Conduct the Search

Search to recruit

The search process is itself an opportunity to recruit job candidates from underrepresented group to campus. Here are some tips

  • Work strenuously to build a diverse pool of applicants. (see Diversify Your Pool)
  • Ensure that your search committee has the broadest representation possible. Think first about the inclusion of faculty from the “protected categories” listed in EEO policy, but consider as well generational diversity, diversity of intellectual approach, and demonstrated commitment to diversity aims.  If you are searching in a subfield that is underrepresented in or new to your department or program, it is sometimes helpful to invite a faculty member outside your unit but affiliated with the field to participate in the search. (This could range from giving a short presentation on the subfield to the department or program to full participation in the search.)
  • Keep track of candidates as they move through the search process. If the goal is to build a more inclusive pool of applicants, each step of the process—the building of the initial pool, but also the first thinning process, the making of the short list for interviewing and of the still-shorter list of on-campus interviewees—should aim to yield as diverse a group as possible. With Interfolio, a chair or search committee can monitor the pool at every stage.  Check the pool shortly before the application deadline: a search committee might consider intensifying the search or even extending the deadline if the initial pool looks too homogeneous. And then, screen to include candidates. Screening only to narrow the pool may cause you to miss attractive candidates.
  • Aim to bring a robustly diverse group to campus for on-campus interviews. Research shows that women are more likely to be hired, for instance, when more than one woman is included in the final group of candidates, presumably because gender becomes a less salient factor in the choice. The Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity supplies funds for hiring units to bring a fourth candidate to campus if this would bring more diversity to the pool.
  • Remember that many candidates who apply for jobs at Williams have had experiences primarily with large research universities, and that this might be especially true for candidates from groups traditionally underrepresented in your field. Because we look for stellar candidates, we are competing with these large institutions. The on-campus interview process is of course a time for you to assess candidates, but it is also a time for candidates to assess the department or program, Williams, and life at a liberal arts college. Thus, you should treat the on-campus interview process as a recruiting opportunity.
  • Review the structure of the on-campus interview. The Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity provides a list of questions it is not appropriate to ask candidates (see Questions Not To Ask:  Avoiding Bias and Discrimination). But you and your colleagues should also strategize before the interview process starts about positive steps you might take to interest candidates in the department or program and Williams. In the case of candidates from underrepresented fields or groups as all other candidates, this would of course involve serious, informed responses to scholarship; it might also include giving extra thought to the composition of faculty and student interview committees, making especially sure to inform the candidate about resources for intellectual exchange on and off campus, and ensuring that the candidate meets with faculty on campus who have related research interests, possibly inviting such faculty to the job talk and to meals.  Involving faculty from other units in the interview is a great way to sell the liberal arts context as one uniquely conducive to interdisciplinary/cross-disciplinary exchanges. (Chairs are encouraged to set up non-evaluative meetings with faculty outside the unit for all candidates; for candidates from underrepresented groups, departments can get help from the Office of Institutional Diversity & Equity. See Recruitment Discussions or Breakfasts/Lunches.)  Departments and programs should also think about interview questions that tease out the potential experiences and strengths of all candidates with respect to teaching and mentoring a diverse student population.
  • For all candidates, showcase things that may matter to them, even if you are not sure. There are questions you may not be able to ask the candidates, but you can “show and tell” them information that may be highly relevant and valuable for them in considering Williams and this region as an attractive (or even viable) place to live. Plan a walk around campus so that they see more than just the buildings linked to your department or program. Offer to take candidates on a drive around town and ideally around North Adams, providing a menu of places for them to choose from that could include art museums, local schools, the Children’s Center, athletic facilities, faculty housing, and so on; let them tell you what would be of particular interest to them. Talk about access to Pittsfield, Bennington, Albany, and the Pioneer Valley, as well as NYC and Boston. To all candidates, mention the Manager of Spouse / Partner Resources and include her contact information in whatever materials you give your candidates.