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Search & Screening Procedures For Non-Faculty 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.

Some positions may be filled without a search committee (generally these are entry level positions, custodial positions or grounds positions). Even when a search committee is not utilized, hiring managers are responsible for all hiring steps, beginning with 3.0.1 (Responsibilities of the Committee Chair).

2.0 Committee Composition/Selection

Search and screening committees are generally composed of three to five members, although they can be larger. One individual is identified as the committee chair. Depending on the level of the position, the hiring manager may act as the committee chair. Alternatively, the hiring manager may wish to abstain from the committee’s work and make a hiring decision after receiving recommendations from the search committee.

Membership on the committee is usually driven by the nature of the position. Depending on the scope of the position’s responsibility, the committee should include staff members or faculty from areas across campus.

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 the members of the committee will decide on a deadline for reviewing applications in the Careers system and will set tentative deadlines for selecting a first “cut” of applications for further review and 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 Screening Applications

The review of applications is the first step taken by committee members. Review of applications may begin upon release from HR. All applicants’ materials must be reviewed by the search committee until such time as the position is officially closed in Careers.

Screening should never be on a “points” basis. Using a numerical point system to rate applications leaves the university vulnerable to legal action if the candidate hired does not have the highest cumulative total.

Instead, applications should be rated as “top3”, or “yes/no/maybe”. The search committee should then compare their ratings of each application and develop a consensus about applications that should move forward in the process.

3.0.3 Interviewing Candidates

Search committees are strongly encouraged to conduct interviews with at least three candidates, if possible. The search committee chair shall establish an agenda for candidates selected for telephone and/or personal interviews. At a minimum, your top two candidates should be brought to campus for an in-person interview with the hiring committee.

During the interview process the candidate should be given information about UNG and about the position. Questions asked of the candidate must be related to the job duties of the position. See Appendix I for information about appropriate interview questions.

4.0 Costs Associated with Advertising and with the Interview Process

Advertising expenses incurred during the search process are the responsibility of the hiring department. Human Resources will place requested advertisements and will then bill the department for reimbursement of the amount paid.

If travel is required, candidates may be reimbursed up to the current per diem rate for employee travel.

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.

5.0.1 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.

6.0 Job Offers and Offer Letters

Please note that no verbal offer of employment can be made to any applicant until Human Resources has confirmed the salary and terms of employment. All offer letters will be produced by Human Resources. This will include notification to the potential new employee that he/she must pass a background check.

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.

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 sort of things really irritates 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.

University of North Georgia is committed to affirmative implementation of equal opportunity in education and employment. To that end, UNG does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, creed, national origin, age, disability, genetics or protected veteran status in its programs and activities, including in the administration of its admissions policies, educational policies, employment policies, or any University governed program or activity.

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