Tenure-Track Search Process Guide

2.0 Recruitment and Initial Screening

2.1 Building a Diverse Pool of Applicants Through Active Recruiting 
2.2 Ensuring Candidate Pool Demographics Match the Field 
2.3 Selecting Applicants Who Meet Minimum Qualifications 
2.4 Evaluating Applicants Who Have Met the Minimum Requirements 
2.5 Narrowing to the Top-Third Candidates 
2.6 Internal and Known Candidates 
2.7 Re-Evaluating Top-Third Candidates 

2.1 Building a Diverse Pool of Applicants Through Active Recruiting 

Creating a large pool of diverse, qualified candidates is the single most important step in conducting a successful search. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of all members of the department/program to actively recruit a strong and diverse pool of applicants. 

Each fall the College places a block ad that lists all tenure-track searches in the Chronicle of Higher 
Education and Diverse Issues in Higher Education. The full position announcement appears on the Gustavus Human Resources website, LatinosInHigherEd.com, UpperMidwestHERC.org, the Consortium for Faculty Diversity website, the Black Doctoral Network, and the National Registry of Diverse and Strategic Faculty. The Human Resources Office submits all job announcements to HigherEdJobs.com. The Search Committee may request that the ad is placed in disciplinary-specific journals; Provost Office approval will depend upon cost and rationale (see point 4 below). 
After the ad has been posted, active recruiting should be carried out by all members of the search committee. Divide responsibility across committee members to pursue recruitment strategies such as those below.

  1. Identify the five to seven graduate programs that graduate the largest numbers of recent Ph.D.s who are members of underrepresented groups, in the area of the hire. (See Resources section for links to useful sources of information including the Survey of Earned Doctorates.) Reach out to the Directors of Graduate Studies at these schools, send the ad, and request that the Directors relay the ads to potential applicants. If you receive names of potential applicants from Directors or other contacts, you may contact those applicants with a template email inviting applications.
  2. Ask each committee member to pursue at least five specific outreach contacts. Again, note that directly contacting chairs and faculty at graduate programs that produce potential applicants is far more likely to yield a candidate than a generalized message.
  3. The committee will be given access to the Consortium for Faculty Diversity website where the committee should peruse candidate files and invite specific candidates to apply.
  4. Advertise broadly, including to interest groups with diverse faculty audiences. Advertisements can be posted in publications that specifically target women and/or historically underrepresented groups. 

See the Resources section for templates for soliciting applications and nominations. 

2.2 Ensuring Candidate Pool Demographics Match the Field 

If the candidate pool demographics at the time of the posted application review date does not broadly reflect the diversity of recent doctoral (or appropriate terminal degree) recipients in the discipline/subfield (as recorded in the Survey of Earned Doctorates) in terms of gender and race, the Dean will discuss options with the search chair, such as extending the application deadline and asking the committee to continue their active recruiting efforts. Departments with concerns about the applicability of the Survey of Earned Doctorates data to their search are encouraged to provide an alternative data source to their Dean for consideration. 

2.3 Selecting Applicants Who Meet Minimum Qualifications 

After receiving permission from the Dean to move forward, the Search Committee (or a subgroup of it consisting of at least two members including the LASR), reviews all applications to determine (1) which applications are complete and (2) which applicants meet the required qualifications. Google Drive has been established as the tool for sharing candidate files within the search committee. 
Only complete applications may be considered by the search committee. Candidates who have submitted some portion of the materials are not considered until the application is complete. Search Chairs may contact candidates with incomplete applications to give them a chance to submit missing materials, if the Committee agrees this is useful. See an example email below:

Dear <<Applicant Name>>:

Thank you for your application for the tenure-track job opening in the <<Dept. Name>> Department at Gustavus Adolphus College. Once we receive the following item(s) below, your application will be complete and eligible for consideration.

<<Add Missing Materials>>

<<Search Chair’s Name>>
Search Chair

Complete applications are reviewed to determine which candidates meet the required minimum qualifications. Candidates are only excluded at this stage if they do not meet the required minimum qualifications. The remaining list of qualified applicants is given to the search committee or is considered by the screening subcommittee.

2.4 Evaluating Applicants Who Have Met the Minimum Requirements 

Please expect that this stage and the next stage of reviewing applications will take a significant amount of time. You can expect that each application will take at least 10 to 20 minutes to review. If your Search has a large number of applications, responsibility for a thorough and detailed review of a subset of the rubric may be assigned to groups of at least two people on the Committee. Files should be read using procedures agreed upon by the Search Committee when the Committee established its Ground Rules.

Each member of the screening subcommittee (or search committee) reviews the applications for all applicants who meet the required criteria and completes the candidate rubric ranking grid (see example in Resources section). The completed grid will give a clear picture of candidate evaluations and the reasons for those evaluations. In considering applicants at this stage, the committee members should look for reasons to continue considering applicants for the position, rather than rule out. Look for strengths, aim to include, using specific evidence from applications. 
The rubric is not a substitute for active committee deliberations. In other words, the purpose behind the rubric is not to quantitatively generate a phone interview list. The purpose of the rubric is to provide quantitative evidence for the qualitative conversation among the search committee members that leads to a phone/video interview list. The screening or search committee meets to discuss and evaluate the list of those candidates who met the required and many of the preferred qualifications of the position.

2.5 Narrowing to the Top-Third Candidates 

As the screening or search committee begins to narrow to its top-third list (for pools smaller than 40 candidates, the top 15, top ½ or some other narrowing is fine), committee members should consider whether the list reflects the diversity of the applicant pool, along multiple dimensions. If the top-third list differs significantly from the applicant pool in demographics, committee members may wish to consider re-reviewing applications. As the screening or search committee discusses each candidate, the search chair should record a brief explanation for each applicant who does not advance in the selection process. This will facilitate the preparation of final hire paperwork and also assure that the decision-making process can be reconstructed should the process be questioned. 

2.6 Internal and Known Candidates 

Internal Candidates 

Internal candidates must be treated fairly and equitably, which means neither advantaging nor disadvantaging them in the process. 


  • An invitation to apply should not imply a promise of the job or even an on-campus interview.
  • Department members should not influence internal candidates’ decisions about whether to apply for the position. When Dept members are asked for advice by internal candidates, they should direct the individual to the search chair.
  • Internal candidates must submit a new application and materials as requested in the job announcement. 

While internal candidates may choose to include members of the Gustavus community as professional references, faculty on the search committee cannot act as a reference for a candidate who is part of the applicant pool for the search in which they are participating. If a faculty member would like to serve as a reference for the internal candidate, the faculty member may discuss their desire to remove themselves from the search committee with the Dean. Gustavus faculty who are not on the search committee may serve as a professional reference for an internal candidate. 

Phone/Video Interviews 

Fairness and equity require that internal candidate telephone/video interviews be conducted consistently with those for external candidates. 

On-Campus Interviews 

  • If an internal candidate is invited for an on-campus interview, each element of the interview schedule should be the same as for external candidates, with the exception of the overnight stay at the Guest House (an invitation to stay at the Guest House should be made and the internal candidate may elect to stay at the Guest House, or may decline the invitation).
  • Internal candidates must conduct a teaching demonstration under the same circumstances as an external candidate. Specifically, the demonstration cannot be held in a section of a course currently being taught by the internal candidate. External candidates should not be asked to conduct a teaching demonstration in the class of an internal candidate, whether or not the internal candidate has progressed to an on-campus interview.
  • Student feedback about the internal candidate may not be solicited in any manner other than those available to external candidates.
  • When an external candidate comes for the campus visit, it is appropriate to inform the internal candidate of the date of the visit and your expectation of the internal candidate that they work in areas of campus where they will not overlap with the other candidates during the visits.
  • Internal candidates, regardless of how far they progress in the search, should not attend teaching demonstrations, research presentations, receptions, or other interview-related events for other candidates.

Timeline and Search Updates 

  • Within reason, the same information should be provided to all candidates about the search process. The search chair responsible for communicating to all members of the department that it is inappropriate to share additional information with internal candidates. That behavior threatens the integrity of the search process.
  • Internal candidates should receive notification of their place in the search pool within the same time frame as external candidates.
Candidates Known to One or More Committee Members 
  • A member who knows a candidate should disclose this to the search chair at the beginning of the search process.
  • If the committee member feels that their prior knowledge of the candidate will make it difficult for them to act as a fair and effective evaluator, they should share this concern with the search chair and Dean. The committee member can consider abstaining from their evaluation of the known candidate or step down from the search committee, after consultation with the Search Chair and their Dean.
  • If the committee member feels that they can effectively and fairly evaluate all candidates, they should refrain from sharing details about their knowledge of the known candidate unless and until that candidate is an on-campus finalist for the position.
  • If the known candidate does make it to the finalist list, it is appropriate for the committee member to share their prior knowledge provided it: 1) is first-hand knowledge, 2) directly relates to the search criteria, and 3) would have substantial impact on the candidate's ability to constructively contribute to the department/program and College communities.

2.7 Re-Evaluating Top-Third Candidates 

If you have been using a screening subcommittee (or the entire search committee) to narrow to the top third group, members should re-review those applicants. The full search committee will meet to choose the most candidates from the “top-third” list to move on to the phone/video interview. The meeting to create a “top-third” list should be evidence-based, using the rubric. Search committee members should hold each other accountable for showing evidence of their evaluations that is directly related to the established rubric criteria. As you review applications, remain aware of the research on implicit bias that identifies the tendency to look for and favor people like ourselves or those we are accustomed to seeing in similar positions. Committee members should also describe how the weighted particular preferred qualifications during the meeting. 

The phone/video interview list will usually include approximately 6 candidates, although more are possible if the initial pool was quite large. If the phone/video interview list does not reflect the diversity of the applicant pool (along multiple dimensions), committee members may wish to consider re-reviewing applications. 

Last modified: 5 May 2020, by Shanon Nowell