Selection committees can use this guide to assist in recruiting, interviewing, and selecting the best candidate for tenure and tenure-track faculty positions.
Getting it right on recruitment
Follow these guidelines to ensure a selection process that's bias-free, that complies with federal government regulations on hiring foreign academics, and which avoids potential complaints about human rights and privacy violations.
Before you start recruiting
Taking a look at your immediate and future needs and establishing effective criteria for candidate selection are vital to the recruitment process
Needs and criteria
Needs and equity considerations
- Analyze your unit’s immediate and future needs, referring to UBC's strategic plan Shaping UBC’s Next Century and your faculty and department unit plan.
- Determine the diversity of faculty presently in your unit. Are members of the groups designated in Policy HR10 – Employment Equity (pdf, formerly Policy #2) – visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons with minority sexual orientations and gender identity – represented at all levels of employment? As part of the hiring plan, the unit should review their faculty’s equity plan to ensure consistency with the Faculty’s equity programs and strategies.
- Establish objective, measurable criteria, such as education and experience, which will help determine a candidate’s chances for success in a specific position.
- Consider criteria such as the ability to work with diverse students and colleagues, or experience with a variety of teaching methods and curricular perspectives.
- Weigh the criteria in terms of their relative importance. Review the selection committee guidelines from your Dean’s Office and from UBC's Resources for Hiring Committees to assist in planning and implementing best hiring practices.
Preparing the advertisement
UBC has specific guidelines around recruiting ads, including the need for inclusive language and transparency around hiring criteria.
Ad considerations and process
- Ensure that all advertisements meet the advertising guidelines for faculty positions and are consistent with Policy HR11 – Employment Advertising (pdf, formerly Policy #20).
- Note especially that all advertisements must include the following: “UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. We encourage all qualified persons to apply. Canadians and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority.”
- We recommend the full equity statement as provided in the UBC Advertisement Template Checklist (doc).
Prepare the advertisement using inclusive language in order not to exclude designated employment equity group members: it's suggested that you use language of Policy HR11 – Employment Advertising (pdf, formerly Policy #20).
Objective measurable criteria
- To attract and secure the best possible candidate, use the objective measurable criteria established earlier when listing qualifications in your advertisements.
- For example, if your department knows it will not consider candidates for a position unless they have 10 years of experience, that requirement should be spelled out in the advertisement. As well, your department should use phrases like “demonstrable excellence” in teaching or research to establish the qualifications for the position.
- Note especially that in the event you may need to hire a non-Canadian, you must explain why Canadian applicants did not meet the advertised qualifications.
Ad approval from your dean
Send the advertisement to your dean who, upon granting approval, will forward it to the provost for final approval at the Vancouver campus and the deputy vice chancellor at the Okanagan campus.
Please refer to the advertising guidelines for faculty positions for further details, and particularly to the UBC Advertisement Template Checklist (doc). Provide your dean’s office with a completed hiring plan (pdf) along with the advertisement. You may use the provided template or another approved for use by your faculty.
Placing the advertisement
There are rules and considerations around how and where to place recruiting ads.
Ad placement and other options
Know the guidelines
Reaching a wider audience
To reach the widest audience of qualified candidates, utilize not only conventional, but also alternative media of interest to equity-seeking groups. Consider advertising positions in the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW) or other specialized publications such as the Canadian Journal of Native Studies, Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology Newsletter, or Senior Women Academic Administrators (SWAAC).
Utilize contacts and colleagues
Although all vacancies must be advertised, use proactive recruitment to encourage qualified applicants, such as contacting colleagues at other universities.
List serves and professional associations may also provide free advertising opportunities. Implement and document any proactive recruitment strategies used during advertising as part of your unit’s development of successful strategies for broad recruitment. Examples can be found on the Sample Hiring Checklist and Recruitment Plan (pdf).
Selection committee requirements
Selection committees should be diverse and keenly aware of their roles.
Selection committee checklist
Take steps to ensure the following:
- Selection committee chair and members understand their roles in the selection process and their roles as representatives of the University.
- Committee members understand the importance of maintaining confidentiality and aren't in any conflict of interest, such as personal relationships. See Policy SC3 – COI (pdf, formerly Policy #97).
- Members of employment-equity groups are included on selection committees. If your unit doesn't have designated-group members, consider inviting a member from a related department to assist in the selection process.
- All panel members are available to interview all candidates in order to ensure that each candidate is given an equal opportunity to demonstrate her/his suitability for the position.
- All members of the interview team are familiar with competency-based interviewing. In competency-based interviewing, candidates are encouraged to use actual examples from their work-related situations that demonstrate the required skills and core competencies.
- All members of the interview team are aware of ways human rights legislation affects the questions they may ask.
- Orientation is provided for selection committee members. Contact Faculty Relations at the Vancouver campus, or George Athans in the human resources department at the Okanagan campus, for assistance. Enquire with your faculty's dean's office on potential in-house selection committee workshops. Review the equity/diversity orientation materials.
- Ensure broad input from diverse viewpoints to the selection committee, particularly when the committee is small. Broad input is recommended at the stages of short listing, interviewing and selection of successful candidate(s). UBC’s Faculty Collective Agreement (Part 4: Conditions of Appointment for Faculty) indicates consultation through standing committees.
Selection process guidelines
- To comply with provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) and Human Rights legislation, all members of the selection committee should ensure an objective and transparent process.
- Keep a factual record of the recruitment and selection process. Include copies of advertisements as well as descriptions of special measures to recruit members of the designated groups. Should human rights groups or government agencies inquire about your recruitment and selection procedures, you may be required to produce evidence that your hiring process was fair. Records must be kept for a period of one year from the time of the interview and should be filed in a secure place. In addition, if the successful candidate is a foreign academic records must be kept for six years from date of hire.
- Be aware that employers may legally discriminate against candidates on the basis of “bona fide occupational requirements” (BFORs), but these occupational requirements must be applied in good faith and relate objectively to candidates’ ability to perform essential aspects of a specific position. BFORs must be applied consistently to all candidates.
- To track the success of your proactive recruitment in attracting equity groups to your applicant pool(s), your unit (or faculty) should implement an applicant employment equity survey. Find instructions and examples. Tracking applicant pools before deadlines will inform the search committee of its success of proactive recruitment strategies and any needs to alter its strategies.
Canadian/resident candidates vs. foreign academics
- In the event you may need to hire a foreign academic, you must explain why Canadian and permanent resident applicants didn't meet the advertised qualifications.
- If your department knows it will not consider candidates for a position unless they have 10 years of experience, for example, that requirement should be spelled out in the advertisement. As well, your department should use phrases like “demonstrable excellence” in teaching or research to establish the qualifications for the position.
- Please review Recruiting Foreign Academics for further information.
Screening and interviewing candidates
Evaluate each application against established criteria, and prior to interviewing shortlisted candidates, develop a set of questions based on job-related criteria.
- Review and evaluate each application against the previously established criteria that are job-relevant, objective, and measurable.
- Establish your short list of candidates based on those who meet the minimum advertised qualifications. From this pool, derive your interview shortlist. Departments must be able to document and justify the way in which they developed the short list.
- Ensure that you don't unreasonably exclude applicants who have qualifications or experience acquired in non-traditional ways; rather, look for diversity in background, experience, and research.
- Ensure that you do not unreasonably exclude part-time and sessional faculty from the search process, given that women and visible minority faculty may be more represented in these ranks.
- If members of employment equity groups don't make it to the shortlist, review the applications to ensure the list doesn't reflect bias. For example, stereotypical assumptions about the importance of an uninterrupted work record may disadvantage women, persons with disabilities, or recent immigrants. Ask yourself: is an uninterrupted work record a valid test of a candidate’s ability to meet the requirements of a position?
- UBC is required to supply the number of Canadian/Permanent Resident applicants and the number of foreign applicants to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. As such you will need to pose the following question to applicants who have not identified their legal entitlement to work in Canada: “As priority is given to Canadian citizens and Canadian permanent residents, could you advise of whether you are a Canadian citizen or a Canadian permanent resident?”
- Before approval of the shortlist, the Faculty (Dean’s office) will review and discuss the shortlist with your unit regarding your documented recruitment efforts in context of applicant pool and availability data.
- Keep applicants informed as to the progress of the search, either by email, letter, or website.
- Prior to the interview, develop a set of questions based on job-related criteria and ask all candidates, including internal ones, the same questions. For example, if the job requires travel, don't ask candidates to describe their family responsibilities. Ask all candidates – men and women alike – if they're available to travel. In this way you can make valid comparative judgments.
- Ask questions that relate directly to the BFORs of the position and avoid questions relating to protected human rights grounds, such as sex, ancestry, disability or sexual orientation. For guidelines on questions employers may ask to gather information that relates to ability to do the job, review What May I Ask? (pdf) and A Guide to Screening and Selection in Employment. (pdf)
- Ensure that questions assess criteria that can be evaluated objectively.
- Be aware that Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) allows selection committees to consider “fit” when evaluating applicants. “Fit” refers to a candidate’s ability to make a positive contribution to the departmental environment. Committees must ensure that “fit” is not used inappropriately to indulge personal biases or to discriminate against candidates from groups protected by human rights legislation.
- Schedule the candidates’ presentations so that all voting committee members can attend. Should committee members miss meetings or presentations, ensure that there are notes or tapes that enable them to stay informed. Interview arrangements are coordinated by the Department.
- Remember that candidates are also making decisions about UBC. Be prepared to arrange meetings between candidates and campus resources, such as, at the Vancouver campus, First Nations House of Learning, and UBC Access and Diversity, and at the Okanagan Campus, resources identified by the Equity Advisor. Candidates may also wish to be put in touch with UBC's housing and relocation team to better understand the university’s provisions for new faculty.
- Be aware that UBC has an Equipment Accommodation Fund to provide adaptive equipment for employees with disabilities.
- Ensure conversations and written communications with applicants do not depart from UBC’s policies and the UBC-UBC Faculty Association collective agreements.
- Provide all candidates with information on opportunities available to new faculty, such as research and housing grants, and mentoring programs.
- Human rights legislation prohibits both intentional and unintentional discrimination. Keep in mind that the legality of the selection process does not rest upon your intentions, but rather upon the consistency with which you treat the candidates and the types of questions you ask them.
- Review the equity/diversity orientation materials and develop consistent methods with broad input on the candidates based on the selection criteria. Ensure that this input is available to the selection and departmental standing committees.
Identifying the successful candidate
The voting process
- Request a meeting of eligible members of the department to identify the successful candidate and vote per the Faculty Collective Agreement (Part 4: Conditions of Appointment for Faculty).
- Any new tenure stream appointment without tenure requires only one round of voting, for which all tenure stream faculty are eligible to participate.
- Any new tenure stream appointment with tenure requires two rounds of voting: one for the appointment at the advertised rank (all tenure stream faculty are eligible to vote) and another for tenure (only those eligible to vote as per Chart B (pdf))”
Applicants, reference checks and offers
If the selection committee includes members that aren't voting, ensure that the selection committee’s process and recommendations are clearly communicated to the departmental standing committee.
- Offer positions to citizens and permanent residents of Canada before offering them to foreign candidates if qualified and meet the selection criteria.
- Whether interviewed or not, all unsuccessful applicants must be told in writing that they were unsuccessful prior to the public announcement of the hire. Be prepared to give detailed reasons for the rejection of all Canadian and permanent resident applicants.
- Perform a thorough reference check of the successful candidate by telephone. Note that you should only contact references provided by the candidate unless you have sought the candidate’s permission to contact others or unless the candidate is currently employed with UBC or was previously employed by the university.
- Before making a formal offer to a successful candidate, your dean should seek approval of the offer from the provost at the Vancouver campus and the deputy vice chancellor at the Okanagan campus.
- Be willing to restart a search process if you don't find an excellent candidate.
- Make a conditional offer in writing to the successful candidate. Avoid suggestions that UBC’s policies are a mere formality, lack significance, or will not present a barrier to the appointment. We encourage you to use the offer letter templates.
The appointment process
Faculty appointment package
a) The Faculty Appointment Package
The Department forwards the appointment package to the Dean. Upon the Dean’s recommendation, the appointment package is then forwarded to:
- at the Vancouver campus: Faculty Relations, who seek approval from the Provost
- at the Okanagan campus: Deputy Vice Chancellor
b) The Senior Appointments Committee Recommendation (if applicable)
Recommendations at the rank of Associate Professor, Professor and Senior Instructor must be forwarded to the Senior Appointments Committee (SAC) (See The Guide to Promotion and Tenure Procedures at UBC for details) via Faculty Relations at the Vancouver campus and the Deputy Vice Chancellor at the Okanagan campus. Faculty Relations at the Vancouver campus will coordinate with SAC on all recommendations. SAC recommends appointments to the President who then decides for or against appointments.
c) Foreign Academic Package
For the appointment of all foreign academics, specific immigration-related documents must be forwarded to Faculty Relations (Vancouver campus) or Human Resources (Okanagan campus). Please ensure you review the information on the Foreign Academics Recruitment Page and ensure you are adhering to the recordkeeping requirements and that all necessary documentation is forwarded to Faculty Relations/Human Resources as early as possible.
As per Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) regulations, recruitment records for foreign nationals must be kept on file for 6 years from date of hire.
Please note that Section 9 provides a snapshot of the appointment process and does not contain all of the administrative details. If you require more information about the appointment process, please contact: