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See Board of Trustees Search Policy 215

Hiring the best candidate from a diverse pool of qualified candidates that includes members of underrepresented groups is the goal of institutional searches.  The search, which must be fully documented, should fairly screen and evaluate, the applicants , and should result in selection of the best candidate for the job.  These  procedures are intended to assist  in conducting an effective and legally defensible search.  Please consult with the Department of Human Resources or the Department or Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance if there are any questions, concerns or difficulties at any stage

Authorization to  search for a new position must come from the Vice President/Dean via the Staffing Requisition Form available on the web.  The Unit Head/Dean, in conjunction with the Division Head, should develop a budget if it is anticipated expenses will be incurred during a national or international search.  The budget should include potential costs for meals, transportation and lodging if necessary.  Prior approval for interview expenses during a national or international search is required from the Provost’s Office for faculty searches, and from the Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning for unclassified staff searches.  Please refer to the candidate Interview Expenses procedure. Please also refer to the procedure for Hiring of Foreign Nationals.

General Procedures
  1. Human Resources staff will assist the Unit Head/Dean/Hiring Manager with recruitment beginning with completing the Staffing Requisition Form (PDF), developing a job description and  ad copy, and posting the job to ramapojobs.com/hr and other media sources.  Please see “Specific Hiring Procedures and Responsibilities” section, item #1 below on the role of Hiring Managers.
  2. The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance will work with the Unit Head/Dean/Hiring Manager to develop a recruitment strategy to broaden and diversify the pool of candidates as soon as the search is authorized.  Please see “Specific Hiring Procedures and Responsibilities” section, item #1 below on the role of Hiring Managers.
  3. The Hiring Manager selects a Search Committee that is comprised of a diverse representation of units interacting with the position.  Where possible and relevant, a student should be selected to serve on the Committee.  Students must be juniors or seniors and are non-voting members of the search committee.
  4. The Hiring Manager must also select an employee within the unit to chair the search committee.  The Chair must  understand the demands of the position as well as the tasks associated with it .  In searches for senior administrative positions, the hiring manager may chair the Search committee ex-officio, with approval of the President.
  5. In the case of recruitment of college officers and senior administrators, a search firm may be used.
  6. The Search Committee Chair will serve as Affirmative Action Representative.  The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance will train the Chair on search guidelines and procedures relative to the College’s affirmative action goals and policies (see Discrimination, Harassment, Hostile Work Environment Policy.)
  7. The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance will advise the Search Committee Chair of his/her responsibilities, which are as follows: a) monitor the entire process, b) complete the Affirmative Action Search Committee Report, c) have all finalists sign the completed employment application prior to leaving campus, d) ensure this information is included in the hiring packet to the appropriate Vice President/Dean/Unit Head when the selection has been made.
  8. HR will assist the Search Committee in determining how the applicant pool should be evaluated, develop screening techniques and design questions for the interview process.  Should the committee use telephone interviews, two sets of questions should be developed, one for the telephone interviews, and another set for the in-person interview.
  9. Internal candidates are expected to submit or grant access to all official Ramapo College personnel documents (i.e. student evaluations, observation reports, reappointment letters) that have accumulated during the candidate’s employment at Ramapo College.  External candidates will be asked for similar information.
  10. After the qualified candidates have been interviewed, references of the potential finalists are checked by the Search Committee.  Finalists should be told references are being checked, and current employment situations should not be compromised.  References should be checked before bringing candidates to campus.  No anonymous information may be considered during the reference checking process; materials found in the “public domain” are acceptable.
  11. Before candidates are brought to campus (but after the telephone interview), the Search Chair forwards to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance the application packets of the potential campus invitees.
  12. The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance reviews the pool.
  13. The Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance returns the approved pool of candidates to the Search Committee prior to the campus interview.
  14. All final candidates approved by AA should be brought to campus for a personal interview with the search committee.
  15. The Search Committee Chair forwards to the Hiring Manager a letter of recommendation along with the following information: 1) description of the interview process, 2) names of the final candidates for the position and their resumes, (see item 15), 3) references and other significant related materials, 4) job description, and 5) signed employment application.
  16. The Search Committee is required to send three names, unranked, to the Hiring Manager, listing strengths and weakness of each candidate.  Fewer or more than three candidates will be considered with approval of the Hiring Manager and the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance.
  17. After the Hiring Manager completes the final interviews, he/she consults with HR regarding salary, benefits and starting date.
  18. The Hiring Manager makes a recommendation for hire to the next level supervisor up to the cognizant vice president/provost.
  19. Completed hire packets for Professional Staff and Managerial appointments in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, as well as those for Faculty appointments, are submitted to the Office of Employee Relations, prior to being forwarded to the Provost.
  20. A recommendation for hire will be made to the President by the cognizant vice president/provost.
  21. The search chair or a designee must send letters of rejection to candidates not interviewed, and to candidates interviewed by the Committee but not recommended for further consideration.  The hiring manager sends letters to finalists interviewed by him/her and not selected.  Letters should go out at the completion of the search process (candidate hired).
  22. The complete hiring package must be submitted to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance for approval of the process and results. A complete hiring package contains the following:
    • Letters of recommendation from the Hiring Manager, Unit Head, Dean and/or Vice President
    • Letter of recommendation from Search Committee Chair
    • Job description
    • Candidate’s resume
    • Copy of the advertisement (internal and external)
    • Copy of the approved Staffing Requisition Form
    • Signed employment application
    • AA Search Committee Report Form
    • Any other pertinent information about unusual circumstances.
    • The Affirmative Action Office submits the complete package to the Department of Human Resources along with a concurrence or rejection letter.
    • The Affirmative Action Office conducts degree verification.
    • Arrangements for translation of documents or evaluation of foreign credentials are made through the Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance.
    • HR prepares the appointment letter and forwards it to the President for review, approval, signature and mailing.
    • Deans may discuss final terms with the top candidate in concert with the Provost’s office; Hiring Managers of unclassified staff may discuss final terms with the top candidate in concert with the Department of Human Resources.   However, only the President may make a formal offer of employment.
  23. All search records must be retained for five(5) years by the Search Committee Chair.  If the finalist is a foreign national, all search materials must be transferred to the Roukema Center for International Education and retained for six and one-half (6-1/2) years for federal auditing purposes.
Specific Procedures and Responsibilities

A. The Hiring Manager shall

  1. Complete the Staffing Requisition Form, obtain appropriate signatures, and submit the form with the job description and add copy to the Department of Human Resources (ad copy must be consistent with job description).
  2. Select and charge the Search Chair and Committee
  3. Review the job description with the Committee
  4. Develop and submit the job posting to HR utilizing the ramapojobs.com/hr system
  5. Clarify requirements for the position as well as preferred attributes
  6. Send letters to finalists not selected (see Sample Letter 1 (DOC) and Sample Letter 2 (DOC)) at the completion of the search process (candidate hired).
  7. Interview finalists
  8. Make a recommendation for hire at the completion of the search to the next level supervisor (and submit to ER, as appropriate see item 19)
  9. Discuss final terms with the finalist in conjunction with the Provost’s office for faculty and the Department of Human Resources for unclassified staff.

B. The Search Committee Chair shall

  1. Receive training regarding affirmative action objectives from the Office of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance, and training on the on-line application process from the Department of Human Resources.
  2. Act as the committee’s facilitator, official spokesperson, and liaison to the hiring authority; articulate expectations for committee conduct; and mediate conflict
  3. For national searches, obtain necessary approvals for interview expenses prior to bringing candidates to campus; work with candidates to minimize reimbursable costs (see Interview Expenses)
  4. Communicate with potential leads, potential and actual applicants, constituents, and others who may inquire about a search process, Affirmative Action and HR
  5. Protect the confidentiality of applicants and the integrity of the search process.  Written documents may be subject to public records requests; therefore, judicious use of written and e-mail communication is recommended
  6. Coordinate the checking of references of finalists with the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance (see Reference Check Procedures (DOC)).  The candidate’s current employment situation should not be compromised, and the candidate should be told references are being checked.  Concerns about information obtained during the reference-checking process should be referred to AA & WC or HR.
  7. Ensure compliance with state and federal laws and College policy, including the role of Conveners
  8. Provide pertinent information to the candidates being interviewed, including job description, relevant information about the College, portion of Employment Eligibility Verification (PDF) statement so the candidate understands the type of documentation that will be required at time of hire.   Please see the procedures for hiring Foreign Nationals.
  9. Certify via a form that the finalist candidates have been selected through a search process that has been designed and implemented to promote the College’s principles of diversity, equal opportunity and affirmative action.  (see Affirmative Action Search Committee Report (PDF))
  10. Send letters of rejection to the finalists interviewed on campus and not recommended for further consideration after completion of the search process (i.e. the selected finalist has accepted the position).
  11. Retain all serach records for five (5) years.  If the finalist is a foreign national, all search materials must be transferred to the Roukema Center for International Education and retained for six and one-half (6-1/2) years for federal auditing purposes.

C. The Search Committee shall

  1. Refer questions regarding salary , information on the employment application, or other administrative details to the Department of Human Resources; refer concerns regarding the search process to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance.  (Either office may be contacted for guidance about any matter at any time.)
  2. Protect confidentiality of applicants and the decision-making process
  3. Participate fully and consistently
  4. Screen applicants and refer recommendations to the Hiring Manager
  5. Use latitude and flexibility in the selection process – this must be balanced with consistency and transparency – for guidance, consult with HR or AA & WC
  6. Determine a decision making process, e.g. will the committee vote, try to reach consensus, use negative voting, or provide majority and minority opinions, what evaluation instrument will be used, how many absences disqualify committee member from participating in the selection process, etc.  The decision making plan must be submitted to the Director of Affirmative Action and Workplace Compliance for approval.
  7. Vote by secret ballot
  8. Provide fair, consistent and nondiscriminatory interviews to all finalist candidates
  9. Act promptly to ensure that top candidates are not lost to institutions that move quickly to hire top talent
  10. Carefully review the job description and understand the requirements of the position
  11. Review application (see template for Candidate Evaluations Sample Template 1 (XLS) & Sample Template 2 (XLS))
  • review applicant’s knowledge, skills and abilities
  • review applicant’s past positions and their relevance to the position
  • review past accomplishments/achievements
  • question unexplained gaps in employment history

D. Role of Conveners

1. If a convener is on the search committee for a tenure-track faculty line and the pool of applicants includes a person whom that convener has recommended for hire as an adjunct faculty or temporary faculty member, then that convener will recuse him/herself and absent him/herself from the room during the discussions of the candidate and voting on the names to be selected as finalists.

2. The convener in question will be empowered to read all the applications and to remain present (although not participating) during all interviews (phone or in-person) and attend demonstration classes, etc. given by the candidate(s) in order to possess the necessary background to provide thoughtful input to the Dean regarding finalists.

E. Interview Questions

HR may assist in developing the interview questions (see generic Sample Questions (DOC) and Faculty Sample Questions (DOC)) which should:

  1. Emanate from the job description with additional questions based on the applicant’s resume/vita
  2. Be job related
  3. Elicit more than a yes or no response and ask what, when, where, who, why, how
  4. Force the applicant to think
  5. Not be discriminatory such as questions regarding:
  • Race, color, or national origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religious affiliation
  • Gender, marital status, number of children, family plans

6.  Elicit information about eligibility to work in the U.S.
7.  Elicit information about the need for accommodation to do the job

See also:

F. Conducting the Interview

  1. Conduct interview in a pleasant, uninterrupted environment
  2. Give applicant the committee’s undivided attention
  3. Put the applicant at ease before beginning questions
  4. Explain the process
  5. Explain that there will be time for questions after the formal interview
  6. Ask each applicant the same basic questions
  7. Use follow-up questions effectively: what, when, where, who, why, how
  8. Allow the applicant to do most of the talking, but without digressing
  9. Allow silence
  10. Control your body language
  11. Take note of the applicant’s responses
  12. Ask the applicant what questions he/she has for the committee members
  13. Explain the timeline for the search process and when they may expect to hear from the College
  14. Thank the applicant and direct them to their next destination

G. Possible Exceptions to Institutional Search Policy

Documentation for an internal search or non-competitive hire must explain the circumstances. The president, upon the recommendation by a provost/vice president, and in consultation with the director of affirmative action and workplace compliance, must approve an internal search or waiver of search procedures. The following describes circumstances that may justify an appointment without a search.

  1. Emergency Hires — In an emergency situation, candidates may be appointed on a temporary basis for a twelve-month period or longer with presidential approval. The person selected to serve in the emergency capacity will be compensated at a commensurate salary for the period in which the position is held. During the employment period, a search for a permanent occupant of the position will be initiated if it has been determined that the position will become permanent. The position will be posted and institutional search procedures followed. The incumbent may apply.
  2. Acting Hires — For a variety of reasons, the president may choose to fill an unclassified position by a current employee who will serve in an acting capacity.  The person selected to serve in the acting capacity will be compensated at a salary commensurate with the position for the period in which the position is held.  Acting positions will not last more than twelve months without the initiation of a search for a permanent hire.  Appointment beyond twelve months must have presidential approval.   The position will be posted and institutional search procedures followed.  The incumbent may apply; if not the successful applicant, the presumption is that the individual would return to his or her former position.
  3. In-Line Promotions — When a vacancy exists within an administrative unit, a current employee from within the unit may be promoted.  An in-line promotion must be recommended by the dean and/or hiring manager to the appropriate provost/vice president, and authorized by the director of affirmative action and workplace compliance and the president.  The vacated position may be filled through institutional search procedures.
  4. Temporary Part-Time Professional Staff and Adjunct Professors – Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.   Should the position become full-time and/or permanent, college search procedures will be followed.  The incumbent may apply. 
  5. Visiting Scholar/Exchange Scholar – An academic or professional person invited to the college from another institution to teach or conduct research over an extended period such as a semester, summer session, or academic year.  Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
  6. Reorganization — For purposes of downsizing, succession planning, professional development, broadening diversity, and/or reorganization, the hiring manager may reclassify or transfer a current employee who requires minimal training and has the requisite qualifications. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
  7. Organizational Needs/Failed Search — When the search process has failed to yield a qualified applicant and it is a vacancy that requires specific technical skills, expertise in a subject area of high demand/low availability, or is a mission-related priority position identified by the president, the search may be waived.  Approval is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
  8. Grant or Contract Positions — Principal investigators may hire individuals for unclassified positions specifically named in grants or contracts without conducting a search. Justification must include copies of the pages from the grant or contract specifying the person(s) named in the grant or contract.  Otherwise, all positions funded by research grants and contracts shall be filled according to college search procedures.  Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
  9. Laureate — On occasion, the college may have the opportunity to hire a nationally or internationally renowned individual who expertise matches the mission and goals of the college or the school. While each academic school recognizes extraordinary accomplishments differently, it is expected that the “laureate” designation be used in rare circumstances. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.
  10. Returning Employees — Employees who have terminated their employment with the college may be appointed without a search if they return to the same hiring unit to fill their former position which has not been filled, with a break in service not to exceed twelve (12) months. Appointment is by the president, acting on the recommendation of the division hiring manager.

H. Failed Searches

In the event the search does not produce a viable candidate, the following needs to take place:

  1. Search chair recommends (to the dean/unit head) a failed/vacated search and give reasons why
  2. The dean/unit head recommends (to the provost) a failed/vacated search and give reasons why
  3. The provost declares (to the dean/unit head) a failed/vacated search and notifies the president (by cc)
  4. The dean/unit head notifies the search chair that the search has been declared failed/vacated
  5. New Staffing Requisition Form processed if appropriate (new search opened)

The College uses an automated applicant tracking system (ramapojobs.com) and all candidates must apply through this process.

Note: These procedures are subject to reasonable flexibility in extraordinary circumstances.

See also Power Point outline for use of the Applicant Tracking System (PPT) Ramapojobs.com