AP Faculty Search Chair Resources

If you're visiting this page, you are either acting as a Search Chair for your own vacant position, or you have been asked by a colleague to act as a Chair for his or her vacant position. This is a very important role! You will be a key piece in Radford University's recruitment process by acting as a liaison between the university and top candidates. 

To Begin

If you have not previously had the opportunity to act as a Search Chair, you will need to attend a Search Chair Charge training with Human Resources before beginning your search. This training will walk you through the search process and your specific role in that process.  

The Search Chair acts as the official spokesperson of the Search Committee, and has the chief responsibility of ensuring the integrity of the search. The Search Chair is also responsible for calling Search Committee members together, developing a recruitment plan with input from the search committee and establishing a timeline.

Recruitment Plan, Job Advertisements and Screening Matrix

Before any paperwork or planning can be done, you will first need to ensure you understand the position. Review the posted job description and become familiar with both the minimum qualifications of the position, as well as any preferred qualifications that have been listed. A recruitment plan [DOC] is also very helpful in keeping everyone on task.

Information for external job advertisements may be used from the PeopleAdmin posting. The advertisement should clearly state a description of duties and distinguish between required and preferred qualifications. The qualifications listed in the ad should correspond with those in the position description in PeopleAdmin. A statement that salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience should be included. The advertisement should specify that only online applications will be accepted and provide a link to where the applicant can apply. A brief description provided about Radford University, its location and the student population may be included, if space allows. All posted or advertised positions must include an EO/AA and VEVRRA statement: Radford University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to diversity. Women, minorities and veterans are encouraged to apply. This contractor and subcontractor shall abide by the requirements of 41 CFR 60-300.5(a). This regulation prohibits discrimination against qualified protected veterans, and requires affirmative action by covered prime contractors and subcontractors to employ and advance in employment qualified protected veterans. To save space, it is acceptable to use the abbreviation EO/AA.

As Search Chair, you are responsible for establishing the screening criteria so that each applicant will be reviewed based on the same criteria. Selection criteria must be carefully defined, directly related to the advertised position requirements and clearly understood and accepted by the search committee members. Knowledge, skills and abilities should not be used as initial screening criteria as these are subjective. Rather, screening criteria should reflect the education and experience listed in the position requirements. Here is a sample screening matrix [XLSX]. Once you have designed your screening matrix based on the advertised position description, you will forward to the search committee for use in conducting the initial screening of the applicants. This initial screening is specifically looking for applicants that meet the minimum qualifications in full.

Convene the Search Committee

Once you have completed the screening matrix, you can convene the Search Committee. This can be done immediately following the application review date included on the position posting or after the posting close date. The Search Committee will assist in the initial screening. Once this initial screening is completed by the Search Committee, you will all conduct an intensive screening, looking through the matrices for candidates that meet not only the minimum qualifications listed in the position posting, but any who additionally meet the preferred qualifications. This intensive screening should be done with the purpose of identifying semi-finalists. Keep in mind that an acceptable reason for non-selection is required for each unsuccessful applicants and must be specific and job-related.

Virtual and Phone Interviews

Once the semi-finalists have been identified by the committee, you must all decide if you will utilize the virtual or phone interview option. virtual and phone interviews are entirely optional; it is recommended, however, for national searches where several semi-finalists may be at some distance, that this option be utilized to narrow the search further before bringing candidates to campus. You are not required to invite every candidate who is skype/phone interviewed to campus; this is part of the screening and narrowing process.  When setting up interviews, be sure to check for any candidate accommodation requests.

If you decide that your specific pool and/or posting would benefit from conducting a virtual/phone interview, the Search Committee should develop questions for these interviews. Remember, every candidate must be asked the same set of questions [DOC] in the interest of fairness. Once you complete your virtual/phone interviews, the Search Committee should convene again to complete their Candidate Evaluation Form [DOC] from the skype/phone interviews and to narrow the pool to three-five finalists to bring to campus.

If you do not have three finalists to bring to campus, do not worry. While this is a number we strive to reach in order to ensure we have a robust pool from which to hire, it does not always work out this way. Should you find that you only have one candidate to bring to campus, please contact the Human Resources office to discuss your unique situation.

Conversely, if you do not feel that continuing on with one candidate is a viable option for you, the search can be "failed" at this time. Failing the search means that the search will end; the position will be marked as "canceled" in the PeopleAdmin system by Human Resources, and the search will start again at the Hiring Manager's discretion. For more information on failing a search, please see the Failed Search [DOC].

Salary Discussions

The discussion of salary may seem insensitive, but this is a job, after all! We strive for an efficient and transparent hiring process, and discussing the salary is a vital piece of the process. Whether you decide to skype/phone interview, or to bring candidates straight to campus, the salary should be discussed before the first interview. This will ensure that neither you, the committee, nor the candidate waste valuable time. You can broach this subject by asking the candidate what his/her salary requirements are for the position. If prompted by the candidate as to what the salary for the position will be, you can give a ballpark figure such as “low 40’s” or “low to mid 40’s”.

Campus Interviews

Once you and your committee have narrowed the pool to your finalists, you will need to invite them to campus.

Convene the Search Committee to develop finalist questions [DOC] for the campus interview. Arrange the campus interviews, ensuring that key players are included in the campus itinerary [DOC]. Kindly remember that during each campus interview, finalists should complete a Background Check Authorization Form [PDF]. The authorization form should be delivered to the Human Resources office. Only the background check for the recommended candidate will be conducted.

Once the interview is completed, convene the Search Committee to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate and to complete another Candidate Evaluation Form [DOC] for the campus interview. This will need to happen with each candidate.

Once all interviews have been completed, convene the Search Committee to review the finalists as a whole. Ensure that all assessments are gathered from any other interviewing group(s), as well as those from audience members who may have attended a presentation given by the candidates. Review all assessment material with the Search Committee and select your recommended candidate.

Communicate with the Hiring Manager regarding your recommendation. The Hiring Manager may wish to meet with you regarding the selection process and your recommendation.


Only the references of the final candidate must be checked. It is up to the Hiring Manager to decide if s/he will check the finalist's references or if this will be the responsibility of the Search Chair. Confirm with the Hiring Manager his/her preference. 

If the Hiring Manager requests that the finalist's references are checked by you as the Search Chair, ensure that all references are asked the same set of questions. Use some of the Reference Questions [DOC].

Post Interview

Once the finalist's references have been checked, they will need to be moved in PeopleAdmin [PDF] to the "Recommend for Hire" stage. It is at this stage that the background check is conducted for your top candidate. The Background Check Authorization Form [PDF] and official offer letter must be sent to the Human Resources office in order for the background check to be conducted. Background checks typically take 4-6 days to complete but can take as long as 2 weeks depending on the locations searched. 

As a requirement of the university’s affirmative action record-keeping procedures and as a professional courtesy, an automatic email will be sent from PeopleAdmin to all candidates who applied for the position thanking them for their interest in Radford University, once the position has been closed by Human Resources. Before Human Resources can close the recruitment file, you will need to change all applicant status reasons in PeopleAdmin [PDF]. It is very important to code unsuccessful candidates correctly as emails sent to unsuccessful candidates are tailored to the status of each candidate. Human Resources will wait until the selected candidate’s start date before closing out the recruitment file in the event something happens where the selected candidate declines the position and the hiring supervisor must go back into the applicant pool for the second candidate of choice.

Once the final candidate has begun his or her first day of work, you may receive a reminder from Human Resources to move the remaining candidates [PDF] to their final disposition in the PeopleAdmin system so the search can be successfully closed as "filled." 

All recruitment files (to include but not limited to advertisements, interview notes, screening matrix, reference information, candidate evaluation forms, etc.) must be kept according to the record retention guidelines available from Financial Reporting.

Congratulations! You have completed a successful and efficient hiring search!