, and those to be avoided, during the interview and recruitment phase.  Any inquiry should be avoided that, although not specifically listed herein, is designed to elicit information as to any applicant’s race, color, national origin, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, protected veteran status, or genetic information.  You should review this chart and use it as a guide throughout your process.  Contact an Employment Specialist or Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity with any questions.

Interviewing Candidates

Auburn University monument signageInterviews play a critical role in determining whether a candidate has the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies to be successful in a position. An interview must be a two-way exchange of information to be effective in an evaluation process.  During an interview process, the candidate is also determining if they want to work for Auburn University.  There are multiple approaches and structures to interviewing candidates to ascertain what a candidate brings to the table.  We have published information on these to assist you in a successful interview process.

Reference Check Questions

One of the most important decisions that a manager can make is the decision to hire an employee.  In fact, Auburn University invests more than $600 million annually in its employees. In addition to evaluating your candidate pool, interviewing candidates, and initiating background checks, one critical step when hiring an employee is to check the references of your top candidates.  Typically, past performance is a strong indicator of future performance and can reveal an individual's professionalism, productivity, job skills, and interpersonal communication skills.  (Additional resources) 

Non-Selection Letter Examples

A letter may be used to communicate with candidates that are not selected for a position. It is important that communication occurs with candidates (or applicants) as a professional courtesy. The timing of the communication is important; please seek guidance from a Human Resources professional.

Employment Law/Statute Overview

Human Resources has created a list and a brief summary of each law/regulation/statute that governs the basis of evaluation and selection decisions in a search and selection process.  Important definitions are also included to provide a better understanding of terms.  You should review and use this as a guide throughout your process.  Contact an Employment Specialist or Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity with any questions.

Definitions

These definitions are commonly used in the search process. 
Last updated: 06/25/2019