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Hiring Toolkit

Central Washington University

Best Practices in Hiring


This guidebook/toolkit (much of which comes from AACU, the University of Washington, University of Michigan) will help you to meet the University’s goals of promoting academic excellence through diversity and equity and the necessity of thinking about searches and equity as the way we do business. You certainly should tailor the suggestions to meet the needs of your units.  The concepts of equity and diversity means that the rights of all job applicants are treated with fairness and can excel without bias.  Our goal is to reimagine how we approach hiring and retention, to think about those processes as ongoing activities rather than a rush to the finish and to coordinate our hiring and retention efforts across campus.

If you have other tools that you find particularly effective please share them with the VP for Diversity and Inclusivity, Kandee Cleary, or/and Gail Farmer, or/and Staci Sleigh-Layman in HR.



We should always be in the market for candidates who will enhance the departments, colleges, units and university.  What this means is that we should always be building relationships with job candidates for future searches but also job candidates that we would like to have immediately.  This does not mean that that we build unrealistic expectations for a job or promise a position.  What does it mean?

  • Long range hiring plans that take into consideration the University’s Affirmative Action Plan.
  • Anticipate current and future needs
    • Wish lists
    • Anticipated or known retirements
  • View professional meetings as opportunities to make potential colleagues aware of Central Washington University.
    • Attend presentations by post-docs, graduate students, and assistant professors.
    • Host an event that spotlights your department, college, other departments or units.
  • Use co-curricular events to invite potential colleagues to speak, serve on panels, and provide learning opportunities for students.


  • Always be planning for a search.  This allows the department or unit to think about how positions fit into the long term goals of the department.
  • This list or plan should be transparent and shared across departments and units to promote and encourage “cluster hires”.
  • “Cluster” hiring has received a lot of press as a mechanism for building interdisciplinary research teams (see, for example, the article from Inside Higher Ed from May 2015 included in this section of the Toolkit).  But cluster hiring can also be an effective tool for attracting faculty candidates working in relatively small or new fields or subfields, and for attracting faculty candidates from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
  •  Depending on how a cluster is organized, it can signal a significant commitment to and investment in a particular area of research, teaching, service, and/or outreach by a unit, a college or school, a campus, and/or the university as a whole.
  •  Cluster hiring can be formal or informal and means that there are multiple positions across units.  There is a need to collaborate across units, colleges and the university to promote and run concurrent searches.  This can occur within similar departments when searches are already approved. For example, if Anthropology has an ongoing search for a cultural anthropologist and American Indian studies has a search for cultural specialist in American Indian studies, and advising has a search for an advisor specializing in minority advising then can work together, advertise, and promote as an investment.  This allows potential candidates to see themselves as part of something larger.
  • The main goal is to build communities and relationships.

Search Committees

  • Several ways to form a search committee.  Includes issues of size, interaction, number of searches, and relays your values and interests.
  • Search committee must be diverse.  Sends a message to the campus community and potential applicants.
  • Should include those with a wide range of expertise and demonstrate a commitment to diversity and equity.  Include a member of the college or division diversity committee.
  • Appropriate hiring authority should discuss the importance of inclusion.
  • Training on interrupting bias for committee members or search committee as a whole.
  • Create assessment document
  • Broaden the applicant pool
    • Enlist other units across campus to create a broad applicant pool.
    • Include diversity teams across campus, diverse faculty and staff,
    • Use relationships to increase hiring pool.
  • Draft a job ad
    • When describing the specific position use broad terms that can include a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and tie to the university mission
    • Be broad in your description of the unit/department.  Include how your department/unit meets the needs of the students you serve, and promotes student recruitment, retention, and graduation.
    • Identify allies across campus and see if any other searches are related
    • Describe  the materials that you need to evaluate application
      • You may want to request an explicit statement that describes how the applicant’s experience with working with those different from themselves and their commitments to diversity and inclusion.
  • Networking
    • Send announcements to departments that serve large numbers of those from underrepresented groups
    • Send announcements to discipline specific traditionally underrepresented groups
    • Inviting applications from junior colleagues at other institutions
    • Ask other to help market open positions
    • Contact colleagues at other institutions
    • Ask chair, director, or dean to personally contact qualified nominated applicants.
  • Assess Applicants
    • In your assessment material it is effective to address the following issues:
      • Goals for hire; research, teaching, service, outreach or staff specific goals
      • How to evaluate demonstration of a commitment to or experience with diversity
        • Focus on the way the ability to engage with those different from yourself fits with each goal for hire.
        • Elicit information from candidates about their experiences and what skills they bring to an increasingly diverse environment.
        • Use follow up questions to encourage a full response including the many ways in which people are diverse


  • Cognizant of Implicit Bias
    • All of us have some degree of unconscious bias.  Stereotypes are stored in our brains without us being aware.  Implicit bias impacts us more when we are under stress and in a hurry.  There are some factors that can trigger this bias, which include:
      • Career paths that are unusual
      • Uncommon research interests
      • Do not appear to “fit”
      • Assumption that traditionally underrepresented candidates don’t want to come here.
  • Good Luck In Your Search—hope you find the best candidate.

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