4.02 Staff Recruitment and Hiring


To outline the policy and required procedures for recruiting and hiring non-temporary staff, which includes non-academic Institutional Officials and Directors, Professional & Scientific (P&S) staff and Merit system staff.

Policy Statement

The University is committed to effective recruiting and hiring to achieve a highly-qualified and diversified workforce that supports attainment of the strategic plan. Recruitment and hiring processes must comply with federal and state public policy and law, university and Board of Regents policies and relevant collective bargaining agreements. Recruitment and hiring processes must be comprehensive yet efficient in order to competitively position the University in the acquisition of talent and to achieve our affirmative action goals and benchmarks.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Human Resource Services (HRS):

  • Administers the search process which includes providing general search training and support to hiring officials and search committees
  • Maintains and manages applicant tracking system(s) used for recruitment and selection
  • Assists hiring departments with composing advertisements and position announcements
  • Provides primary support to  departments in developing and carrying out recruitment strategies
  • Provides compensation analysis to hiring officials to ensure anticipated hiring range supports internal and market equity
  • Ensures adherence to Regents Merit System Rules and collective bargaining agreements related to processes such as transfers, eligibility and recall provisions
  • Approves offer letters
  • Conducts all required background and credential checks

Office of Compliance & Equity Management (OCEM):

  • Ensures personnel involved with hiring are trained on equal employment opportunity and related procedures
  • Approves recruitment plans (i.e., search committee representation and ad sources), to ensure they align with equal opportunity provisions and affirmative action goals and benchmarks
  • Maintains equal opportunity and affirmative action statement templates for use in advertisements and communications to applicants
  • Provides guidance to search committee,  search chair and/or hiring official related to equal opportunity
  • Approves all interview pools prior to interviews being scheduled
  • Gathers and maintains data for affirmative action purposes

Hiring Official (Dean, Director, Department Head, Division Head or designee):

  • Per contracting authority policy (10.02) the hiring official is responsible for signing the offer letter
  • Makes hiring decision and works with HRS to finalize offer details; extends verbal offer, negotiates details, and signs offer letter

Other items in the following list may be delegated as appropriate:

  • Ensures staff participating in the selection process have been properly trained on search procedures
  • Participates in campus interviews even when not part of the official search committee
  • Conducts reference checks or delegates reference checking to specific individuals of the search committee
  • Maintains and secures search records for three years following search conclusion
  • Requires new hires an opportunity to attend new hire orientation and ensures new hire paperwork is completed
  • Ensures, as required by law, the new employee section (section one) of Form I-9 is completed no later than the first day of employment and that documentation establishing identity and eligibility to work in the United States is presented by the new hire to HRS no later than the third day of employment
  • Ensures completion of Personnel Action Form (PAF) and supervisor's new employee check list

Search Committees (or Hiring Official in absence of a search committee):

  • Completes all required training as identified by HRS and/or OCEM
  • Screens applicants based on qualifications
  • Communicates with applicants (e.g., email or phone screens) when deemed necessary or beneficial to further screen candidates as well as to confirm salary, schedule expectations and/or continued interest in the position
  • Contacts and schedules interviews with applicants once OCEM approval of interview pool has been obtained
  • Provides an assessment of strengths and weaknesses of each interviewed candidate to the Hiring Official 
  • Uses applicant tracking system for P&S positions and alternative system for other classifications to provide documentation of reasons for non-selection for candidates not selected, including  details for non-selection of qualified veterans who have requested veteran’s preference
  • Conducts reference checks as delegated by the Hiring Official
  • Send communications to candidates not selected
  • Forwards search records to the Hiring Official following the search, including searches that do not result in a hire


Search Committee Composition:

  • For all Merit positions and P&S positions not designated as P&S Annual (e.g., some department directors) the search process may be administered by the Hiring Official in collaboration with the position’s supervisor, if different. Search committees may be used if desired, but are not required unless the hiring official (in consultation with OCEM) determines a committee is appropriate.
  • For all Institutional Officials and P&S Annual positions, search committees must be utilized. Recommended search committee size is three to five members, but may be more as deemed appropriate by the Hiring Official and/or OCEM. Search committee composition should be relevant for the position being hired and represent diverse perspectives.

Advertising Requirements:

Per Iowa Code, all non-temporary positions open for external recruitment will be advertised on the applicant tracking web site for a minimum of 10 business days. Internal and external advertisements are prepared and approved by HRS based upon the official position description and shall include notices required by law. Some advertising sources, such as newspaper print advertisements (when utilized), will typically combine multiple openings and refer job seekers to the applicant tracking web site for full position announcement information. Certain recruitment sources will be required in compliance with federal regulations and/or affirmative action goals and benchmarks. Hiring officials, in consultation with HRS and OCEM, may return to a finalist deemed acceptable in a previously concluded search in the event an additional immediate hiring need arises.

Search Waivers and Alternate Search Processes:

Special circumstances may warrant requests for exceptions to University hiring policies. In such cases, the Division Head, in consultation with HRS and OCEM, may grant a search waiver or alternate search process. The Division Head shall keep documentation regarding the rationale for the approval. Examples where a search waiver or alternate search process may be considered include:

  • Positions requiring a unique skill set and for which posting the position is unlikely to identify a pool of more qualified applicants than already exists internally
  • When there is not budgetary support to add an additional staff member within the hiring unit thereby requiring the position to be filled from existing staff
  • For internal promotions in an area with a defined career path and where no new vacancy exists due to an individual being promoted to the next level in the career path
  • For hires approved pursuant to the Opportunity Hire Policy
  • Critical circumstances requiring that an individual be placed in a position within a very short timeframe

Examples where a search waiver or limited internal search may not be appropriate:

  • Positions covered by provisions of a collective bargaining agreement
  • Positions for which the intended hire is currently in a UNI temporary position

Search Firms:

In limited cases a search firm may be used upon prior consultation with HRS. The search firm must be selected through a competitive bid process completed through University purchasing (unless total fees charged are lower than the competitive bid threshold), which includes the use of HRS' Scope of Work template as part of the University Request for Quotation. The search firm must contractually agree to comply with the University’s affirmative action and data management obligations and to collect and provide OCEM with related information. HRS must conduct all final background checks as required by policy 4.30 and approve the final offer of employment.

Testing/Work Samples:

Where applicable, asking candidates to provide work samples for review by search committees and/or hiring officials is encouraged to aid in the applicant evaluation process. Any testing of applicants must be approved in advance by HRS, where a review of the test will be conducted to ensure it is job-related and not likely to result in an unintended negative impact. Campus open forums are not considered testing/work samples. 

Reference Checks:

Reference checks must be conducted on the final candidate (s) for all staff positions prior to offer. The Hiring Official must ensure consistency in the manner in which reference checks are conducted as well as the designee(s) conducting the checks. If more than one finalist is identified after interviews, reference checks on all finalists may be conducted to aid with the final selection. References may consist of applicant-provided references or others consistent with the applicant’s employment history. Documentation of the reference checks and all related notes must be maintained with search records.

Candidate Travel Reimbursement:

Reimbursing interview candidates for travel expenses is recommended for candidates traveling 75 or more miles one way to campus. Search committees are encouraged to set parameters with interview candidates on their travel or schedule their travel for them to monitor and control costs. Cost control means may include the selection of economical lodging and encouraging driving instead of flying for shorter distances. If accommodations are requested by an applicant, committees are encouraged to consult with HRS.  Consult with the Office of Business Operations regarding the travel reimbursement process, current mileage rates and documentation required for reimbursement.  All candidates within a search must be treated equitably and consistently.  Questions regarding this may be directed to HRS.

Offers of Employment:

Verbal and written offers of employment for staff positions may only be made at a Department Head/Director level or higher in consultation with and as approved by HRS. All offer letters must be pre-approved by HRS and include appropriate employment contingencies, such as “upon successful completion of all relevant pre-employment background checks.”

Employment of Individuals Under Age 18:

The hiring of a minor should be rare and must be approved by the appropriate department or division head. There may be restrictions on the job duties or working hours of those under the age of 18. See Guidelines for Hiring Minors for more information and necessary forms.

International Employees:

UNI welcomes employment applications from qualified foreign nationals. If an offer of employment is extended to an individual who is not authorized to work in the United States, there are steps UNI may need to take on behalf of the foreign national with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to legally employ the individual. This process is subject to approval by USCIS and may take one to six months to complete, depending on the type of visa requested and/or the individual’s current immigration status.

Related University Policies:

13.01 Affirmative Action

13.02 Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy

13.03 Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement

4.03 Conflict of Interest in Employment (Nepotism)

4.10 Moving Expenses

9.44 Travel Reimbursement

6.01 Faculty Appointments

6.02 Department Head Recruitment/Appointments

6.03 Academic Dean Recruitment/Appointments

4.30 Policy for Conducting Pre-Employment Checks

4.26 Telework Policy

10.02 Contracting Authority

Human Resource Services, approved May 13, 2015
President’s Cabinet, approved May 19, 2015
President and Executive Management Team, approved July 31, 2015