50.01 - Hiring Procedures for UI Exempt Employees

Last updated November 20, 2006 (rewrite)

A. General. The University of Idaho strives to hire the best qualified, available person for each position. In recruiting employees, UI is committed to the principles of affirmative action and equal opportunity which are summarized below. See FSH 3065 for the full text of Affirmative Action Hiring Procedures and the statement on Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity.

A-1. Objectives of Affirmative Action Hiring Procedures. Affirmative action hiring procedures are intended to document a) the criteria for identifying the "best qualified" b) the extra effort made to recruit women, persons with disabilities, persons of color, and Vietnam-era veterans, and c) an objective, job related justification for the ranking of applicants.

A-2. Obligations with respect to Protected Groups. In the event a person who is a member of a protected group is among the candidates who are best--but equally--qualified, UI has a commitment to offer the position first to the protected group member. Protected groups include women, persons of color, persons with disabilities and Vietnam-era veterans.

A-3. Obligations to Provide Reasonable Accommodations. The University extends reasonable accommodation to enable qualified persons with disabilities to apply for positions for which they are able to perform the essential functions, with or without reasonable accommodation. The University will offer to provide reasonable accommodation in employment or in application for employment for persons with disabilities who request accommodation, while avoiding making pre-employment inquiries about the presence of disability. Because the University cannot inquire into the existence of a disability which would affect the ability of an applicant to apply for a UI position, it is the applicant’s responsibility to request reasonable accommodation of disability in the application process and to specify the reasonable accommodation requested.

A-4. Exceptions. While the principles of affirmative action and equal opportunity apply when hiring any employee, not all of these procedures apply to Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants or Postdoctoral Fellows. [See Section E].

B. Process. Procedures for recruiting and hiring faculty and exempt employees differ slightly from procedures for recruiting and hiring classified staff.

B-1. In the case of faculty and exempt employees, the departmental administrator is responsible for--and directly involved in--the recruitment process. He or she appoints a search committee and a chair, and delegates to the chair the responsibility to conduct the recruitment in accordance with Affirmative Action Hiring Procedures outlined in the FSH 3065-B. The usual period of advertisement for regular, full-time faculty and exempt positions is four (4) to six (6) weeks. Internal recruitment positions (UI only) are usually advertised for two (2) weeks. A shortened recruitment period may be approved by the Human Rights Compliance Officer in situations where there is a well qualified employee within the institution and in the opinion of the departmental administrator, a regional or national search is not required to find a well qualified candidate. The Human Rights Compliance Officer must concur that limited recruitment would not be inconsistent with the University's commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity. The request is made prior to entry of the search information into the applicant tracking systems (ATS). The time required to complete the recruitment process is affected by a number of variables such as the initial time required to obtain approval to fill the position, the time needed to review the position description, convene a committee, review applications, identify finalists, interview (optional), make a selection and offer the position.

i) Employment Services in Human Resources assists the chair of the committee and/or search coordinator with many of the functions involved with faculty and exempt searches including; revising or developing exempt job descriptions, advertising, establishing recruitment periods, providing sample interview questions and providing advice throughout the search process. The Office of the Provost should be consulted regarding faculty position descriptions.

C. Procedures. The steps for recruiting faculty and exempt employees are listed below.

C-1. Confirm Approval to Recruit. The administrator responsible for filling the position (the "departmental administrator" or "hiring authority") obtains permission from the appropriate administrator to fill or refill the position, and to begin recruitment procedures. [Note: Regents’ approval must be obtained in advance of initiating recruitment for major administrative positions--consult the Human Rights Compliance Officer for information on positions subject to this requirement.] The written authorization should include a position authorization form identifying the title, salary, and position control number (obtained from the Budget Office, (208) 885-6718) or may be downloaded from the Provost, Budget or HR (HR Website) websites.

C-2. Review Hiring Procedures. Refer to [FSH 3065] to become familiar with hiring policies for faculty and exempt employees.

C-3. Develop or Revise the Position Description (if faculty) or Results Oriented Job Description (ROJD) if exempt. The departmental administrator with assistance from the departmental affirmative action coordinator develops or revises a position description for faculty vacancies or a results-oriented job description (ROJD) for exempt to describe the reason the position exists, the duties of the position, the qualifications for the position and the essential and marginal functions of the job.

i) The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) established that employers can require employees to perform the "essential functions" of their job "with or without reasonable accommodation" whereas "non-essential" or "marginal" elements of a job could be assigned to another employee or eliminated. It is, therefore, important that job descriptions identify the "essential" or "non-marginal" functions" and the "non-essential" or "marginal" functions of positions.

ii) A "Results Oriented Job Description" describes the duties of the position in the context of objectives and outcomes, with a focus on the reasons why the position exists and how it fits into the organizational structure.

iii) HR is available to consult with departmental administrators when exempt positions become vacant, or when new positions are established. HR can provide a copy of the "Results Oriented" format for preparing the job description, and can review the job description to ensure it complies with ADA provisions, ensure it is not covered by the wage and hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (if it is covered the position would need to be classified rather than exempt) and provide a suggested salary range based on comparison with similar positions elsewhere in the university or at institutions similar to the UI.

C-4. Prepare the Vacancy Announcement. The departmental administrator prepares the vacancy announcement, using the electronic applicant tracking system (ATS). The administrator responsible for hiring may assign a search coordinator to enter the information in ATS. The ATS manual is available at HR Employment. Employment Services will work with the administrator or designee throughout the hiring process. Questions may also be directed to college and/or division Affirmative Action Coordinators.

i) The Vacancy Announcement must be consistent with the Job Description. Additional information about the area, college or department may be included to market the position.

ii) "Required" qualifications must be truly the minimum which would be acceptable in an applicant. Once defined, they are inflexible. An applicant who does not possess these qualifications cannot be hired.

iii) "Preferred" qualifications include any and all attributes believed to be desirable for the position.

iv) The Vacancy Announcement must include the statement, "To enrich education through diversity the University of Idaho is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educational institution." An alternative affirmative action/equal opportunity "tagline" may be used if approved by the Human Rights Compliance Officer.

C-5. Submit Position Documentation. Complete the announcement information in ATS and include ranking forms, interview questions, desired advertising, and committee members.

C-6. Appoint a Search Committee Chair and members of the search committee. The departmental administrator appoints the search committee and the chair. A search committee is generally chaired by the departmental administrator responsible for hiring. Alternately, the administrator may appoint a chair from among the committee members. The search committee chair is responsible for ensuring that all affirmative action hiring procedures are followed.

i) At least three members should be appointed to the committee, most committees have five to seven members.

ii) Committee membership may include staff or faculty from within the department or from other departments who will interact with the individual selected to fill the position. It is often appropriate to include students or persons from outside the university.

iii) Women and minorities should be represented on the committee.

C-7. Advertise the Position. The advertisement is a condensation of the Vacancy Announcement and, at a minimum, must contain the job title, closing date, information regarding whom to contact, and the tagline, "AA/EOE" [Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer] and whether a criminal history background check or post-offer medical screening is required for the position. Employment Services can assist with placement of the advertisement and suggestions for reaching a diverse population of applicants upon request. Employment Services will advertise in some or all of the following locations: through internal communication channels, on the Employment Services homepage, distributed on the employment listserv, UI Register, and link to national websites. Each department is responsible for payment of advertisements.

C-8. Accumulate and Review Applications. The following procedures, conducted by or delegated by, the chair of the search committee, are recommended for accumulating the application responses.

i) Applications submitted electronically through the applicant tracking system will be available electronically for search committee members to view when the position closes.

ii) Applicants for these positions are generally asked to provide a letter of application, a resume or curriculum vitae, and names and contact information of at least three professional references.

iii) Establish a file for each applicant and follow a checklist for tracking paper application materials and responses.

iv) Acknowledge each application, noting any missing application materials in the acknowledgment letter. If possible, provide applicants some information on the amount of time anticipated for search procedures to be completed, and when they may expect to hear further information. For those who provided an e-mail address, the communication may be electronic, as long as the other applicants cannot see the distribution list.

a) If the applicant applies by paper, rather than using the on-line process, be sure to include with the letter of acknowledgment a copy of the Vacancy Announcement (in case the applicant had responded to the newspaper advertisement and had not seen an actual Vacancy Announcement), a Required Applicant Disclosure Form and a return envelope addressed to the Human Rights Compliance Officer, with each acknowledgment.

C-9. Screen Applications. Screen applications, using the selection forms submitted in ATS requiring the evaluator to indicate a) the date of the evaluation, b) the signature of the evaluator, c) comments which supplement or explain any numerical scores. Selection forms should always be completed in ink.

i) Preliminary screening is based on required qualifications that can be readily and unquestionably assessed on a yes-or-no basis. Preliminary screening may be performed by the hiring administrator, by the committee chair, or by one or two persons designated by the chair who are qualified to assess the criteria being evaluated. Applicants who meet the preliminary screening criteria are advanced to the Intermediate stage.

ii) Intermediate screening is performed by the search committee to identify the "top" candidates in this pool in an equitable manner. Forms used for this purpose should show the basis for any numerical values assigned to weighting and judgment factors.

a) Option. When there are a large number of applicants, and provided the search committee is large enough, intermediate screening may be accomplished by subcommittees. In such cases it is recommended that a protected person serve on each subcommittee and the subcommittee is identified and documented in ATS.

iii) After individually completing intermediate screening forms, members of the search committee meet to discuss the qualifications of candidates and identify those to be a) forwarded to the hiring administrator, or b) invited for interview. Search committee members may change their ranking of candidates as a result of group discussions; all changes and the reasons therefor, and the date the screening was performed, must be indicated in ink on the Intermediate screening form. The form must be signed or initialed.

C-10. Document Screening Procedures. The Human Rights Compliance Officer will identify, through self-reporting, applicants who are protected by reason of gender, race, ethnicity, or status as a Vietnam veteran. Electronic approval from the Human Rights Compliance Officer is necessary before advancing to the interview stage and again before offering the position.

i) The search coordinator indicates in ATS all candidates to whom the position might be offered (finalists), ranked in order of preference, and documents the reasons why all individuals to whom the position will not be offered have been eliminated from further consideration.

C-11. Check References. References should always be checked, using the same questions for all reference interviews for a particular position. Reference checking may be done by the search committee chair, by members of the search committee working as teams (and including a protected member in each team if possible), and/or by the hiring administrator. Reference checks may be done before or after interviews—the important thing is that references be checked.

C-12. Interview Finalists. [Optional]. Interviews are optional. However, if they are conducted, the chair of the search committee is responsible to:

i) Confirm that prior approval of the candidates selected for interview and the interview questions to be used has been obtained from the Human Rights Compliance Officer before scheduling interviews.

ii) Prior to the interview, determine whether the hiring administrator expects the committee to submit the names of candidates recommended to the administrator in ranked or unranked order. A list of ranked candidates must be submitted to the Office of the Provost for faculty positions.

iii) Schedule interviews and extend reasonable assistance and courtesies to finalists. The department may require that finalists appear for interviews at their own expense, but the requirement must be the same for all finalists.

iv) Ensure interview questions and discussion are confined to clearly job-related topics.

v) To the extent possible, ensure consistency in interviews of all candidates.

vi) Establish and follow procedures for documenting the reevaluation of candidates on the basis of the interview.

vii) Following the interview, forward to the hiring administrator--in ranked or unranked order--the names of all candidates recommended by the search committee for consideration by the administrator. Remind the administrator that an offer may not be extended until electronic approval has been received by the Human Rights Compliance Officer and Employment Services.

viii) Complete the documentation in ATS and submit to the Human Rights Compliance Officer via the AA coordinator, and obtain approval to offer the position. This approval indicates that, as far as affirmative action procedures are concerned, an offer of employment may be extended. [Note: This affirmative action approval does not indicate any form of departmental, college or Provost approval, if such is required or customary.]

D. Offers of Employment. Offers of employment may be extended by the departmental administrator only after approval by the Human Rights Compliance Officer and Employment Services. The offer of employment is contingent upon satisfactory completion of a criminal history background check or post-offer medical screening if one or both is listed as a requirement for the position (see APM 50.16 & 50.17). The person may not begin the new position until satisfactory results have been received.

D-1. Notify the Selected Applicants. In extending an offer of employment, the hiring administrator will typically telephone the preferred candidate listed and offer the position at a salary within the listed range. If the preferred candidate declines the offer, the hiring administrator may go to the next qualified candidate listed. If only one candidate is listed, the search committee is communicating that the search would need to be re-opened if that candidate rejects the employment offer.

D-2. Notify the other Applicants. The hiring administrator (or designee) is responsible for notifying the other applicants the position has been filled and thanking them for their interest. Sample letters are available from Employment Services.

D-3. Standard Letter of Offer. If the preferred candidate indicates that he or she remains interested in the offer, a standard letter of offer is available from Employment Services. This letter includes a request for the candidate to sign the letter, indicating his or her acceptance of the offer, and return it.

D-4. Salary Agreement. The hiring administrator notifies the provost or appropriate vice president of the offer and acceptance, and the date the new exempt employee will report for duty. The provost or appropriate vice president prepares the Salary Agreement for Faculty and Exempt Personnel [See Sample Agreement at Provost Website] and forwards it to the hiring administrator via the dean or director. The hiring administrator delivers the agreement to the new employee. After the new employee signs the agreement, the hiring administrator ensures that the original is returned to the provost or appropriate vice president, the employee retains a copy, a copy is retained in the office of the dean or director, and a copy is forwarded to HR. HR retains the copy of the Salary Agreement in the new employee’s personnel file.

D-5. HRIS Entry. The hiring administrator provides necessary information to and authorizes the departmental personnel technician to enter the appointment in the Banner Human Resources Information System. The Immigration reform and Control Act of 1986 requires employees to certify employment eligibility within 3 days of hire date. Please contact HR at (208) 885-3638, to make arrangements for employment certification and benefits orientation. Designate a departmental employee to welcome and orient the new employee to the department.

D-6. Regents Approval. All appointments of non-classified personnel are subject to Regents’ approval. The request for regents approval is generated by the process of entering the new employee in the Human Resources Information System.

D-7. Records Retention. Please retain all documentation associated with the hiring process for a minimum of three years. It is recommended that the documentation be retained for five years. Please address any questions or concerns regarding the hiring process for faculty or exempt positions to HR/Employment Services, (208) 885-3889. Please also refer to the Applicant Tracking Manual at HR Employment.

E. Appointments of Research Assistants and Teaching Assistants. Appointments of research assistants and teaching assistants are not subject to the hiring and appointment procedures outlined above. Sample research and teaching assistant letters are available from the College of Graduate Studies.

E-1. Postdoctoral Fellowship Positions. These positions are generally temporary in nature, and applicants are selected based on academic qualifications, interest, referral, or other criteria unique to the position and the academic discipline.

i) Positions Remain AA/EOE. While not subject to the same hiring procedures which apply to the recruitment and appointment of faculty and exempt staff, procedures for recruiting and appointing these employees are expected to follow the same principles of affirmative action and equal opportunity employment. See guidelines on the Human Resources' website at HR Website.

ii) Letters of Offer for Postdoctoral Fellowships. Letters of Offer for Postdoctoral Fellowships should conform to the sample letter for exempt employees and include contingency for passing criminal history background checks, if applicable.

iii) Salary Agreement. The hiring administrator notifies the provost of the appointment and the date the new postdoctoral fellow will report for duty. The provost prepares the Salary Agreement for Faculty and Exempt Personnel [See Sample Agreement at Provost Website] and forwards it to the hiring administrator via the dean. The hiring administrator delivers the agreement to the new employee. After the new employee signs the agreement, the hiring administrator ensures that the original is returned to the provost, the employee retains a copy, a copy is retained in the office of the dean, and a copy of the postdoctoral fellowship letter is forwarded to HR. HR retains the copy of the Salary Agreement and offer letter in the new employee’s personnel file.

F. Limited Recruitment Positions. Limited recruitment (promotional for UI only or a shortened recruitment period) may be approved by the Human Rights Compliance Officer in situations where there is a well qualified employee within the institution, and in the opinion of the departmental administrator a regional or national search is not required in order to find a well qualified candidate. The Human Rights Compliance Officer must concur that limited recruitment would not be inconsistent with the University’s commitment to affirmative action and equal opportunity. The request for a shortened search or for UI only is made prior to entry of search information in ATS.