OA Position: Evaluate Candidates

Prepare the Search Committee

  1. The hiring manager should review the requirements, roles, and responsibilities of the search committee.
  2. The hiring manager, if not a member of the search committee, should give the search committee their charge during an initial meeting prior to application review. The charge will assist the committee in preparing the selection process and evaluating candidates. During the charge, the search chair should address
    1. The position description, including essential functions of the job, required qualifications (provide a copy of the complete position description to committee members who may not have access to the description in MyTrack—see MyTrack Position Description User Guides for more information)
    2. Key strategic issues or challenges facing the department
    3. Deliverables for the new hire’s first 30-60-90 days
    4. Information that would allow the search committee to meaningfully assess the presence of necessary professional competencies for the position
  3. This is also a good time to confirm the search committee has a clear and shared understanding regarding minimum qualifications (for example, questions may arise about what constitutes “professional experience,” whether the minimum years of experiences refers to full-time experience, etc.).
  4. Once the soft closing date or application review date passes, the search chair may contact Talent Acquisition at talent@uoregon.edu to inquire about the demographic makeup of the applicant pool compared to any defined Job Goals in the Affirmative Action Plan and availability. If the representation of women and people of color is not consistent with availability, or if the number of applications is less than desired, consideration should be given to extending the application deadline and/or increasing active recruitment strategies.

Establishing Selection Criteria

Prior to reviewing applications, develop a selection criteria by which the candidates will be evaluated. 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. Consider using a criteria matrix to help establish and norm on 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 in the posting vacancy announcement as either “required” (minimum qualifications) or “preferred” (desired qualifications). Required qualifications reflect minimum levels of knowledge, skills, experience, and education required to be successful in the position.
  • If specified in the vacancy announcement, professional competencies may also be considered.
  • 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, and demonstrate cultural competency necessary for the successful performance of the position.
  • 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.
  • If specified in the vacancy announcement, search committees may consider equivalent experience to substitute for educational or other requirements; search committees must be prepared to describe how they evaluated equivalent experience.
  • For department head, dean, or administrator must include "ability to administer affirmative action policies effectively and supervise in a culturally diverse workforce."

Screen Candidates

  • All applications are screened to determine if the applicant meets the minimum qualifications of the position.
  • All applications for applicants who meet the minimum qualifications are reviewed by the committee, based on the selection criteria previously established.
  • If the search committee is challenged in deciding how many candidates to include on the "short list" for ongoing consideration, the search chair should contact Talent Acquisition to see if the short list of candidates includes women and people of color, and if not, whether including additional candidates in order of ranking by the committee would increase diversity in the pool of candidates under active consideration.

The screening process identifies the candidates to be considered further in the interview process.


Though the university does not specify a particular method, some form of documented methodology is required for evaluating applicants and is to be applied across the entire applicant pool. Search committees may utilize the search committee evaluation features of MyTrack to record initial evaluations of minimum and preferred requirements, and professional competencies. Non-selection reasons must be specified during disposition of candidates in MyTrack. 

Interview Candidates

Conduct Interviews

The interview phase of the evaluation process can occur in the form of phone/web conference and in-person interviews with the understanding that identified candidates are treated equitably. 

Travel reimbursement for prospective employees must be done according to the policies and procedures described on the Business Affairs travel reimbursement website. Vice President level approval is required to be on file if you reimburse a candidate for search-related travel expenses from institution funds.

 As with all steps in the selection process, consistency and fairness are critical.

  • Interview questions must be clearly job-related and designed to help the search committee determine which candidates have the training, experience, skills and ability to best perform the essential functions of the job.
  • Interview questions should be behavioral in nature and whenever possible address the candidates’ prior demonstrated experience.
  • Each campus interview should include the same opportunities – meetings with constituency groups, administrators, etc.
  • Care must be taken to gather the same job-related information for each candidate through consistency in questions posed by the search committee and input received from other constituency groups involved in the on-campus interview process.

To ensure equity in the selection process, avoid:

  • Asking additional questions of one candidate that are not asked of others except where necessary to obtain or clarify an answer to a question asked of all candidates or to clarify information in a candidate’s application materials.
  • Asking questions that elicit personal information rather than job-related information. Some non-job-related information, such as number and age of children, can lead to impermissible discrimination. The less non-job-related information you have, the less that could possibly enter into, or be perceived as entering into, a selection decision.

We have an obligation under the law to provide reasonable accommodation to both applicants and employees with disabilities. An applicant with a disability may require accommodation in order to participate in the selection process. For example, someone with a mobility impairment will require that interviews be conducted in locations that are physically accessible.

  • Our duty to accommodate applies only to KNOWN disabilities. However, we are precluded under the ADA from making pre-employment inquiries that reasonably are intended to elicit disability-related information.
  • In order to meet our accommodation obligation without violating the ADA, when inviting candidates for on-campus interviews it is useful to ask a carefully worded question that gives candidates the opportunity to identify any special needs without asking about a disability. Example: “Are there any special considerations of which we should be aware in planning your visit to Eugene?”

Check References

Checking references is a critically important part of the selection process as on-the-job performance is the most accurate predictor of future job success. As with all other steps in the selection process, consistency and fairness are paramount. Reference questions must be clearly job-related and directly relevant to the selection criteria for the position. The search committee or hiring authority can check references for multiple finalists, but they should take care to gather the same body of information for each candidate. 

It is recommended that at least one reference is a current or former supervisor. 

When you’re ready to check references, move candidates forward in MyTrack to Reference Check. Candidates will receive an automatic message letting them know that you will be contacting references. Give candidates at least 24 hours to give their references a heads up and/or update contact information for their references in MyTrack prior to reaching out. 

You can contact references by phone or email. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I check references for multiple candidates?  
    • Yes. Please let candidates know that you’ll be checking references for multiple finalists, though.  
  • Can I contact references not supplied by the candidate? 
    • Contact your recruitment consultant to discuss this more.  
  • Do I have to check references for internal candidates? 
    • We recommend checking references for all finalists, even if they are internal.  
  • But what if the hiring authority is one of their references? 
    • Check their other references, or ask for additional contacts. If you’re checking references for multiple finalists, be consistent with the number of references you speak with. 
  • How many references do I need to talk to?  
    • Try to talk to at least two references, ideally three.  
  • What if I’ve called and haven’t heard back from a reference? 
    • Check in with your candidate to see if they have another reference or updated contact information for the person you haven’t been able to get in touch with. You can also email references to set up a mutually available time to talk. 

Click here for an editable guide and worksheet:

Reference Guide and Worksheet

Select a Final Candidate

The search committee makes its recommendation(s) to the hiring authority, documenting job-related reasons supporting their recommendations for all finalists.

All search documentation is forwarded to the search chair (or designee), for inclusion in the official search file.