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External Search Process

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External Search Process for Regular Faculty Members

If the position for which you are hiring includes a special role or consideration (endowed chair or professorship, chair/director, non-US citizen, temporary appointment, internal search, tenure recommended upon appointment), check these resources.

Workshop for Chairs/Directors & Search Committees - October 5, 2021

Zoom Recording (MyMedia)
Slides (PDF)

Building Hiring Rubrics: Identifying Excellent Faculty Workshop - October 13, 2021

Zoom Recording (MyMedia)
Slides (PDF)

First Phase: Necessary Approvals to Start the Search

  • Complete the Regular Faculty Recruiting Application (RFRA) in accordance with the timeline for your college
  • External searches are to be conducted for tenure, tenure-track, and renewable term faculty at the rank of assistant professor, associate professor, and professor and academic administrators unless exceptions are approved in advance by the Equal Opportunity Office (EOO) and Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost.
  • If the RFRA is approved, the Provost will communicate this to the dean and department chair.

Second Phase: Composition of the Search Committee and Recruitment of Applicants for the Position

Construct the Search Committee and Ensure Members Have Adequate Training

Generate Job Ad and Receive Approval

  • Examine resources regarding constructing an effective job ad.
  • Submit the job ad and list of search committee members through for approval and assignment of an EEO search number.
  • Ideally, develop evaluation criteria for the initial and secondary screening process at the time of developing the job ad, as this information provides insight about the appropriate qualifications to include in the ad.
  • Consider the importance of cultural competency to the position, and achievement of aspects of the Lead On strategic plan, when determining initial and secondary screening criteria.
  • The job ad must be placed in at least one national professional journal (online or print), although multiple postings are encouraged. The posting of the job ad must last for at least 30 calendar days on the journal’s website. The job ad must also be viewable to the public without payment of subscription and/or membership charges. Documentation of the placement of an advertisement will be provided to the EOO which must include evidence of the start and end dates and the text of the advertisement.
  • When the ad and committee have been approved by the Provost and EOO, a search number is sent to the unit, indicating that the job ad can be posted externally.

Recruiting a Diverse Pool

  • Actively seek diverse applicants through a variety of strategies. This is the most important step of the search process.
  • List the position announcement in multiple places in addition to professional publications.
  • Widely share the faculty recruitment website , which links to all job postings and provides comprehensive information intended to engage a wide variety of faculty candidates and highlight material for which candidates are commonly searching, with contacts and potential candidates.

Third Phase: Initial Screening of the Applicant Pool

The purpose of the Initial Screening is to establish which applicants possess the “required” criteria for the position.

  • Search committee chair provides a list of locations that the ad was posted and other recruitment efforts to develop a diverse pool of applicants to EOO (
  • EOO information about each applicant is automatically collected in Interfolio.
  • The search committee chair should monitor applicant pool diversity regularly in Interfolio, by generating a diversity report. If diversity is lacking as compared to the possible pool of applicants as indicated in the utilization report from EOO, proactive steps should be taken to recruit a broader set of applicants.
  • Before the initial screening begins, the established initial “required” criteria should be sent to EOO to ensure clarity of the criteria and process for evaluating each candidate.
  • Once the date set to review candidates has occurred, or a reasonable set of candidates has applied, begin applying the first “required” screening criteria.
  • Ask each committee member to perform an initial screening based on the approved required criteria, in terms of the presence or absence of each criterion for each candidate. Tabulate results and convene a meeting of the search committee to discuss the tabulated results of the initial screening. At the meeting, seek consensus on the status of each applicant.
  • Provide the list of qualified applicant pool candidates and the first “required” screening criteria to EOO.
  • EOO will provide a report indicating the composition (gender and race/ethnicity) of the qualified pool, which should be compared to the utilization report from EOO. 

Fourth Phase: Second Screening of the Qualified Applicant Pool

In this phase, qualitative judgments are made on the required qualifications (e.g., quality of teaching demonstrated), and any preferred qualifications also are also assessed. 

  • The search committee should conduct screening of candidates using the secondary “preferred” criteria. Consider the importance of cultural competency to the position, and achievement of aspects of the Lead On strategic plan, when determining initial and secondary screening criteria.
  • Emphasize importance of thorough reading of the applicant materials before evaluating each applicant and remind the search committee of biases that may impact evaluations. 
  • The second screening focuses on preferred qualifications of the applicants. Providing a clear rubric for rating qualifications will ensure consistency. 
  • Collect evaluations on each qualified candidate from the committee members and tabulate results.
  • Convene the search committee to discuss the evaluation of each applicant. Diversity of opinions at this stage is to be viewed as strength and not as conflict. Discuss each applicant on the list and seek consensus on who to hold for further consideration. One suggestion for the committee is to divide the qualified pool into three categories: Invite, Hold, and Don’t Invite. The candidates in the top two categories can be referred to as “Screened Qualified Applicants”. 
  • The search committee chair should provide the names of candidates in the screened qualified applicant pool, as well as the second “preferred” list of criteria to EOO.
  • The search committees should monitor the change in applicant pool diversity as a result of applying the second screening.
  • Conduct further evaluation of the applicants in screened qualified applicant pool. You may contact the references for the applicants and/or conduct phone or online interviews
  • For phone or online interviews, determine a standardized set of questions to ask to each candidate before conducting the interviews. Ideally, prepare a scoring rubric on which to score candidate responses from the interview. Be sensitive to choice of interview methods for applicants with disabilities.
  • Conduct the phone or online interviews, if this is part of the process, and collect any evaluations of the candidate’s interview performance from committee members. 
  • Identify the top candidates to form the short list of candidates to invite for on-campus interviews. 

Fifth Phase: On-Campus Interview Pool

  • Once the search committee has identified the final candidates who will be invited to interview on-campus, the EOO utilization report and Interfolio diversity report should be provided to the College. 
  • Both the Dean’s Office and the Provost’s Office must approve final interviews before scheduling.
  • First the Dean’s Office will examine the applicant pool and determine approval of final/on-campus interviews. In the event the Dean’s office does not deem the applicant pool sufficiently diverse, the committee may be instructed to continue its recruitment efforts.
  • Next, the Diversity Representative from the college should enter the required information into the EOO notes in Interfolio in order to request approval from the Provost’s Office to proceed with final interviews.
  • The Provost’s Office will examine the utilization report and diversity report to ensure adequate representation in the applicant pool. If the interview pool is judged by the Provost’s Office not to be representative, more justification may be needed regarding the effort made to produce a representative applicant pool, or additional steps may be required to further diversify the pool.
  • Campus interviews can only take place after authorization from the Provost’s Office by email to the committee chair and in Interfolio. 
  • Once the permission is granted, contact those candidates who were on the “Don’t Invite” and the “Hold” list informing them of the status of the search process.
  • Submit names of candidates invited for on-campus interviews to EOO.

Sixth Phase: On-Campus Interviews of the Applicants on the Short List

  • On-site interviews should be scheduled in consultation with the candidates. See Candidate Expenses for information on charges for travel, hotel, meals, and other costs.  
  • Review best practices for on-campus interviews before setting up the itineraries for the visits.
  • Determine the secondary “preferred” criteria on which additional information is needed and/or interview responses are likely to prove useful. 
  • Generate a standardized set of questions to ask to each candidate before conducting the interviews. Ideally, prepare a scoring rubric on which to score candidate responses from the interview.
  • Have established the process and criteria that will be used by the search committee to rank the candidates following the on-campus interviews. 
  • Follow the agreed-upon process by the academic unit to determine the applicant who should receive the job offer. After the candidate is identified, discuss how to proceed if the candidate rejects the offer.

Seventh Phase: Offer Letter and Acceptance

  • Once an informal offer is made to the candidate, seek informal acceptance of the offer and inform the candidate that the recommendation for hire will be submitted to the Dean who will in turn submit the college’s recommendation for hire to the Provost along with the specifics of the offer letter. Approval from the VPRP Office should be obtained prior to submission to the Provost’s Office if the offer includes VPRP start-up funds.
  • The search committee chair should provide to EOO the name of the individual recommended for appointment. If all of the above steps have been completed satisfactorily, the EOO will certify the search process to the Provost’s Office, as well as the search committee chair.
  • Only the Senior Vice President and Provost is authorized to make official offers for the University. No offer will be extended by the Senior Vice President and Provost until the EOO certifies that the above process is satisfactorily completed. If the report from the EOO is negative, the offer of appointment will be held in the Provost's Office until the EOO has certified to a satisfactory process.
  • The Senior Vice President and Provost will extend the official letter to the candidate. Encourage the candidate to communicate potential inconsistencies between the informal offer and the formal offer, if discrepancies are observed. The dean and department director/chair will be copied on the offer letter email from the Provost’s Office to the candidate.
  • Once the candidate accepts the official offer, the college and the unit will be notified.
  • Copies of the candidate's response to the offer of appointment will be emailed to the dean and to the chair/director. If the offer is accepted, the Provost's Office will either arrange to have the appointment placed on the next University of Oklahoma Board of Regents’ agenda for action or process it directly to Payroll. No appointment is official until it has received approval by the Senior Vice President and Provost and by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents in accordance with the prevailing policy of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents. All regular faculty appointments (tenure, tenure-track, and renewable term at the ranks of Assistant, Associate, and Professor), and all other renewable term faculty appointments (lecturers, instructors) require Regents' approval.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: Academic units/search committees are required to maintain all records of the search process (including all application materials) for a minimum of three years from the date an appointment is finalized