Search Process

Committees perform searches to fill open positions at NIU. Participation on a search committee is a significant responsibility. Committee members must keep applicant information and the content of committee meetings confidential. Our office is involved in searches to promote equal opportunity and affirmative action throughout the process.

Several people are involved in the search process. They have a range of responsibilities:

  • Hiring official: is the designated hiring authority.
  • Search committee chair: manages and guides the process. Schedules and directs all meetings. Ensures that policies, procedures and forms are adhered to and completed correctly.
  • Affirmative action representative: ensures that equal opportunity and affirmative action exist throughout the entire process.
  • Search committee members: advise the hiring official.
  • Search process point person: serves as the point of contact for Academic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the search administrator. Maintains the search record, applicant flow log and applicant files. Sends applicant correspondence and acknowledgement letters. Maintains records in a central location and in a confidential manner. Is aware of all aspects of the search process.

The structure of the search committee is critical to its success. All search committees should consist of no less than three to five people (five is preferred), and should be diverse, with the goal of obtaining an appropriate representation of women and of minority groups. Be sure to also do the following:

  • Select committee members with a range of diverse perspectives.
  • Consider representation from outside the department, college, division or university.
  • Ensure that you have technical expertise on the committee.
  • Choose people who are available to participate and agree to be confidential.

The hiring official and the affirmative action representative should provide the committee with:

  • A verbal and/or written charge outlining the committee's role and responsibilities regarding equal opportunity and affirmative action.
  • The recruiting goals of the college, division or department.
  • The protocols required to make a recommendation to the hiring official.
  • Expectations regarding confidentiality.
  • Information on how to evaluate candidates and what questions are allowed.
  • The search timeline.

To ensure that each candidate is treated fairly, the search committee and/or the hiring official should design a method of evaluating the following:

  • Candidate applications and interviews.
  • Interview questions and itineraries.
  • Reference checks and reference check questions.

Committee members evaluate applications independently. Then, they complete evaluation forms in PeopleAdmin and meet to discuss qualified applicants. The committee may use the following methods to help select candidates for on-campus interviews:

  • Telephone interviews.
  • Skype/Collaborate interviews.
  • On-site interviews at conferences or conventions.
  • Reference checks.

Please note: Committee members should avoid Google searches of applicants.

Before the interview:

  • Determine if the candidate will participate in an activity such as a teaching demonstration, open session or seminar.
  • Inform out-of-town candidates if they will be reimbursed for travel.
  • Develop an itinerary and send to candidates.
  • Request needed accommodations (dietary restrictions, ADA, etc.).

During the interview:

  • Designate hosts and escorts.
  • Establish uniform interview questions.
  • Complete the interview evaluation form.

After the interview:

  • Search committee contacts references.
  • Search committee meets to discuss applicants and make recommendation to the hiring official.
  • Hiring official communicates with finalist(s) regarding salary range, interest in position, etc.
  • Candidate returns for a second interview and campus visit (optional).

After a candidate is selected, the next steps differ based on their employment classification.

Faculty and SPS:

  • Human Resource Services (HRS) contacts department with approval to offer the position to the candidate.
  • Department sends offer letter/contract and hiring paperwork to finalist.
  • Applicant accepts position and submits hiring paperwork.
  • Department completes credentials assessment, if applicable.
  • HRS conducts background check. When approved, enters employee into PeopleSoft system.
  • Employee is given start date and attends orientation.
  • Department sends letters of regret to unsuccessful applicants.
  • Calls are made to unsuccessful candidates who attended an interview.

Civil service:

  • HRS contacts the candidate to offer the position.
  • Applicant accepts position and submits hiring paperwork.
  • HRS conducts background check. When approved, enters employee into PeopleSoft system.
  • Department sends hiring paperwork to finalist.
  • Employee begins and attends orientation.
  • Department sends letters of regret to unsuccessful applicants.
  • Calls are made to unsuccessful candidates who attended an interviews.