Excellent recruiting and hiring practices help reduce turnover and ensure that the university is staffed with productive employees. The items in this section will help guide you through the various steps of the hiring process to help you find and hire the right employees.
When a vacancy occurs, the hiring supervisor should schedule a time to meet with a Human Resources representative to review the Staff Recruiting Plan Checklist and make certain decisions before the hiring process can proceed.
Job descriptions enable us to distinguish positions, delineate tasks, determine pay levels, establish performance requirements, recruit for positions, explore reasonable accommodations, and train employees. Without them, our best efforts to staff, develop, and evaluate performance are without direction. In short, a job description tells:
Most descriptions are the result of a joint effort involving the hiring manager and the Human Resources department. Job descriptions must conform to Drury’s established job description style. An existing description for a similar job may be used to “get started” or hiring managers may use Drury’s job description template.
To the extent practicable, the job description writer should use action verbs with an implied subject (who) and explicit work objects and/or outputs (what).
Example of an entry from a specific and detailed job description:
(Implied subject) Evaluates (action verb) jobs (what) by assigning official title, occupational code and grade in accordance with the job evaluation system (how).
All job descriptions are summaries. The baseline objective is to provide enough information in the right format and language to be accurate, clear and useful. Although just a summary, the job description should: 1) contain enough accurate information to be useful, and 2) are not so broad that they confuse or mislead managers, employees, and/or job applicants.
Suggestions on How to Collect the Necessary Information to Write a Description
Job Description Template Sections:
Contains job title, department, supervisor, schedule, date, FLSA classification, and IPEDS classification
The broad function, scope, and purpose of the work to be performed
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Itemized listing of the duties and functions essential to the successful performance of the job.
Minimum Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required
The requirements or minimum qualifications needed to perform the essential duties. Each specification sets an expectation or standard related to knowledge (education, certifications, training, etc.), skills (vocational, mathematical, reasoning, language, human relations, self-management, etc.), and abilities (level of experience, required equipment use, physical demands, etc.)
Describes who this position supervises and the type of supervision this position provides, i.e. direct or indirect.
Describes the specific types of physical demands of the position and their frequency, i.e. walking, speaking, hearing, vision, types of movement; regularly, frequently, occasionally, etc.
Job Descriptions and the Law
Because the employment provisions of the ADA focus on essential functions, all essential functions should be covered in the job description. A single job task may be essential. If so, it should be covered in the job description. If the essential task exists in the job by itself, apart from a “larger” essential duty (or function) that is described, then it must be expressed, not implied. Conversely, if it is an integral part of a duty (or function) that is expressed, then it may be implied. Another requirement of the ADA is that essential functions be distinguished from non-essential ones if the descriptions include non-essential functions. To meet this requirement, the description should indicate the time spent on each function (most, but not all functions that account for only a small part of the job are non-essential).
The general statement “Performs other duties as assigned” may be used to encompass duties not specifically listed, but is not suitable if they are considered to be essential functions. If it is essential, it should be described, either explicitly or implicitly.
Keeping Job Descriptions Current
Job descriptions (and other forms of job documentation) have the potential to become the subject of contention, including grievances or litigation. It is critical that accuracy of job descriptions be maintained. To ensure this, a position’s supervisor has primary responsibility for keeping the description current. Each employee’s description should be reviewed at least annually as part of the performance evaluation process. Some positions are dynamic, changing rapidly and extensively (due to technological or organizational considerations). Descriptions for these type of positions should be reviewed often. Other job change very little over long periods of time. These descriptions need not be reviewed often.
Our job description template includes a disclaimer to ensure it is clear that job descriptions are not meant to be all-inclusive and/or the job itself is subject to change.
The human resources office oversees the posting of and recruitment for staff positions. Postings for temporary and replacement positions must be approved verbally by the president. New or upgraded positions must be approved in writing via the appropriate requisition form: Requisition For New or Replacement Faculty or Staff Positions or theRequisition For Faculty and Staff Stipends, Increases or Upgraded Positions Form.
Hiring supervisors and human resources will determine the most appropriate form of posting(s). One or more or the following options may be selected:
The hiring supervisor may determine that he/she wishes to post the job vacancy only within his/her department. This is usually done when the vacancy represents a promotion opportunity for existing staff members with fairly specific experience, skills, or knowledge generally obtained by working in that particular department. The minimum time allowed for responses from department members is one week.
An internal posting is a job vacancy announcement which is sent to all staff and faculty on the respective listserves, but not posted on the HR jobs webpage. The minimum time allowed for responses is one week. This may be the method chosen if the department would prefer to hire someone who has experience specifically at Drury, rather than consider applicants who don’t.
Drury Webpage Posting:
The hiring supervisor requests that human resources post the position on the Drury website jobs page. The length of time the position is posted varies, but is a minimum of one week. This may or may not be done in conjunction with outside advertising.
The human resources office can assist you in determining where to advertise a position to help you attract a diverse pool of applicants, i.e. local newspaper, regional or national publications, various online recruiting websites. Their office can compose the ad for you or review and approve ad copy that you draft. Once the ad is final, HR will coordinate placement of the ads.
If you are contacted by someone who is interested in your department’s vacancy, you should make sure they understand that they cannot be considered for the position until they complete either the online or hard copy application. You can refer them to the online staff job application form or refer them to the human resources office. All applications and resumes that may be sent to you directly should be forwarded to the HR office, where applicant files will be maintained and reply letters or emails sent to each applicant.
You may want to inform them that their application will go through a screening process in human resources and that not all applicants will be called in for testing or interviews. Someone will contact them in the event they are eligible for further screening/testing or an interview.
Once the posting period for a particular position is closed, the HR office will screen and evaluate all applications and resumes. In some cases, the hiring department and the HR staff may work together to screen applications/resumes to determine who will move to the next step in the process, such as skill testing. Not every applicant will be asked to participate in skills testing. Those who do participate who qualify to move to the next step in the process, based on the results of the skill tests, will then be referred by HR to the hiring department for interviews.
Human Resources will refer only qualified candidates – those possessing the required education and experience, and skill level (if skill testing is conducted) – to the department for consideration.
If you will be participating in the screening of resumes/applications, here are some steps to follow:
Here are some things to consider and on which to evaluate:
A selection matrix is a tool that lets you objectively compare an applicant’s qualifications to a job vacancy’s qualifications and functions, as well as compare applicants to one another based on established job-related criteria. It is a valuable hiring tool because it provides equal employment opportunities to all applicants and upholds the integrity of the university by ensuring that selection decisions are made only on lawful, job-related and non-discriminatory criteria.
How to Develop a Selection Matrix
In order to develop a selection matrix, you and/or your selection panel will need to thoroughly analyze the position’s required qualifications, preferred qualifications, and job functions. As you analyze these qualifications and functions, take the following steps to develop a selection matrix:
How to Use a Selection Matrix
Because applicants must meet all of the position’s minimum qualifications in order to be considered, you’ll probably want to start by screening each applicant’s materials to determine if they meet the minimum requirements. You can then eliminate any applicants who don’t meet all the minimum required qualifications – this is an efficient way to avoid wasting time on selection matrixes for unqualified applicants.
Once you eliminate unqualified applicants, you can either proceed to testing and interview the entire applicant pool or you can use the matrix to help you select the top, most-competitive candidates for testing and interviews. Whether you start using the matrix before or after the initial interview process, you’ll want to use the selection matrix in the following way:
Reference checking allows you to ensure that you are finding the most qualified person who is also a good fit for the position and Drury.
Why perform reference checks?
These checks help you confirm information on the candidate’s application form and resume. You will also gain greater insights into the candidate’s skills, knowledge, and abilities from someone who has actually observed the candidate perform. Failure to check references can result in poor hiring choices that are costly in time, energy, and money.
Obtain reference names and contact information and the candidate’s consent
It is important that during the interview process, you obtain consent from the candidate to contact their references and ask employment-related questions. This permission is obtained when the applicant signs and dates the Drury staff employment application. A common mistake managers often make is asking candidates to choose their references. Instead, you should tell the candidates that you wish to speak to the people who actually supervised them. This information is also obtained on the employment application in the employment history section. It is good practice to speak to two or three work-related references. If their current employer does not know they are seeking work elsewhere, then go to their previous employers.
How to conduct reference checks
The Human Resources staff can conduct reference checks on your final candidate or you can choose to conduct them yourself. If you will be checking the references, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Prepare: Develop questions before making the call
Before making the calls, make a list of questions so that you are asking the same set of questions, giving you a consistent frame on which to base your decisions. The Human Resources office has a Telephone Reference Check form you may use. You may also add your own position –specific questions to this form. All questions should be job-related and legal. You cannot ask questions during a reference check that you are prohibited from asking during an interview. Determine how you are going to weigh information in advance, and weigh information in the same manner for all applicants – what disqualifies one should be the basis for disqualifying any other
Questions you can ask
While it is important to tailor reference check questions to Drury, the job and the applicant being considered, below are some common examples of questions that can be asked. Ask questions that are designed to bring out the supervisor’s observations of the applicant’s work behaviors.
Document the Reference Check
The reference check questions and answers for each reference should be documented in writing. You may use the Telephone Reference Check form, or you may document them via your own written list of questions and answers for each reference.
Drury University conducts a security background check, which includes a criminal records check, on the finalist before a job offer is made. A driving records check is also completed for those finalists whose duties would require them to drive (either a university vehicle or their own vehicle) as part of their job responsibilities. The background check is initiated by Human Resources when the hiring department notifies HR that their final candidate has been identified. The Human Resources department will notify the hiring department when it has received the report and whether or not the department may proceed with the job offer.
After satisfactory reference checks, to help ensure that staff members are able to perform the essential functions of their proposed job, and to perform these duties safely, physical examinations and drug testing may be required. Hiring supervisors should check with Human Resources to determine or confirm which positions require these types of exams.
After a conditional offer of employment has been made to an applicant entering certain designated job categories, these examinations and screenings will be performed at Drury University’s expense by a health professional of the University’s choice. The offer of employment and assignment to duties is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the exam(s), which will measure the staff member’s ability to perform the essential functions of the job. Job applicants may be asked to provide body substance samples (such as urine and/or blood). Information on a staff member’s medical condition or history will be kept separate from other staff member information and maintained confidentially. Access to this information will be limited to those who have a legitimate need to know.
Once results of the exam and screenings have been received, HR department staff will notify the hiring supervisor whether or not they may proceed with the hiring process and establish a start date for the new staff member.
Once all reference checking and required pre-employment exams have been completed, the hiring department may proceed with finalizing the job offer and start date with the finalist. The start date will be communicated to the HR department so the staff member’s appointment letter may be prepared.
The hiring supervisor should then prepare an announcement for the Drury community to publicize the appointment. Setting the tone for the arrival of a new member of the Drury community is the first step in a successful orientation and acclimation.
The communication can be electronic, by mail, or in Drury publications. For most senior staff positions, the announcement and publication should be coordinated through the University Communications office.
Always obtain permission from the new staff member before making a public announcement, so that he/she has time to notify their current employer and supervisor, whether at Drury or elsewhere.
The Human Resources office will contact all applicants for a closed position to notify them that a hiring decision was made and thank them for applying.
If you get a call from an applicant who you didn’t hire, you may refer them to the HR office or inform them that the applicant whose overall qualifications most closely met the needs of the position and the department was selected. You shouldn’t provide any more information than this. If the applicant is not satisfied with your answer, please refer them to the human resources office.
Successful interviewing requires preparation, attentive listening, and a thorough understanding of the job and the minimum required qualifications of candidates. This Interview Guide can help. Use the links below to select the information you wish to review.
Interview questions should accomplish the following goals:
Meeting the interview goals requires the following on the interviewer’s part:
The interviewer(s) should approach the interview with an organized and well-planned questioning method while always staying on task. Some interviewers will ask the interview questions in a specific order while others take a more relaxed approach, though still addressing all of the pre-planned questions. Well-planned interview questions generally provide the interview(s) with the information needed to make the hiring decision. All candidates are asked the same questions, rather than tailoring the questions to target a specific individual or group of individuals.
Develop interview questions by examining the job description and determining job demands in each of these following areas:
Interviewers should design questions to elicit information about the candidate’s job qualifications in each of the noted areas. These questions can form a standardized guide for each interview. To customize the questionnaire, interviewers should review a candidate’s resume for points covered on the questionnaire and individualize questions as needed.
As important as it is that questions are job-related, it’s even more important to know how to evaluate the candidate’s response.
The interviewer(s) should not feel that a candidate’s first answer to any of the questions must be accepted as the only answer. When the interviewer feels an answer is lacking, the interviewer should ask layered questions until reaching an answer with a satisfactory amount of information.
The best interviewers employ a flexible questioning technique to elicit pertinent, accurate information. Interviewers should vary the questioning technique according to the goals of the interview. For example, an appropriate technique in one instance may yield false, incomplete, or misleading information in another. The best interviewers use some combination of the following techniques as the situation demands.
Closed-ended questions are most commonly asked in interviewing and are the most commonly misused questions. The following is an example of an ineffective closed-ended question: “Can you work under pressure?” Only “yes” and “no” are the possible answers. The interviewer has no information and no way of evaluating any one candidate against another. However, a closed-ended question would be appropriate and useful as a questioning technique when looking for a commitment from the individual, for example: “Can you start on Monday?”
A closed-ended question also helps interviewers in an attempt to refresh their own memory or in verifying information from earlier in the interviewing sequence: “You were with Company X for 40 years?”
Interviewers may also utilize the closed-ended technique as preparation for a series of questions on the same subject.
Open-ended questions often yield better results than close-ended. Open-ended questions do not lend themselves to monosyllabic answers; instead, they question requires an explanation. For example, the following open-ended question requires a detailed answer: “How do you succeed in working under pressure?”
As a rule, open-ended questions are preferable to closed-ended questions because such questions require the candidate to speak while the interviewer listens. Open-ended questions often begin as follows:
The technique of asking behavioral questions has developed into a unique style of interviewing. Behavioral questions are based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance.
Behavioral questions are open-ended and request specific examples of past behavior. Such questions elicit conversation and are usually prefaced with something similar to the following:
Used appropriately, behavioral questions make it difficult for the candidate to misrepresent past performance.
Interviewers often assume, albeit incorrectly, that a candidate who is strong in one area is equally impressive in all areas. This is not always the case.
To avoid this assumption, an interviewer may ask the following questions:
When interviewers have sought and found negative balance, they may feel content that they are maintaining their objectivity and move on or that an answer they receive may be disturbing enough to warrant negative confirmation.
For example, an interviewee tells the interviewer about a situation when the individual felt that it was necessary to go around or behind a supervisor to achieve a goal. A manager should be troubled because if such behavior is common, the person may not be desirable to hire. Consequently, negative confirmation should be sought with perhaps the following: “That is very interesting. Let’s talk about another time when you had to …..”
Successive examples will help interviewers confirm negative traits and perhaps save the employer from hiring a candidate unfit for the employment position. On the other hand, interviewers may establish that the negative situation was a peculiarity or one-time thing and nothing that would potentially disqualify a candidate.
Reflexive questions function to close a line of questioning and move the conversation forward. Reflexive questions help interviewers calmly maintain control of the conversation no matter how talkative the interviewee.
When a candidate begins to stray from the topic of the questions, the interviewer can easily interject with a reflexive question that will allow the interviewer to proceed with other topics.
An interviewer may accomplish this by adding phrases, such as the following, to the end of a statement:
For example, the interviewer might say, “With time so short, I think it would be valuable to move onto another area, don’t you?” The candidate’s reflex is to agree, and the conversation moves on.
Mirror statements function as a subtle form of probing in conjunction with silence. To use the technique, the interviewer mirrors or paraphrases key statement made by the candidate and then remains silent while offering positive reinforcement through body language such as nodding, and looking attentively at the interviewee.
Interviewers should use mirror statements to fully understand a candidate’s answer and gain more insight through the candidate’s detailed explanation. For example, an interviewer would repeat the substance of an interviewee’s key comment in a question form, “Whenever you arrive two hours early for work, you then leave work two hours early to compensate yourself for your time?” Upon completion of the question, the interviewer would patiently wait for the interviewee to expand on the mirrored statement, without a further interjection from the interviewer. This technique allows the candidate to hear verbatim the words they chose as an answer and volunteer further details.
Loaded questions are inappropriate as they may lead to manipulation by the interviewer. Loaded questions are fundamentally problematic because questions require the interviewee to decide between equally unsuitable options. For instance, the following is a loaded question: “Which do you think is the lesser evil, embezzlement or forgery?”
Obviously, the interviewer should avoid absurd, loaded questions. However, carefully balanced judgment-call questions may have a place in a good interview. The technique may allow the interviewer to probe the interviewee’s decision-making approach.
For example, the interviewer may want to recall a real-life situation where two divergent approaches were both carefully considered and may do so by framing the situation as a question:
Half-right reflexives can be utilized to glean specific answers and determine an individual’s propensity for specific work-related incidents. To employ the technique, the interviewer must make a partially correct statement and ask the interviewee to agree.
With half-right reflexives, the interviewee has the opportunity to offer personalized and experienced insights in regard to workplace dilemmas and situations. However, the interviewee may also demonstrate a lack of experience or inability to perform required tasks of the job.
This technique creates enlightening insights. For instance, this example of a half-right reflexive always generates fascinating responses: “I’ve always felt that customer service should commence only after the bill has been paid, haven’t you?”
Leading questions allow interviewers to lead the listener toward a specific type of answer. Leading questions often arise accidentally when the interviewer explains what type of organization the interviewee will be joining. For instance, the interviewer might proudly exclaim, “We’re a fast-growing outfit here, and there is constant pressure to meet deadlines and satisfy our ever-increasing list of customers”, then ask, “How do you handle stress?”
In the interviewer’s statement the basic principles and requirements of the job are made clear and thus, the correct answer to any further question is a simple paraphrase of the interviewers own statement.
Leading questions are often useful, but like closed-ended questions, the interviewer must use leading questions appropriately. As information verifiers, leading questions encourage the candidate to expand on a particular topic, for example, “We are an organization that believes the customer is always right. How do you feel about that?”
However, leading questions should be used only after establishing a candidate’s belief or performance in a particular area. In any case, leading questions should not be used early in the interview or be confused with the half-right reflexive.
A good question poorly phrased will be ineffectual and provide the interviewer with incomplete or misleading information. However, question layering allows an interviewer to thoroughly probe and answer on many different levels. For example, when an interviewer wants to determine whether a candidate could work well under pressure the basic line of questioning (“Can you work under pressure?”) may prove to be the wrong approach because the question:
Instead, interviewers can use a combination of all the questioning styles and techniques to examine the topic from every angle. For example, to examine all angles of a topic the interviewer may ask:
Similarly, the interviewer does the same by joining the closed-ended question with some of the other question techniques. The following sequence demonstrates how much more relevant information an interviewer can glean through question layering:
These questions illustrate several different angles to the same question, each revealing a different aspect of the personality, performance, and behavior of the candidate. The question layering technique makes the possibilities for questions theoretically endless, depending only on the interviewer’s thoroughness.
Additional Input Questions
Interviewers can use the following techniques to gain more information from a initial question:
If the interviewer wants to hear more – whether dissatisfied with the first answer or interested in obtaining more information – the interviewer could say, “Can you provide more detail about that? It’s very interesting,” or “Can you give me another example?”
The interviewer may hear an answer and then add, “What did you learn from that experience?” This is an excellent layering technique that can give insight into judgment and emotional maturity.
Perhaps the best technique for gathering more information is for an interviewer to simply sit quietly, while maintaining eye contact with the interviewee and saying nothing. If the conversation lulls, the interviewee may instinctually attempt to fill the silence and provide more information and/or details. Although an interviewer may initially find the silence difficult to manage, patience and allowing the interviewee to speak without encumbrance can be effective.
Interviewers should try to include questions that go beyond a candidate’s technical competence or knowledge. The interviewer should probe for qualities needed to succeed at the job:
Relevant and job-related questions might target the following:
Do not solicit information that employers are legally barred from considering in the hiring process. For example, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar state laws, hiring decisions cannot be based on any of the following:
Other laws prohibit questions about military background, age, disability, or union membership. Generally, do not ask about:
The following are samples of questions which should be avoided. This is not an all-inclusive list:
General Experience and Background
(Also for applicants coming directly out of school)
Attention to Detail
Planning and Organizing
The interviewer should be well prepared and knowledgeable on the university’s interviewing and hiring practices. In structuring the interview, interviewers may mistakenly use a job candidate’s resume as a guide for structuring the interview. Generally, the resume only provides information the candidate wants to reveal. Following the resume throughout the interviewing process allows the candidate to control the interview, not the interviewer. Interviewers must establish a set structure, to be applied consistently, for each interview to accomplish efficient and accurate interviews. The following outline should be helpful:
Establish Rapport — Set the Tone
Interviewers may set the tone of the interview by first greeting then candidate and then engaging the candidate in casual conversation to create a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Comfortable and secure candidates may communicate more honestly.
Interviewers may ask about the person’s hobbies, interests, travel, or city of residence. However, interviewers must remember to avoid sensitive areas like children, marital status, or church activities. The formal interview may then begin through a simple transition question, such as, “What do you know about the school?” or “How did you hear about this job opening?”
Control the Interview
Provide an Overview
Interviewers should provide the candidate with an overview of the interview process. For example, how the interview will proceed and what will be covered – job experience, education, interests. Additionally, a comprehensive overview will explain that after discussing the candidate’s background, the interviewer will ask for information relative to the about the job, explain the organization, and answer any questions the candidate might have.
Discuss Work Experience and Education
In discussing a candidate’s work experience and education, the interviewer should ask prepared questions first, following up any responses that deserve further inquiry.
Good notes should be taken in regard to the discussion of job qualifications to document the screening process.
Candidate’s Interests and Self-Assessment
After discussing a candidate’s education and work experience, the interviewer may then ask a few questions about a candidate’s activities and interests to get a broader perspective. Candidates may also be asked to provide a self-assessment, summarizing personal and professional strengths, as well as “developmental needs” or qualities that the individual might want to change or improve.
Review the Job
Interviewers would be wise to not discuss details of the job until the interview has covered a candidate’s qualifications; otherwise, a candidate may exaggerate certain skills required by the position. An interviewer should review the organization, the job, the salary, location, and any other pertinent data.
Interviewers should be careful to limit comments to the specific facts about the job as it currently exists.
Close the Interview
In the final portion of the interview, the candidate should be given an opportunity to ask questions about the organization and the job. Interviewers should thank the candidate for the time spent on the interview and review the next steps in the hiring process.
Uniformity of Interviews
Interviewers must make sure all candidates for a position are given the opportunity to answer the same questions and that all questions are job-related and nondiscriminatory. Interviewers should not deviate from the prepared questions, but can ask appropriate follow up questions that may differ from candidate to candidate.
Employers with 15 or more employees must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA protects persons with disabilities from discrimination in hiring and treatment on the job.
According to the EEOC guidelines, the following questions are acceptable questions during an interview:
The following three keys facilitate legal interview questioning:
The following questions may not be asked while conducting an interview:
The following example illustrates both incorrect and the correct methods of eliciting information:
The candidate for a telephone sales job is obviously blind as reasonably deducted based on appearance and tools (walking stick and/or trained guide dog).
The interviewer MAY NOT SAY: “I imagine that with your blindness you’d have some difficulty filling in our call forms and keeping track of the results or your calls. In what ways do you think your blindness would interfere with your sales job?”
The interviewer MAY PHRASE THE QUESTION AS FOLLOWS: “This job requires that you ask questions from our telemarketing script and record the results of your calls. How would you perform these essential functions of this job with reasonable accommodation?”