George A. Smathers Libraries: Search and Selection Guidelines for Faculty
Date: April 15, 1996
Revised: September 2002, February 2005, April 2008, October 2008
Table of Contents
Recruitment of library faculty at the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida is a cooperative activity involving university administrative staff as well as library faculty and staff. Search Committees solicit and screen applications, recommend candidates to be interviewed, and facilitate the interview process. Ultimately, the libraries’ hiring authority regarding appointments resides with the Dean of Libraries.
The search process provides an opportunity to review position responsibilities and the way in which the position contributes and promotes unit, department, and library objectives. The goal of the search process is to select the best possible applicant for the position, in conformity with legal, professional, and institutional policies, in an open and equitable process, with as much dispatch and efficiency as circumstances permit. It is the objective of this document to facilitate that activity by establishing basic procedures for the Search Committee and others involved in the process to successfully select qualified candidates.
Individuals involved in the process should be familiar with the University’s Affirmative Action Plan and be cognizant of their responsibilities in implementing it. The Faculty Recruitment Toolkit requires that all members of faculty Search Committees obtain Search Committee Certification. (For the most recent version of the Faculty Recruitment Toolkit see http://www.aa.ufl.edu/aa/facdev/recruit/documents/Faculty_Toolkit.pdf). Committee members should also be familiar with the Dual Career Employment Network offered to the spouses and partners of newly hired university employees (see http://www.aa.ufl.edu/aa/facdev/support/documents/Dual-Career-Protocol.pdf). All correspondence and administrative operations of the search are conducted through the Library Human Resources Office (LHRO).
The Dean of Libraries reviews and evaluates the Search Committee’s report and Department Chair’s recommendations on which candidates to interview and hire. The Dean may accept the recommendation of the Chair, may request that other candidates be brought in, may charge the Search Committee to revise the search strategy and repost the position, may ask that further assessment and consideration of other applicants be completed, or cancel the search. The Dean will communicate with the Chair and Search Committee when requested to explain decisions that appear contrary to their recommendations.
The hiring Associate Dean, along with Department Chair and in consultation with the Search Committee Chair, develops a representative list of appropriate library staff to form a Search Committee. The names suggested for the committee are submitted to the LHRO to ensure that these staff members are not working on other Search Committees. The Associate Dean contacts the members and appoints them to the Committee, and notifies the members’ supervisors and department chairs of the appointments. The Associate Dean appoints the Search Committee Chair.
The Associate Dean attends the first meeting of the Search Committee to clarify the position description and to answer any questions regarding the assignment of the Committee. Following the review of the Department Chair and Search Committee’s reports, the Associate Dean may endorse the committee’s recommendation or make a separate recommendation regarding candidates to interview and also the candidate to hire.
The Department Chair drafts a vacancy announcement and submits it to the Associate Dean for discussion and approval. The Department Chair and Associate Dean also discuss and pursue appointing the Search Committee members at the same time. The Department Chair participates in identifying avenues for posting the Position Vacancy Announcement (PVA). The Department Chair is consulted when the pool is narrowed, when telephone interviews are completed, when recommendations and decisions to interview and hire are made. The Department Chair conducts a departmental faculty vote and makes a recommendation to the Associate Dean. The recommendation includes an account of the departmental vote and the Search Committee’s recommendation.
The Department Chair ensures that departmental staff members remain engaged and informed throughout all stages of the search process, and offers the assistance of the department in hosting duties during the interviews.
The Associate Dean appoints members as described in 2.2.
Committee members will follow Search Committee Certification procedures outlined in the Faculty Recruitment Toolkit, if they have not already done so.
The size and composition of the Committee depends upon the vacancy to be filled. In general, there are three to five members. No less than ¾ of the search committee’s members will be faculty members from the department in which the vacancy occurs. Others will be library employees who will interact with the person in the position. The composition of the Committee should include both tenured and untenured librarians, and at least one person who has served on previous Search Committees. Search Committees may include non-faculty library employees. Depending on the nature of the search, faculty or administrative staff outside the libraries may be asked to serve on a Search Committee. The LHRO or designee serves "ex officio" on all Search Committees as the Library's Equal Opportunity Officer and to see that procedures conform to University of Florida rules and regulations.
The Search Committee Chair must be a Smathers library faculty member. As a general rule, the Committee Chair should hold an academic rank equal to or higher than that of the vacant position. The Committee Chair and the LHRO work closely together to determine when the Committee requires assistance. The Chair is the liaison between the Committee, the Department Chair, and Associate Dean. These parties should communicate when the Search Committee is formed, when the Committee narrows the pool and calls referees, when the Committee recommends which candidates to interview, and when the Committee makes its final recommendations.
The Library Human Resources Office (LHRO) calls the first Committee meeting and arranges for appropriate library staff (usually, though not necessarily, the Associate Dean, immediate supervisor, and/or Department Chair) to discuss with the committee the responsibilities of the position and the type of candidate they hope to attract. The LHRO discusses the search and selection process; the roles and responsibilities of the Associate Dean, immediate supervisor and/or Department Chair, and the Committee; the balance between maintaining confidentiality and meeting requirements of the Sunshine Law; the advisory nature of the committee; and the necessity to conduct all aspects of the search in a timely manner to not lose viable candidates. The LHRO creates an email list consisting of the Associate Dean, immediate supervisor and/or Department Chair, and the Search Committee as a vehicle for distributing application submissions and assessments. The LHRO reviews the vacancy announcement, making recommendations as needed, and ensures that application files are in order. The LHRO assists in determining timelines for conducting the search and in formulating appropriate interview questions. The LHRO also ensures that necessary correspondence is carried out, updated, and that affirmative action procedures are correctly followed.
The initial Search Committee meeting (as called by the LHRO in 2.5) includes a finalization of the position vacancy announcement (PVA) and the development of an advertising strategy.
A draft of the PVA should reflect consideration of various aspects of the position, such as:
- Academic rank
- Position responsibilities
- Reporting lines
- Minimum required qualifications
- Additional desired qualifications
- Salary (use range or “not likely to exceed …” when limit is known)
- Scope of applicant pool (internal, national, or international)
- Restriction (when required) to candidates cleared to work in U.S.
- Essay topic, if required
- Department description
- General UF benefits
With the assistance of the Associate Dean, the Department Chair, and the LHRO, the Search Committee reviews and finalizes the vacancy announcement and determines a closing date and an essay and/or presentation topic. Recent PVAs remain posted in the Outlook / All Public Folders / Personnel folder to serve as examples.
Most vacancies should be advertised. Exceptions to this rule are temporary positions of less than three months and halftime or less than halftime positions. Considerable latitude exists in how and where a position vacancy will be advertised since the scope depends on the level of the search, i.e. national or international, and on the perceived difficulty in locating suitable applicants.
An effective recruitment strategy is identified by the LHRO, the Search Committee, the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean for all non-temporary, fulltime library faculty positions. Appropriate electronic discussion lists are identified and the information is given to the LHRO to ensure timely distribution. Ads will be sent to appropriate national library and/or academic journals, newsletters, and major electronic discussion lists. Ads will also be sent for posting to the ALA-accredited library schools and a number of predominately minority institutions. The position may also be advertised in ways other than those listed above, e.g. through posting at meetings, listing at conference placement centers, etc. All PVAs will be advertised for at least four weeks on the University Job Posting Website.
The Search Committee and the Department Chair identify at least five professional peers from institutions comparable to UF who have knowledge of minority candidates qualified for the vacant position. The LHRO contacts the individuals, inviting them to nominate candidates for the position
The Search Committee and Department Chair identify five potential minority candidates who are qualified for the position. They promptly forward the names and contact information to the LHRO, who invites the individuals to apply.
The LHRO reviews applications and advises applicant if files are missing. The LHRO organizes a search file utilizing the attachments that will be arriving via e-mail. The LHRO forwards all applications to the e-mail list composed of the Search Committee members, the Associate Dean and the Department Chair or supervisors of the position.
Prior to the application deadline, the Search Committee develops the Criteria Chart by which applicants will be reviewed. The Committee also assesses the success of the search to date based on the number and quality of applications, to determine whether alternate recruitment strategies need to be developed and implemented.
The Search Committee prepares the criteria chart in anticipation of the application packets. Each criteria chart follows the vacancy announcement to directly reflect the required and preferred qualifications. See Appendix F for a template criteria chart.
- Note: Applications are not to be reviewed until the Search Committee has established the criteria chart.
After the deadline has passed, the committee chair calls a committee meeting to discuss the applicants; before this meeting the committee members are expected to have reviewed the applicant pool. The committee analyzes applicant skills, knowledge, abilities and experience on the agreed upon criteria chart. Consensus is reached regarding the top qualified candidates who will be interviewed via telephone.
Once consensus has been reached on the qualified applicants, in collaboration with the Department Chair and Associate Dean, telephone interviews are conducted with the top candidates by members of the Search Committee.
The Search Committee determines the questions to be asked of each top candidate during the preliminary telephone interview. Applicants are contacted via telephone or email to determine their continuing interest in the position and to schedule a brief telephone interview. All members of the Search Committee are encouraged to be present during the telephone interviews, but subgroups of the committee representing 2 or more members may be assigned to conduct individual telephone interviews. A conference room with conference phone capabilities should be reserved. A designated recorder will draft a synopsis of conversations with the candidates.
The purpose of the call is to:
- verify continued interest and candidate suitability for interview.
- acquire any substantive information that may be helpful in determining the candidate's suitability and in completing elements in the criteria chart that are not determined by the application alone.
- assess the candidates interpersonal and communication skills (as best as can be done over the telephone).
- acquire any substantive information that may be helpful in further narrowing the applicant pool.
During the telephone interviews, candidates will be told that their references may be contacted. At that time the names and telephone numbers of the referees are verified.
Committee members should not discuss specific interview plans or interview dates with the applicants, but only inform them that they will be contacted by the LHR Office on the status of the search.
The Committee may telephone interview as many candidates as it deems necessary.
As a result of the applicant telephone interviews, the Committee generally, though not necessarily, limits their interest to between three and five candidates for each of which at least three referees are contacted. The Search Committee determines the questions to be asked; the same questions are generally asked of each referee. Clarification regarding specific candidates is permitted. Referees are contacted via telephone or email to schedule a brief telephone interview; some referees may prefer to conduct the interview immediately. A designated recorder will draft a synopsis of conversations with referees.
- Referees should be told that they may also be requested at a later date to send a letter of reference.
- Only referees listed by the candidate are to be contacted. A current or recent immediate supervisor is preferred, as well as a professional colleague able to assess the candidates direct applicability to the vacant position.
If the Search Committee feels it needs to contact sources other than those provided by the candidate, the chair should notify the LHRO. The LHRO will contact the candidate requesting additional references.
The committee prepares a recommendation for interview, in memo format, addressed to the appropriate Associate Dean and copied to the LHRO and the Department Chair. The memo should be accompanied by the synopses of telephone reference calls and the criteria chart. It should include a discussion of which applicants, if any, are recommended for interview and why (see Appendix P, sample recommendation letter).
- Note: The memo should discuss any applicant who appears on the criteria chart to be an obvious choice, but who is not being recommended for an interview.
- Note: The recommendation and attachments submitted will be retained by the LHRO in the official search file.
After discussing the Committee's recommendation for interviews with the Department Chair, the Associate Dean submits a recommendation to the Dean of Libraries for review and approval. The Associate Dean or Chair may seek additional explanation or clarification from the Search Committee regarding its recommendation.
The Associate Dean may endorse the recommendation of the Committee, or may direct the Committee to revise the search strategy and repost the position, or may ask that further assessment and consideration of other qualified applicants be completed.
At least two candidates should be interviewed for each position. When only one candidate is invited, the hiring authorities must explain the decision to the full Search Committee.
The Dean of Libraries may accept the recommendation of the Committee, may request that other candidates be brought in, may charge the Committee to revise the search strategy and repost the position, or may ask that further assessment and consideration of other qualified applicants be completed. The Dean should communicate reasons for any changes to the search strategy to the Search Committee at this point. The Dean authorizes the LHRO to make arrangements necessary for onsite interviews of approved candidates.
The Committee, with input from the LHRO, Department Chair, and Associate Dean, produces the interview schedule, which will include:
- identifying individual faculty and/or staff to meet with the candidate, including a meeting with a representative from the Tenure & Promotion Committee
- determining the number of open meetings to be held for the general library staff
- timing of required presentation, based on the essay/presentation topic
The Search Committee submits this final recommended interview schedule to the LHRO. The schedule includes the names of persons/groups recommended for inclusion in the interview schedule.
The LHRO contacts the interviewees to determine if the candidates are still interested, to discuss the posted and anticipated salary and benefits, to inform about the UF Dual Career Employment Network, as well as to describe the length of the interview and travel plans.
The Library Program Assistant contacts the interviewees to discuss travel arrangements, secures hotel reservations, and mails the UF Welcome Kit to the interviewees.
The LHRO will provide each interviewed candidate for a position in the bargaining unit the URL address for the UFBOT-UFF Agreement.
The LHRO prepares the final interview schedule, schedules the conference rooms and distributes the agenda library-wide. The LHRO also encourages staff to consult the Library Interview Etiquette contained in Appendix Q.
The Search Committee Chair makes arrangements for the following segments of the interview, and notifies the LHRO detailing the Committee members who will:
- act in a leadership/facilitator role in each interview session.
- take the interviewee to and from the airport, hotel, meals and interview sessions.
- join the candidate for lunch and dinner, with the usual composition:
Lunch: candidate, one member of the Search Committee and one faculty/staff member from the interviewing department, one other; limited to four people; maximum per person $12.00
Dinner: candidate, Search Committee Chair, Department Chair, Associate Dean, Dean of Libraries (for department head vacancies) are invited; usually limited to four total; maximum per person $25.00
The LHRO will post the agenda, the vacancy announcement, and the letter of application, essay, and resume of each interviewee in Outlook under Public Folders, Personnel.
If the interview pool includes an internal candidate, the Search Committee and LHRO should ensure that interview procedures are uniform across all interviewees and are consistent with the search and selection guidelines. The internal candidate should also be made aware by the LHRO of these policies and of Library Interview Etiquette (Appendix Q). When possible, internal candidates should be interviewed ahead of external candidates to minimize any appearance of an advantage to internal candidates.
The Search Committee Chair will collect all bills and complete the Candidate Meal Worksheet for batching and submission to Library Administration for reimbursement. See Appendix O for the Candidate Meal Worksheet. All receipts are due to the Library Administration within 5 days of the final meal event.
Staff members participating in the interview (except the Committee, Department Chair, and Deans) are expected to submit memos of assessment via the Candidate Assessment Form for each candidate. The LHRO forwards the memos to the Search Committee, the Supervisor, the Department Chair, and the Associate Dean.
The Search Committee meets as soon as possible after all invited candidates have been interviewed so that candidates can be notified of a decision in a timely manner. The committee meets to assess the candidates, to review the Candidate Assessment Forms submitted , and to decide whether candidates are acceptable or unacceptable for the position. Of great importance is the inclusion of a cogent, well thought-out analysis of the interviewees' strengths and weaknesses for the position in question, and detailed justification for positive or negative recommendations.
- Note: This process must include the solicitation of candidate assessments from the Supervisor and Department Chair and that input will be given due consideration by the Search Committee in establishing its recommendations.
The Search Committee submits a memo addressed to the Chair copied to the Associate Dean, the LHRO and the supervisor, recommending which candidates are deemed acceptable for the position and listing them in an order of preference based on the committee’s assessment. The recommendation is accompanied by the memos of assessment and any supporting documentation deemed necessary by the committee.
The Department Chair meets with the departmental Faculty members to discuss the candidate(s) and the Faculty Search Committee recommendation(s). The Faculty members vote by secret ballot to register their recommendation regarding the possible appointment of candidates.
The Department Chair recommends to the Associate Dean, with a copy to the LHRO, Search Committee and Supervisor, those candidates that the Chair deems acceptable and that have met the established standards, qualifications, competencies, and criteria appropriate to the discipline. The Chair shall also submit to the Associate Dean the Faculty Search Committee’s report and the vote of the department faculty on the interviewed candidates.
After considering the recommendation of the Department Chair and the Search Committee, the Associate Dean makes a recommendation to the Dean of Libraries to accept, reject, or modify their recommendation. If the final decision is contrary to the Search Committee’s recommendation, the Dean of Libraries will communicate the reasons to the Department Chair and the Search Committee.
The Dean of Libraries, LHRO, Associate Dean, and Department Chair develop an offer.
Prior to the negotiation of the candidate’s initial salary the candidate will be advised on how to access a listing of the salaries of faculty members in the department/unit, by rank and years of experience.
The offer is made to the candidate by the LHRO, who then notifies the Associate Dean, Dean of Libraries, Search Committee and Department Chair of the acceptance or rejection of the offer.
If an internal candidate has been rejected, the Associate Dean and the Committee Chair should offer to meet separately with the candidate to provide feedback on the committee’s decision and on ways in which the candidate can build on his/her skills.
After the final offer has been made, and after it has been accepted in writing by the successful candidate, the LHRO notifies the remaining candidates that the search has been closed. In some circumstances, such as when candidates have been recruited to apply, other participants in the search process may volunteer to contact an unsuccessful candidate.
The Associate Dean discharges the Search Committee and thanks them for their service to the Libraries. A final debriefing meeting between the Committee, Associate Dean, and Chair should take place to discuss the search process and any considerations for improving the process. The Associate Dean should explain any decisions that differ from the Committee’s recommendations. Recommendations for improving the process should be sent to the Libraries Faculty Assembly and the LHRO for consideration in updating the recruitment and appointment procedures.
Search files include original documentation associated with a search, including:
- Vacancy announcement
- Application, resumes and other documentation submitted by candidates
- Letters of reference
- Criteria chart and other notes as prepared by the Search Committee
- Interview schedules for final candidates
- Memos of assessment submitted to the Search Committee (removed after the search report is completed)
- Letter of recommendation from the Search Committee to the appropriate Dean.
Documentation associated with the search is maintained by the Library Human Resources Office. Anyone who needs to review this material may only do so in the LHR Office.
It is the responsibility of the Library Faculty Assembly, in consultation with the LHRO, to recommend to the Dean any modifications to this policy necessary to update and maintain these procedures and to ensure consistency with current practices of University Human Resources.
- Faculty Search Checklist
- Faculty Recruitment Toolkit
- Dual Career Employment Network
- 6C1-1.0061 University of Florida: Affirmative Action Plan for Equal Employment Opportunity and Administrative Organization for the Affirmative Action Program
- 6C1-1.006 University of Florida; Non-Discrimination Policy
- Candidate Criteria Chart (template 1)
- Candidate Criteria Chart - with source codes (template 2)
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Types of Questions and Interviewing Techniques
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Guidelines for Developing Interviewing Questions
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Questions to Avoid During the Interview
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Examples of Acceptable/Discriminatory Questions
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Questions to Ask Supervisors/Managers
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Questions to Ask Support Staff
- Departmental Interviewing Guides: Behavioral Interviewing Questions
- Search Committee Guidelines regarding Meals
- Candidate Meal Worksheet
- Recommendation Letter (example)
- Library Interview Etiquette
- Candidate Assessment Form
Prepared by: Faculty Recruitment Policies and Practices Committee, Spring 2008.
Date: Submitted for approval - April 30, 2008 – Revised 10/22/08
The Faculty Recruitment Policies and Practices Committee had issued their report on April 30, 2008, and further changes were made on 10/22/2008 by the Human Resources Office to insure compliance with requirements in the United Faculty of Florida (UFF) Memorandum of Understanding (May 2, 2008). The changes were discussed at the November 17, 2008 Library Faculty Assembly.