Hiring outstanding colleagues is one of the most critical responsibilities of a faculty member. Actively engaging in robust recruitment efforts enables us to attract top scholars to enhance CSU’s diverse academic environment and is fundamental to the health and well-being of our thriving institution. Recruitment efforts should be ongoing and not just relegated to when a formal search is underway. Faculty members who actively engage in broadly diverse strategic recruitment efforts also support the universities commitment to inclusive excellence. Strong recruitment enhances our institutional reputation and should leave positive impressions even on people who are not interviewed or not offered a position. For those who are offered a position, a positive and rigorous recruitment experience is the natural start to a robust and welcoming integration into the university as a colleague.

Included on this page are tools and best practices to search and recruit equitably and robustly, and to attract and retain world-class talent. All of the materials presented are based in the peer-reviewed published literature and are proven best practices. While individual studies are not cited to keep the materials readable, the bibliography can be found here. 

Being part of the faculty search process is one of the most important things that you can do to ensure CSU is providing students with high-quality experiences and promoting scholarly excellence. This section contains resources focused on faculty recruitment; compiling search committees; obtaining training for search committee chairs and members; writing faculty position descriptions; and posting open positions. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

While preparing for a search, there are many opportunities to embed best practices for enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). These practices include but are not limited to choosing the search committee; delivering a thorough and thoughtful charge meeting; training and educating the search committee on topics such as bias, microaggressions, and inclusive language; writing a position description that focuses on using inclusive language; creating a plan to evaluate all candidates; and promoting ongoing active recruitment practices that engage many talented colleagues at every opportunity (even when searches are not currently happening). It is also important to consider the time it takes to fully invest in a comprehensive search process because when people are rushed, they tend to rely more on biases, assumptions, and perception to evaluate and/or make decisions. 

* The term underrepresented minoritized individuals found throughout the toolkit encompasses historically marginalized or excluded communities. 


Bias refers to automatic reactions we have, often towards people or places influenced by personal history, which can be either positive or negative. Implicit bias is unconscious but can influence our conscious actions and opinions in ways that can impact evaluation of candidates throughout the hiring process. It is important that committee members take the time to learn about bias and how it can affect the search process. By facilitating discussions around conscious and unconscious bias, members of the search committee will feel empowered to speak up if they perceive a potential problem. Below are resources that could assist in supporting education and conversation among the search committee.   

Individual factors. We all bring personal and cultural history to our work, whether we are aware of it or not. Social scientists call individual perspectives on the world schemas. These schemas can include conscious or unconscious biases that can impact the way we evaluate candidates throughout the hiring process.  

Structural factors. Formal policies (rules about how things are done) and informal practices (shared ideas or approaches accepted by “insiders” as common and appropriate) may determine who is asked to be on a search committee; how the committee finds candidates; how much funding is available for a search; and what areas of research or types of publication are valued. 

Types of bias that can influence hiring  

    • Conformity bias – Occurs when others connected to the search process have varied views and there is pressure to agree with the group. To prevent this from happening it is important to make time to take and review notes throughout the search process. 
    • Beauty bias – Occurs when individuals that meet societal standards of beauty have an increased likelihood of getting an offer over those who do not have this distinction. An example of how your committee may avoid this bias in the semifinalist round is to conduct phone or virtual interviews without video access. 
    • Affinity bias – Occurs when individuals who have a shared connection may rank a candidate more favorably and overlook important factors that could impact hiring decisions. 
    • Halo effect – Occurs when one individual’s outstanding positive quality overshadows all others during a search process. 
    • Harshness bias – Occurs when one individual’s outstanding negative quality overshadows all others during a search process. 
    • Similarity bias – Occurs because people are typically more comfortable with individuals that look, and act like them. A best practice to combat this type of bias is continued training and dialogue to increase self-awareness and combat negative hiring circumstances.      
    • Stereotyping bias – Occurs when there are assumptions about a candidate because they are a member of a specific group. 
    • First impression bias – Occurs when judgement is placed on a candidate based on their actions during the first few minutes of an interaction (email, phone conversation, and/or interview). 
    • Name bias – Occurs when there is negative judgment or preference for a person’s name.   
    • Evaluation bias – Occurs when preferences are given to some and not to others based on unrelated job information.  
    • Institutional bias –Occurs when you give value to certain institutional education over others.   
    • Performance bias – Occurs when interviewers become attracted to how the candidate performs or presents themselves during the interview.  


    • The Implicit Association Test (IAT) on Harvard University’s Project Implicit® website  
      • Implicit.harvard.edu/implicit can be used for search committee members to understand their own biases. This site has 17 different implicit association tests that can be used to assess individual bias. Committee members can take tests of their choice (e.g., Gender-Career, Weapons, Race) and discuss potential race or gender bias they might want to be aware of during the search process. It is not recommended to force people to reveal personal biases they might have learned of through the association tests, but rather to gain awareness and discuss bias in general. Awareness of biases allows people to watch out for them during evaluation of candidates  
    • Subfield Bias in Faculty Hiring Decisions  
      • This handout from the University of Michigan ADVANCE program includes an explanation of subfield bias and why it matters in hiring. It includes a worksheet to complete as a unit to consider subfield bias in your field.  
    • Interrupting Bias in the Faculty Search Process 
      • The University of Washington’s ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change created a training video and facilitation guide to help faculty search committees uncover and address unconscious bias in the faculty candidate evaluation process.   

Recruitment Strategies

Designing a multi-faceted active recruiting strategy for your department is essential to launch a successful faculty search. To proactively engage potential candidates, connecting with them on a more personal level can make a profound difference. Active recruiting involves connecting individually with a diverse number of qualified candidates rather than assuming that candidates are actively looking to apply to your available faculty positions. Departments who engage in year-round, ongoing recruitment strategies can make a positive impact in generating more diverse applicant pools for open positions.  

Support from the whole department and key stakeholders  

Recruitment should be an ongoing process that engages the whole department in efforts to increase interest in the department and college. Below are some considerations that can support incorporating recruitment practices in your daily work:

Active Recruitment Practices 

    • Develop a multi-year strategic recruitment plan that focuses on how the department can communicate its values and benefits through branding.  These continued efforts proactively build meaningful relationships and increase the awareness of your department, college, and university.  This may include requesting additional funding from the Chair and/or Dean to support ongoing faculty recruitment efforts.
    • Take an inventory of the meetings, conferences, collaborations, and connections faculty members in the department currently invest in throughout the year. Ask each faculty member to broaden their scope by increasing opportunities to build new relationships with faculty in their discipline (be mindful of networks focusing on a commitment to DEI). This could be through hosting events such as talks over coffee or a sponsored lunch and/or dinner. Prepare information about departmental, college, and university values along with useful community information and benefits.
    • Post advertisements in a wide variety of publications, listservs, websites, and journals. Selecting publications and organizations that focus on women, underrepresented minoritized individuals, veterans, and individuals with disabilities among other underrepresented groups can extend the pool of faculty applicants and convey the department’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    • Personally connect with colleagues in your field concerning the faculty position, department, college, and university. It is important to consider how to expand your connections past your own contacts to build a strong and diverse applicant pool.
    • Encourage all members of your department to refer qualified candidates to apply for open faculty positions.
    • Reach out to universities that have similar programs and that graduate large numbers of diverse students. This will include women’s colleges and historically black colleges (HBCUS) and universities. NSF Survey of Earned Doctorates.  Build long-term cooperative relationships with Minority Serving Institutions.
    • Invest in efforts to invite MAs, PhD, and postdocs to departmental seminars and open houses.
    • Invite scholars from other institutions to engage with your department. Examples of this could be guest speakers, collaborative research projects, committees, webinars, and mentorship opportunities.

Sample Faculty Recruitment Scripts/Templates  

The following scripts can be adapted and used to reach out directly to potential candidates prior to them applying for the faculty position.   

Request for referrals from colleagues  

Hello, this is [name, title, department].  We met at [professional conference, meeting, etc.] and I’ve been impressed by the quality of your program.  My department is currently hiring for a tenure-track faculty position with a potential start date of _________. The major areas represented in our department are ________________, and we are hoping that this candidate will meet department needs related to _______________.  

I’m reaching out to inquire about PhD candidates and/or postdoctoral scholars from your program who may be interested in such a position. Our department is very interested in scholars who have a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Colorado State University is among the nation’s leading research universities and enrolls approximately 32,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Fort Collins is a vibrant community of approximately 157,000 residents that offers the convenience of a small town with all the amenities of a large city. Our college and department offer [add specific information).  

If there are individuals you think would be interested in learning more about this opportunity, please send me their contact information or feel free to share mine. 

Thank you so much for your time.  Please feel free to reach out if I can be of assistance to you in the future. 

General Outreach  

Dear ______, 

I would like to share the [CSU department] advertisement. This position is focused on (department needs, teaching, students, research). 

I am reaching out to ask if you would forward this posting to potential outstanding candidates whose research, teaching, or service has prepared them to contribute to our department needs related to _________ and our university goals of diversity and inclusion in higher education. We are looking for individuals who have demonstrated experience in (mentoring a diverse student and postdoc population, serving on committees that support diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, or …) 

Thank you in advance for your willingness to forward this announcement. Please let me know of any individuals I should contact and encourage to apply for our position.  


Review the composition of the applicant pool

The search chair and EO Coordinator will assess the applicant pool viability approximately one or two weeks prior to the full consideration date to determine: Has a pool been generated that will likely yield quality candidates? Is the pool sufficiently diverse? And should recruitment be extended? Ultimately, the EO Coordinator must approve the applicant pool.  


Types of Searches

There are a handful of different search processes at CSU which may be utilized by search committees depending on the open position. For most faculty searches, the search committee model will be employed. Please see the resources below for additional information related to the different types of searches at CSU.  

Partners Involved in the Search Process

CSU partners involved in a faculty search process play a critical role in making sure that CSU continues to provide high-quality student learning and promote scholarly excellence. Below is a list of the different partners involved in the search process along with trainings and resources associated with each role. Your participation in these roles provides great opportunity to positively impact the future of your department.  

Search Committee (Search Chair + Search Committee Members)   – These group of individuals are appointed by the hiring authorities to recruit and identify top candidates. Search committee members are expected to use search/hiring procedures to conduct equitable, efficient, consistent, accurate, and inclusive searches.   

    • Search Chair – The individual appointed by hiring authorities to lead the search committee in recruiting and identifying top candidates. Search chairs are expected to understand and lead the procedures used to conduct equitable, efficient, consistent, confidential, accurate, and inclusive searches.    
    • Search Committee Member – This group of individuals are appointed by the hiring authorities to recruit and identify top candidates. Search committee members are expected to use search/hiring procedures to conduct equitable, efficient, accurate, and inclusive searches.  

Equal Opportunity Coordinator (EO Coordinator) – This individual ensures that the search process is conducted in a procedurally sound and ethical manner. The EO Coordinator must balance being a neutral observer and monitor of the process, while being actively involved to either prevent a committee from engaging in actions that are antithetical to the goals of equal opportunity, equal access, and non-discrimination, or to encourage a committee to be proactive in pursuing affirmative action goals.   

Hiring Authority – This is the individual who holds the leadership role of the unit conducting the search and/or the supervisor of the position being filled (some variation may exist due to individual unit structure). This person establishes the search committee, charges the search committee with its duties, receives the hire recommendation from the search committee, may conduct reference checks, and makes the final decision to offer the position, subject to approval by OEO and other appropriate University authorities.   

    • Best Practices when Selecting a Search Committee:    
      • Include members with differing perspectives and experiences, and with a demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.    
      • Include search committee members who identify as women and/or underrepresented minoritized individuals.
      • Consider the service loads and commitments of those serving on the committee.    
      • Ensure those on the search committee have a reason to be there. Do they interact with this position on a daily basis? Are they subject matter experts in relation to the position being filled?  

Search Support Staff Member – This is an individual identified to provide administrative support throughout the search process. This individual is not a voting member of the committee. The search support staff person will often attend meetings and as such will be held to the same expectations of confidentiality as voting members.    

Charge Meeting Considerations

Delegating time before the search to establish an understanding among the group is a key component to a successful search process. The charge meeting is an opportunity for the Hiring Authority, Search Chair, and the EO Coordinator to set the stage and create a roadmap for the search 

The charge meeting discussion should include:

    1. An outlined timeline with dates and methods for communication.
    2. The frequency and mode of the search committee meetings.
    3. Expectations concerning participation, confidentiality, and conflict of interest.
    4. What information is needed and discussions on how this information will be kept.
    5. The process used to create the position description and make decisions on an active recruitment plan.
    6. The process the committee will use to generate short lists of candidates to interview.
    7. How the committee should design interviews/campus visits.
    8. How biases can impact searches and the specific steps the committee will take to mitigate it.
    9. How to actively recruit diverse candidates focusing on increasing the number of women and underrepresented minoritized individuals in the applicant pool.
    10. How to format the recommendation to the hiring authority (i.e. ranked list, strengths and weaknesses).
    11. How reference checks will be performed and by whom.

Note: During these conversations it is important to address thoughts about diversity and excellence and how each are fully compatible goals that can and should be done concurrently. Also, it is important to discuss the College’s and/or department’s strategies for the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and how they are integrated in the search process. This may mean that departments with few or no individuals who identify as women and/or underrepresented minoritized faculty members will need to provide candidates with additional opportunities to connect with college and university colleagues throughout their time on campus. 


Creating the Position Description

Position descriptions should include information that educates the candidate about the role they are applying to. A great position description can be your best marketing tool and a wonderful way to share departmental, college, and university values.

Below are some questions that are important to consider as you are writing your position description:

    • What required qualifications are actually needed in this faculty role?
    • What qualifications might enhance the success and impact of the role?
    • Would a person need all the qualifications listed for this position to succeed in this role?
    • Is the information shared in the position description thorough and appealing to job seekers?
    • Have we described the position’s role, its impact, and how it contributes to diversity, equity, and inclusion?


Review the experiences and skills essential to the faculty position such as:

    • Evidence of scholarship; demonstrated accomplishment in academic functions (research and teaching); use several indicators of- merit.
    • Organizational and leadership experience.
    • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, core values of the University.
    • Ability to mentor diverse students and junior colleagues.

Be aware of biases while creating the minimum and preferred qualifications. During the qualification review process, it is important to assess and analyze what the “must-haves vs. nice-to-haves” are to appropriately recruit and hire. Accurately addressing qualifications within your position description/posting will allow for larger and more diverse applicant pools, which are optimal outcomes in every faculty search process.

International Faculty Applicants 

It is important for departments to determine if they will offer opportunities for sponsorship and inform the applicants within the posting.

Offering Sponsorship

If you are a department interested in offering sponsorship it is important to understand the regulations set by the Department of Labor. Below are resources that will assist in this process.

Not Offering Sponsorship

Using this statement in the job description will provide clear information, if a department does not intend to offer sponsorship ‘The successful candidate must be legally authorized to work in the United States by the proposed start date; The department will not sponsor a visa for this position.’


Evaluation Tools

It is essential to make sure that the evaluation process is fair and that all on time candidates receive the same consideration. Developing comprehensive rubrics that enables the search committee to equitably review and assess application materials is critical during the early stages of the search process. Below is a list of documents a committee may request from applicants for Faculty searches to help narrow down the applicant pool.

The evaluation of faculty candidates can be impacted by biases and stereotypes concerning identity; competence; outward appearance and personality; area of study and educational background; and common interests. Making sure to determine what application materials are needed to demonstrate the position requirements can positively impact the evaluation process by broadening the opportunity to learn more holistically about the candidate. 

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)  

A resume or CV provides the search committee with details about the applicant’s academic credentials and professional accomplishments that highlight the skills needed to perform the faculty position. In most cases a CV is the document of choice for faculty positions because they provide additional information focused on academic accomplishments

When reviewing these types of documents, it is important to allot time to review the information using a screening form and assess the biases that could arise while reviewing applicant credentials and experiences. 

Cover Letter  

Cover letters allow the search committee to learn additional information about an applicant’s skills and experiences in an example based narrative format. This allows the search committee to gain additional understanding of the applicant’s experiences and personality.   

Diversity Statement 

More and more searches are asking candidates to provide a diversity statement as part of their application materials. When asking applicants to provide a diversity statement it is important to give clear instructions on what you would like candidates to specifically address. By providing diversity statement instructions, you will make sure each candidate has the opportunity to address specific information. Below is an example of the information you should provide. 

    • In alignment with the CSU principles of community (https://diversity.colostate.edu/resources/principles-of-community/), all candidates are required to submit a one-page personal statement on their contributions to diversity and inclusion, regardless of personal characteristics. The purpose of the statement is to identify candidates who have the professional skills, experience, and/or willingness to engage in activities that will advance institutional diversity and equity goals. 

Teaching Philosophy 

If you would like to require candidates to submit a Teaching Philosophy Statement, it may be beneficial to add instructions to the request in the faculty posting. Below is an example of information you could provide to the candidates in order to make this process clearer. 

    • Candidates are required to submit a Teaching Philosophy Statement that contains your values and beliefs on teaching and learning; an overview of your teaching methods and strategies; and justification for your approach to teaching xyz. 

Research Statement  

If you require candidates to submit a Research Statement, it is important to add specific instructions highlighting your expectations.  A research statement that includes the candidate’s vision for their research within the next 5 years and the potential for research collaboration. 

    • Address biases such as subfield bias (when scholarship in the center of the field is seen as more valuable and important than research in subfields that are on the margins). 

Teaching Evaluations

You may want to require a sample of student evaluations as one of the ways to assess a candidate’s teaching skills but be aware that there are many studies that show these methods of evaluation are reflecting student biases and are unreliable. These evaluations can provide information about student learning and teaching; however it is important to acknowledge how biases can impact these assessments.

Reference Letters  

If you require candidates to submit reference letters, it is important to be aware of bias when evaluating the content. Below are some areas to consider when identifying the presence of bias.  

    • There are references to personal information such as first name, personal status, and hobbies and/or family commitments. 
    • References to teaching and service are highlighted/emphasized more than research.  
    • The use of gender stereotypes and gendered language is present in the letter.  
    • There are not clear accomplishment statements addressed in the letter.
    • Be aware if unnecessary doubt is raised in the reference letter.


It takes thoughtfulness and effort to make sure that a search process is inclusive, and evaluations are made without biases and assumptions. This section contains the following resources: processes and timelines, interview best practices, and evaluation guidelines.   

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Throughout the ‘During the Search’ phase of the search process there are many opportunities to embed DEI best practices. Designing thoughtful and inclusive interview sessions and messaging can clearly communicate the values and inclusive culture of the department/college to candidates. This information can indicate your departments commitment to supporting a community in which women and underrepresented minoritized faculty can grow and thrive. It is also important to share with candidates your departments mentoring plan and resources; teams and organizations that are focused on DEI practices; and campus and community resources (i.e. dual career, promotion, and tenure, and benefits). Throughout the interview process you can provide opportunities for candidates to connect with diverse faculty and staff as well as with faculty who might provide additional opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. 

Evaluation and Selection

The initial evaluation of applications and their materials should be completed using the pre-approved evaluation tools (i.e. Minimum Qualifications Screening Form and Application Rating Sheet). The Search Chair and one other committee member will review all on-time applications to ensure they meet the required (minimum) qualifications of the position. Applications that pass the initial screen are then reviewed by the entire committee using the Application Rating Sheet. Once the entire committee has completed their evaluations and rankings, they will come together as a group to narrow down the pool to form their short-list of candidates or semifinalist interview group.

Items to be aware of when evaluating applications:

    • Search committee members should allot time to evaluate each candidate in the same way. While the same amount of time does not need to be allotted to each application, ensure the evaluation is consistently applied.
    • Be mindful of individual biases and assumptions throughout the evaluation process.
    • Our experiences often impact the way we judge people.
    • We tend to choose people who are like us.
    • Refer to the job posting, and qualifications as needed.
    • Consider the experience and needs of our diverse student population.
    • Use evidence to arrive at your evaluations/ratings.
    • Understand that applicant experiences and career trajectories can vary from person to person, especially for women or underrepresented minoritized individuals. Keep an open mind when determining how an applicant may meet the qualifications of the position.

Conducting Interviews – The Candidate Experience

A thoughtfully designed search process takes into consideration what the candidates are experiencing at all stages. It should be a goal of the search committee to provide opportunities for candidates to be well-prepared and confident to demonstrate their strengths in virtual or in-person interviews. In addition to enabling all candidates to have a good experience, this initiative also provides a unique opportunity for your committee to express the values and qualities of the CSU community.

Communicating effectively with faculty candidates during the search process in a timely and thoughtful way is extremely important in providing a positive impression of the department, college, and CSU. Below are some communication considerations that will positively impact the candidate’s experience.

    • Send messages to those inquiring about the faculty position with information about how to apply. 
    • Send candidates information about the progress/timeline of the search in a timely manner. 
    • Inform candidates if they are not moving forward in the search. 
    • Send updates about the process and provide candidates who are interviewing with a detailed itinerary and information about the visit. 
    • Inform candidates that CSU offers accommodations to persons with disabilities. 
    • Clearly communicate expenses such as transportation, accommodations, and meals, making sure to share non-reimbursed expenses upfront and explain how to fill out reimbursement forms. 
    • Follow-up with finalists after interviews to provide additional timeline information (if a decision is delayed make sure to convey the delay to finalist without sharing information about contingent offers made). 
    • Make sure to learn the correct name pronunciation and pronouns of the candidates. Resources like NameCoach: a CSU tool that is added to Canvas courses allows users to record, listen to, and learn names to promote inclusion and belonging; VOA Pronunciation Guide: A good source, especially for international names, from the Voice of America; or Forvo: A crowdsourced database in which people from around the world pronounce words in their languages may be used to assist you and your colleagues. 
    • Send reminders to campus partners to provide their feedback after interviews and open forums. 

Problematic issues that can cause negative candidate experiences: 

    • Contradictory information during the interview process 
    • General and/or disorganized engagement (communications, interviews, and resource materials)  
    • Devaluing a candidate’s academic experiences   
    • Asking inappropriate and irrelevant questions   
    • Observed and unexplained interdepartmental conflict   
    • Lack of timely and direct communication throughout the process  

Planning for candidate interviews 

    • Virtual interview considerations 
      • Zoom/Teams – Limit the amount of meeting links and activate the waiting room feature. Build in breaks throughout the day and provide candidates with additional information about the technology and expectations (this could be a statement acknowledging that having a polished interview space is a privilege that not everyone has access to).
      • Send expectations to the virtual participants that encourage providing a welcoming and inclusive interview experience for all candidates. This includes making sure that participants either share their name on zoom or provide an introduction before asking a question. Encourage participants to keep their cameras on to increase engagement. Encourage participants to ask questions that align with the responsibilities of the position and the values of CSU.
      • Create ways to engage candidates in less formal ways. This could be a virtual meet and greet with students, virtual office tour, remote lunch, or additional resources that discuss campus values and culture.
      • Use meeting software that includes automatic transcription, or hire someone to provide real-time closed captioning, as necessary.
      • If desired, the committee may choose to provide the semifinalist interview questions beforehand to all candidates (i.e. 24 hours in advance, 1 hour in advance, 30 minutes in advance etc.) or, copy and paste the questions into the chat box as they are being asked.
    • Campus visits  
      • Identify all people and groups to be involved in the interview process.
      • Provide comprehensive information about the interview process to everyone involved.
      • Be mindful to provide process time to candidatesbuilding in opportunities for breaks and down-time in the interview schedule.  
      • Reserve suitable and accessible rooms for interviews. Share information with interviewers and stakeholders in advance. Send reminders as appropriate.
      • Consider food accommodations and the meal space/location.(E.g., does the restaurant meet the dietary and accessibility needs of candidate or have all gender-restrooms).
      • Provide specific information (position description, application materials, interview questions, interview agenda, and interview best practices) to interviewers and faculty involved prior to the interview.
      • Instruct faculty to provide specific feedback about the candidates (using an evaluation form) based on the job criteria rather than asking for general feedback. Research shows that when there is a specific focus on particular issues of performance, they are much less likely to rely on implicit or unconscious biases.
      • Inform faculty about the importance of providing candidates with a good interview experience at CSU.
      • Let everyone involved know about the importance of confidentiality and consistency.
      • Make sure that all interviewers and stakeholders who are asking questions during the interview know what types of questions are illegal and what are appropriate.
      • Allow candidates to do most of the talking during the interview.


Conducting Reference Checks

Reference checks are an important way to gather more information about candidates. Previous academic, job, volunteer, and leadership experiences can provide an opportunity to learn additional information and clarify questions and concerns. Search committee members should gather broad, well‐balanced additional information about each candidate’s performance and potential. 

Reference check considerations:  

    • Make sure to inform candidates before reaching out to their references.  
    • If the committee decides to contact off-list references, the candidate must be informed of this decision. If a candidate asks the committee not to contact a specific person, the committee must honor this request but can inform the candidate that their inability to do so may impact their candidacy.
    • Decide what information you will share with the references and create a list of questions. 
    • Make sure to contact references that can speak directly to the candidates work. This needed information can be gathered from direct supervisors, colleagues, or supervisees. 
    • It is better to schedule phone or video calls with references. Make sure to reach out with date and time options and allot enough time to have a thorough conversation. 
    • Be sure to have these conversations in a secure location and keep information shared confidential. 
    • Ask a combination of behavioral based, specific, and open-ended questions that provide a wealth of important information. Be cautious not to ask inappropriate questions. 
    • Be aware of your biases and assumptions.   

*Note: There is a process to request reference letters. This set-up happens before the search when posting the position. 

Submitting the Recommendation to the Hiring Authority

At the conclusion of the finalist interview process, the hiring authority should receive a final recommendation from the search committee. 

Hiring authorities make decision on who to hire. Requests to hire are submitted to the Office of Equal Opportunity for approval prior to verbal offer contingent on a successful background check made to candidate. 

Upon receipt of final recommendation from the search committee the hiring authority selects the candidate(s) to receive the job offer(s). Once a selection has been made, but prior to the verbal offer, the EO Coordinator and the OEO review the request submitted in the TMS. The turnaround for the review is 24 hours, but more time may be necessary if there are questions or additional information is needed. All offers, however, are subject to the approval of the Colorado State University Central Administration and the Board of Governors. After the selected candidate accepts the verbal offer, a background check is requested. Once the background check process is complete, the hiring authority can provide the candidate with a written offer letter. Once the signed offer letter is received and the hiring proposal is completed, the remaining non-selected candidates should receive notification from the search chair regarding their non-selection and the completion of the search. 


Making the Offer

Verbal Offer

The verbal offer should be extended to the finalist via phone prior to the official letter. During this conversation the finalist can ask questions concerning the position responsibilities, benefits, and community. At this time the finalist may ask for additional time to consider the offer or could negotiate (see below for more information).  

While making the verbal offer it is essential to express enthusiasm concerning the possibility of the finalist being part of the department’s faculty. It is also important to remind finalists that the offer is contingent on the completion of a background check.  

Offer Letter

The offer letter is a binding commitment by the University and must, therefore, be written carefully. The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President has standard offer letters for faculty and administrative professional positions that should be used for hires. The template is available on the Office of the Provost’s website Faculty Policies, Forms & Resources. The Office of the Provost must approve all faculty offer letters.   

Before sending an offer letter to a woman, underrepresented minoritized individual, a veteran, or a candidate with a disability who a department wishes to hire, the department or unit leader must make sure that the proposed pay level, academic rank, and start-up package are no less than they would be for a similarly qualified individual who may not possess a protected identity.    

The Colorado Equal Pay for Equal Work Act prohibits hiring authorities from inquiring about previous salary history. A hiring authority may ask a candidate about their salary expectations for the position but may not ask about past salary history.   

Special circumstances may be noted in the letter as needed. For example, if the prospective Assistant Professor has not yet completed their PhD by the date of offer, it is permissible to include a statement indicating that if not all degree work is complete by the start of the appointment, an adjustment in the title, salary, or percentage of appointment will be necessary.   

If there are unusual or special circumstances involved in your offer to a candidate, please contact the appropriate administrator within your college or division. If the unusual circumstances involve a faculty hire, contact the Office of the Provost.  

Finally, an offer letter may be extended to the successful candidate contingent upon the successful completion of the background check with satisfactory results to the University. A formal acceptance of the offer, either by a return letter or by signing a copy of the offer letter is required.    


Preparing for a candidate to negotiate their offer will maximize the candidate’s experience and success. It may be beneficial to encourage a candidate to advocate by sharing a list of possible negotiation items.

These items may include:   

    • Salary
    • Signing Bonus
    • Benefits
    • Course release time
    • Lab equipment
    • Lab space
    • Renovation of lab space
    • Research assistant
    • Clerical / administrative support
    • Attractive teaching opportunity
    • Travel funds
    • Discretionary Funds
    • Summer salary
    • Moving expenses
    • Assistance with partner/spouse position
    • Other issues of concern to the candidate 

It is important to take time to evaluate what went well and what did not go well after every search. This evaluation will enable your college and department to make positive changes moving forward to attracting a diverse applicant pool and considering diverse applicants for the position. In this section, you will find resources that support your search evaluation efforts. 

Communicate with candidates who were not hired

Make sure to update workflow states in TMS promptly.  

    • Once a candidate has been selected make sure to let all finalists know they have not been selected via a phone call or a personal email. This conversation should contain appreciation of their strengths and interests in the position and CSU. It could also be a great opportunity to encourage candidates to continue to apply for open opportunities. 
      • Note: The system only sends two automatic emails to applicants. The first is when they submit their application, the system will send a ‘thank you for applying’ email. The second is only sent if a search is collecting letters of recommendation. If a search is set up to collect reference letters, an applicant will receive an automatic email notification when one of their references has successfully uploaded a letter into the system. There are a few more emails that applicants receive from the system, but these are manually sent i.e. when an application has been reactivated or when their password or username has been reset. All other email correspondence with applicants/candidates is up to the committee. The system does not let unsuccessful applicants know that they were not selected for an AP and Faculty search. 

Evaluating the Success of your Search

It is a best practice to schedule a debrief after the search to learn more about what went well and what might need to be improved in the future. Below are some strategies that may assist in the evaluation process. 

    • Evaluate the effectiveness of recruitment strategies. What strategies were most effective and why? 
    • Create a post-search survey. Assessing the process, timeline, communication, evaluation, and structure. 
    • Integrate learning into future search processes based on what feedback is shared.  
    • Review the overall numbers and demographics of the applicants. 

After the Hire

Recruitment and hiring practices are not just about the search process but should be ongoing. It is important to retain and support faculty, making sure that they feel welcome, safe, and supported at CSU.