Search Committee Briefing Process

Affirmative Action Officer
Search Committee Briefing
Affirmative Action & Equal Opportunity in the Faculty Search
Affirmative Action Placement Goals
A. Where there are fewer women or people of color employed in a job group than
would be expected based on calculated availability (or otherwise known as a
“placement goal”), we have a specific obligation as a federal contractor to engage in a
good faith effort to make progress toward addressing that underrepresentation. That
begins with a thoughtful, targeted outreach and recruitment effort every time we have
the opportunity to make a hire into the job group. We also have an obligation to
prepare for future hires by engaging in outreach to targeted communities and
developing strategies to examine internal policies, procedures, and communication
efforts to address any underrepresentation.
To know if there is a placement goal, review the annual affirmative action
plan or contact the Affirmative Action Officer.
B. Search committees need to develop broad and appropriately targeted recruitment
strategies designed to attract a broad and diverse applicant pool that includes women
and people of color. Federal regulations also require good faith efforts to target
qualified covered veterans and individuals with disabilities pursuant to the Vietnam Era
Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act (Section 4212) and The Rehabilitation Act of
1973 (Section 503).
Examples of outreach and recruitment resources include: relevant professional
organizations, people of color or women’s special interest groups or caucuses
within professional organizations, relevant professional journals, The Chronicle
of Higher Education, general higher education minority recruiting organizations,
publications or websites and contact with colleagues at other organizations who
might know of promising candidates. We must document these efforts and the
candidates that result from these efforts to help us measure success in our
recruitment efforts.
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If every candidate pool is as diverse as reasonably might be expected based on
availability in the labor market, we can expect over time to employ a workforce that
reflects the true representation of qualified women and minorities within which we
recruit. A successful affirmative action program is measured by demonstrated effort,
not by meeting or exceeding the placement goals. Above all, the MOST qualified
candidate must always be selected without regard of race, color, national origin, sex,
pregnancy, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender
expression or veteran status. The key to satisfying our affirmative action responsibilities
is measured by the actions we take to recruit a diverse applicant pool.
To request assistance in identifying additional resources available for
targeted recruitment efforts, contact the Affirmative Action Officer.
Equal Opportunity in the Selection Process
A. General – Once a broad and targeted outreach and recruitment effort has been
implemented and the search committee turns to identifying the most qualified
candidates from among the applicants, the focus shifts from taking affirmative action to
recruit a diverse applicant pool, to ensuring equal opportunity in the applicant review
1. As applications are received, the hiring department should acknowledge
receipt of applications, solicit ethnicity, race, and gender information as per
federal regulations requirements under Executive Order 11246, and maintain
confidentiality. CU-Boulder utilizes Jobs@CU as the system to collect applications
and manage these processes.
2. Before beginning to review the applications, search committees are
encouraged to contact the Affirmative Action Officer regarding the diversity of
the applicant pool. If the pool is not as diverse as we might expect based on
availability, the committee and/or hiring authority should consider whether
additional outreach and recruitment efforts might result in a more diverse pool.
Evaluation of Written Application Materials
1. Prior to review of written application materials, the search committee needs
to have a thoughtful and thorough discussion about selection criteria – what
kinds of training, experience, accomplishments or other job-related attributes
are relevant to success in the position.
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2. In defining the selection criteria, the search committee needs to exercise
care to ensure that:
a. The criteria are grounded in the position as posted – they are either
addressed in or reasonably can be inferred from the job announcement.
b. The criteria are defined to be useful in guiding the selection decision
but broadly enough to avoid eliminating strong candidates who, despite
having a less traditional background and/or experience, may have the
skills and experience necessary to be successful in the position and would
bring a different approach or perspective that would add value to the
c. The criteria have been critically reviewed in an effort to ensure that
they are free from non-job-related bias that might inadvertently
eliminate otherwise qualified protected group candidates from ongoing
3. Candidates who meet the stated minimum qualification move on to review of
preferred qualifications; candidates who do not meet minimum qualifications do
not move on UNLESS the position is redefined and re-advertised.
Short List – selecting candidates for initial interview
1. If the search committee is challenged in deciding how many candidates to
include in the initial interview phase because of the number of strong and viable
candidates, they are encouraged to contact the Affirmative Action Officer to see
if where they draw the line in terms of candidates for initial interview would
make a difference in maintaining diversity in the applicant pool. If the very top
group does not include gender, race or ethnic diversity but expanding that group
would maintain the opportunity for a diverse hire, the committee is encouraged
to consider extending the initial interview list so long as that does not result in
interviewing candidates the search committee has determined are not viable.
The Affirmative Action Officer will not be able to provide specific information on
the identity of those whom are from a specific demographic.
2. There is no magic number of minimum or maximum candidates for initial
interview. The search committee may interview as many candidates as it deems
necessary. The search committee needs to have a job-related explanation
supporting its decision as to candidates selected for interview and those
eliminated from further consideration. Federal regulations require we identify
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why individuals were not selected to properly investigate any potential barriers
of equal opportunity. Therefore, it is important all candidates are documented
with a job-related explanation why they were not selected other than, “NotSelected” or “Other Candidate Selected”. For example, if a candidate was not
selected due to less experience, education, or research experience, it is
important to document as such. Again, Jobs@CU allows for the selection of notselection identifications.
1. As with all steps in the selection process, consistency and fairness are
a. Interview questions must be clearly job-related and designed to help
the search committee determine which candidates have the training,
experience, skills and ability to best perform the essential functions of
the job.
b. Each campus interview should include the same opportunities –
meetings with constituency groups, administrators, etc.
c. Care must be taken to gather the same job-related information for
each candidate through consistency in questions posed by the search
committee and input received from other constituency groups involved
in the on-campus interview process.
2. To ensure equity in the selection process, avoid:
a. Asking additional questions of one candidate that are not asked of
others. However, additional questions can and should be asked to obtain
or clarify an answer to a question asked or to clarify information in a
candidate's application materials.
b. Asking questions that elicit personal information rather than jobrelated information. Some non-job-related information, such as number
and age of children, can lead to discrimination. The less non-job-related
information you have, the less that could possibly enter into, or be
perceived as entering into, a selection decision.
3. We have an obligation under the law to provide reasonable accommodation
to both applicants and employees with disabilities. An applicant with a disability
may require accommodation in order to participate in the application and
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selection processes. E.g., someone with mobility impairment will require that
interviews be conducted in locations that are physically accessible.
a. In order to meet our accommodation obligations without violating
the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), when inviting candidates it is
useful to ask a carefully worded question that gives candidates the
opportunity to identify any special needs without asking about a
disability. (e.g. “Are there any special considerations of which we should
be aware in planning your visit?”)
1. Checking references is a critically important part of the selection process. As
with all other steps in the selection process, consistency and fairness are
paramount. Reference questions must be clearly job-related and directly
relevant to a candidate’s potential success in the position. The search
committee or hiring authority should take care to be gathering the same body of
information for each candidate.
a. The search committee/hiring authority is not limited to contacting
those references identified by the candidate. However, to ensure respect
for candidates in the selection process, it is a professional courtesy to let
candidates know if additional references are being contacted.
b. Where additional references are contacted, the search committee or
hiring authority should have a clear and job-related rationale for
contacting those references.
Final Selection Decision
1. The guidelines implementing our affirmative action related obligations are
very specific in requiring that decisions be based on merit, rather than on gender
or race. Therefore, under no circumstances should a clearly less qualified
candidate be selected or elevated in the selection process over a clearly more
qualified candidate. However, as noted above, please be aware that how the
selection criteria are defined will determine who emerges as most qualified and
must not unfairly disadvantage applicants from protected groups.
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Search Process Documentation
A. Search Plan (Pre-Selection): The search or recruitment plan is prepared prior to the
job posting and must be approved by the Affirmative Action Officer prior to the
commencement of the search The Search Plan is our record that documents outreach
and recruitment efforts, criteria for selection, and search committee members.
B. Search Summary (Post-Selection): One a candidate is selected, the hiring authority
must submit a summary of the search to the Affirmative Action Officer. The Search
Summary confirms the information provided in the search plan and includes a list of all
candidates who were interviewed, with candidates’ relative strengths and job-related
reasons for selection or non-selection. We are required to maintain the application
materials and note reasons for non-selection for all candidates in the search process,
including those not interviewed. The department can either note those candidates’ final
status within Jobs@CU or submit a list of those candidates directly to the Affirmative
Action Officer. NOTE: This is a change from past practice when reasons for nonselection were required only for candidates who were interviewed.
C. When the search has been completed, the search committee chair needs to gather
all search-related materials from all committee members. This includes all evaluative
notes, interview and reference check notes, reference letters, correspondence with or
about each candidate, etc. All of the search materials must be included with all the
applications received for the position, marked clearly as a search file, and retained for
three years. IMPORTANT: Failure to retain search documents could lead to an
inference of discrimination if an applicant or candidates alleges discrimination in the
recruitment process.
For more information or assistance, contact the University of Colorado Boulder
Affirmative Action Officer:
Torrey S. Tiburzi, SPHR
303-735-3846 (p)
[email protected]
[email protected]