Hiring Department Chair Resources for Teaching & Research Faculty

Here, we will walk you through the hiring process, from the moment you receive a resignation letter, to posting the position, to hiring the new member of your team.

The Beginning

You've received a resignation letter from an employee. What now? There are several steps you will need to take in order to ensure your former employee has vacated the position fully thus allowing you to begin the process of filling the vacant position. Part of this process will include forwarding the resignation letter to Human Resources so that we are aware of your pending vacancy. Once you have shared the news with us, we can begin the process of filling your position. 

Postings, Search Committees, and Advertising

The Teaching and Research Faculty Handbook (Section 1.3.1) describes the process for the authorization of faculty searches:

The Provost, with the approval of the President, authorizes all full-time faculty positions and approves the qualifications for candidates to fill such positions. The Dean of the appropriate College, with the approval of the Provost, authorizes all part-time faculty positions and approves the qualifications for each position.

The Provost authorizes searches in the summer and/or fall of each year based on recommendations from the Deans and departments. Vacancies that occur later during the year are reviewed and if appropriate additional searches are authorized in the spring. Authorizations for searches are communicated to the Dean, who informs the Department Chair. The Department Chair has the responsibility for informing the Department Personnel Committee of authorized searches.  

It is very important to identify appropriate qualifications for the position. Qualifications must be job-related (education, knowledge, skills, and abilities); a valid predictor of successful job performance; and, where appropriate, must be a requirement for accreditation. Finding an appropriate level of specificity is the key to developing a successful set of qualifications. A set of qualifications that is not specific enough leads to searches in which the criteria are not adequate for reviewing applications. For example, if the only qualification is a terminal degree in the field, then there is nothing to distinguish among all applicants who have a terminal degree. However, an overly specific set of qualifications may lead to few applicants and to a failed search.

When you identify qualifications for the position, it is important to distinguish between what is required and what is preferred to do the job. Ensure you do not require qualifications that are not a valid indicator of success for the job. This can invalidate the screening and selection process as qualifications cannot be changed during the recruitment process. Applicants must meet all required qualifications before being eligible to be considered for an interview. Human Resources staff can assist with developing job descriptions. Other sources that can be used to help develop job descriptions include:

Federal SOC Classifications –Examples of tasks and duties for various job categories

O*Net – Examples of tasks, knowledge, skills, and abilities

Each department conducting a search must develop a plan for obtaining as diverse a pool of applicants as possible. The plan identifies the strategies and specific resources that the department will use in its search. The Dean must approve the plan before any advertisements for the position are placed. An action must also be created in PeopleAdmin [PDF] requesting to fill the position.

Preparing to advertise a position in the PeopleAdmin system means that you will need to create a Search Committee [DOC], including selecting a Search Chair. You should consider having 3-8 Search Committee Members, depending upon the level of the position.

You have the option of either acting as the Search Chair for your search or selecting someone else to act as the Search Chair. The Search Committee can be established before creating the position posting, or you can notify Human Resources of your committee once created. Human Resources can add your Search Committee to your posting for you at any time. 

The Hiring Process

T&R Faculty positions are posted “open until filled” with an application review date typically 30 calendar days from the posting date. T&R Faculty positions should be advertised nationally unless you have received approval from Human Resources for an exemption.

If you are acting as the Search Chair for your position, you can begin reviewing applications and creating your screening matrix at any time. However, screening matrices will need to include applicants up to the application/closing date listed on the posting. For a review of Search Chair responsibilities, please visit the Search Chair Resources page. If you are not acting as the Search Chair for your vacant position, your job here is done for the moment. Once the position is posted, the active search process will be directed by your Search Chair. You can await the decision of your Search Committee before moving forward. 

Selecting a Final Candidate and Checking References

If you have not acted as the Search Chair for your open position, the Search Committee will bring their final selection of top candidates to you for review. You will then review these candidates to select your top candidate. Once the successful candidate is identified, the references for this candidate must be checked. This reference check can either be conducted by you or delegated to the Search Chair. Each reference will need to be asked the same set of questions. Here are suggestions to assist in checking references [DOC]. It is important to check the references of your top candidates after the interviews, to compare the candidates’ perception of what they have accomplished with that of the referees.

After references have been checked and you have selected a final candidate, you will need to make the recommendation to the Dean, Vice-President, or other senior officials. You should also notify Human Resources for a salary recommendation based on the candidate’s experience and/or education. You will then be invited to make a verbal offer to the candidate.  Share the candidate’s decision with Human Resources before changing the candidate’s status in PeopleAdmin [PDF] to "Recommend for Hire." 

Once the Hiring proposal makes its way to Human Resources & the Provost Office, an official offer letter can be created by Provost Office, the signed offer letter must be sent to Human Resources.  Please note that to comply with state policy, the offer letter must be provided before the background check can be processed.  Template offer letters are available by your HR Generalist.   Remember the offer is contingent upon final approvals and a satisfactory background check.  

When you provide the candidate with the official offer letter also provide them with the Criminal Background Check Authorization | PDF.  They should complete this are submit it to Human Resources directly.  The official offer Letter and Background Check Authorization must be provided to the Human Resources office in order to conduct the background check. Background checks typically take 4-6 days to complete but can take as long as 2 weeks depending on the locations searched.  Completed forms should be provided by secure upload

Once the background check results are received Human Resources will complete and approve the Hiring Proposal and will begin adding them to the various Human Resources systems and schedule for new hire orientation.  At this time emails will be sent out to both the new employee and their supervisor with important onboarding and orientation information. 

Other Information: 

If the results of a background check do not return in time for the original start date your HR Generalist will communicate this to you so you can inform the candidate their start date will be delayed, please note that a new offer letter with the updated date will be required in this situation after results return.  

If the top candidate declines, do not worry! You are welcome and encouraged to make an offer to the next viable candidate identified by the Search Committee. 

A search only "fails" if other viable candidates are not identified or do not accept the offer. If a search fails, it will be marked as "posting canceled" in the PeopleAdmin system and the posting process will start again. However, the re-posting process [DOC] is much faster, and Human Resources will assist in expediting the process.    

On-Boarding Your New Hire

By now, a suitable candidate has been identified, offered, and accepted a position, this is great news! Our work is not yet done, however. It is now the onboarding period. A positive onboarding and orientation experience is a key element to retention and satisfaction in the workplace. You can impact this positive impression by ensuring your newly hired staff member has everything they need by using the Departmental Checklist for New Employees [PDF] to smoothly transition to our campus.