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frequently asked questions

SEarch committee

What if a member of the search committee misses one of the interviews?
While it is always best for all search committee members to participate in all interviews there will be emergencies, such as illness, where this is not always possible. In this case you may want to have someone on the committee take more detailed notes than normal and then brief the missing committee member on the answers to the interview questions. Be sure to notate when this occurs in the recruitment process notes.

What if there is a conflict of interest between a search committee member and an applicant that has applied for the position?

The search committee member should discuss their concerns with the search committee chair. If the chair is not sure of the appropriate action that should be taken they should consult with Human Resources.

Are search committee deliberations confidential?
Yes! The Hiring Manager and/or search committee chair must make sure that all committee members understand that breaches of confidentiality create severe problems, hurt feelings, and can lead to formal complaints. This is especially true when an internal employee(s) has applied for the job.
A good rule of thumb is that committee members should never discuss the committee work. At most, they can share information about what stage the recruitment process is in, but nothing about the committee’s evaluation of individual candidates, nothing about who said what, and nothing about which candidates are strong or who they think will get the job.

How should a search committee make decisions? Consensus? Majority vote?
The Hiring Manager and/or committee chair should make sure that the group agrees on a method of decision-making before applications are discussed.

To take best advantage of the diversity in perspectives on a search committee, talk through differences of opinion to see what they’re about. In particular, fairness may depend on talking through any differences in opinion between men and women or between people of different cultural backgrounds, or differences in how the committee is evaluating men and women, or candidates of different cultural backgrounds. Take the time to talk it through -- everyone may learn something, and robust discussion leads to better decisions along the way.

What should a search committee member do if they feel implicit bias is being demonstrated in the search process.

The search committee member should discuss those concerns with the search committee chair or consult with the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

Is it still required to have a woman and minority on every search committee?

That is not a specific requirement, however the search committee should reflect the diversity of the university and the search committee chair may be asked what steps were taken to ensure the search committee is diverse.

Can a search committee member decide to apply for the position they are serving on?

A search committee member cannot apply for the position they are servicing on once the committee has started to review applications. A committee member could recuse themselves from the committee and apply if they have not started to review applications.

Are internal candidates required to follow the same interview process as external candidates?

Yes, it is important to ensure fairness to all applicants during the screening and selectin process. There should be consistent treatment of applicants at each stage of the selection process. For example, if phone interviews are being conducted, internal candidates should also participate by phone.

When should reference checks or letters be requested by the search committee?

The search committee can determine the process that will be used to request reference checks or letters and the timing of when they will be requested.

What should a search committee do if an applicant claims that they were not treated fairly or discriminated against?

Before responding to the applicant the search committee should consult with Human Resources.

Why is it important for a search committee to be able to explain or defend their selection decisions?

Applicants who feel they were highly qualified but not selected may question or challenge the committee’s selection. In those situations the committee may need to explain the process, metrics, and steps taken to conduct a fair and objective search.


What is the first step in filling an open position?
Anytime a department wants to advertise for a position or make changes to positions at the University, they are required to make a request and receive approval using a Position-Personnel-Request Form (PPRF). When Human Resources receives the PPRF, your Human Resource representative will contact you to discuss any changes that may need to be made to the form or to your posting.

Who must sign a PPRF before the position can be posted?
Before a position can be posted, the department head, appropriate vice president, the University Controller and the Vice President of Business and Finance must sign the PPRF. The President’s signature is required on all hiring paperwork when the university implements a hiring freeze, unless exceptions are established.


What is the posting period for positions?
A job announcement should be advertised for at least 14 days.

When can I post my position externally?
In accordance with the job opportunity program, positions are first posted internally (to benefits eligible WMU employees). If you have completed the internal posting process and do not have a qualified candidate, please contact your Human Resource representative to assist you in the external posting process. In addition, it will be necessary to obtain approval from the Office of Institutional Equity to post your position externally.

When should I advertise my position?
The Division and Human Resources works together in determining appropriate placement of position announcements – local, regional or national, professional publications, listservs, and others as appropriate. Human Resources continues to research other sites to post announcements, which should help to provide the Division with an adequate and diverse pool of applicant.

Who pays for advertising my position?
The hiring department pays for all employment advertising. Billing occurs after the advertisement is published. Human Resources charges the advertising expense back to the hiring department through an intra-departmental transfer.


May I request materials from applicants that cannot be easily submitted online, for example work samples, tapes, videos, etc?
Yes, you may include a section in the job announcement that tells candidates how to submit these materials. Please let your Human Resources representative know that you will be requesting such materials when the posting is being created.

What if someone sends me an application or a resume directly?
Please contact the applicant and ask him or her to apply for the vacant position via the contact information for Human Resources that is included in all job announcements. Requiring all job seekers to submit their applicant materials through Human Resources ensures consistency in the recruitment and hiring process.

When may I begin reviewing application materials?
Applications will be made available for review by hiring agents after the closing date/initial review date.

Do I need to notify applicants when a job posting has been canceled?
Yes, as a hiring agent you do need to notify applicants if a search process is canceled.

How can I prepare for an employment interview?
Job analysis is always the first step. Review the skill requirements for the position. You must be able to describe and assess the skills and characteristics necessary for success in the position. Your analysis should include a review of the job posting.

After analysis of the position, the second step is to develop appropriate job-related interview questions. For assistance with developing interview questions, please click here.

Third, review each applicant's resume and application to determine whether he or she meets the qualifications for the position as listed in the job posting.

Must I interview all candidates for the position?
No. When your applicant pool is so large that it would be unreasonable to interview all qualified candidates, you need only interview the candidates that best meet the requirements for the position. However, you must be able to document on the candidate referral form the reason you did not interview the candidate within the context of required qualifications. Human Resources encourages hiring agents to interview all qualified internal candidates whenever possible.


Do I have to conduct reference checks on all applicants?
No. However, we strongly recommend that hiring managers thoroughly check references for finalist candidates.

How do I check applicant references?
The best indicator of how a person will perform in a position is how he or she has performed in previous positions. Therefore, hiring agents should check references of all finalists whenever possible. While many employers are pleased to provide needed information regarding their past and current employees, some employers are only willing to verify employment dates. However, even this information may be helpful to you in your hiring decision. Some employers require a written consent before providing information about a previous employee. For more information on this topic, please click here.

An applicant has checked "no" on their application pertaining to checking references with their current employer. What should I do?
In most cases, the employee does not want his/her current employer to know that he or she is looking for another job, which is understandable. Once you have identified the applicant as a finalist, you should contact the applicant, explain that further consideration for the position is contingent upon reference checks with previous employers and request permission to contact the current employer. If the applicant does not allow you to conduct a reference check, you may want to reconsider the applicant as a finalist for the position.


When can I make a job offer?
You may proceed with an official job offer after you have completed a PPRF and it has been approved with the required signatures. Human Resources will contact you to let you know that your finalist has been approved for hire and to discuss pay recommendations, background checks, and to assist with drafting of the offer letter.

Should I request that a background check be conducted before I offer my top candidate the job?
Before an official offer of employment can be extended, all employees are required to have a satisfactory completion of a background check and/or physical examination. Please consult with your Human Resource representative prior to making any offer of employment.

Is a signed letter of offer/acceptance necessary?
An offer letter signed by the finalist indicating their acceptance is necessary to ensure that both WVSU and the finalist are in agreement with respect to all of the details of the job offer such as pay, benefits, and other related conditions of employment.

What if the job offer is declined?
If the job offer is declined, the hiring agent may offer the job to their next finalist. If there are no other finalists, your Human Resource representative should be contacted to discuss other options.


How do I put a new employee on the payroll?
Once a PPRF has been completed and the job offer has been accepted and the letter of offer received, Human Resources enters the new employee into the Human Resources Information System. Please contact your Human Resources representative for more information.


How are non-selected candidates notified of the hiring decision?
Once the PPRF requesting to hire the new employee is completed and received in Human Resources, the position announcement will be removed from the website and  the Search Chair sends ‘Thank you for your Interest. The Position has been filled” letter to all qualified but unsuccessful applicant and interviewed candidates. For examples of non-selection letters, please click here.

Do I have to keep all the resumes and applications I received for my posted position?
At the conclusion of the search, the committee chair collects all the documentation and forwards it to the hiring department representative for retention. The department must retain the compiled search file for three years after the calendar year in which the records were created. Upon expiration of the three-year retention period, the materials should be destroyed confidentially, such as confidential shredding. Human Resources retains online employment application materials, and job postings.

Human Resources

Phone:                        304-766-3156
Fax:                             304-766-4156
Campus Address:    105 Cole Complex
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Human Resources

Employee RelationsSearch and Hiring Information
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