Expediting the Search

Many tasks can be completed differently to expedite a regular search. The time-savers involved do not have a negative impact on the search’s rigor. The key factor is to use any or all of the following techniques in the correct combination and degree when appropriate for unique situations. Building in additional safeguards to ensure a quality search is also an option.

The following are suggestions that can help to expedite searches:

  • Complete approvals via electronic means instead of campus mail, or announce the expedited nature of the search to all decision makers at once through a single e-mail asking for support.
  • Shorten the advertising period, with length depending on the type of position.
  • Use online media rather than printed. Online ads can be placed immediately; print generally involves lag time.
  • Recruit before posting the job by informing promising candidates that a vacancy announcement is forthcoming.
  • Recruit aggressively via phone; have two or more people call numerous potential candidates.
  • Start screening applications as they come in rather than waiting until the closing date to review (this is easier if you use an electronic applicant-tracking system).
  • Use a screening committee to reduce the candidate pool to a list of 6 to 12 semifinalists, and then give the list to the search committee for further review and action.
  • An appointing authority or hiring manager screens the pool, reduces the pool of candidates to 6 to 12, and then hands over semifinalists to the search committee.
  • Reduce the number of search committee members to five. Smaller groups are easier to assemble and can deliberate faster.
  • Determine selection criteria and screening instruments in advance; these are chosen by the appointing authority/hiring manager, committee chair, or HR.
  • Evaluate all candidates by the prepopulated screening instrument presented to the search committee for its initial review to expedite the members’ analysis and deliberations (This initial screening can be completed by the appointing authority, committee chair, or HR – see Vignette Q: RH Prescreen or Minimal Qualifications Screening, p. 63).
  • Establish a calendar before forming a committee.
    “We invite you to serve on the search committee for ________________________ position. Due to time considerations, the committee will meet on the following dates ___________________ and will interview the week (s) of ___________________. If you are interested, and are available to serve in this important capacity, we thank you in advance for your consideration.”
  • Conduct additional screening methods prior to the on-campus interview, reducing the number of interviewees.
  • Use the telephone interviews, questionnaires, sample writings, submission of portfolios and so on.
  • Use video interviews to reduce the number of candidates invited to campus.
  • Abbreviate the interview schedule; schedule a half day instead of a full day, and so on.
  • Interview candidates on the same day; rotate candidates through the committees, groups, and individuals involved in the interviews.
  • Rank and invite only the top candidate (based on the search committee’s deliberation) to campus. If he or she is successful, hire that person without entertaining others further. It is important to note that the best approach with this option is to use it under the following conditions:
    1. Your policies allow this practice,
    2. This option is selected and approved of before the search commences,
    3. It is used in conjunction with multiple screening methods,
    4. The campus interview occurs after all telephone/video interviews are completed, and
    5. Invitations should be sent with the oversight and approval of senior leaders and equal opportunity professionals.
  • Schedule the search committee to meet an hour after the last candidate leaves campus to formulate a recommendation rather than waiting until a later time.
  • Give a recommendation to the appointing authority verbally instead of in writing.
  • Schedule the appointing authority to meet with the committee immediately following its deliberations.