Search Process when using a Search Firm

Using Search Firms for Recruitment

In some instances a Search Firm may assist the Search Committee with the recruitment process. Hiring Managers should review this detailed guideline prior to contracting a private search firm to assist in the search process.

To ensure that University hiring procedures are observed, questions may be directed to CRTC.

Search Process when using a Search Firm

Prior to the search firm posting the position announcement, or otherwise advertising the position, a recruitment request must be generated in PageUp and receive all necessary approvals. This is still the case, even if applications for the search will be received by the search firm/consultant and not through PageUp. The recruitment request documents necessary approvals and if applicable, also ensures that the position will be posted by HR to the Dual Career Assistance (DCA) 5-day listserv prior to being advertised externally. This allows eligible DCA candidates the opportunity to be considered for the position. The DCA posting is a requirement except in the case of recruitments for an executive officer position (See University Policy 1600.01 for more information). If there are any DCA applicants, the search committee must first consider these applicants before the position can be posted externally, as outlined in Procedure 1600.01A – Requesting a Dual Career Assistance Appointment of Opportunity. Once the DCA process has concluded, HR will coordinate with the search chair to confirm that the position can be posted externally by the search firm, and ensure that the posting is included on the WWU Jobs webpage, with reference to the appropriate application instructions and/or link to the search firm’s website if applications are not being received through PageUp.

The hiring department is responsible to consolidate and retain all Search and Recruitment Records for the necessary retention period (refer to University Records Retention Schedule for appropriate period of time). The hiring department will need to obtain all applicable materials from the search firm prior to the close of the search.

In some cases, search firms may prefer to allow candidates to express interest prior to submitting a full application. However, the minimum application for any university job should include a cover letter, resume, and names/contact information for at least three professional references. Therefore, search firms may choose to initially screen candidates for their interest in the position before requiring candidates to submit a complete application, however, anyone interested in being considered for the position must submit a complete application including a cover letter, resume, and references. This provides consistency in the evaluative materials both for the search firm and the search committee. Additionally, when it comes to the request to interview stage, Western’s Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance office (CRTC) will require a cover letter/resume for all finalists in order to approve as Finalists/Alternates for final interviews.

Telephone or video pre-screen interviews with semi-finalists are optional and may be conducted by the search committee without formal approval from CRTC. However, approval is required prior to extending invitation for interviews with finalists, regardless of whether finalist interviews will be conducted in-person or virtually, although all finalist interviews should be conducted in a consistent format. Note: It is not WWU’s practice to record any elements of the employee selection process. See CRTC’s Toolkit for Inclusive Searches for additional information on this and other topics.

In order to request approval of finalists to interview, the search chair must ensure that a Request to Interview E-sign form is submitted to CRTC@wwu.edu for approval. (This routing mirrors the current routing for Professional Staff positions used currently in PageUp). In initiating the form, the submitter will need to attach an Excel spreadsheet listing all applicants and including dispositions for all applicants not being requested as either a Finalist or an Alternate for interview. [See template/sample Excel spreadsheets provided by CRTC]. The search chair will need to coordinate with the search firm to receive dispositions in the case of any applications that were initially screened out by the search firm and not forwarded to the search committee for further review. Upon approving the Request to Interview E-Sign form, CRTC will route the form to HR.Disclosure@wwu.edu. Finalists approved for interview will need to meet the Sexual Misconduct Background Check requirements. No offer of employment can be made until this background check is complete. Human Resources will coordinate with the hiring department to initiate the process. The hiring department can conduct interviews while background checks are in process. Questions about this requirement can be directed to HR.Disclosure@wwu.edu.

Following final interviews, it is encouraged that references be checked for all finalists (if not already done prior to interviews). At a minimum, checking references for the selected finalist is required prior to submitting a request to offer. Approval is required prior to extending any kind of offer (whether verbal or in writing).

Once a determination has been made regarding a selected finalist, reference checks should be completed, if not already done for all finalists. Prior to extending any kind of offer to the selected finalist, the search coordinator, search chair, and/or hiring authority should contact their HR Consultant, so that the offer and approval process may be facilitated through PageUp. This will also ensure the new hire has access to the online paperwork and onboarding portal. The search chair will also need to send an updated Excel spreadsheet with final dispositions for the applicant pool to CRTC@wwu.edu. This should include dispositions for any additional applicants received, and also dispositions for finalists that were not selected, indicating how they were less qualified than the selected candidate.