Learn to streamline and improve your search committee process and yield better, more diverse candidates for your faculty, staff, and administrative searches in higher education.
Jun 01, 2016
In Part 1 we covered the first 5 common rookie mistakes that search committees make that lead to failed searches. Here is a quick review:
1. Not starting out with a good plan.
2. Lack of proper preparation.
3. Not fully understanding the job they are hiring for.
4. Blindness to personal biases.
5. Focus on one's own best interest, not what's best for the students or institution.
Ready for the next 5? Here they are:
6. Avoiding the difficult questions.
Also known as the elephant in the room, if the search committee is aware of a difficult and controversial issue surrounding a candidate's past, they may go out of their way to avoid it or at the very least, step delicately around the issue. However, this is unfair and can cause future problems. For example, the search committee may start to wonder why the candidate didn’t volunteer the information and then start to fill in the blanks with incorrect information. Being up front with these questions also gives the candidate the best opportunity to address the issue.
7. Lack of a clear understanding of equal opportunity laws.
As a search committee member, it is vital that you know what it takes to conduct a good and legal search. Because this is an area rife with complexity, it might be prudent to include a diversity advocate, diversity officer, or HR professional who is fully versed in the ins and outs of equal opportunity law, affirmative action, and diversity recruitment who can not only take charge of making sure the search committee complies, but also educate members.
8. Don't know how to "sell" their institution.
Search committees can get so wrapped up in whom they want to work for them that they neglect the equally important reasons why a candidate would want to work for them.
Search committees need to keep qualified candidates interested in the position or risk losing them. It is part of their responsibility to cultivate the candidate's interest in the job and institution.
Know your institution's story, values, initiatives, and goals. Don't just focus on the obvious, like employee benefits, but cultural offerings and other lifestyle advantages.
9. Take themselves too seriously!
10. No training or orientation.
There are many different training topics to support search committees, including screening and selection criteria development, eliminating bias in decision-making, identifying and recruiting minority candidates, and other diversity-supportive topics.
Determine what training, support, or professional development activities are needed and start there.
It is unfortunate that few higher education professionals receive training on the search committee process. Most of these common mistakes and other issues could be avoided or at least minimized with proper training.
To learn more about search committee training, visit www.searchcommittees.com.