Appointments Committee Toolbox

This tool is designed to provide assistance to chairs and members of Appointments Committees during the recruitment, interview and selection stages for full-time UWOFA faculty position (probationary, tenured, limited term, externally funded and visiting).  It contains references and links to many comprehensive resources to supplement the information provided below describing the stages in the recruitment process.

Initiating the Recruitment Process

The Appointments Committee of the Unit (Department, School or Faculty) has responsibility for the recruitment process of the above full-time positions in the Unit including the selection and recommendation of the successful candidate.

The composition of the Appointments Committee membership is determined in accordance with the process outlined in the UWOFA Collective Agreement.  Appointment Committees benefit by welcoming a broad representation of perspectives (related to discipline, culture, gender, etc).  A strong pro-diversity department/faculty culture and a broad pool of nominees can assist in achieving the election of a broad representation of individuals on the committee.

When considering the recruitment of each position, the Appointments Committee may decide to enlist the support of others, either on an individual basis, as a sub-committee or sub-group.  The use of these additional participants or sub-committee or a sub-group is to support the activities of the Appointments Committee in an advisory capacity; the Appointments Committee retains full accountability for the recruitment process.   The determination of when and how to use other participants in an advisory capacity should be made before the recruitment process begins and the activities are to be undertaken by advisors should be clearly outlined to all members.  All participants of sub-committees or sub-groups are bound by the requirements of the Faculty Collective Agreement articles including, but not to, Appointments, Employment Equity, Conflict of Interest and Commitment and must be informed accordingly.

An Appointments Committee can also use a Search Committee for the recruitment of a position within its own unit.  Search Committees are different from the sub-groups and sub-committees referred to above because the Search Committee can, on behalf of or as part of the Appointments Committee, undertake selected responsibilities or all obligations of an appointments committee with the exception of the final recommendation of a candidate.  The final recommendation of a candidate is the responsibility of the Appointments Committee. The complete list of responsibilities a Search Committee may conduct are defined within the UWOFA Collective Agreement Appointments article.  The responsibilities include:

  • Solicit and consider input from the Unit's Members regarding the position, particularly those who have disciplinary knowledge of the position being recruited;
  • Prepare and distribute the advertisement;
  • Receive applications, assess, short-list, and interview candidates.
  • The Appointments Committee must determine and clarify what responsibilities the Search Committee is to undertake on its behalf and the composition of the search committee.  Consideration in the selection of Search Committee members should be given to ensure broad representation to increase diversity of its members.  Search Committee members are bound by the requirements of the UWOFA Collective Agreement articles including, but not limited to, Appointments, Employment Equity, Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest and Commitment and must be informed accordingly.

When an Appointments Committee has determined a Search Committee is to undertake activities for the recruitment of a specific position, the Members of the Unit may vote (by secret ballot) to give Search Committee members equal voting rights of the Appointments Committee members in the selection of the candidate.

Search Committees may also be constructed to support and advise on recruitment of positions where the appointing Unit is not known.  The composition for Search Committees when the appointing unit is not known is defined in the Appointments article. 

When a position is being recruited as a Joint Appointment, an academic appointment in two or more known Academic Units, then a Joint Appointments Committee should be constructed in accordance with the Appointments article, Clauses 7 to 7.4 to undertake the recruitment process.  As with Appointments Committees, joint appointments committees benefit by welcoming a broad representation of perspectives (related to discipline, culture, gender, etc).  A strong pro-diversity department/faculty culture and a broad pool of nominees can assist in achieving the election of a broad representation of individuals on the committee.

Appointments Committee Composition

The composition of the Appointments Committee is outlined in the UWOFA Faculty Collective Agreement (FCA), Appointments article, Clause 5.6.

Search Committee Composition

The FCA allows for a Search Committee to support and advise the Appointments Committee.  Appointments article, Clauses 5.13 to 5.14.2).

Joint Appointments Committee Composition

The composition of the Joint Appointments Committee is outlined in the UWOFA Faculty Collective Agreement (FCA), Appointments article, Clause 7.1.

Resources:

Appointments article, Clauses 5.6, FCA

Appointments article, 5.13 to 5.14.2, FCA

Employment Equity Objectives, Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest

The Appointments Committee must include a review and opportunity for discussion of the Employment Equity Objectives, Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest before beginning Committee work.  As circumstances may change as the search process progresses and committee members may not be able to attend each meeting, it is important to revisit these requirements at subsequent meetings.

1) Western’s Employment Equity Objectives

To understand, review and consider Western’s principles, objectives and commitment to employment equity and diversity throughout the search process.  

2) Confidentiality

(a) To understand the importance of maintaining strict confidentiality and protecting personal information of applicants throughout the recruitment process.

(b) That committee members and all persons (ie advisors to the committee) who are involved in the recruitment are aware the provisions in the Employment Equity and Discrimination and Harassment articles override (a) above. For example, the requirements for reporting discrimination and harassment. 

3) Conflict of Interest

To review the necessity of declaring an actual or apparent conflict of interest (either their own or another committee member’s) as it arises (this means at any time throughout the recruitment process) to the Dean for determination in accordance with Appointments, clause 5.11 and the Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitmentt article of the FCA.   

Throughout the entire recruitment process it is important the Committee consider the need to follow equitable search processes and the objective of identifying outstanding candidates, particularly from members of designated groups (women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and visible minorities).  The Committee should develop a plan of the strategies it will use to increase representation of persons from designated groups.    Reviewing experiences from previous searches may provide insight on opportunities to broaden and the increase the diversity of the applicant pool. 

Resources:

Western’s Employment Equity Guide

Employment Equity Article

Discrimination and Harassment Article

Conflict of Interest and Conflict of Commitment Article

Western’s Guidelines on Access to Information and Protection of Privacy, MAPP 1.23

Defining the Position and Selection Criteria

The position should be defined as broadly as possible while being consistent with the needs of the academic Unit.  The Appointments Committee should solicit views and opinions about the position from Unit Members to ensure it is well informed on the requirements of the position.   The Committee should aim for consensus on specialty fields, while casting the hiring net as widely as possible.  Ensuring that position descriptors do not unintentionally exclude female applicants, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities  groups by focusing too narrowly on specialties in which few specialize is essential.

Examples of factors to consider when defining the position include:

  • Undergraduate and graduate programs of Unit and/or Faculty
  • Teaching in other academic units or interdisciplinary programs
  • Research focus and collaborative research opportunities
  • Service and administrative requirements
  • Increasing diversity of existing complement of faculty members (discipline and designated group membership)
  • Opportunities to add intellectual diversity and work successfully with diverse students and colleagues
The Committee must establish clear and consistently applied selection criteria to be used to assess the skills and competencies of applicants.  The selection criteria should be relevant to the needs of the Unit, objective, and measurable.  It is important selection criteria are bona fide requirements of the position and non-discriminatory. 

Ensure the selection criteria are understood and accepted by all members of the Appointments Committee and are applicable to the type of position (i.e. research expectations for an Assistant Professor Probationary position would be different than for a Tenured Professor).  In addition, the Committee members should have consensus on the order of importance or relative weight of the selection criteria. 

 Below are some examples of selection criteria for Committee consideration:

Education

  • What academic credentials are required?
  • Is there an area of specialization required for the position?
  • Are there any certifications or licensure requirements for the position?Is this required at time of hire? If not, within what time frame must they be achieved?

Teaching

  • Are there specific teaching skills required?
  • What type of previous teaching experience is necessary to perform the role, if any?
  • What indicators of previous teaching experience will assist the Committee in evaluating applicants?


 Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity

  • Does the position require an established research program?
  • Is collaborative or interdisciplinary research required or preferred?
  • What types of indicators would demonstrate an established research program?Evidence of publications
  • Evidence of research funding
  • Will the Committee consider research potential?
  • How is research potential defined?
  • Is an international research reputation a requirement for the position?

 Service and Commitments

  • Are there specific service commitments related to the position?
  • What previous service experience would be required or considered relevant to the position?

Competencies

Consider the following requirements of the position:

  • Ability to work collaboratively?
  • Effective interpersonal skills?
  • Ability to communicate effectively?
  • Leadership competencies?
  • Ability to interact effectively with diverse populations?



 

 

Developing the Advertisment

Advertisements are an essential component of the recruitment process both in content and dissemination.   The advertisements should be written in language that is gender neutral and inclusive to ensure female applicants, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities are not excluded or discouraged from applying.  

A description of the position and the selection criteria agreed upon by the Appointments Committee must be included in the advertisement.  The Advertising Guidelines and Checklist for Full-Time Faculty Positions (UWOFA) provides a complete checklist of content for advertisements and minimum requirements for distribution. 

Resources:

Advertising Guidelines and Checklist Full-Time Faculty Positions

Employment Equity Article

Employment Equity Guide

Sample Advertisement(s)

 

Determining Where to Advertise

The determination of where to advertise is critical to reach a qualified, broad and diverse applicant pool.   In addition to the minimum advertising requirements outlined in the UWOFA Collective Agreement and requirements for immigration purposes (outlined in the Advertising Guidelines for Full-Time UWOFA Positions), the Appointments Committee should consider a number of strategies to reach as broad and diverse applicant pool as possible. 

Examples of strategies to consider include:

  • Non-traditional publications to expand applicant pool
  • Academic and professional societies through their newsletters or journals
  • Status of Women committees of professional organizations or universities
  • Professional societies and associations of designated groups
  • Relevant industry, government and research organizations
  • Email distribution lists
  • Actively develop relationships or contacts to encourage candidates to apply
  • Seek out outstanding graduate students nearing completion of their PhD program and mentor them for future faculty opportunities

Resources:

Advertising Guidelines and Checklist Full-Time UWOFA Positions

List of Advertising Resources for Designated Groups

Employment Equity Article, FCA

Employment Equity Guide

 

Reviewing the Composition of the Applicant Pool

Before short-listing applicants, Committees must compare the composition of the applicant pool to the available data reflective of applicant pools for similar positions across Canada.  If the comparison identifies a significant under-representation of a designated group in the applicant pool, the Committee must undertake further efforts to attract applications from that designated group before developing a short-list.  Currently only gender comparison data is available and is referenced below.

Resources:

Statistical Data on Recruitment and Retention (gender by rank)

Memo to Deans- Employment Equity Information for Appointments Committees

Screening and Evaluating Applicants

Applicants must be assessed against the selection criteria agreed upon by the Committee at the beginning of the process to determine a short-list of outstanding candidates.  Attention should be given to including qualified women applicants, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities.  The method of assessment must be consistent for all applicants.  

Avoid the tendency to:

  • Judge applicants based on one’s own experience and knowledge
  • Look for likeminded or like appearing applicants
  • Think too narrowly. Someone may be just as good but in a different way
  • Make assumptions about possible behavior or characteristics without evidence
  • Resort to initial impressions, whether positive or negative
  • Undervalue non-traditional career paths, non-Canadian experience or education
  • Undervalue contributions not in mainstream areas
Appointments Committees must document and justify the way in which the short-list was determined. 

Committee members must also be aware Canadian legislation requires Canadians and Permanent Residents are to be given priority.   Should a foreign national be the successful candidate, the Committee must provide rationale why each Canadian/Permanent Resident applicant did not meet the selection criteria.  It is recommended this information is documented at the assessment stage for each applicant. 

Review the short-listed candidate pool and if it is not representative of the designated groups, conduct a review to ensure it does not reflect bias.

Resources:

Employment Equity Guide

Interviewing Candidates

Committees should develop a set of questions based on the selection criteria.  The same set of questions should be used for all candidates, including those who may be internal candidates. Consistency is important, however additional or probing questions are permitted as necessary.

The Committee must avoid questions relating to protected human rights grounds, such as sex, ancestry, disability or sexual orientation (see full list below of what not to ask).  Questions relating directly to bona fide occupational requirements may be asked, however they must be applied in good faith and relate objectively to the candidates’ ability to perform essential aspects of a specific positions.  Any bona fide occupational requirements must be applied consistently to all candidates.

Examples of what to ask:

  • Education and Skills
  • Authorization to work in Canada
  • Education
  • Past job experience

Examples of what not to ask:

  • Name change or maiden name (instead “is there any additional information necessary to verify your education credentials)
  • Place and duration of current or recent address
  • Age
  • Gender, sex or sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Family status
  • National or ethnic origin
  • Language
  • Religious belief
  • Disability
  • Criminal record

Resources:

Employment Equity Guide

References

If candidates have submitted academic reference letters, the committee should review these as part of the application process.  If names of academic references have been provided by the candidate, the chair of the Committee should solicit written references for candidates under consideration.   Best practice is to request a minimum of 3 written referees, and the Chair of the committee should consider contacting referees provided to seek clarification relating to the candidate’s qualifications and experience. 

To maintain confidentiality, committee members or chairs should not solicit feedback from any other individuals without obtaining approval from the candidate.  If additional references are required, the chair should make the request to the candidate.

Other best practice options when considering a candidate may include: 

- verifying academic credentials

- obtaining confirmation of employment

Campus Visits

The primary objective of the campus visit is to enable the Appointments Committee, departmental faculty members and others as applicable, to evaluate the teaching, research and collegiality of the candidate relative to the selection criteria.   Secondly, it gives the candidate a good understanding of the hiring Unit, Western University, and of London as a potential place to live.  Candidates should be informed of the expectations of the visit and made aware of the public nature of the interview.

Interview arrangements and candidate presentations should be scheduled so that as many Appointment Committee members as possible can attend.     When arranging site visits, consider opportunities for candidates to meet with relevant stakeholders outside the unit or be given tours of the appropriate facilities.

Meetings may be arranged between short-listed candidates and the Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention to address any non-academic related questions including cost of living, childcare, schooling and immigration.

When developing the itinerary for the campus visit, consider Western’s obligations under "The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act" and "Duty to Accommodate Guidelines" and ensure accommodations required are implemented. 

Candidates should be informed the position is a UWOFA represented position and provided a link to the UWOFA website.  Reference can be provided to the University of Western Ontario Faculty Agreement that covers many different conditions relating to employment such as sabbatical leaves, promotion and tenure, compensation and benefits, leaves, etc.


 

Identifying the Successful Candidate

The Appointments Committee must consider all information available on each candidate when making a final decision.  In some circumstances, a candidate(s) may be invited for a second visit.

Negotiations/Offer

Negotiations with the selected candidate and development of the formal offer should be conducted in accordance with the process outlined by the Unit (Department, School, Faculty). 

In consultation with the Dean, below are a number of items for the Chair of the Appointments Committee to consider during the negotiations, as applicable:

  • Internal pay equity with salaries within the Unit
  • Moving Allowances (Personal and Laboratory)
  • Office Space
  • Lab Space
  • Workload
  • If Foreign National, immigration requirements
  • Academic Spouses/Partners
  • Immigration Costs (if applicable)
  • Spousal Employment Support

 

Offer and Acceptance

It is important to provide all terms of any offer, and acceptance of it, in writing.  Templates are provided by the Office of Faculty Relations to ensure terms and conditions meet policy and collective agreement requirements.  All offers are subject to the approval of the Provost and must be reviewed in advance by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Academic Planning, Policy and Faculty) and Office of Faculty Relations before giving it to the candidate. 

After the candidate has accepted the offer, it is important to continue liaising with the new faculty member and his/her family.  The Office of Faculty Recruitment and Retention is available to assist with relocation matters upon referral. 

Closing the File

Notify all applicants that the recruitment is complete (and their status) after acceptance is received from the selected candidate.