Resource Guide for Recruiting Excellent and Diverse Faculty

Appendix 5: Evaluating a search: What went wrong or right?


Date:__________       Department:_____________       Position:________________________
Search Committee Chair: _____________________________
Search Committee Members: ______________________________________________________


1. Timing

  • Did you follow the time-line established at the start of the search?     
  • Did you spend less/more than what was allocated for the search?     
  • What issues or concerns do you have about timing in this search?

2. Advertising

  • Did you make special efforts to increase the diversity of the pool?     
  • What were these special efforts?

3. Campus Interviews

  • Were all candidates’ visits conducted as similarly as possible?     
  • Were all candidates treated respectfully and asked the same questions?     
  • Were candidates given the opportunity to request specific visits or meetings?     
  • What issues or concerns do you have about the campus interviews?

4. Communication

  • Did you respond in a timely manner to prospective candidates?     
  • Did you promptly notify candidates who were no longer under consideration?     
  • Did you notify the finalists who were not selected as promptly as possible?     
  • What issues or concerns do you have about your communication with candidates?

5. Resources

  • What on-campus resources were most helpful to you during the search?
  • How did you obtain these resources? From what office(s) or website(s)?
  • What additional support was needed?

6. What were some of the strengths of the process? What went well?

7. What are some areas of the process that need improvement? What did not go so well?

To improve the process and success rate of future faculty searches, it helps to know why current candidates accept or reject offers. Please provide as much information as possible on your recent search.

Why did your recent hire accept the position? What went right in the search?
(Positive practices determined in a University of Michigan study include warm attention from the department chair; frequent and prompt attention by phone and email; meeting with both graduate and undergraduate students; meeting with women faculty and postdocs (for women candidates); receiving information about dual career opportunities early in the process; receiving information about family-friendly policies and resources; having the partner treated with respect, interest, and enthusiasm; a sense of the negotiation being with the candidate’s long-term best interest in mind; rapid resolution of negotiation with a formal offer coming quickly.)

Why did any candidates reject your offer? What went wrong in the search?
(Problematic practices determined in the same study include contradictory information from the chair and other senior faculty members; evidence of disorganization or lack of unity in the department’s approach; suggestions by faculty that candidates aren’t being recruited for scientific excellence but because of gender or race; being asked questions about family issues before any offer is made (these are illegal questions); potential colleagues interacting with the candidate’s partner in a way that suggests the partner isn’t valued or desirable on his/her own terms.)