Procedures for Hiring and Recruitment

Originally Issued: May 2013
Revised: July 21, 2014
Revised:  October 1, 2019

SACSCOC Standard:  5.5
SACSCOC Standard:  6.3

I.  Purpose

These procedures are meant to assist those involved in filling all vacant non-temporary personnel positions at Athens State University.  The goal of these procedures and the Hiring and Recruiting Policy is to conduct a search that will yield the best possible candidates for these positions.

These procedures are not applicable to part-time/adjunct faculty vacancies (see Section IV).

 All efforts to fill these positions will be directed toward choosing the best suited individual based on professional qualifications, personal integrity, and equal opportunity/equal access considerations. These procedures are designed to assist personnel in completing the search/hiring process in an efficient and effective manner.

II. Recruitment and Diversity

In connection with the issue of diversity, it is important that the search process include a focus on recruitment, retention, and promotion of women and underrepresented minority faculty and staff members.  Studies show that there is a relatively low representation of women and underrepresented minority faculty and staff in higher education, and the reasons for the relatively low representation are complex and will not be solved by recruitment alone. However, different recruitment practices are a crucial part of the solution. Increasing the number of women and underrepresented minority faculty can do a great deal to change the academic climate, making it better and helping to ensure that students, faculty and staff thrive.

In conjunction with the above notices and advertising, the University may explore creative and effective other ways to actively recruit an effective, qualified, and diverse workforce.  The University may employ strategies   to widen the candidate net and to seek out desirable candidates at professional meetings.  The University should view this task as including a process of generating a pool rather than merely tapping it.  The University’s goal is to search for outstanding candidates.  This may be accomplished by having members of the University community, when attending national meetings and conferences, visit presentations and develop a list of potential future candidates based on those presentations. Candidates identified in this way may be in any field, not necessarily the one targeted for a particular search.

The University may consider searching for qualified candidates outside academia, such as in industry, some of whom may be well suited to a faculty or staff position.   Care should be taken to place a suitable value on non-traditional career paths and take into account time spent raising children or getting particular kinds of training, unusual undergraduate degrees, and different job experiences.   More than one standard may be used to measure achievement. Candidates who received their education later in life, or worked part-time to meet family responsibilities may bring rich experiences to the University.

The University may utilize creative and effective methods to encourage and attract a diverse pool of applicants.  For example, members of the University community may contact women and underrepresented minority candidates in their final year of their Ph.D. studies to inform them about Athens State University and describe potential vacancies (perhaps inviting them to present their work).  To encourage a diverse group of candidates, the  University  may (i) consider interaction (such as a faculty exchange program) with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), colleges with large underrepresented minority populations, or women’s colleges, (ii) identify suitable women and minority faculty at other institutions, particularly faculty members who may currently be under-placed, and send job announcements, and/or (iii) for faculty, contact relevant professional organizations for rosters listing women and minorities receiving Ph.D.s in a certain field.  Consideration may be given to re-open the search if the pool of applicants does not include a diverse group of candidates (such as   female or underrepresented minority candidates) who will be seriously considered by the search committee/hiring group.  In the event of a recurring lack of candidates from diverse backgrounds, the department, college or office may consider creating a committee to generate women and/or underrepresented minority candidates, who can then be considered for targeted recruitment outside of defined searches.

III.  Announcement of New Position/Vacancy

The appropriate Vice President, in conjunction with the Human Resources Office identifies minimum credential requirements, qualifications, essential functions and responsibilities of the position, classification level and salary range, application procedures, and equal employment and diversity expectations.  All positions to fill/advertise are created in the online employment system based on the provided job description and posting information form sent to the Office of Human Resources.  After all approvals, the Office of Human Resources will post the position as directed.

Further, the Office of Human Resources will:

  • Notify other universities/agencies of the vacancy
  • Post position announcement on University website
  • Utilize other sources as appropriate for advertising

The University will require that a current position description be submitted to the Human Resources Director before advertising.  The University will further require that all non-exempt positions be advertised using both on-campus and off-campus resources.  It shall be the responsibility of the appropriate administrator to identify the minimum qualifications and essential functions of the job; define and describe fully the duties and responsibilities of the position; specify all physical, environmental and mental demands of the position; and obtain confirmation from Human Resources on the classification level and salary ranges.  Position descriptions must reflect actual qualifications and experience required for the position.

Job announcements shall contain the job classification, a brief description of the position, and may include salary and benefit information related to the job.  Announcements must alert applicants of minimum qualifications and any required pre-placement requirements.  The duration and scope of advertising shall follow University practices and applicable state and/or federal laws and shall follow announcement guidelines.

All Athens State University publicity materials should appear welcoming to all persons, including but not limited to women and underrepresented minority faculty. Proactive language can be included in job descriptions to indicate a department’s commitment to diversity.

  •  Current members of the University community may contact colleagues at other institutions to seek nominations of potential candidates that are qualified, effective, and that have diverse experiences and perspectives.
  • Advertise in local and regional media.
  •  Generally, all positions are advertised in a minimum of two regional and/or national sources (on-line and/or print) appropriate to the discipline and to enhance potential for a diverse pool of applicants.
  • Advertisement shall be made in at least one publication or website that specifically attracts women or underrepresented minority faculty and staff members. This demonstrates Athens State’s commitment to broadening the search process and may attract individuals who might not otherwise apply. Moreover, the University may use electronic job-posting services, list serves, newspapers, journals and publications that are targeted at diverse groups in the required discipline.
  • Current members of the University community may make personal contacts with diverse candidates of all types, including women and minority group members at professional conferences, and invite them to apply.
  •  Every attempt should be made to advertise positions for a reasonable time period, such as where the advertisement timeline will not materially prejudice the University.
  • Make sure that the position description does not needlessly limit the applicant pool. The search committee/hiring group should consider, among the selection criteria, the ability of the candidate to add intellectual diversity to the department and the ability to work with diverse students and colleagues.
  • Avoid narrowly drawn job descriptions. Athens State University emphasizes the importance of considering the job description and whether it can be broadened to include more diverse specialties or perspectives.   An unduly narrow job description may restrict the applicant pool and ultimately inhibit the scope of ideas that help create a dynamic community.

IV. Part-Time/Adjunct Faculty

Part-time/Adjunct Faculty are faculty members who have part-time appointments, specifying both the part-time workload and the period of time (normally one term) with the appointment terminating automatically at the end of the specified period.

Employment opportunities for part-time/adjunct faculty are continually available in the online employment system.  Part-time/Adjunct faculty applications that are submitted through this online system are kept in an applicant pool that is available to University administration should there be a future opening.

Part-time/Adjunct faculty positions are considered temporary, non-tenured track employees appointed to teach specific courses and compensated on a course-by-course basis.

V. Search Committee/Hiring Group Process

Athens State University should utilize a search committee/hiring group to assist in filling the vacancy or new position.  The Search Committee/hiring group will be appointed at the request of the Vice President from the hiring area.  However, as stated in the Athens State University Statement on Shared Governance, the University President will appoint the search committee when a vacancy occurs for a Dean position.  Normally, a search committee is established for an exempt position search and a hiring group is established for a non-exempt position search.

Search Committees

         The following criteria may be considered when forming a search committee.

  • Under no circumstances should the Vice President or Dean be the Chair of a search committee in their respective areas.
  • Search committees may include members with different perspectives and expertise as well as those who have demonstrated commitments to diversity.
  • Search committees may consist of a diverse makeup of faculty and staff members. The committee may also include members of the community and general public.
  • Data shows that, of all possible interventions to increase diversity, a diverse search committee is most likely to bring in a wide range of candidates. The University strives to have search committees that are diverse and include representatives from women and minority or underrepresented groups.
  • Search committees may include members from outside the department or office, whether or not those individuals are members of minority groups, to bring a range of perspectives to the search process.

The Search Committee Chair Checklist (Appendix A) is available to assist the committee chair with the search process.

Receiving and Screening Applications

The Committee must first determine whether or not the minimum job qualifications are met by applicants.  The search committee should document the minimum qualifications and whether or not these minimum qualifications are met.   This form should be used for the overall search and must be accompanied by a summary explaining how the minimum qualifications were met.  A sample Candidate Evaluation Sheet (Appendix B) may be used or the search committee may compose their own.

Once a pool of applicants meeting the minimum number of requirements has been determined, the committee should develop a list of criteria that will be used to narrow the pool to a “short list” of applicants that will be further considered and interviewed.

In formulating the “short list,” the committee should consider all criteria that is relevant to the specific job and what is expected of the position.  These criteria must be documented as to how they were derived.  It should also be documented how these criteria were weighted, and a summary of how the criteria were applied to the pool must be provided.  For those candidates who met the qualifications but were not included in the short list to be interviewed, a statement explaining the rationale applied should be included in the interview file.

An important point about the process of creating a short list is to build in checkpoints for evaluation of whether the committee is satisfied with the pool of candidates.  The committee should expect to interview more than one woman and/or minority candidate, if possible, and if there are no women or minority candidates on the short list, the committee may express those concerns with the Office of Human Resources.

Once the short list has been agreed upon, the committee should proceed with the interview process.

The search committee may set up a tentative schedule for the application review and interview process and encourage the committee to:

  • Resist the urge to use one standard to measure achievement. Candidates who received their education later in life, or worked part-time to meet family responsibilities may bring rich experiences to the campus.
  • Review of national pool and past searches. The committee may take steps to identify the national pools of qualified candidates for the position. It is likely to be extremely useful for the search committee, and/or a larger group in the department, college or office, to engage in a review of the national context, as well as the University’s own past history of searching and hiring, before beginning a new search. The department or office is more likely to be able to achieve the desired outcome if it has some understanding of factors that may have played a role in limiting past success, or fostering past achievements, in effective and diverse recruitment.
  • Take steps to review the approaches of past Committee searches to determine the most effective procedures for obtaining a qualified applicant pool and a diverse applicant pool (including examining the successes and failures in securing applications, interviews, and hires from women and underrepresented minorities). For example, if possible, the committee may find out (i) how many women and underrepresented minority applicants have applied in the past for similar positions, (ii) how many women and underrepresented minority applicants have been brought to campus for interviews in the past for similar positions, and (iii) if women and minority applicants have been hired in recent searches, consider asking the search committees, the chairs, and the candidates themselves how they were successfully recruited.  Likewise, if women and underrepresented minority applicants have been offered positions but have turned them down, consider finding out why they declined. Moreover, the committee may consider what has happened to women and underrepresented minority faculty and staff members who were offered appointments in previous searches, and their present status.  If no women or underrepresented minority candidates have been offered positions in recent searches, the committee should consider what might have happened to cause this, as well as if the positions have been defined too narrowly.
  • All members of the search committee must sign the Confidentiality Agreement for Faculty and Staff Recruiting that will be provided by the Office of Human Resources.

Recommendation and Selection

Once the campus interviews have been completed, the search committee is to make its recommendations to the appropriate Vice President with the completed file of each interviewed candidate and the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in an unranked order.

The chair of the search committee is responsible for entering the results in the online employment system at each phase of the search process.

Hiring Groups

Once the advertisement of the non-exempt position has closed, the appropriate Vice President, or delegate, shall coordinate with the Director and/or supervisor for the vacant position a review of all applications in order to determine a list of qualified candidates.  These individuals shall be referred to as the hiring group unless, at the discretion of the Vice President, other key personnel are included in the hiring process.  At this point, the hiring group will determine a set of criteria, based on the minimum qualifications listed for the position that will be used to rank the qualified candidates in order to come up with a short list who will be interviewed for the position. However, the appropriate Vice President may utilize a search committee.  If a search committee is used, the same procedures should be followed as outlined herein.

Once the campus interviews have been completed, the hiring group is to make its recommendations to the appropriate Vice President with the completed file of each interviewed candidate and the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each candidate in an unranked order.

The hiring group, in coordination with the Office of Human Resources, is responsible for entering the results in the online employment system at each phase of the search process.

VI.   Interviews

Once the screening and evaluation process is completed, candidates will be selected for an initial interview.  Initial interviews may be conducted either face-to-face or by telephone or video conference.  The phone or video conference interview should be taken as seriously as any face-to-face interview, with plenty of advance notice given to all participants and at least 30 minutes set aside without interruptions for everyone on the call.  These initial interviews may be used to determine whether or not the candidate and the position are likely to be a good match, and to aid the committee in developing a short list for campus interviews.

Whichever initial interview process is utilized; all initial interviews must be consistent within the same search.  At the conclusion of the initial interview process, the candidate pool is narrowed to a reasonable number (generally should not exceed three) to be brought to campus for face-to-face interviews.  In certain cases, where the candidate pools are very small, it may be appropriate to only bring one or two candidates to campus for an interview.  If the one candidate is not deemed a good fit for the University, it is most likely that the search would be re-opened; however, in certain cases, the University would not be prohibited from bringing to campus other candidates from the same pool for face-to-face interviews.

Search Committees/hiring groups must obtain prior approval from the appropriate Vice President before scheduling campus visits/interviews. Once this approval is obtained, the selected candidates will be invited to campus.  The search committee/hiring group will be responsible for making arrangements (lodging, interview schedule, meals, escorts, etc.), and publishing the interview schedule and brief resume for all interested parties as requested.  Candidates selected for on-campus interviews will be reimbursed in accordance with University procedures. (Candidate Interview Expense Travel)

All search committees/hiring groups should ensure compliance with the minimum requirements during the applicant screening process BEFORE interviews are requested. The Faculty Credential Form must be used for faculty positions.  Official transcripts must be a part of the completed file.  Unofficial or official transcripts may be used to evaluate the minimum requirements.

Upon completion of the first stage of interviews, the search committee/hiring group may choose to conduct another stage of interviews but is not required to do so.  The chair of the search committee/hiring group will notify the appropriate Vice President of the top finalists with strengths and weaknesses of each, in an unranked order.  The Vice President will make a recommendation to the President.

Useful tips for managing interviews:

  • A standard list of questions should be used for every candidate and either provided to every candidate in advance or not provided to any candidate in advance. Sample Interview Questions (Appendix C) The actual list should be devised by the search committee/hiring group and customized to fit the requirements of the position.
  • Make it clear that you are interested in the candidate’s qualifications and skills, rather than his or her demographic characteristics. It is generally not helpful to make a point with candidates that the department is eager to hire women and minorities.
  • Schedule interviews and events consistently. Allow equal time for each candidate to interview and meet with the same personnel whenever possible.
  • Use a set of common questions with all candidates to allow comparative judgment and ensure that crucial information related to the position is obtained.
  • Treat internal candidates with the same consistency.
  • Give the candidate a chance to interact with the appropriate faculty and staff.
  • Formal talks may not reveal every candidate’s strengths. Consider including Q+A sessions and other less formal interactions. Focus on the candidate’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job and avoid making assumptions based on perceived race, ethnic background, religion, marital or familial status, age, disability, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
  • If the candidate will assume a leadership role (division chief, department chair, etc.) examine the candidate’s commitment to goals of diversity and gender equity, as well as the candidate’s history of mentoring women and underrepresented minority faculty.
  • Introduce women and minority members of the offices and departments to all candidates, not just women and minority candidates.

Guidelines for Interview Questions

 All candidates should be asked the same interview questions and given the same amount of time for the interview.

Understanding the types of questions that are appropriate and lawful to ask during a pre-employment interview is essential to ensuring compliance with   equal opportunity obligations.

Three basic guidelines should be followed when selecting questions to be used in the interview process:

  1. Ask only for information you intend to use in making a hiring decision.
  2. Know in advance how you will use the information to make that decision.
  3. Recognize that it is extremely difficult to defend the seeking of information that is not directly relevant to the job.

The following are guidelines about specific question areas:

  • Age and Date of Birth – Federal and state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of age. The applicant may be asked if he/she meets the minimum age requirement as set out by law (usually 18) but may not be asked to state age or date of birth or to provide proof of age.
  • Name and National Origin – No inquiry should be made about an applicant’s maiden name, a person’s lineage, ancestry, national origin or descent. This also applies to questions about spouse, parents, or other relatives. Applicant should provide current legal name for identification purposes and may be asked to provide any other names he/she has used in the past (needed for checking academic and work history).
  • Marital Status – Any questions about an applicant’s relatives, marital status, dependents (number, ages, child care arrangements, etc.) and spouse’s employment (salary, shift or travel schedule) are prohibited. You may ask only whether the applicant is able to meet the work schedule.
  • Birthplace/Citizenship – You may ask an applicant if he/she is legally eligible to work in the U.S. You may not ask for an applicant’s country of citizenship or country of origin.
  • Religion/Creed – Inquiries about an applicant’s religious denomination, affiliation, parish, pastor, or holidays observed are not permitted.
  • Military Service – It is permissible to ask about the type of education and experience gained from military service if it is related to the job. Interviewers should refrain, however, from asking about the type of discharge received.
  • Education – It is permissible to ask about an applicant’s academic, professional or vocational educational background, when it is related to the applicant’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job. Asking about national, racial or religious affiliation of a school, or its gender restrictions is prohibited.
  • Organizations – It is permissible to ask about professional organizational memberships as long as the applicant is made aware of his/her right to exclude the name or character of any organization that is predominantly racial, religious or sexual in nature.
  • Financial Data, Credit Record, Garnishment Record or Fidelity Bond – Questions to applicants about these issues are inappropriate unless there is a clear business necessity for this information. In the latter case, Human Resources will handle this inquiry.
  • Arrest/Conviction Record – It is inappropriate to ask about the arrest record of an applicant because an arrest does not necessarily mean that the individual was convicted. Inquiries about convictions may not be made unless they are made of all applicants. A conviction may prejudice the applicant’s status only if the nature of the conviction has a bearing on job performance in that specific position. The required background check by Human Resources, after an offer is made, will generate pertinent information.
  • Photographs – Photographs may not be reviewed or requested prior to employment.
  • Height and Weight – This information may not be requested of applicants and should not be used as a consideration for employment.
  • Physical/Mental Disabilities – No questions should be asked about whether a person has a disability or about the severity or nature of the disability. You may ask whether the individual is able to carry out all essential job requirements in a safe manner, as long as this question is posed to all candidates.
  • Language Skills – Questions about ability to speak, read or write English or a foreign language are permitted only if that skill is required by the job.
  • Race – No questions are appropriate or permitted.
  • Sexual Orientation – No questions are appropriate or permitted.

 VII.  Reference Checks

 Athens State University must make a reasonable effort to learn about a candidate before inviting him/her to join the community.  The University can best protect against liability for negligent hiring by checking background and references to the extent reasonably possible.  Also, reference checks may help clarify or dispel any concerns or uncertainties about a candidate and may give information about a former or present employee (e.g., position title and years of employment).  Reference checks should be conducted and results documented via the online employment system through the Office of Human Resources.  It is suggested the references be contacted before the on-campus interview takes place.

It is important to remember that all questions asked during references checks should be job-related. One should not ask questions of references that should not be asked of the applicant.

The search committee/hiring group should not do online research about candidates, although it is acceptable to visit a candidate’s website if the candidate has specifically referred you to it, for example by listing the website on their CV. Online research has the potential of inadvertently uncovering private information about the candidate that is irrelevant to his/her ability to perform the job duties, including information about the candidate’s race, religion, or sexual orientation, potentially introducing bias into the process.

VIII. Offer of Employment

The appropriate Vice President in coordination with the department head, director, manager or dean will work with the Office of Financial Affairs and the HR Director to determine the appropriate pay scale for the position.  Once these parties are in agreement with respect to the terms, the recommendation will be issued to the President for review and approval.  The hire date and other conditions of employment can be negotiated at this time.  Salaries and other conditions outside of the pre-approved ranges and norms must be approved by the President.  If the President approves the hire, the appropriate Vice President or designee will extend a job offer to the selected candidate.

The final candidate must be informed that the offer is contingent on the candidate passing the background check which investigates the following:  social security number verification, criminal background check (State and National Criminal Database and Sex Offender Registry), degree verification, motor vehicle record (MVR) check and employment verification.  No offer of employment is finalized until background checks are completed and HR has contacted the hiring agent with the results.

 Once a candidate is chosen to receive an offer of employment, and a verbal acceptance has been made by the candidate, an appointment letter will be issued by the Office of Human resources upon verification of the following:

  •  Completed file with required documentation: curriculum vitae, memo with recommendation from the selection committee, and unofficial transcripts from all institutions of higher learning from which a degree was received or other institutions attended as appropriately determined
  • Satisfactory results of the degree verification via the Faculty Credential Form.

Once the appointment letter has been signed, the employee understands that employment is contingent upon the following:

  • Satisfactory results of the background check. Applicants convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude must obtain approval from the President of the University that the applicant is suitable for employment.
  • Documentation indicating completion of Harassment, Ethics, and Discrimination training.
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended

IX.Notification of Non-Selection

The Human Resources Director or designee will notify the candidates that were not interviewed/not selected.  Any requests for information and questions about the search should be referred to the Office of Human Resources to resolve any issues/concerns.

It is recommended that finalists who were invited to campus to interview be notified personally (via telephone, email or letter) of their non-selection by the Search Committee/Hiring Group Chair or a member of the Search committee/hiring group.  The notification will not detail why a candidate was not selected but merely indicate another candidate was a better fit for the position.

X.  Internal Searches, Lateral Transfers, Job Reorganization/Modification

Internal Searches
Notwithstanding the generally applicable procedures for filling vacant position, the appropriate vice president or administrative head, in consultation with the President, may declare an internal search to fill a vacancy.  Internal searches should be conducted in the same manner as discussed in these guidelines except that the position announcement and/or advertisement will be limited to the Athens State University community.

For example, (and not as a limitation), an internal search could be justified in any of the following circumstances:

  • when there is consensus that a qualified individual or individuals already exists within Athens State University’s employ and there is urgency to fill the position in order to prevent prolonged disruption of University services;
  • when there is consensus that a qualified individual or individuals already exists within Athens State University’s employ and that individual would serve to increase the diversity among the faculty or exempt personnel by the appointment of a qualified minority and/or female who is already within Athens State University’s employ; or when there are fiscal constraints.

Only current permanent employees, who have previously been through a University search process, are eligible to apply for internal search positions.

Lateral Transfers
Notwithstanding the generally applicable procedures for filling vacant positions, in the event that there is one or more employees at Athens State University in positions which are at least equivalent to a vacant position in terms of salary and level of responsibility, the President shall have the discretion, in lieu of the procedures stated herein, to offer all such equivalently positioned employees the opportunity to apply and be considered for a lateral transfer, without discrimination, to said vacancy.  The President’s decision to do so should be supported by a written explanation of the reasons for his/her choice.

Job Reorganization/Modification
There may be occasional situations where Athens State University finds it necessary and appropriate to reorganize, expand, reduce, redefine, change, and/or to otherwise modify the job duties, compensation, and/or schedule of an existing position.  In such cases, the University may do so without the position being considered a vacancy.  For example, (and not as a limitation), such circumstances could include expanding the duties of an incumbent employee or reassigning duties among incumbent employees to avoid the need for hiring a new employee.  Prior to such action, the President must approve the same, and ensure that it is necessary and appropriate given the circumstances (and not made for impermissible reasons or to frustrate the usual search process).

XI.   Accommodations for Disabilities

 Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 makes it unlawful for the University to discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability.  The University must provide reasonable accommodations to enable applicants to be considered for a job opening (unless it would cause an undue hardship).

These requirements should be understood by those involved in a search process. Employers should be sensitive to the barriers faced by qualified individuals with disabilities and work to ensure that they have the same opportunity as all other applicants to be considered fairly for positions at the University. This may require providing accommodations in the interview process or in testing.

In addition, the University should work to identify the essential functions of a job.  An applicant with a disability, like other applicants, must be able to perform the essential functions of a job either on his/her own, or with the help of a reasonable accommodation (unless it will cause undue hardship). When conducting an interview, all questions should be job-related and focus on the candidate’s ability to successfully perform the essential functions of the job.  Qualified candidates cannot be rejected for employment because they need, or it is thought that they need, reasonable accommodations.

Although it is important to understand that people with the same disability or functional limitation may not have the same needs, the following information might be helpful to hiring officials and search committees/hiring groups when interviewing candidates with specific disabilities:

 Candidates who use wheelchairs
People who use wheelchairs can hold physically demanding jobs and need not be confined to desk jobs.

  • Make sure that the interview is conducted at a wheelchair-accessible location.
  • Don’t be surprised if the person transfers, or asks to transfer, from a wheelchair to a piece of furniture or gets out of the wheelchair to move about for a short while.
  • Don’t be overly sensitive about using words like running or walking.

Candidates who are blind or visually impaired
A person’s visual acuity may change under different light conditions. Keep in mind that visual impairment is not necessarily total lack of vision.

  • If the candidate seems to need assistance, offer your services. If you need to guide a person who is blind through a door or to a chair, let the person take your arm and follow the movement of your body. Guide his or her hand to the back of the chair.
  • Speak directly to the individual who is blind or visually impaired. Inform the person when you are leaving or entering the room.
  • Introduce other people in the room or have them introduce themselves in order to assist the candidate in orienting him or herself to the room and its occupants.
  • When you are guiding the candidate into a new or strange surrounding, you may want to describe special features or decorations.
  • When giving directions, use directional words with the orientation of the person who is blind.
  • Be prepared to read aloud information that is written, or ask the person if he or she will need a reader.

        Candidates who are deaf or hearing impaired

  • Face the candidate directly. Do not position yourself so that you are directly in front of harsh light or window as it obscures/silhouettes the interviewer’s face, making it difficult to see.
  • Not all people who are hearing impaired can lip-read, but many do it quite well. When speaking, use meaningful facial expressions and gestures to emphasize your intent and attitude as a substitute for tone of voice, even in the presence of a sign language or oral interpreter. Do not change the subject without warning.
  • Do not shout. Use a normal tone of voice and do not restrict yourself to monosyllabic words.
  • If you cannot understand the candidate with a hearing impairment, do not be afraid to ask that the statement be repeated. If this does not work, try paper and pencil.

Candidates who have Cerebral Palsy (and other conditions that have muscular or neurological limitations)
Cerebral Palsy may affect motor ability and/or speech but does not affect intelligence. Some involuntary or halting movement or limitation of movement may be observed, as well as lisping, disrupted speech or flatness of tone due to lack of motor control of the tongue and lips. The severity and functional effects of the disability vary from person to person. Unless the candidate is severely disabled, or has other disabilities, no accommodation may be needed for the interview itself. If the candidate’s speech is difficult to understand, the interviewer should not be afraid to ask the candidate to repeat what was said. If a candidate has severe cerebral palsy, he or she may find it more effective to communicate by writing, typing or using communication boards of electronic devices.

Mental Illness
Mental illness can be successfully treated, and people who are mentally restored have skills, experiences and abilities that are not affected by their illness. For the purposes of employment, a person who is mentally restored is one who has experienced a mental or emotional difficulty that currently is under control to the extent that the individual is able to function effectively and satisfactorily in a specific job. The qualifications of people who are mentally restored must be given the same consideration as those of other applicants.

  • The committee should consider whether or not to schedule a scholarly presentation and/or teaching demonstration to be made by the candidate where appropriate.
  • Conduct interviews. (A specific interview process must be determined prior to the actual visit.)
  • Solicit reactions from those people who meet with the candidate(s) during the interview process.
  • Evaluate candidates, including the solicited responses.

XII. Evaluating the Search Process

The evaluation of the search process should be ongoing during the search as well as a summative process at the end of the search.  If at any point during the search it becomes apparent that the applicant pool is not diverse enough or sufficiently well-qualified, the committee should reassess the advertising and recruitment process.  The committee should analyze whether the hiring net was cast broadly enough and, if it was not, what can be done to address that issue in the future.

If a woman and/or underrepresented minority candidate is hired, the committee should consider the factors that may have enabled it to do so and keep a record of good practices and successful searches for future reference. If the applicant pool was not as large, as qualified, or as diverse as was anticipated, the committee should consider these questions:

  • Could the job description have been constructed in a way that would have brought in a broader pool of candidates?
  • Could the applicable department have recruited more actively?
  • Were there criteria for this position that were consistently not met by a diverse grouping, including women or underrepresented minorities?
  • If women and/or underrepresented minority candidates were offered positions that they chose not to accept, what reasons did they offer? Consider as many factors as you can identify. Are there things that the department could do to make it more attractive to such candidates in the future? Be sure that any analysis and insight is shared with departmental decision-makers and is part of the process of initiating future searches.

XIII.  Responsibility for this Operating Policy

Policy Owner

As part of the initial approval of this policy by the President and subsequent to the original dissemination of the policy, the Vice President for Financial Affairs is the policy owner for the ongoing evaluation, review, and approval of this policy.  Subsequent reviews and revisions to this policy must be in accordance with approved operating policy procedures and processes.

These guidelines will be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed by the Policy Owner.  Revisions will be reviewed/affirmed by the Cabinet and approved by the University President.  These guidelines will be updated/published in the University’s Policy Library.

Responsibility for Policy Implementation

The President has assigned the responsibility of implementing this policy to the Director of Human Resources, under the direction of the Vice President for Financial Affairs.

In accordance with Act 2012-497, all full-time employees, whether tenured, non-tenured, non-probationary, or probationary, who were employed by the University on October 1, 2012, shall retain any and all rights and privileges as provided in Chapter 24C of Title 16, Code of Alabama 1975 (the “Students First Act of 2011”).  All employees hired after October 1, 2012, will follow the new personnel policies and procedures adopted by the University unless specifically excluded.  Effective dates for the new personnel policies and procedures will be retroactive to October 1, 2012, unless alternate effective dates are specifically identified.