Things to Know When Conducting a New Employee Search

Lake Raleigh with Park Alumni Center

Park Alumni Center, sitting on the banks of Lake Raleigh.

Photo of employment applicationThis is the time of year that many job searches are underway across campus. Filling positions on campus is one of the most critical activities that happens in the life of the NC State community because each person hired fundamentally impacts the culture of the work unit they are hired into and the climate of campus overall.

If you are involved in or will be involved in a search this year, be sure to remember a few helpful things.

  1. Plan your search. Think critically and strategically about how to connect to and attract a wide array of qualified candidates. Use language in the posting that highlights NC State’s commitment to a building a diverse workforce in sections other than just the required AA/EOE statement. Diversity of perspectives and experiences increases the success of research, learning and project/program implementation.
  2. Review your posting criteria to match required education, experience and skills to what you really need in the position, not to just what you have historically posted.
  3. Be fair and consistent in your treatment of all applicants at the various phases of the search process. Keep your questions, interview structure and references review process consistent across all the applicants that reach those stages in the process. Internal candidates should have the same information and access (not more) as external candidates receive.
  4. Check your biases. We all have bias. You can minimize its impact on the search process by first admitting that it is ever present and then actively working to test your assumptions about candidates by asking clear, behaviorally anchored questions and evaluating candidates against a standardized rubric of desired qualifications used by all search committee members, not just gut reactions and intuition.
  5. Limit (or avoid) social media. Social media outlets can offer great tools to push posting information out to candidates using your networks. However, do not engage in two-way communication about a search or blind trolling of social network sites to do informal reference checks on candidates. If social media experience and savvy is key to the position, then make sure appropriate questions are asked or supporting material is requested. If the candidate did not list their LinkedIn profile on the vitae, then don’t go search for it yourself.

Remember, diversity and inclusion efforts are not a separate part of your search. It should not be considered at the middle or end of your process. It is not just race and sex; it includes persons with disabilities, persons with protected veterans status, ethnicity, religious affiliation, age, gender identity and expression and more. Diversity recruitment should be a standard, foundational principle in how you strategically position your workplace for success.

Ursula Hairston is assistant vice provost for equal opportunity and equity in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.