Searching for Talent

With the previous steps in mind, searching for talent involves marketing, establishing search committees, selecting talent, interviewing and hiring the best qualified candidate. Being intentional at every step to create our diverse and inclusive community is of utmost importance.

Marketing Strategy

Intentionally work with the HRA and HR employment specialist to create a diverse candidate pool. Creating a diverse candidate pool cannot occur by chance. Student life executive leadership has determined that all positions must be posted in the following places: The CWRU HR website, Hispanic Business Association, The Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, The Greater Cleveland Partnership, Call and Post, the Akron Urban League, Veterans Advantage, and Ohio Means Jobs. These are all at no additional cost to the department and the postings will be managed by CWRU HR.

In addition, we encourage departments to post in locations of professional interest of peers or colleagues; such as Inside Higher Education, Higher Ed Jobs, and, which can be accessed for free. 

External Job Listing Website list (requires CWRU SSO login)

Establishing a Search Committee

The cornerstone to any successful search process and candidate placement is an effective search. The way a thorough and ultimately successful search for the ideal candidate should be conducted is with both efficiency and professionalism.

The search process is highly administrative and consumes costly staff time. Therefore, it is important for the committee to have a set of protocols in place that encourage best practices and maximize efficiency, while at the same time consider the needs of the candidate.

Search Committee Size and Composition

When organizing your search committee, keep the committee to a manageable size. The committee size should be small enough to allow all members to participate effectively, while not overwhelming them with the necessary time commitment. To ensure each member’s investment in the committee, choose members who have a stake in the success of the candidate. Include representatives of all relevant institutional constituencies who broadly represent the diversity of the institution, include students and faculty (if the position interacts with them on a regular basis), and make sure to select a committee chair who is comfortable managing the process.

Appoint a diverse search committee for every position. A diverse search committee should have members from different backgrounds and represent the population with which the position will work. Diversity on a search committee can be in the form of underrepresented minorities, staff with differing backgrounds, genders, ages and experiences.

Search Committee Role and Responsibilities

Once your search committee is assembled, be clear about their charge and responsibilities throughout the search process. Broadly, the search committee’s role is to recruit, screen, and recommend the best candidates for a needed position. To do this effectively, each committee member must have an in-depth understanding of the position that must be filled, as well as a set of timelines, legal and professional guidelines, and best practices from which to work.

Committees should understand and agree upon the following items:

  • The responsibilities and expectations of the position and how they fit into the larger needs of the institution
  • The characteristics, experiences and skills that will make a person successful in the position
  • The leadership criteria for chief administrative positions
  • The plan for recruiting and nominating candidates
  • Confidentiality
  • The process for communicating with applicants
  • The fair and objective handling of internal candidates
  • The projected timetable for the search process
  • The committee’s role in recruiting, screening and recommending candidates
  • The laws and institutional policies regarding appropriate interviewing and referencing of candidates (see the list of federal laws that guide fair hiring practices)
  • Unconscious bias training for all members of the committee
  • Understanding the committee is representing the university and each candidate should be treated with fairness and respect.

The Committee Charge

The Committee should receive a formal written charge setting forth the expectations for the position and the search committee's role in helping to fill it. Typically a search committee charge covers the following essentials:

  • The position to be filled
  • The tasks and role of the Committee in the search - The committee should be involved in all search processes including marketing the job posting, candidate pre-screening, interviews, candidate assessment and hiring recommendations.
  • A deadline for receiving recommendations from the Committee
  • Affirmative Action considerations
  • Confidentiality

Selecting Candidates

Only the search committee chair, the hiring supervisor, the HR employment specialist and the HRA should have access to the candidate information in HCM.

The search chair, HR employment specialist and HRA will pre-screen the entire pool to eliminate candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements of the position.

To avoid unconscious bias, the HRA will remove names and addresses before sharing all applications for consideration with the entire committee.

The committee should review the candidates' qualifications and rate them to determine who will be in the initial candidate pool for interviewing.

Candidate Screening Tool Template

Interviews and Evaluations

Interview questions should be prepared in advance for each interview session and questions assigned to each member of the search committee or interview group. Remember that we are looking for talent who possess values consistent with our organizational core values.

For every interview session, meal meeting and if a presentation is given, ask participants for feedback. Make sure all interviewers know that they are required to give feedback. Let them know that you will provide them a form or survey before or after the interview takes place. Give them a deadline to complete and return to the committee.

If you are requiring candidates to make a presentation, provide them clear expectations as to the topic, time allocated—including time for questions and answers—and who the audience will be. Attendees should sign-in and also be reminded to fill out and return a candidate evaluation.

A variety of sample interview questions and evaluations have been developed for you to download and adapt for your specific position. If you would like, we can also work with you to create your evaluations in Qualtrics.

On-Campus Interviews

The Search Committee Chair should prepare each candidate for their on-campus visit. Send them a pre-interview communication, along with:

  • Parking information
  • A campus map and directions to your building
  • Agenda for the day (make sure the agenda has breathing breaks)

Other items to consider:

  • Ask about dietary restrictions if there are refreshments or meals on the agenda.
  • Ask if they would like an optional campus tour. If they are taking a tour, think about the weather (example: if it will be hot, you may want to ask them to dress casually).
  • Personal escort – provide someone to be with the candidate to support and guide the candidate through the interview process.
  • You may ask your HR employment specialist to be a part of the interview process. They can focus on compensation and benefits questions the candidates may have.
  • First impressions are so important. Good communication with everyone involved will make this process successful. Have a well thought out plan before you begin. When you bring a candidate to campus you are representing the division as well as the university.
  • "Sell" the university and highlight what you and your department are most proud of. Allow your candidate to see themselves living in or around Cleveland, creating a home here and seeing themselves working at the university. Talk about professional development opportunities, support groups and ways that they can feel connected.

Final step: Selection and Offer