Fair Hiring Guide

Recruitment Planning

Planning, Roles and Responsibilities for Hiring Managers and/or Search Committee Chairs

Preparing the Job Description

The job description serves as the foundation of a successful recruitment, and is essential for measuring performance once a person is hired. It will be the basis for creating the job posting, communicating important details about the job to job seekers, and determines the selection criteria to be used to screen applicants and justify candidate selection and deselection.

The Staff HR Compensation team can provide assistance with developing or updating job descriptions for the purpose of correctly classifying the position. In addition, after the job description has been classified, the Staff HR Talent Acquisition team can assist by reviewing the wording of qualifications and Special Conditions of Employment statements for ideal use on job postings and as selection criteria for applicant screening.

Writing Qualifications (Experience, Skills, Knowledge and Abilities)

All qualifications should be directly job related and are identified by an analysis of the functions and tasks of a position.

The terms “skill” and “ability” may be used interchangeably - do not get bogged down in trying to decide whether something is a “skill” or an “ability”. The key is identifying whether possessing a certain skill or ability is sufficient, or if experience in it is required.

Use qualifiers (such as “excellent”, “good”, “strong”, etc.) to clarify the skill or experience level required to successfully perform the task or meet the responsibility. The hiring manager is responsible for the interpretation and consistent application of qualifier statements when evaluating candidates.

Keep in mind the obligation to reasonably accommodate persons with disabilities. Therefore, try to write what is to be done, as opposed to how it is to be done, so as not to exclude a person with a disability who may be able to do the work differently.

Special Conditions of Employment (SCOE) statements are used to define job requirements that must be met by the selected candidate, or must be true about them,  to be eligible for the job. Therefore physical requirements, special work schedules, required background checks, degree, license and credential requirements, environmental work conditions, etc., should be noted as Special Conditions of Employment on the job description. SCOE’s will appear on the job posting and will be discussed with selected candidates prior to employment.

Supplemental Questions

Supplemental questions are an optional method of gathering additional specific, job related information to assist you in identifying which candidates qualify for an interview. If you choose to use supplemental questions, only those that ask whether a candidate meets a SCOE may be set up as required. Other supplemental questions may be set up as recommended, but not required.

For a list of applicant screening questions that are readily available to use in a job posting, please visit this linkYou can copy/paste the questions into your Job Opening Request in ServiceNow when initiating your recruitment request.

Supplemental questions may be asked as part of the job application form, or after applications have been routed for review via email. When supplemental questions are asked via email, the hiring manager, or designee, is expected to ensure all responses received are reviewed during screening. The hiring manager or designee must note that supplemental questions were requested via email in the recruitment process. Recruitment records submitted to Talent Acquisition should include the supplemental questions.

Things to consider when using supplemental questions

  • While an effective way of gathering additional information, supplemental questions that require a lot of time to answer may discourage some applicants from applying, especially those who learn of the job at the last minute and are in a hurry to submit their application materials.
  • When asking supplemental question(s) as part of the application process, choosing a longer initial review period (at least an additional week) will provide applicants with more time to complete their responses.
  • Talent Acquisition does not take part in screening out applicants who do not answer the supplemental question(s), whether required or not. The hiring unit will determine how to evaluate applicants who don’t answer the supplemental question(s).

Assign Roles and Responsibilities

The hiring manager often acts as the committee chair but is not required to be. The HM role includes a variety of responsibilities, covered throughout this guide, and appointing a committee chair to get assistance with the search may be strategic. It is also possible to appoint someone as an assistant to handle administrative and scheduling tasks.

The HM and committee chair are authoritative roles and will share the responsibility for numerous tasks. The committee chair may even assist to make final hiring decisions. However, the HM retains the overall responsibility for a fair and inclusive recruitment process and final hiring decision.

Search committees are advisory to the HM. The HM, committee chair, or both, determines the role of the search committee and will ensure the search committee members clearly understand the recruitment plan, their role as a committee, and how to participate in a fair and inclusive search.

Hiring Manager (HM) only

  • Decide whether or not to act as the search committee chair, and if not, designate a committee chair and plan the chair’s responsibilities (see below).
  • HM and the chair, if one is assigned, must complete the mandatory Fair Hiring training every three years.
  • Determine the overall recruitment plan. This may be done with assistance from the committee chair.

Hiring Manager (HM), Chair, or both

  • Ensure the search is conducted according to local fair hiring practices.
  • Ensure the required and preferred qualifications are given a weighting, or priority level. This should be documented on the recruitment records and communicated clearly to the committee or the committee chair prior to screening.
  • Select search committee members; determine the charge and the role of the search committee and ensure members understand the expectations of them.
  • Ensure fair hiring practices are understood and followed, and that search committee members maintain strict confidentiality.
  • Ensure committee members know how to safely speak up about fair hiring concerns; HM and/or chair will act as a mediator between committee members if differing viewpoints require discussion or debate.
  • Designate a committee member who will handle applicant inquiries.
  • Document the recruitment process and ensure all recruitment records are submitted to Talent Acquisition per document instructions.
  • Obtain advice/problem resolution assistance from the appropriate office when necessary, such as Staff HR Talent Acquisition.

Options to Consider for Utilizing your Search Committee

A search committee may provide support in a variety of areas, such as any of the following:

  • Outreach efforts through networking
    • Send campus wide emails; post to their personal LinkedIn pages; email or social media posts to professional organizations they belong to, etc.
  • Screen, evaluate, and correspond with applicants
  • Collaborate to ensure that all applicants are consistently given full and fair consideration
    • Work to identify bias at any stage of the process and raise awareness of it
  • Assist to develop interview questions
  • Interview applicants and:
    • Analyze strengths and weaknesses of top candidates
    • Recommend an unranked or ranked list of top candidates
    • Or recommend a top choice
  • Respond to applicant inquiries
  • Conduct reference checks
  • Assist with generating, completing, and gathering all recruitment records, such as interview questionnaires completed by the committee during interviews


A comprehensive outreach and advertising plan will increase the probability of attracting a qualified and diverse pool of applicants and leads to more successful hiring. Talent Acquisition will contact hiring managers with advertising options. 

When considering advertising options, think about:

  • Job group underutilization
  • Appropriate recruiting area (i.e., local, regional, national)
  • Reasonable initial review period (2 weeks is the minimum period)
  • Free and paid advertising
  • Networking opportunities (e.g., Your LinkedIn profile, professional organizations, colleagues at other higher ed institutions)

Ideally, advertising plans should be finalized, and a purchase order should be obtained, prior to the posting of a recruitment. See Recruitment Advertising Overview for more information. The Talent Acquisition Team strives to identify advertising plans prior to the posting of a recruitment - you can contact us at staffads@ucsc.edu for information about developing an advertising plan. We encourage you to make contact us them as soon as the job description has been written.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. Can I use a degree as a qualification?
    1. The basic principle is that an educational requirement must have a significant relationship to successful job performance, or there must be a legal necessity, since a degree requirement may disqualify members of a protected group at a substantially higher rate than non-protected group members (adverse impact).
    2. A degree qualification for professional and highly skilled knowledge jobs is generally more supportable than, for example, blue-collar jobs. Educational requirements are even more supportable if “or equivalent combination of education and experience” is used, or if identified as a preferred qualification.
    3. If a degree is used as a qualification, consider the negative impact it may have on the diversity of the pool and be prepared to support such a requirement if challenged by an outside agency.
  2. When writing qualifications, can I specify that the people have recent experience?
    1. The recency of a person’s job experience may matter, but only in fields that have changed significantly. Keep in mind that an applicant may be able to keep him or herself current in their field in other ways.