Evaluating Applicant Credentials
For step by step instructions on navigating the People Admin 7 System:
The screening process begins with an analysis of the application materials submitted by applicants in response to the announcement of an open position. The department or search committee is responsible for selecting candidates for interview who meet all the minimum requirements and are most qualified to fill the vacancy based on the advertised required and desirable qualifications.
To evaluate applicants consistently, the selection criteria, screening methods, and evaluation or rating form should be agreed upon by the committee members prior to the receipt of applications. All members should understand and endorse the qualifications expected of applicants, as well as the standards for evaluating applications.
Be continually aware of unconscious biases that may impact an applicant’s evaluation. Examine biases about qualifications and how often “better qualified” is equated with a privileged background, a prestigious university degree, or traditional forms of scholarship. Non-traditional scholarship should be evaluated on academic merit.
Eliminate from the screening process any stereotypical ideas based on the applicant’s age, race, gender (including pregnancy), national origin, disability, religion, marital or parental status, protected veteran status, military service, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity. Applicants with disabilities must be evaluated in terms of the essential functions of the position, with thought given to reasonable accommodations, if necessary, that might enable the applicant to perform the duties of the position. If there are questions about whether an accommodation is reasonable, please contact OEOC.
Whatever criteria are used, it is important that they be applied consistently and equally to all applicants. To achieve departmental and institutional goals of faculty and staff diversity, search committees must be committed to hiring women, racial minorities, protected veterans and individuals with disabilities, if he/she is the best qualified candidate for the position.
Pre-interview screenings are valuable in identifying applicants who are no longer interested in the position, those who are unable to respond well to questions, or those who prove inappropriate for the position despite the attractive applicant materials. Pre-interview screenings can also assess communication skills, clarify questions from the application materials, encourage applicants’ continued interest in the position, and respond to inquiries of the applicants.
If the department or search committee is unable to determine if an applicant possesses the requisite commitment and/or experience promoting a diverse workforce the search committee may elect to conduct a telephone screening call to confirm whether the applicant meets the requisite qualifications. Note: this search committee action does not require pre-approval from the Office of Equal Opportunity and Compliance.
The committee must be able to support its decision to interview each candidate selected. The reasons an applicant was selected for an interview must be specific and relate to the qualifications for the position. It is not acceptable to simply note generalizations such as "met screening criteria", "best candidate" or "best fit". The evaluation form and committee members’ notes provide a permanent record of committee discussions should the selection process be challenged.
- Screening Resumes/Curricula Vitaes and other applicant materials (Reviewing Applicant Materials & Reviewing Applicant Reports)
- Prior to reviewing resumes or curricula vitae, the department or search committees should determine the criteria they will use to screen applicants based on the advertised required and desired qualifications specified in the position announcement.
- Assess ways the applicants will bring rich experiences and diverse backgrounds and ideology to the university community.
- Screen applicants to be inclusive rather than for the sole purpose of narrowing the applicant pool.
- Refrain from assessing applicant qualifications based on a single standard.
- Best Practices
- Create a well-documented screening process in which each applicant’s qualifications are compared with the qualifications specified in the position announcement.
- Use the evaluative criteria or an applicant screening worksheet to chart each applicant’s qualifications and allow the search committee to compare each applicant’s qualifications at a glance.
- Select a short list of applicants to recommend for interviews.
- Pre-interviews screenings may be used as a tool to determine or clarify whether applicants meet the required and desirable qualifications.
- Be knowledgeable about personal biases that might influence perceptions about applicants.
- Common Errors when Completing the Evaluation
- Inaccurate ratings and years of related experience are calculated and assigned to the applicant pool.
- Documentation is not attached to support why applicants are not being considered for interviews when they possess similar ratings as candidates being recommended for interviews.
- Incomplete documentation which does not explain how related experience was defined and evaluated by the search committee.
- Incomplete documentation which does not fully explain the reasons why an applicant who was approved for Veterans’ Preference is not being recommended for an interview to include which required and desired qualifications the veteran applicant met/did not meet.
- Arkansas Veterans Preference
- OEOC will review applicants for veterans preference and advise the department on points, if applicable, to be added to the overall score of the applicants based on Arkansas Veterans Preference Law
- If the department does not recommend to interview the veteran applicant, it is required that the hiring department/unit submit a memorandum to OEOC which explains the reasons for the non-selection of a veteran applicant.
- The documentation must include each of the advertised required and desired position qualifications that applicants meet/do not meet.