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Search Committees

Search committees should actively promote position vacancies by meeting prospective applicants at professional meetings and distributing materials about the position, the department/unit, and the University; however, several general considerations should be kept in mind when attempting to enlarge the applicant pool or assist in the selection of promising candidates.

At all times, equity in the search process must be assured. No applicant can be eliminated from consideration because the person cannot accept an invitation to interview at a conference.

Several useful procedures have been identified by departments/units that have conducted interviews at conferences. Search committees must prepare a list of questions in advance to use in all interviews, which helps assure equitable treatment. With consent of the candidate, the interview can be recorded to be heard by the committee members not in attendance at the conference. If the interview is not recorded, the U of I representative makes notes immediately following each interview. If more than one U of I representative meets the candidates, they should compare notes soon after the interviews.

The approach preferred to allow maximum equity for all applicants and to assure an unassailable search procedure is to secure approval of the applicant pool from the AAC prior to any meeting with candidates at conferences. In these instances, a search committee should:

  • Advertise the application deadline to precede the conference and indicate that those interested in a screening interview must meet the application deadline.
  • Schedule interview appointments at the conference with qualified candidates.
  • Accept no new resumes at the conference nor offer any walk-in interviews from those whose applications have not been reviewed and approved by AAC, and Human Resources – Workforce Diversity.

If the search committee wishes to take advantage of a conference held prior to the application deadline to increase the size or quality of the applicant pool, care should be taken to avoid potential challenges by:

  • Advertising that representatives will hold information session(s) at the professional meeting. 
  • Providing information about the position to all interested applicants, distributing the Job posting, and accepting application materials from all interested applicants.

Caution: At a conference, committee members may unintentionally acquire information about  race, ethnicity, creed, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or veteran status—information that is improper to consider during the search process. Committee members should ensure that no such information gained during the conference is used to prejudice the evaluation of any applicants.

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide an explanation of national origin discrimination in hiring, particularly regarding linguistic characteristics.

Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone applying for employment based on their national origin. The Code of Federal Regulations 29 CFR 1606.1 defines national origin discrimination as:

…the denial of equal employment opportunity because of an individual's, or his or her ancestor's, place of origin; or because an individual has the physical, cultural or linguistic characteristics of a national origin group. The Commission will examine with particular concern charges alleging that individuals within the jurisdiction of the Commission have been denied equal employment opportunity for reasons which are grounded in national origin considerations, such as (a) marriage to or association with persons of a national origin group; (b) membership in, or association with an organization identified with or seeking to promote the interests of national origin groups; (c) attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples or mosques, generally used by persons of a national origin group; and (d) because an individual's name or spouse's name is associated with a national origin group. In examining these charges for unlawful national origin discrimination, the Commission will apply general title VII principles, such as disparate treatment and adverse impact.

The following information is from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website:

National origin discrimination involves treating people (applicants or employees) unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not)….

The law makes it illegal for an employer or other covered entity to use an employment policy or practice that applies to everyone, regardless of national origin, if it has a negative impact on people of a certain national origin and is not job-related or necessary to the operation of the business….

An employer can only require an employee to speak fluent English if fluency in English is necessary to perform the job effectively. An "English-only rule", which requires employees to speak only English on the job, is only allowed if it is needed to ensure the safe or efficient operation of the employer's business and is put in place for nondiscriminatory reasons.

An employer may not base an employment decision on an employee's foreign accent, unless the accent seriously interferes with the employee's job performance.

Accordingly, an applicant’s accent or level of English ability should not be listed as a weakness on a hiring justification or as a reason for not selecting a person for hire or advancement in employment. Basing a decision on this characteristic can be the basis of a lawsuit against the University.

Physical Address:

Bruce Pitman Center
Room 041

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 4241
Moscow, ID 83844-4241

Phone: 208-885-5059
Email: tnuhn@uidaho.edu

Phone: 208-885-2322

Email: ekeim@uidaho.edu