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George A. Smathers Libraries: Search and Selection Guidelines for Faculty

I. Policy:

Upon the resignation, transfer, retirement, or the authorization of a new position, the "search and selection" procedure begins. This is an opportunity to review position responsibilities and the way in which the position contributes and promotes unit, department, division and library objectives. It is the objective of this procedure to facilitate that activity by establishing basic procedures for the search committee to successfully select qualified candidates.

II. Date: April 15, 1996
Revised: September 2002, February 2005

III. Ref. Documents:

IV. The Vacancy Announcement:

The Department Chair drafts a vacancy announcement and submits it to the Division Director for discussion and approval. The Department Chair and Division Director also discuss and pursue appointing the search committee members at the same time. See V. Search Committee Appointments.

    A. A draft of the position vacancy announcement ( PVA) should reflect consideration of various aspects of the position.
1. title
2. academic rank
3. position responsibilities
4. reporting lines
5. minimum required qualifications
6. additional desired qualifications
7. salary
8. department description
9. general UF benefits

B. The Library Human Resources Officer (LHRO) reviews the vacancy announcement, making recommendations as needed. A closing date and an essay topic is determined with the assistance of the Division Director and Department Chair. The date is a minimum of eight weeks, for national searches, from the date the announcement first appears in print. Local searches may be posted for a shorter timeframe. See VII.

C. The LHRO posts the PVA on the University Job Posting Website listing. The LHRO utilizes the standard list of five to ensure posting is timely.

V. Search Committee Appointed:

The Division Director and Department Chair develop a representative list of appropriate library staff to form a search committee.

A. The names suggested for the committee are submitted to the LHRO to ensure that these staff members are not working on other search committees.

1. The Division Director, contacts the members and appoints them to the committee. 

2. Depending on the nature of the search, faculty or administrative staff outside the libraries may be asked to serve on a search committee.

B. The Library Human Resource Officer (LHRO) or designee serves "ex officio" on all search committees as the Library's Equal Opportunity  Officer and to see that procedures conform to University of Florida rules and regulations.

VI. First Committee Meeting:

The LHRO calls the first committee meeting and arranges for appropriate library staff (usually, though not necessarily, the division director, immediate supervisor, and/or department head) to discuss with the committee the responsibilities of the position and type of candidate they hope to attract.

A. The group reviews the vacancy announcement.
1. An effective recruitment strategy is identified. Appropriate list serves are identified and the information is given to the LHRO to ensure timely distribution. 

2. If the vacancy announcement requires editing, the LHRO initiates the changes and makes the appropriate changes to the UF posting if needed.

B. The LHRO reviews the Equity Accountability Plan as mandated by the University of Florida. The plan is applicable to academic administrators, senior administration, professional administrators, and ranked faculty positions. The intent of the plan is to utilize professional networks in the recruitment process. 

1. The search committee is to compile a list of at least five professional peers from institutions comparable to UF, who have knowledge of minority candidates qualified for the vacant position. The LHRO sends an e-mail to the individuals, inviting them to nominate candidates for the position

2. The search committee identifies if possible five potential minority candidates, qualified for the position, known to them through professional activities. The LHRO sends e-mails to the individuals inviting them to apply.

3. This information is given to the LHRO as soon as possible to ensure timely distribution.

  • Note: The plan addresses the equitable treatment of women and minorities. Minorities are defined as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans.

C. The LHRO discusses the search and selection process, the importance of confidentiality, the nature of the committee, and determines timelines for conducting the search.

VII. Advertising the Vacancy:

In order to fill a library vacancy, it must be advertised. Exceptions to this rule are temporary positions of less than three months and halftime or less than halftime positions. Considerable latitude exists in how and where a position vacancy will be advertised since this is dependent on the level of the search, i.e. national or state, and on the perceived difficulty in locating suitable applicants. The following three guidelines will be followed in the advertising of all non-temporary, fulltime library positions.

A. All position vacancies will be advertised for at least four weeks on the University Job Posting Website.

B. The Libraries may advertise positions in publications and at college and university libraries.

C. If the search is to be a national search, the position vacancy will also be advertised in the following manner:

1. Ads will be sent to major list serves.

2. Ads will be sent for posting to the  ALA-accredited library schools, and a number of predominately minority institutions.

3. Ads will be sent to appropriate national library and/or academic journals, newsletters, and list-serves. The selection of these national advertising sources will be the responsibility of the search committee, with review by the appropriate division director. The search committee will work closely with the chair of the department that has the vacancy, and every effort will be made to get input from the chair regarding this matter.

4. The position may also be advertised in ways other than those listed above, e.g. through posting at meetings, listing at conference placement centers, etc.

VIII. Search Files:

A. The Library Personnel Officer organizes a search file utilizing the attachments that will be arriving via e-mail. All e-mail responses to the position are forwarded to the Search Committee members, the Division Director and the supervisors of the position.

B. The Committee Chair contacts the Committee members to prepare the criteria chart in anticipation of the resumes.

IX. Search Committee Action:

A. The search committee meets prior to the application deadline to assess the success of the search to date based on the number and quality of applications, to determine whether or not alternate recruitment strategies need to be developed and implemented, and to identify the method by which applicants will be reviewed, and to draft an interview schedule.
1. A criteria chart is developed by the Search Committee that directly reflects the minimum qualifications stated in the vacancy announcement.
  • Note: Applications are not to be reviewed until the search committee has established the criteria chart.

2. A draft of the interview schedule is completed by the Search Committee.

a) individual faculty and/or staff to meet with the candidate are identified

b) number of open meetings to be held for the general library staff are determined

c) a presentation is required, and is based on the essay topic 

d) identifying which committee members will join the candidate for lunch and dinner

(1) Lunch: candidate, one member of the search committee and one faculty/staff member from the interviewing department; maximum per person $12.00

(2) Dinner: candidate, chair of the search committee, chair of the department, division director, director of libraries (dept. had. vacancies); maximum per person $25.00

3. Questions to be asked of each top candidate during the preliminary telephone interview are determined by the Search Committee and a schedule is designed. The telephone interviews are to be conducted within a two week time frame. All members of the search committee are to be present when the questions are asked. A conference room should be acquired with conference phone capabilities. 

4. Questions to be asked of referees during a telephone interview are determined by the Search Committee. This is done in the same manner as the candidate phone interviews.


B. After the deadline has passed, the committee chair calls a committee meeting to discuss the applicants; before this meeting the committee members are expected to have reviewed the applicant pool. The committee analyzes applicant skills on the agreed upon criteria chart.

C. Once consensus has been reached on the qualified applicants, telephone interviews are conducted with the top candidates by members of the search committee.

1. The purpose of the call is to verify continued interest and candidate suitability for interview.
a) acquire any substantive information that may be helpful in determining the candidate's suitability.

b) assess the candidates interpersonal and communication skills (as best as can be done over the telephone).

c) acquire any substantive information that may be helpful in further narrowing the applicant pool.

2. Candidates should be told that, should they be invited for an interview, their references will be contacted. At that time the names and telephone numbers of the referees are verified.

3. Committee members should not discuss interview plans or interview dates with the applicants, but only inform them that they will be contacted by the Library Personnel Office on the status of the search.

4. The Committee may telephone interview as many candidates as it deems necessary.

D. As a result of the telephone interviews, the Committee generally , though not necessarily,  limits their interest to between three and five candidates for which at least three referees are contacted.

1. The same questions are generally asked of each referee. Clarification regarding specific candidates is permitted.

2. Referees should be told that they may also be requested at a later date to send a letter of reference.

3. Only referees listed by the candidate are to be contacted.

a) an immediate supervisor is preferred

b) a professional colleague able to assess the candidates direct applicability to the vacant position is sought

4. If the committee feels it needs to contact sources other than those provided by the candidate, the chair should notify the LHRO. The LHRO will contact the candidate requesting additional references.

5. A synopsis of conversations with referees is documented by those who make the calls and submitted to the committee chair.

E. The committee prepares a recommendation for interview, in memo format, addressed to the appropriate Division Director. This memo can be transmitted electronically to both the Division Director and the LHRO.

1. The memo should be accompanied by supporting documentation (i.e. synopsis of telephone reference calls and the criteria chart).

2. It should include a discussion of which applicants, if any, are recommended for interview and why (see attached recommendation letter).

  • Note: The memo should address any applicant who appears on the criteria chart to be an obvious choice, but who is not being recommended for an interview.

3. The memo and supporting documentation is given to the LHRO; it is packaged and forwarded to the Division Director.

F. After discussing the committee's recommendation for interviews with the Department Chair, the Division Director submits a recommendation to the Director of Libraries for review and approval.

1. The Director of Libraries may accept the recommendation of the committee, may request that other candidates be brought in, may charge the committee to revise the search strategy and repost the position, or may ask that further background checks on other applicants be completed.

2. The LHRO notifies the Committee Chair and the Division Director, and the 
Director of  Libraries decision or the Division Director may notify the LHRO.

G. The search committee submits a final recommended interview schedule to the LHRO, along with  information concerning the dates of the interview and the names of persons/groups recommended for inclusion in the interview schedule. 

1. The search committee chair makes arrangements for those aspects of the interview that the committee is responsible and cc:'s the LHRO on all details including:

a) who will be taking the interviewee to and from the airport, hotel, and meals and interview sessions, who will attend lunch and dinner.

b) having someone who will act in a leadership/facilitator role in each interview session

c) designating a committee member to collect all bills and complete the Candidate Meal Worksheet for batching and submission to the LHRO for reimbursement. Click on the link for the worksheet. All receipts are due to the LHRO within 5 days of the event.

H. The LHRO prepares the final interview schedule, schedules the conference rooms and distributes the agenda library wide.

1.The LHRO, Committee Chair, Department Chair, and Division Director approve the agenda.

2. The agenda, the vacancy announcement, and the letter of application and resume of the interviewee are distributed in Outlook under Public Folders, Personnel. Staff are encouraged to submit e-mail responses to the LHRO regarding their assessment of the candidate. The LHRO forwards these to the members and the division director.

3. The Library Program Assistant contacts the interviewee to discuss travel arrangements,  and secures hotel reservations.

I. After all interviews are completed, the committee decides whether or not candidates are acceptable or unacceptable for the position. Of great importance is the inclusion of a cogent, well thought out analysis of the interviewees' strengths and weaknesses for the position in question, and detailed justification for the recommendation.

1. The search committee meets to assess the candidates and to review any Memos of Assessment.
  • Note: Staff participating in the interview (except for the committee, Department Chair, Directors) are expected to write memos of assessment after interviewing finalists to be submitted to either the LHRO or the search committee chair.

2. The committee submits to a memo (preferably via e-mail with attachments) addressed to the Division Director, recommending which candidate should be offered the position. The recommendation is accompanied by any supporting documentation deemed necessary by the committee (i.e. Memos of Assessment, synopses of the reference calls, etc.). The chair should cc: the LHRO.

X. Decision to Hire:

After discussing the recommendation of the search committee with the Department Chair, the Division Director makes a recommendation to the Director of Libraries to either accept, reject, or modify the committee recommendation.

A. The Director of Libraries, LHRO and Division Director develop an offer.
1. The offer is made to the candidate by the LHRO.

2. The LHRO notifies the Division Director, Director of Libraries, search committee chair and Department Chair of the acceptance or rejection of the offer.

B. The Division Director discharges the search committee and thanks them for their service to the Libraries.

XI. Access to Search Files:

Documentation associated with the search is housed in the Library Human Resources Office.

A. Search files include original documentation associated with a search.
1. Vacancy announcement.

2. Letters of application.

3. Resumes and other documentation submitted by candidates.

4. Letters of reference.

5. The criteria chart and other notes as prepared by the search committee.

6. Interview schedules for final candidates.

7. Memos of assessment submitted to the search committee (removed after the search report is completed).

8. Letter of recommendation from the Search Committee to the appropriate Director.

B. Due to the fact that much of the search file is comprised of original documentation it does not leave the Library Human Resources Office, nor does any other original documentation associated with the search. Anyone with a need to review this material may do so only in the Library Human Resources Office.

XII. Responsibility:

It is the responsibility of the Library Human Resources Officer to update and maintain this procedure consistent with current practices of University Human Resources as directed by the Director of Libraries.

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