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Waivers & Search Exceptions

To approve a waiver, EEO must be convinced of the need to deny all other potential applicants the chance to be considered for the position.  We begin by evaluating the extent to which each request meets one or more of the following approval criteria: 

A. Candidate is uniquely qualified (this requires detailed explanation); AND/OR

B. Recent failed search for this position demonstrates a lack of available qualified candidates (include posting number of failed search and brief narrative explaining what happened/why the search failed); AND/OR

C. Unit faces emergency circumstances that cannot be resolved effectively through other means (describe the emergency and any other methods/appointees you considered); AND/OR

D. Other compelling circumstances (provide details, background information, consequences of another decision, etc.).

If a waiver meets one or more of the criteria above, EEO may give additional positive consideration when one or more of these factors are present: Hire advances Affirmative Action goals (explain how)

A. Hire advances Affirmative Action Goals (explain how)

B. Hire supports dual-career employment policy (describe situation, provide name/dept/position title of partner or spouse already employed)

C. Hire allows continued employment of UI employee who would otherwise lose her/his position (describe circumstances)

D. Hire is needed to retain a valued employee (describe circumstances; does the person have an offer from another employer?)

E. Hire provides advancement opportunity for a current UI employee (describe circumstances)

When appropriately detailed information is attached to the action, EEO can understand, evaluate, and approve/disapprove your request to waive the search in a timely manner. Having this information documented ensures that the institutional electronic record accurately reflects and supports the rationale for the decision.

A call from EEO does not mean there’s something “wrong” with the request—it reflects the seriousness with which we approach these decisions.  To approve a waiver, EEO must be convinced of the need to deny all others the opportunity to be considered for the position.  Sometimes we need a broader understanding in order to make a decision about your request; rather than taking the time to send the waiver back for clarification or disapprove it altogether, we contact the hiring official to seek more info and/or discuss other options. 

A follow-up call from us may cover some of these questions:

  • Why not conduct a search or an accelerated search and invite this person (among others) to apply?
  • Who else in the unit might be interested in this opportunity; how do you know?
  • Who else did you consider for the position, and why did you select this appointee over the other(s)?
  • Did you use an informal process to evaluate potential interest from others inside or outside UI?  If so, describe that process in detail including copies of any materials you sent and a list of people or organizations who received them.  Provide detailed screening reasons for anyone else not selected.  NOTE: This does not mean it’s okay to conduct an “accelerated search” or a “targeted and focused search” without advance EEO approval!
  • Is there some reason why this opportunity would be unlikely to generate much interest (short duration, low FTE, etc.)?

Advance approval is optional but may be a good idea if:

  • you are not certain whether or not the circumstances will allow a non-competitive hire to be considered, or
  • the situation is complicated, or
  • the rationale does not clearly fit one or more of the waiver criteria described above, or
  • timing is critical.

The action still needs a detailed letter of justification describing your rationale:

  • If you have an email from EEO saying “this email can serve in lieu of a letter of justification,”  you don’t need a letter as well (unless the circumstances have changed).  Remember to include the full email exchange, not just EEO's approval. 
  • If you don’t have an email from EEO to serve “in lieu of a letter,“ attach a regular letter of justification as described above, adding that you already have verbal approval from EEO.

EEO approval means that, should you receive all other required approvals to fill the position, you may hire the proposed appointee without an open search.  It does NOT mean that you have received other university approvals, such as funding, rank, tenure, salary, position description, or offer letter.

Elissa Keim
Director of Employee Development & Workforce Diversity


Theresa Nuhn
EEO Specialist

What is the difference between a search waiver and a search exception?

A search waiver is a request to seat someone directly into a position without a search process at all. A search waiver deals with people. A search exception is a request to change one or all of the requirements for conducting a search. A search exception deals with processes.

What are the types of search exceptions?

An exception to search may be made when requesting that a search be open only to University of Idaho employees, when requesting a posting period shorter than the required posting time, or when requesting less than the required amount of advertising for a position.

Why do I need to ask for a search exception?

Equal employment and Affirmative Action principles dictate that each and every employment opening for certain federal contractors be filled with an open and competitive search based on best practices for recruitment and hiring. There must be a good reason for shortening a search or reducing advertising and recruiting efforts, which may have the effect of excluding protected classes of people who are not appropriately represented at the University of Idaho.

How do I ask for a Search Exception?

The following steps should be taken when asking for a search exception:

A search exception should be requested in the posting in the waiver tab, in the search exception field. 

In the search exception field describe:
  • What exception you are asking for,
  • Why you are requesting the exception, and
  • What impact the search exception would have on your department/unit.

What factors do we examine when considering a search exception? 

Some of the factors we consider when examining search exception requests are:
  • The likely pool of internal candidates based on our affirmative action plan. How likely is it that an internal hire will help us reach our affirmative action goals?
  • Advertising guidelines – how is the applicant pool likely to be affected if we deviate from the minimum advertising requirements?
  • Is this an entry level position? We are more reluctant to grant a search exception for an entry level position as those positions are not usually opportunities for advancement within the University.
  • Would the exception help to advance affirmative action goals?

Physical Address:

Bruce Pitman Center
Room 041

Mailing Address:

875 Perimeter Drive MS 4241
Moscow, ID 83844-4241

Phone: 208-885-5059

Phone: 208-885-2322