Guidelines for Communicating with Applicants and Candidates

The following guidelines are the result of a wide range of circumstances experienced in searches for faculty positions over the years. While it should not be thought that all reflect common occurrences, the issues underlying these guidelines are important concerns of both the Provost and faculty, as represented by the Faculty Executive Committee. Copies of these guidelines should be given to all those involved in faculty searches: all of us are responsible for the proper conduct and success of searches.

  • Committee members should not mention specific salaries or salary ranges. Only the Search Committee Chair may be authorized by the Provost to provide more detailed information, and normally these conversations should be referred to the Provost. Committee members should inform the Search Committee Chair about any salary expectations or current salary information volunteered by the candidate.
  • In addition to the above-stated limits on discussing salary, Committee members should take care to avoid compromising the College by making statements to candidates or a finalist about any condition of employment, e.g., an anticipated tenure decision date, not specified in the position description, unless specifically authorized to do so by the Provost. Normally, all communication with finalists should take place with the Search Committee Chair or the Provost. Only the Provost may change or negotiate terms of employment.
  • Questions regarding a candidate’s race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, marital status, dependent children, handicaps, height and weight, and several other personal characteristics described in other documentation provided to Search Committee members, are not permitted for any purpose, however friendly or benign, unless volunteered by the candidate. Information volunteered by candidates on such matters sets the boundaries for discussion of these facts. See the section Guidelines on Fairness in Searches dealing with these issues. If any member of the Search Committee has any concern about an inappropriate comment or action that is part of the search process, he or she should contact the College’s HR Director immediately.
  • Committee members should not discuss qualifications or evaluations of other candidates with a job candidate.
  • While candidates may be assured that there is genuine interest in their candidacy, Committee members should say nothing which states or implies that they have any more or less chance of being the finalist than other candidates.
  • Past disagreements within the Search Committee or elsewhere concerning the position description, criteria to be used in evaluating candidates, or other relevant dimensions of the position should not be raised with candidates. Such differences ought to have been settled before invitations to candidates were made. One’s continuing dissatisfaction with decisions already made does not justify bringing dissension into the search process.
  • Expressing negative or unflattering opinions to candidates regarding the qualifications, character, or behavior of current or past faculty members is not only unprofessional, but may be highly detrimental to the goal of recruiting the best faculty.
  • Changing expectations and different norms of social behavior, especially in the context of hiring women and minority faculty, may lead to negative reactions in candidates, even when a remark or act is intended to be hospitable or humorous. There is no easy remedy for this problem; it behooves each of us to reflect on our assumptions and to monitor our behavior carefully to avoid misunderstanding in dealing with candidates.
  • While discussions of problems of the College, department, or the position provide a fair and accurate representation of relevant circumstances to candidates, members of the Search Committee should avoid partisanship and consider the best interests of the College. There should be balance in the presentation of points of view on controversial or difficult issues