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Search & Screening Procedures For Faculty & Academic Administrative Positions

1.0 Overview

Few other committees perform a task that is as vital to the overall strength of the University as search and screening committees. Formed for the purpose of recommending the individuals who will serve as new staff members for UNG, these committees are tasked with carefully reviewing application documentation, conducting candidate interviews, checking references and ultimately recommending individuals whom the committee believes best meet the position qualifications.

2.0 Committee Composition/Selection

The department head, in cases of faculty positions, will recommend to the Dean of the School the membership of a search and screening committee, comprising members of the department. It is recommended that at least one member, with faculty rank, from outside the hiring department is included as a search committee member

Search and screening committees are generally composed of five to seven members, although they can be larger. One individual is identified as the committee chair. Depending on the level of the position, the selection process for search committees varies. In instances where the academic administrative position is to be filled, search committee members may be selected by the President, Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs, or an academic dean.

3.0 Committee and Committee Chair Procedures/Responsibilities

Once a search committee has been formed, it is the responsibility of the committee chair to call the initial meeting. At the meeting committee members should be charged by the appropriate University administrator as to its responsibilities. This initial meeting is typically the setting in which the committee creates a schedule for discussing the applications from the Careers system and proposes deadlines for selecting a first “cut” of applications for possible interviews.

As the committee begins its deliberations, conversations that could explicitly or implicitly violate federal and/or state laws regarding affirmative action or equal employment should be avoided. Guidance on this issue is provided in Appendix I (Interview Question Guide). Generally, questions that should not be asked of a candidate should also not be discussed among committee members.

3.0.1 Responsibilities of the Committee Chair

The search committee chair has several roles in the search process. Among them are:

  • Drafting the position announcement (when necessary) for committee/institutional approval.
  • Establishing meeting dates for the committee.
  • Communicating regularly with committee members.
  • Ensuring that university, Board of Regents, and affirmative action guidelines are followed throughout the process.
  • Communicating with the Office of Human Resources so that procedures are followed and all applicant information is received by the advertised deadline for a position.
  • Ensuring that references on candidates are adequately checked.
  • Serves as the point of contact with candidates and assisting them with information regarding the institution and/or the community when requested.
  • Establishing phone/teleconference interviews with promising candidates.
  • Collaborate with committee members to establish appropriate interview questions.
  • Arranging campus visits for candidates and ensuring that they are escorted to the appropriate offices during the visits.
  • Provide an interview itinerary to all those on campus who will interview the candidates at least 24 hours in advance of the interviews.
  • Completing appropriate tasks in Careers regarding applicants throughout the search process.

3.0.2 Advertising for the Position

Print advertising for faculty positions - e.g., Chronicle of Higher Education, Diversity Issues in Higher Education, newspapers, etc. - is restricted to the title of the position to be filled, with reference to and address for the University of North Georgia web site. Any exceptions require the approval of the Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs. Announcements (Postings) should be inputted into Careers.

The Office of Human Resources submits external position announcements for all full-time faculty positions and for some academic administrative positions to the Applicant Clearinghouse of the University System of Georgia. In addition, advertisements for such positions usually should be placed in at least one major newspaper or professional publication. Advertisements must refer to and include the website of UNG. Advertisement for other positions may be placed in appropriate local, regional or national media.

3.0.3 Screening Candidate Files

The review of candidate application materials is the first step taken by committee members toward selecting candidates recommended for hire. Review of applications should be accomplished as promptly after the application deadline as possible after the published deadline or published date for the beginning of the file review. Applications are received and reviewed through Careers (the university’s applicant/recruiting system).

What follows are some points to consider as one reviews a candidate's file:

  • Does the candidate meet the minimum requirements for the position as advertised?
  • Is the file complete? Did the candidate submit all the material as requested in the advertisement?
  • Are reference letters adequate regarding their currency and source?

3.0.4 Interviewing Candidates

Search committees are strongly encouraged to conduct telephone interviews with promising candidates as a means of further deciding upon those who should receive an invitation to visit the campus (see Section 5.0). Reasonableness should be the touchstone in such decisions where cost and time involved are not overlooked. The search committee chair, with guidance from the appropriate university administrator, shall establish an agenda for candidates selected for personal interviews. The nature of the position itself usually dictates which individuals will meet with and/or interview the candidate. Consideration of including student representatives and members of the hiring department should be given. The Office of Human Resources should be included on the agenda to provide information to the candidate about benefits.

The search committee should arrange to meet with the candidate at some point during the visit. Committee members should refer to Appendix I for information as to the type of questions that can and cannot be asked of candidates.

4.0 Costs Associated with Advertising and with the Interview Process

Advertising expenses incurred during the search process for faculty and academic administrative positions are charged to Academic Affairs.  

5.0 Confidentiality

Georgia’s Open Records Act gives position candidates the right to inspect evaluation documents that are submitted as part of an application package. A document may be exempt from the Act when it is clearly identified as being a “confidential evaluation.” When references are solicited about a potential new employee, the person providing the reference should be informed of the candidate’s right of access to the evaluation.

Comments to the potential reference might be as follows:

“We are considering __________________for a position as ______________. She/he has listed you as a reference. We would like to ask a few questions based on your experience working with her. You should know that as a state institution, University of North Georgia must adhere to the Georgia Open Records Act. Because of this, most documents except for those identified as ‘confidential evaluations’ are subject to disclosure upon request. If you prefer that the information you provide not be disclosed to the candidate, please let me know now so I can note the file”.

If you are asking for a written evaluation, you should provide the same information about the Open Records Act, and ask the reference to indicate on the evaluation form that it is a ‘confidential evaluation’.

Applicants have the right to expect confidentiality in their search. Many applicants request that their employer not be contacted unless they are a finalist. This expectation must be honored.

6.0 Notes

The chair of the search committee may wish to collect and compile the written objective notes on applicants taken by committee members at the conclusion of the search process. It is at the chair's discretion as to whether or not to collect such objective notes.

7.0 Disqualification of Candidates

Consistent with University System of Georgia regulations, no individual shall be considered for employment at University of North Georgia who has:

  • Been convicted of a criminal drug offense within the last two years;
  • Been convicted of a second or subsequent criminal drug conviction within the last five years;
  • Made false statement of material fact on the employment application;
  • Been or is a member of any organization that advocates the violent overthrow of the United States government;
  • Been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude, except where pardoned.

Board of Regents policy also allows that "no individual shall be employed in a department or unit which will result in the existence of a subordinate-superior relationship between such individuals and any relative of such individual through any line of authority. As used herein, 'line of authority' shall mean authority extending vertically through one or more organizational levels of supervision or management."

8.0 Nomination Procedures

A recommendation to hire, which includes proposed rank, credit toward tenure (if appropriate), will be submitted by the chair of the search committee to the direct supervisor of the position.

If the respective supervisor decides that an offer should be made, he/she should complete the pertinent sections of the Hiring Proposal in Careers. The appropriate supervisor verbally extends the offer to the selected applicant, followed by a written confirmation letter from the Provost/Sr. Vice President for Academic Affairs or the President in cases of vice presidential appointments.

If the appropriate supervisor believes that the selected applicant must be given an interim response before all approvals can be obtained, he/she may contact the applicant of choice and state the following:

“I am calling to let you know that I am recommending that you be offered the position of ____________ at the rank of ____________for a nine- (twelve-) month salary of ___________ beginning ____________. An official offer is pending approval of the Dean, the Provost for Academic Affairs, the President”, depending on the position being filled.

The above procedure does not constitute an official offer; it is simply a means to inform the candidate of interest and intent, while, at the same time, ensuring that no offer is made without appropriate approvals.
Once the applicant of choice has accepted the position offered, the remaining applicants will need to be dispensed (processed). Notifications to all those who have applied that the position has been filled, will be sent. (If a department head wishes to notify those who have been interviewed, the Office of Human Resources should be informed immediately to prevent duplication.)

The search committee chair is responsible for moving the position through the proper stages in Careers has the search process progresses, ultimately recommending the final candidate for hire.

9.0 Candidate Reimbursement

Candidates who are invited to the university for an interview receive reimbursement for travel expenses (air, automobile) to and from campus and for one night’s hotel accommodations if an overnight stay is required as part of the interview process. Exceptions to the one-night lodging arrangement may be appropriate if a significantly reduced air fare could be obtained by staying more than one night. However, all exceptions must be approved by the Vice President for Academic Affairs prior to making actual arrangements.

Candidates should be encouraged to use rental cars for transportation to and from the airport. A University of North Georgia Travel Expense Statement must be filed with the Office of Academic Affairs in order for a candidate to be reimbursed.

Appendix I

Interview Question Guide
Before a candidate is interviewed, committee members should familiarize themselves with this guide. In every instance, questions must be job-related and necessary for determining the applicant’s potential for employment at UNG. When interviewing applicants, the method (phone, teleconference, etc.) must be consistently followed for each candidate in order to maintain equality in the interviewing experience. Additionally, each applicant within a search must be asked the same questions when being interviewed.

Do not ask the open-ended question “Tell me about yourself”. This question poses a risk that the candidate will tell you about their affiliation with the local church, their handicapped child, their domestic partner, etc. A candidate who has provided this sort of information can later claim that she was denied the position because of race, religion, age, etc.

It is permissible to ask candidates if they have ever worked at UNG under a different name, or to ask for a maiden name to check educational and/or employment history.

Questions may not be asked that tend to identify applicants who are age 40 or older. It is likewise not permissible to ask candidates their ages or their dates of birth.

Questions may not be asked that seek to determine candidate’s place of birth. It is permissible, however, to ask applicants if they can provide documentation of their right to work in the United States if a position is offered.

National Origin
Questions about what language is spoken in a candidate’s home, or what their “first” language is, are not permitted. If there is a job-related reason for the question, it is permissible to ask what languages they speak, read or write fluently.

No questions regarding an applicant’s race or color may be asked.

Candidates may not be asked about their plans for having children or whether someone is pregnant. It is also not permissible to ask candidates if they wish to be addressed as “Mrs.”, “Miss”, or “Ms.” (Use “Ms.” or “Dr.”, if appropriate).

No questions may be asked about someone’s religious affiliation, denomination or church. It is also not permitted to ask about someone’s religious holidays, although it is permissible to indicate the fact if a job requires an irregular work schedule or travel, and to ask if there are any reasons that a person would be unable to work the irregular schedule or to travel when necessary.

Marital Status/Relatives
Candidates may not be asked about their marital status, with whom they reside, nor about the ages of their children. It is permissible to ask the names of relatives who may be employed at UNG.

Questions that seek to identify the national, racial or religious affiliation of schools attended are not permitted.

Physical Condition
Candidates may not be asked if they have any physical disabilities, what caused a disability, nor the prognosis of a disability. Candidates also may not be asked it they have had any recent serious illness.

It is permissible to ask candidates if they have any physical condition that may limit their ability to perform the job for which they have applied. Candidates may also be asked if they may need any special accommodation in order to perform the job for which they have applied.

Work Schedule/Travel
No questions may be asked about the age of a candidate’s children or child care needs. It is permissible to ask candidates if any family, business, health or social obligations would prevent them from working weekends, working overtime or traveling. It is also permissible to ask candidates if reasons exist that would preclude them from consistently arriving for work on time and adhering to the UNG work schedule.

Candidates may be asked if any family, business, health or social obligation would preclude them from relocating. Candidates may also be asked if they would be willing to relocate.

No questions may be asked regarding a spouse’s attitude about relocating.

Sample Interview Questions

What are your three most important duties?
How successful were you at performing these duties?
How do you prioritize these duties?
What specific skills (knowledge, experience) did you have to possess in order to perform these duties?
How do you quantify the results of your job?
What would you have done to improve the job?
What would you do if a snap decision had to be made and there was no existing procedure to guide you?
Tell me about a mistake that you made and what you learned from the experience.
What aspects of the job did you find the most satisfying?
What levels of management did you interact with?
Give me an example of how you used your organizational ability.

You have held several jobs in a relatively short period of time. Could you explain why you changed jobs so often?
What factors/duties in your current position are similar to the requirements for this position?
What are the three key differences between you current employer and University of North Georgia?
What interests you about this type of work?
When you don’t understand something, do you try to figure it out yourself, or do you seek help from somebody else?
As you understand the University environment, what areas in your background would be of greatest benefit to us?
Tell me what you had to learn the fastest when you began your last job. How did you do it? How long did it take?
Why have you chosen to leave your current employer?

Describe the types of people you get along with the best.
What part of the job did you like the least?
Do you prefer to work alone, in small groups, or in large groups?
Who have you learned the most from in your job?
What things about your job do you find stressful?
How do you deal with stress?
What is it about this job opening that makes you interested in it?
How do you feel about working overtime on a regular basis?
How do you encourage cooperation among your work group?
What do you do if you have a disagreement among your work group?
What do you do if you have a disagreement with a co-worker?
What methods of conflict resolution have worked best for you? Give an example.

What is the most important thing you have learned from your current boss?
Tell me about a time when you were unable to meet a deadline.
What motivates you to perform your best?
What sorts of things really irritate you on the job?
If you knew you were right on an issue and your boss was wrong, what action would you take?
What is the most satisfying aspect of your current job?
Describe your management style.
Do you prefer to work for a manger that gives detailed instructions or one that gives you an assignment and expects you to figure out how to do it?
Of all of the supervisors you have worked with before, which one did you like best and why?
Sometimes it is impossible to keep the boss informed on everything. How would you decide what information should get to the boss.

Unlawful questions that should not be asked:

  • How old are you?
  • When did you graduate from _____________
  • Are you married?
  • Are you gay?
  • Do you have/plan on having children?
  • Who will take care of your children while you’re at work?
  • Is English your first language?
  • Are you a U.S. citizen?
  • What country are you from?
  • Where were you/your parents born?
  • What is your religion?
  • Where do you go to church?
  • What clubs or social organizations do you belong to?
  • Do you have any disabilities
  • How is your health?
  • How tall are you? How much do you weigh?
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • If you’ve been in the military, were you honorably discharged? 
  • What is your current salary/previous salary?

Sample Reference Questions

Reference Name _________________________________________________________

Title ___________________________________________________________________

Company _______________________________________________________________

City, State ______________________________________________________________

Phone _________________________________________________________________

The information contained in this reference was obtained on ____________________.

How long have you known the candidate and could you please describe your professional relationship?

How would you describe this candidate’s style of relating to other people on a day-today basis?

How would you assess this candidate’s communication skills (writing, speaking, listening)?

How would you assess this candidate’s strengths in internal administration and leadership (e.g. personnel selection and supervision, enrollment management; relating to students, faculty and staff; strategic planning; program development; financial management)?

How would you assess this candidate’s strengths in external relations, including building connections to the community, businesses and organizations?

Are there any particular areas that you might identify as “gaps” that this candidate would need to strengthen in order to serve effectively in this role?

Do you know if there are any particular or special reasons why he/she might be willing to consider a move such as this one at this time?

Is there any other information which you believe the Search Committee needs to know about this candidate?

Statement of Nondiscrimination

The following is the official University of North Georgia Affirmative Action / Equal Employment Opportunity Statement of Nondiscrimination.

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