Guide to Successful Searches Overview

As a manager, hiring new employees are among the most important decisions you make. The Office of Human Resources wants to help you find the most qualified candidates for your department. When you fill a vacancy, create a new job or promote an employee, the process is as important as the selection of the right candidate. Hiring Managers have very important responsibilities when conducting searches. The people you hire affect the characteristics and quality of our diverse workforce.

The Office of Human Resources is available to support you during every step in the hiring process; which includes, assisting in creating a position description, posting a position in PageUp, developing a diverse candidate pool, screening, testing (if appropriate), interviewing, reference checking, setting the salary and offering the job.

The Guide to Successful Searches is designed to provide you with everything you will need to know to conduct a successful job search.

You can count on support from the Office of Human Resource’s staff when you have a question or problem. Just call Jacquie Kittler at x5-7559.

We are here to help! 


Pursuant to its Non-Discrimination and Harassment BOT policy, Doc. T16-040, The University of Massachusetts President’s Office (“President’s Office”) prohibits unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against anyone based on religion, color, creed, race, marital status, veteran or military status, age, sex, (including sexual harassment), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, disability, genetic information, or any other legally protected class, in education, admission, access to or treatment in, its programs, services, benefits, activities, and terms and conditions of employment at the President’s Office. To  fulfill  that  policy,  the  University  of  Massachusetts  is  further  committed  to  a  program  of affirmative  action  to  eliminate  or  mitigate  artificial  barriers  and  to  increase  opportunities  for  the recruitment  and  advancement  of  qualified  minorities,  women,  persons  with  disabilities,  and covered veterans.

Before beginning a search, it is helpful to understand the difference between the concepts of “equal employment opportunity,” and “affirmative action.” Equal employment opportunity means that all individuals must be treated equally in all employment decisions, including hiring.  Each candidate must be evaluated based on his or her ability to perform the duties of the position without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Affirmative action requires that additional efforts be made to increase employment opportunities for women and members of underrepresented groups when there is underutilization in a job classification. Affirmative action also requires an organization to demonstrate a good faith effort to recruit, employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities and veteran status. These efforts may include expanded efforts in outreach and recruitment to increase the pool of qualified women, people of color, individuals with disabilities and veterans.

Race, color, ethnicity, gender, disability, and other protected classifications cannot be considered as part of a final hiring decision but intentional marketing efforts must be taken to promote representation within the candidate pool.  The Search Committee is expected to demonstrate “significant” effort in attempting to recruit a diverse pool of candidates.

“Significant” efforts could be established by:

  • Making overtures via letter/email or phone call to underrepresented individuals in the field encouraging them to submit nominations or apply for the position.
  • Sharing the posting on LinkedIn affinity groups.
  • Contacting graduate schools, which traditionally award large numbers of specialized degrees or doctorates to members of underrepresented groups.
  • If funds are available, the institution may support the cost for one or more members of the department to travel to a national conference for the purpose of recruiting and interviewing possible candidates.
  • Attending meetings of affinity groups within professional organizations.

Other no-cost ways to recruit a diverse pool of candidates:

  • Referrals from current employees.
  • Word of mouth to friends, neighbors, and professional contacts.
  • Professional and personal acquaintances, alumni, and others.
  • Posting sites and job placement offices at technical schools, high schools, universities and other educational institutions, and their alumni associations.
  • Bulletin boards at community centers and libraries.
  • Local professional organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, women’s groups, trade organizations, and diversity/multicultural/disability organizations.
  • Public employment services such as local career centers.
  • Vendors and businesses that are downsizing.

Hiring processes are subject to federal and state regulations.  If a hiring decision or hiring process is challenged under one of these requirements, such as a discrimination allegation, this documentation is key for the UMass President’s Office to successfully defend its hiring processes. Records can support that the process focused on job-related requirements, skills, and abilities, and that the process was managed in a professional manner.

All members of the Search Committee must be prepared to retain all search-related documents, such as interview notes, notes on resumes, applications, cover letters, interview sheet(s), references, and any other paperwork generated as a result of the process for all applicants must be retained in the hiring department’s recruitment file.  

At the conclusion of the search, the committee chair collects all the documentation and forwards it to the hiring department representative for retention. The department must retain the compiled search file for three years after the calendar year in which the records were created. Upon expiration of the three year retention period, the materials should be destroyed confidentially, such as confidential shredding.

The Office of Human Resources retains online employment application materials and job postings.