Unclassified Position: Search Committee


All full-time positions require the participation of a search committee in the selection process; the use of a search committee is recommended and encouraged for all part-time unclassified positions, as well.

No committee has a greater ability to make profound and substantive changes in a department than a search committee. Membership on such committees should be reserved for individuals who thoroughly understand the requirements of the position to be filled and who are committed to the mission and goals of the hiring department, school or college, and the university.

The search committee should be composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds in order to provide a variety of perspectives, as well as sensitivity to affirmative action issues. When possible, women and minorities from within the hiring unit should be represented on all search committees. Since these individuals, however, tend to be asked frequently to serve on an array of committees, this may not always be feasible. In such cases, the individuals appointing the committee may wish to enlist the aid of women and minorities either from departments within the school or college or from related academic or administrative areas.


The search committee chair requests instructions from the department/unit head or appointing authority as to:

  1. The desired number of finalists to be recommended by the committee.
  2. The preferred method for ranking of finalists, either by designating a top group of candidates or by rank ordering the individuals within the top group.
  3. The desired date by which the committee should submit its recommendations.
  4. The responsibility, if any, of the committee to contact the finalists' references.

The chair of the search committee should monitor all steps of the search process to ensure adherence with the goals and principles of affirmative action and a process that provides equality of opportunity for all applicants. Each member of a search committee is expected to support the university's commitment to affirmative action.

Other committee responsibilities include:

  1. Familiarity with UO Policy Statement 3.140: Personnel Practices
  2. Development of selection criteria
  3. Campus visits and interviews

Selection Criteria

Candidate selection criteria should be considered very carefully. Selection criteria should be based on the essential functions documented in the position description and on the education, skills and experience needed to be successful in the position.

Selection criteria:

  • Must be nondiscriminatory, and directly related to job performance.
  • Must be grounded in the position as announced – either addressed in or reasonably inferred from the job announcement.
  • Must be free from non-job-related considerations, particularly any that negatively affect members of protected groups, such as considerations related to age, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
  • Must be specified as either “required” (minimum qualifications) or “preferred” (desired qualifications). Required qualifications should reflect minimum levels of knowledge, skills, experience, and education required to be successful in the position.
  • Should include criteria that evaluate potential candidates’ experience with and/or commitment to ensuring a supportive educational environment for all students, faculty, and staff in a diverse workplace.
  • Should be defined specifically enough to be useful in guiding the selection decision but should not be defined in a way that is needlessly conventional or rigid and that may have the unintended consequence of eliminating candidates with transferable knowledge and skills obtained from non-traditional career paths. Narrowly defined criteria may frustrate progress toward diversity because members of under-represented groups may be more likely to have traveled non-traditional career paths or to have framed non-conventional research questions.
  • Can include the term “or equivalent” where appropriate; however, the hiring department must be able to specify acceptable equivalent substitutions for education and/or experience.
  • For department head, dean, or administrator must include "ability to administer affirmative action policies effectively and supervise in a culturally diverse workforce."

First Meeting of the Search Committee

A representative of Talent Acquisition can attend the first meeting of the full search committee to discuss the committee's affirmative action responsibilities, to answer any questions about search procedures, and provide consultation.

Also at the committee's first meeting, a time-table is developed for the committee's work. Procedures are established in regard to:

  1. The recruitment strategy. Review the memo from the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity which may detail and identify the populations for targeted recruitment. Revise recruitment strategies as appropriate to target specific underutilized group members.
  2. Initial screening of candidates. All candidates who meet the announced minimum qualifications should be advanced beyond the initial screening to the next level of screening.
  3. The weighting of evaluation criteria and the determination of voting and ranking methods to advance candidates to the pool of finalists.
  4. Confidentiality.