Search Committees

Search committees have a great opportunity to bring new talent to the University and a great responsibility to ensure that the recruitment is conducted in an appropriate manner. This is a guide for search committee members participating in this very important endeavor that will also highlight the legal aspects of open recruitments in line with the policy below.

University’s obligation to be an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

It is the policy of the University not to engage in discrimination against or harassment of any person employed or seeking employment with the University of California on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, physical or mental disability, medical condition (cancer-related or genetic characteristics), ancestry, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, or status as a covered veteran. This policy applies to all employment practices, including recruitment, selection, promotion, transfer, merit increase, salary, training and development, demotion, and separation. This policy is intended to be consistent with the provisions of applicable State and Federal laws and University policies.(  

Search Committee Roles in UC San Diego Academic Recruitments

Since the UC has made contracts with the federal government, the University must commit itself to a proactive effort to ensure equal opportunity in all of its employment practices.  This commitment includes applying good-faith efforts to achieve prompt and full utilization of women and minorities, who historically have experienced discrimination in the work arena, in all segments of its workforce where deficiencies exist.  The University is also required to comply with the California Constitution, as modified by Proposition 209 which prohibits discrimination against or preferential treatment of any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, etc.   

It is essential that the University meet all applicable legal and regulatory requirements and maintain its standard of quality and excellence.  Therefore, in meeting affirmative action requirements, the search committee should be mindful that the department’s workforce may be underutilized for women and certain ethnic groups for the job titles being considered in this recruitment. The search committee should utilize the best-practice strategies to the fullest extent possible to develop an applicant pool that is large, well-qualified, and that hopefully includes those from underutilized groups.  However, in formally reviewing application materials in the selection process, the search committee may only consider the skills and qualifications of an applicant as they relate to the job.

Please contact the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity at extension x43623 if you have questions.  

Role in the Search Plan

Drafting a Position Announcement

A carefully drafted advertisement is critical for a broad and inclusive search and must meet compliance standards for Federal, State, and UC San Diego specific requirements. The comprehensive outlines here will help each department be thorough in their search while meeting these standards.

Planning Search Efforts

Any identified areas with underutilization of women and specific ethnic groups in the academic population should be considered when planning search efforts for an academic recruitment. Broad advertising and outreach can maximize the opportunity for these groups, as well as covered veterans and people with disabilities, to apply. Utilize the Best Practice Recruitment Strategies to define the plan for outreach and advertising. ADEO has compiled resources here

Discussing the Outreach Plan, Selection Criteria and Process, and Applicant Evaluation

The Divisional Faculty Equity Advisor (FEA) should meet with the search committee to discuss:

  • the outreach plan
  • the selection criteria (completed in Recruit)
  • the selection process (completed in Recruit)

Conducting the Outreach Effort

Once the department has been notified that the dean has approved the Search plan, the department staff and the search committee may begin to implement the outreach/ advertising plan. Changes to the proposed outreach/advertising plan should be approved by the Office of Academic Diversity and Equal Opportunity.

Provide documentation of your outreach activities to department staff. This documentation is uploaded in APOL-Recruit and compiled into the Shortlist Report to verify that the proposed advertising plan was actually implemented. This documentation is critical should the recruitment undergo an audit.

Role at the Shortlist Report

The search committee should analyze the applicant pool prior to beginning the selection process to determine:

  • The size of the applicant pool
  • The diversity of the applicant pool
  • How well qualified the applicants are

Conflict of Interest

It is the policy of UC San Diego that its employees shall not engage in any activities that place them in a conflict of interest between their official duties and any other interest or obligation.

Conflict of interest may arise when a search committee member has a current or previous personal or working relationship with a candidate; is related to the candidate, or uses information not directly related to work experience to affect their decision making. Please note that it is your responsibility as a committee member to notify search chair, recruitment analyst, or department chair of any conflict of interest at any stage during the recruitment process. At the start of the applicant review process; we advise that you check the list of candidates to ensure that there is/are no conflict(s).

Examples of conflicts of interest could include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Where a committee member is involved in the shortlisting and/or interviewing of a candidate who is a spouse, partner, close friend or other family member.
  • Where a committee member is a supervisor or co-supervisor of (ex: PhD candidates) or has a close working relationship with (ex: Principal Investigator) a candidate who has applied for a job.
  • Where a committee member is a co-author on more than one journal article or publication with a candidate who has applied for a job.
  • Where a search committee member applies for the job s/he is serving as a search committee member for.

Evaluation criteria and the review process

In formally reviewing application materials and selecting a candidate, one may only consider the knowledge, skills, and qualifications of an applicant as they relate to the job. In preparation for the review of applications, the search committee should:

  • have established criteria by which each applicant will be uniformly reviewed and evaluated for appropriate skills and qualifications
  • have established the process by which the committee will move from the initial stage of reviewing applications to the stage of proposing candidates for campus visits
  • Review the articles on hidden biases Guide to Bias-Free Communication, Research on Bias and Assumptions, Does Gender Matter

Be aware of these biases and how they might impact the selection of candidates. As a result of a state audit of the recruitment processes at UC campuses, it is strongly recommended that at least two search committee members review all applications. In the review of applications, remember that one may consider only the skills and qualifications of the applicant as they relate to the position to be filled, in compliance with the California State Constitution.

Contributions to Diversity

Under direction of the EVC, Suresh Subramani, evaluation of the Contributions to Diversity Statement will continue to be a part of the academic recruitment process for UC San Diego. We encourage search committees to consider contributions to diversity holistically, as an additional piece of information in assessing whether a candidate would be an excellent scholar, teacher, colleague, and value added to our campus. Questions about how to evaluate C2D statements and/or submit ratings under the new process should be directed to the Divisional Faculty Equity Advisor (FEA).

Submitting a Shortlist Report

For faculty recruitments, the Shortlist Report is prepared by department staff personnel. The report includes the following components

  • Evidence of the outreach efforts
  • Diversity Report/Analysis Report (generated by Recruit)
  • Contribution to Diversity statements

The Shortlist Report will be approved by the department chair, reviewed by OADEO, and the dean. The department may not invite candidates to campus for interviews until the dean has approved the report. To see how shortlists reports are created and used please view the SSO Protected Video here.

Role at the Search Report

Interview Candidates During Campus Visit

The California Fair Employment Practices Act provides that no pre-employment inquiries or specifications, direct or indirect, may be made concerning a job applicant's race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, medical condition, or physical handicap. The Act further prohibits any non–job-related inquiry, either verbal or through use of an application form, which may directly or indirectly affect the employment opportunities of those protected by the Act. The Act does not otherwise limit the rights of employers to seek full information about the prospective employees or to establish the job performance qualifications they consider essential. Whatever qualifications or standards are set, however, must be applied equally to all persons.

Questions asked in an interview may be vulnerable to misinterpretation and/or knowing violation of laws. The Pre-employment Inquiry Guidelines Table may help to formulate acceptable, appropriate interview questions. In all situations, whether or not covered by the examples shown here, pre-employment inquiries must be job-related.

Selection Statement Prepared Within the Search Report

If any part of the previously determined Selection Process was not adhered to, the committee must ask the department staff to document any changes with additional text at the bottom of Selection Plan field in the Recruit system; more details are shown here. 

Search Report Prepared, Submitted, and Approved

The Search Report is prepared by department staff and is submitted via Recruit. The report includes the following components

  • Information about the proposed candidate(s)
  • Actual search and recruitment efforts
  • Applicant disposition reasons

The department chair approves the report and submits the report for approval

  1. the FEA reviews and approves (if appropriate) and forwards to the Department Chair
  2. the Department Char reviews and approves (if appropriate) and forwards to OADEO
  3. OADEO reviews the report and may contact the department with questions.
  4. OADEO endorses the report and forwards it to the dean's office
  5. The dean reviews the report and may consult with the FEA
    1. The dean may direct questions/suggestions for modification to the department.
    2. The dean approves/disapproves the report
    3. The dean's office notifies the department of the decision
  6. The department takes action:
    1. The department staff inserts a copy of the approved report into the appointment file.
    2. This verifies that equal opportunity/affirmative action has been addressed in this proposed appointment.

Additional Guide to Effective Recruiting

Best Practices for Equity and Compliance

University’s obligation to be an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer

As a federal contractor, UC San Diego is subject to federal regulations requiring an affirmative action program which applies to all UC staff, academic employees, and applicants for employment.  UC fulfills program requirements, in part, by collecting/analyzing race and gender data to monitor employment practices so as to ensure that everyone is provided equal opportunity in employment, particularly those groups who historically have been discriminated against because of race, ethnicity, sex, etc.

Federal regulations also require identifying areas within the workforce where women and minorities are underutilized and setting placement goals for these groups.  Goals are reasonably attainable objectives through good-faith efforts, but goals:

  • should not be considered as quotas (quotas are illegal)
  • should not create positions reserved for specific groups
  • should not be considered as either a ceiling or a floor for the employment of particular groups
  • should not provide a justification to extend a preference to any individual on the basis of the person’s gender, race, or ethnicity
  • should not be used to supersede merit selection principles or as a justification for hiring a less qualified person over a more qualified person.

Hiring and Utilization

Good-faith efforts in meeting hiring goals include broad advertising of job openings and outreach efforts to develop a pool of well-qualified applicants, including those who are women, minorities, protected veterans and individuals with disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that "You may not make pre-employment inquiry of an applicant as to whether the applicant is a handicapped person or as to the nature or severity of the handicap. You may, however, make pre-employment inquiry into an applicant's ability to perform job-related functions."

Partner/Spouse Situations

It would be inappropriate to directly inquire of the applicant if there are any spouse or partner issues that will need to be addressed if the applicant is proposed for the position. Consider these two options to identify and address potential spouse/partner situations.

Departments are encouraged to provide info/resource packets to all candidates invited for formal interviews. These packets should include brochures about the UCSD Partner Opportunities Program and Southern California Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (SoCal HERC), which provides Web addresses that list job openings at HERC-member institutions. During the interview, you may ask if the candidate has any questions about the information provided. If the candidate raises the issue of employment for a spouse or partner, the topic is then open for discussion. 

Pre-Employment Inquiries

Questions asked in an interview may be vulnerable to misinterpretation and/or knowing violation of laws.  The Pre-employment Inquiry Guidelines Table may help to formulate acceptable, appropriate interview questions. In all situations, whether or not covered by the examples shown here, pre-employment inquiries must be job-related.