Launch the search
Intended for hiring managers: When you launch a search, there are some initial decisions to consider immediately. It will be helpful to reach out to your HR Professional immediately to assist you with the search. Schedule a meeting to review the following:
- Who will be supporting the search?
- Human Resources Professional
- Talent Acquisition team
- Hiring authority administrative support
- Search chair administrative support
- What type of support do you need?
- Coordinating search meetings
- Scheduling interviews and itineraries
- Booking travel
- Who will be sourcing and recruiting for the search?
- Where will the position be advertised?
- What is the timeline?
- Start with the date you would like the position to be filled and work back from there. Utilize this sample timeline.
- Who will serve on the search committee?
- Utilize the overview of search committees and composition to help you make this decision.
- What is most important about the vacant position? Whether it is new or an existing position, you should solidify the following:
- Core purpose
- Required and preferred qualifications
- Opportunities and challenges
Sample Proposed Search Timeline
Intended for anyone involved in the search. These are sample dates to provide realistic allotted time frames for each phase of the search process. It is helpful to create the timeline early in the search process, so that the anticipated hire date is realistic and those involved in the search (committee, candidates, participants in on-site interviews) can plan in advance.
- Intake meeting
- Invite search committee to serve
- Search committee charge meeting
By May 17
- Post and advertise position
May 17 - July 1
- Close position in eJobs
Week of July 8
- Resume evaluation meeting with search committee
Week of July 15
- Complete screening interviews
Week of July 29 and Aug 5
- Complete on-site visits
Week of Aug 12
- Make offer
August 19 - September 27
- Build onboarding plan
- Proposed start date
Initial Search Committee Meeting
Intended for search chair: You can utilize this agenda when planning your first search committee meeting
- Welcome and charge from Hiring Authority/ Manager
- Overview of process and timeline of the search
- Review proposed timeline: Be mindful of the parameters of the search (national, local, internal, etc.); religious holiday observances; vacations; etc.
- Discuss tasks such as screening applications and the development of interview questions
- Provide search committee process overview
- Search committee responsibilities
- Tips for active recruitment
- Confidentiality and conflicts of interest
- Keeping diversity and inclusion in mind
- Review and provide feedback on posting/ advertisement/ prospectus/ leadership profile
- Next Steps
- Schedule meeting to evaluate candidates
- Begin developing interview questions
- Confirm timeline
This guide is intended for hiring managers. These are points to cover when providing a charge to a search committee.
Welcome and thank the committee:
- Thank the committee for attending the first search committee meeting and for their service with the search
- Remind them that the recruitment of a new colleagues is among the most important work they can do
- Emphasize the time commitment of the search process
Describe the ideal candidate:
- Focus on required qualifications
- Describe your vision of the candidate and what they will accomplish
- Discuss challenges and opportunities for the candidate
- Give the committee a clear framework from which to recruit and evaluate candidates
This guide is intended for:
- Search chairs: Share this information with search committee members at the beginning of the search or at the charge meeting to help them understand their role, remind them to conduct active recruitment, emphasize confidentiality and keep diversity and inclusion in mind throughout the search process.
- Search committee members: This is a helpful resource as you serve on a search committee.
Search committee responsibilities
- May provide input on the position announcement
- Suggest advertising sources
- Aid chair in establishing screening criteria
- Actively engage in recruiting candidates
- Review and evaluate applications using the criteria formulated by the chair and the rest of the committee
- Ensure that all applicants are considered equitably throughout the process
- Attend meetings (charge, candidate screening, etc.) and participate in interviews of candidates.
- Maintain confidentiality during and after the search
- Provide evaluations of final candidates
- Transfer all related files of the search to the search chair for retention as required by University policy (search chair will provide to hiring unit HR)
Tips for active recruitment
- Personal contacts you know through professional organizations and colleagues at other institutions.
- When making personal contacts, share information with them about VCU and Richmond. We have a list of videos, links and other Richmond information here.
- Please take note that, while referrals are excellent resources, additional recruitment efforts should still be made. Referrals may limit diversity since people tend to refer individuals who are similar to them.
- Review websites at other institutions to find individuals in similar positions to the position being recruited. Ask them about their interest or to receive referrals of other qualified candidates.
- Contact professional organizations in your field to request that position announcements be shared with members.
- Making personal contacts is most likely to result in applicants for your position.
- Network at professional conferences and invite colleagues to apply.
- Contact colleagues at other institutions to seek nominations of students nearing graduation, recipients of fellowships and awards, or others interested in moving laterally,
- Work specifically with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
- Consult with diverse faculty and staff already on campus for outreach strategies.
Confidentiality and Conflicts of Interest
- It is each member’s responsibility to recognize potential biases or conflicts of interest with potential candidates and take appropriate steps to avoid them.
- If you cannot remain fair or impartial to a candidate, you must recuse yourself from the committee discussions regarding the impacted candidate.
- Notify the search chair if there is a conflict of interest or a breach in confidentiality. Failure to do so could lead to a complaint of an unfair hiring practice and may result in removal from the committee, participation on future search committees or voiding of the current search.
- Any person who is an applicant or intends to apply for a position may not serve on the search committee for the position.
- Search committee members cannot serve as references for candidates.
- Do not disclose names of applicants to anyone.
- Keep all discussions among committee members confidential.
- Maintain confidentiality of all files concerning the search - both during and after the search.
Please see the Search Committee Integrity and Ethics overview for more information
Keep diversity in mind throughout the search process
The search committee is responsible for the preliminary work of creating a diversified pool of qualified applicants and for screening candidates for the position. Please make sure to:
- Ensure equal employment opportunity, which is the right of all persons to be considered based on their ability to meet the requirements of the job.
- Be proactive in identifying diverse, qualified applicants, and ensure that the applicant pool reflects the diversity of the available workforce. Please reach out to a Recruitment Inclusive Champion, if your unit has one.
- Ensure that the recruitment process is accessible to all qualified applicants.
- Adhere to the evaluation criteria stated in the position description and evaluate candidates according to job-related criteria.
- Be consistent and fair with all applicants at each stage of the selection process, treating every candidate with the same respect and dignity.
- Maintain the highest standards of professional conduct and take appropriate steps to avoid conflicts of interest. To ensure the integrity of the search, avoid any appearance of impropriety by always keeping in mind what an outsider reviewing the search process would think.
This guide is intended for search chairs and search committee members. Review this to ensure you fully understand the importance of confidentiality in a search, as well as how to handle potential conflicts of interest.
The work of the search committee necessitates confidentiality* of information about candidates and their employing institutions in order to attract high quality finalists, to avoid putting the candidate’s current position in jeopardy, and to protect the integrity of Virginia Commonwealth University. Search committee members:
- May not reveal the identity of, or any other information about, candidates either during the search or after the search committee completes its work, unless obligated to reveal such under the law.
- May not reveal information about candidates to anyone including faculty or staff members in the hiring department who are not on the search committee; colleagues at other institutions; family and friends, etc.
- Must maintain confidentiality of all files concerning the search. Search committee members will ensure that all files are given to the hiring unit’s HR professional or HR Associate by the conclusion of the search.
- Must obtain the candidate’s written consent to publicly share their information once they have reached the stage of an on-campus visit. It is imperative that the candidate is provided, in writing, with the information that will be shared (ie CV/ resume) and with whom (faculty, staff, students, etc.)
- Must also maintain confidentiality of all candidates after the search concludes.
*Note: During the search, if any issues arise around discrimination, unethical behavior on the search committee, etc., the concerns may need to be reported to the appropriate office (ie Equity and Access Services, Integrity and Compliance, Human Resources). The university will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants in this process while also taking into consideration the need to gather information to assess the report, to ensure due process and to take steps to eliminate discrimination and retaliation, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. Please see VCU’s Preventing and Responding to Discrimination Policy for more information.
Conflicts of interest
Search committee members can ensure they are fair, accurate, honest and responsible in their management of information germane to the search by:
- Ensuring that they have no interest in applying for the position
- Disclosing promptly to the search committee or chair any relationship with a candidate that creates a conflict of interest, the potential for such conflict, or even the appearance of a conflict.
- Placing the best interest of VCU ahead of all special and personal interest
- Using common sense and good judgment in screening candidates.
- Striving to treat issues impartially and handle controversial subjects dispassionately.
- Not serving as references for candidates.
The chair should ensure that only the search committee is involved in conversations around candidates, who moves forward to interviews, etc. Undue influence from other stakeholders is not appropriate.
If a search committee member cannot remain fair or impartial to a candidate, they should recuse themselves from the committee discussions regarding the impacted candidate. Failure to notify the chair and committee of conflicts of interest could lead to a complaint of an unfair hiring practice and may result in removal from the committee, participation on future search committees or voiding of the current search.
This guide is intended for hiring managers. If you decide to utilize a search firm, please contact your HR Professional to partner with VCU’s Talent Acquisition team immediately to assist you with selecting the firm, reviewing the contract, and providing other support. This guide can be helpful if you decide to work with a search firm.
- Ensure you work with a search firm approved to contract with VCU (based on Virginia Association of State College and University Purchasing Professionals (VASCUPP’s) pre-approved contracts.
- Once the firm is selected, contact VCU Procurement to move forward with a contract for the firm
- When working with the firm to create a contract, they will generally need the following information immediately:
- Proposed salary for position (they base their fee on this)
- Specific services that will be provided from both them as well as VCU. Ask such questions as:
- Who is writing the position profile?
- Who is providing administrative support?
- Who is handling travel for the candidates?
- Primary VCU contact for the firm to work with
- Proposed timeline for search (or at least, desired start date)
Once the contract has been signed, consider and provide the following to the search firm:
- Primary contact throughout the search. Make sure to account for multiple roles:
- HR Professional and Associate: Generally assists with establishing and posting job, approving the hire, writing the position description, etc.
- Search chair: Leads the search efforts
- Administrative support: Often handles logistics such as itineraries, scheduling rooms, etc.
- Talent Acquisition team member: Can assist with all levels of support
- Search committee composition
- Anything that can help the firm learn the organization and unit: Org charts, strategic plans, budgets, organizational information, stakeholders with knowledge of the position, etc.
- The search timeline in order to hold dates for various stakeholders in advance.
- Roles for keying information into the applicant tracking system: provide training for the firm if needed and discuss who will be updating applicants’ status in the system
- Assignment for provision of the candidate feedback tool
- Thoughts about roles during the campus visit process
III. Working with the VCU talent acquisition team
VCU’s Talent Acquisition Office is an internal executive search group comprised of a team of recruiting and search associates dedicated to identifying and attracting exceptional leaders to Virginia Commonwealth University. We will support your executive and leadership searches in a myriad of ways to help you find exceptional talent for VCU. Please find a high level overview of the support we can provide below.
- Conduct in-depth meetings with key stakeholders to expand our understanding of the position and the qualities of the ideal candidate to ensure the best long-term fit.
- Assist in the development of a position description, advertisement, and prospectus/ leadership profile
- Lead in sketching out the full search search itinerary and an overall timeline
- Help to identify and invite search committee
Schedule and support initial meetings
- Plan for and support search chair in preparing for and leading all search committee meetings
- Provide clear and organized search materials (position description, timeline, confidentiality statement, etc.) to the search chair and committee
- Convey expectations for the search, including roles and responsibilities, confidentiality, etc.
- Serve as the primary interface for prospective and active applicants
- Source candidates: Research what kinds of positions (tier 1) are available; build pools; contact sourced candidates and referrals
- Conduct pre-screening interviews with minimally qualified candidates
Resume Review Meeting / Prospect Review Meeting
- After conducting an initial screening, help lead the committee in determining which applicants advance
- Provide search committee with detailed information on qualified candidates
- Screening Interviews: Lead the development of interview questions and evaluation tools; Schedule and lead interviews
- On-Campus Interviews: Work with search chair and hiring authority to identify stakeholders that candidates need to meet during on-site interviews, create presentation topics, etc. Create itineraries and assist with such logistics as VCU Rooms arrangements; hotels; air; candidate escort, etc.
End of Search
- Provide all stakeholders involved in search with a feedback form, provide hiring manager with results
- Notify non-selected candidates
- Help to facilitate communication to announce the hire