Faculty Search Committee
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We all play a part for the Gator Good.
Utilizing the recruitment model of “attract, identify, engage, evaluate, and hire,” UF Recruitment & Staffing has developed resources to assist you in every step of the faculty recruitment process. Our goal is to support your recruitment efforts to bring the strongest talent to UF by providing best
practices and strategies that are useful and easy to implement.
If this is your first time participating in a search or you are a seasoned search committee member, thank you for taking part in the University of Florida’s shared governance.
Sharing the UF story and getting potential applicants, influencers and our own stakeholders excited about what we’re doing and where we’re going.
Eighty-five percent of jobs are found via networking, which means that finding the next best hire is in your hands. Your efforts to meet potential colleagues when you attend conferences and speak of your experience as a UF faculty member can be the tipping point for someone to consider UF as their next job opportunity.
Active recruitment is meant to identify and build relationships with potential job applicants, so that the unit is in a good position to attract diverse pools of applicants for its current and future searches.
The recruitment process identifies candidates who, through their teaching, foster multicultural skills and perspectives that can prepare UF students to be successful future leaders. We can only do this by providing an intercultural environment that reflects the demographic make-up of our society, be it the state of Florida, the country or the world.
To help you attract top candidates, it is essential that you have a recruitment plan that works for your unit’s needs, including inviting job announcements that provide essential information about the position. These resources can help you get started in conceptualizing your recruitment.
Articulating what constitutes “the best,” scouting for diverse talent and sourcing prospects.
While it is significantly easier to focus on candidates who are actively seeking a new position, some of the best candidates are those who don’t even know they’d consider taking a new position. That is why it is important to involve not just the search committee but the department as a whole when conducting a search. You and the rest of the search committee must be willing to connect with already established networks, as well as make new ones that can assist in identifying qualified candidates.
To find the best also includes doing job market research for that specific field. A key step in your recruitment plan should be to review the demographic state of the pool of existing U.S. degree recipients by race/ethnicity, gender, veteran’s status and disability status that is specific to the specialty area(s) for that particular search. The applicant pool should be compared to this type of data regularly during the application period to
evaluate the search and recruitment outreach efforts. In doing so, you are ensuring the recruitment plan established is working.
As part of the outreach, the search committee should consider doing the following:
- Use existing faculty and graduate students to market open positions.
- Post job announcements in professional organizations.
- Distribute job announcements to regional contacts or committee chairs.
- Consider using social media to get the word out about open positions.
Understanding the Market
Ensuring that applicants get and give the information necessary for a great match and facilitating an easy and enjoyable recruitment experience for each applicant, regardless of selection outcome.
As you play an active role in the recruitment process, consider discussing the University’s advancement in research, the excellent retention rate of our freshman class and UF’s ranking in graduate programs, as well as the economic impact of UF teaching and research on the economy of the state.
Additionally, the University takes great pride in its work/life balance and family-oriented environment, including a dual career services program. And finally, be sure to share with prospective candidates the benefits of the Gainesville community as a whole. You can find useful information at the end of this section.
It is important to remember that in addition to a candidate’s interest in our institution, the candidate will also be interested in learning more about the community.
Examples of possible community involvement or interests include:
- School Board
- Religious groups and locations
- Athletic groups and hobbies
- Real estate
- Local entertainment and events
- Dog parks
- Childcare centers
- Adult living facilities
- Health care facilities and special needs
Information on UF and Gainesville
Assessing applicants and selecting the best available candidate through an efficient and effective process.
It is important that the search committee develops clear screening criteria for candidates. One strategy is to develop an evaluation matrix of strengths and weaknesses based on job-related criteria. This should be completed prior to beginning the review process and will facilitate a consistent review of each application.
It is vital to the selection process that all members of the committee agree on the criteria for the position. The following are topics to discuss:
- The qualifications that an applicant must possess in order to be considered for the position
- The specific attributes or dimensions which will make a candidate stand out
- The evidence committee members will look for to determine if applicants have met the criteria
- The plan to evaluate candidates if the search is open to more than one rank (e.g., Assistant/Associate/Full)
Avoid numerical rankings as this has the potential to silence support for candidates who may otherwise rise to the top of consideration during search committee deliberations.
An important part of the recruitment process is self-awareness, making sure our own unconscious biases do not eliminate good candidates.
It takes great courage to ask tough questions that can show aspects of our mental framework that go against our conscious personal beliefs and/or intentions. This may require using tools such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT) developed by Harvard University, which helps identify automatic associations people have toward specific groups of people. You will also need to analyze your past decisions. Consider asking yourself:
- Do I typically hire the same type of person or personality type?
- Do I typically select candidates with credentials from specific educational institutions?
- When I say that a candidate is not the right fit, what do I mean?
- What criteria do I use to identify potential candidates?
Making a great impression versus making a good impression is determined by the amount of work we put into the details. This is why it is essential that a campus visit plan is developed for every candidate invited to the University of Florida. The plan should include the big events of the visit, such as when the candidate is meeting with the search committee and the place and time of their seminar. It should also include the small details, such as who will be escorting the candidate on campus, who is meeting them at the airport and who is joining them for dinner, including phone contacts.
By creating a standardized plan, you also prevent any appearance of favoritism among candidates as they are all treated equally during their visit and the same information about the position, department and campus is provided to all.
At the University of Florida, we encourage the use of behavioral questions as part of the interviewing process. The premise of behavioral questions is that past performance and behavior are the best indicators of future performance and behavior. Ultimately, what we try to accomplish during the interview is to gather enough data to help us assess the candidate’s competencies, knowledge, skills and abilities.
The questions should be developed well in advance of the interviewing phase of the faculty search process and should be tailored to the main competencies that the ideal candidate should have. Additionally, the questions should be posed to all candidates, as this allows each member of the search committee to collect comparable information from all candidates. Consider using the resources below to assist you through this process.
Reviewing and Interviewing Candidates
Closing the deal with the best candidates in a timely and efficient manner while laying the foundation for a successful career.
Once the top candidate has been determined, the Search Committee Chair is charged with notifying the hiring authority and providing appropriate documentation.
The hiring authority will complete further reference checks, when deemed necessary, prior to confirming the selection. Position offers are contingent until approved background checks have been completed. Also, it is important to negotiate and include within the notification timeline any confidentiality requests made by the selected hire. Doing this is a professional courtesy, demonstrating collegiality and flexibility.
Each candidate, especially those interviewed, has made an investment of time and other resources to the search process and it is important that the search committee treat each with sensitivity. After an offer is accepted, notify applicants who have not been chosen by letter or by telephone prior to public announcements of the appointment.
Searching for a new faculty member is not an easy task, and you are doing a great service to your department and to the University of Florida by choosing to fully engage in the process. To continue to improve our faculty selection practices and recruit highly qualified candidates, we need to reflect on each search conducted and consider what worked, what did not work and how we can learn from both and employ better practices.
Helping New Hires Become Gators
Now that the active search process is complete and the final candidate has been selected, it might feel like the process is over. While the search process is done, working to help the new faculty member settle into a new work environment and potentially a new city is just beginning.
Consider applying some of the following strategies to help them integrate into their new environment.
- Ask them about their adjustment and, if applicable, about their family’s adjustment to UF and Gainesville
- Be available and act as a guide during their first couple of weeks or months in the new department. Introduce the new faculty member to the entire department as well as interdepartmental colleagues with whom they might share intellectual or social affinities
- Share departmental policies and resources to complete necessary processes
- Organize formal or informal mentoring programs in which the new faculty member can choose to participate
- Be supportive and sensitive to the different experiences of faculty from underrepresented groups. Recognize that faculty from underrepresented groups, including minorities and women, may face additional hurdles
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