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Search Reports and Resources

Search Reports and Resources

Faculty Search Report 1

Faculty Search Report Part I
2021-2022 Revision

This report must be submitted to and approved by the Dean of the College and the Associate Dean/Diversity Officer before a search for filling a tenure-track or a three-year position can officially begin. The job ad may be submitted and approved before SRI, but no candidate files can be evaluated until this form is submitted and approved. All candidates should submit dossiers through Academic Jobs Online.

This report asks for the following 8 items:

  1. Ground rules
  2. Search timetable
  3. Text of job advertisement
  4. Constitution of the search committee
  5. Outreach and advertising plan
  6. Description of the screening process
  7. Format for campus visits
  8. Space needs

Please fill out this form and email it, from the department chair’s email account, to the Diversity officer at as an attachment.

Date of this report:

1. Ground Rules for your search procedure.  We recommend using 1. Moody: GROUND RULES for search committees.doc.  Please discuss the ground rules suggested by Moody with members of the search committee.

If you choose to modify these ground rules, please provide that modification with Search Report I.  Also, please provide a statement confirming that your proposed ground rules have been discussed with and agreed to by the full department.  If there are any challenges to full agreement, please state them as well.

You might say: “We are using the ground rules suggested by Moody.  We have discussed these ground rules as a department, and all parties have agreed to abide by them.”

2. Search Timetable. Estimate the important dates—e.g., the dates for advertising, receiving applications, screening, and on-campus interviewing—for the search.

3. Text of Job Advertisement. All ads must ask for a dossier, including (a) letter of application, (b) curriculum vitae, (c) transcripts, (d) three brief statements – one addressing teaching philosophy and experience, one addressing scholarship and including your future directions, and one addressing demonstrated ability to mentor a diverse student body, and (e) three letters of recommendation.

Departments may choose to ask for additional materials.

This job ad should be the product of a consultative process with the Dean’s Office, once the search is authorized, ideally over the summer. There is good evidence to suggest that the diversity of the candidate pool is highly dependent on a broadly worded job description.  Therefore, we want to assure that the ads are written in such a way as to best meet the needs of the department and to “cast as wide a net” as possible.

Job ads should also explicitly state the college’s commitment to diversity.  We recommend the following statement.

“The successful candidate will have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving higher education for underrepresented students.”

To ensure that you review all candidates fairly, the following statement should be included in the job ad:

“Review of applications will begin on XXX.”

Sample job ad:

Tenure-track appointment, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics, with a focus on discrete mathematics or related fields. Teaching load: 2/2. Ph.D. in hand or expected by July 2022. Send a dossier, including (a) letter of application, (b) curriculum vitae, (c) transcripts, (d) three brief statements – one addressing teaching philosophy, one addressing scholarship, and one addressing demonstrated ability to mentor a diverse student body, and (e) three letters of recommendation.

Please upload electronic copies of all materials no later than DATE to:

Review of applications will begin on DATE. The XXX Department supports equal access to higher education, and values working in a richly diverse environment. The successful candidate will have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving higher education for underrepresented students.

Pomona College is a highly selective liberal arts college. We seek to attract, develop, and retain the highest quality faculty and are committed to building a culturally diverse workplace. We value candidates who have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and who are able to demonstrate a commitment to improving higher education for underrepresented students through their teaching, scholarship, or service. 

Pomona College, located 35 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, is a member of the Claremont Colleges, which also include Claremont McKenna, Scripps, Pitzer, Harvey Mudd, and the Claremont Graduate University.  Collectively, the Claremont Colleges constitute an academic community of 6,000 students.  In collaboration with the Claremont College Consortium, Pomona College offers a variety of professional development, mentorship, and networking opportunities for junior faculty.

Once your job ad has been approved by the Dean’s Office, you will log onto Academic Jobs Online to create and place your job ad in a central location for all candidates to upload their files. The Dean’s Office will post ads on the Dean of the College faculty jobs page.

Immigration law requires one of the advertisements you place must appear in a print journal. This requirement will be met by a joint ad in The Chronicle of Higher Education.  Here the advertised position information will include only (i) department, (ii) subfield and (iii) position rank.  We will be contacting you to approve these very brief ads early in the search process.

4. Constitution of Search Committee.  The Search committee must include two students, selected from among the department’s student liaisons or chosen in collaboration with the liaisons (one student in small departments) and one faculty member who is external to your department or program. 

In order to assign the external member of your search, the department will be asked to recommend 3 potential external members of the Search Committee.  The Dean’s Office will then appoint one of these in conjunction with your recommendations. The external member may be a member of the Pomona faculty or a faculty member from one of the other Claremont Colleges.  The appointee will be a full voting member of the Search Committee.

Finally, all members of the Search Committee are asked to review 15 Common Errors Made By Search Committees and other documents found on the Dean of the College website under the “Searches and Recruiting” navigation bar.

Please provide a statement in your report affirming that each member of your search has reviewed the document.

You might say: “All currently known members of the search committee have reviewed the “15 Common Errors” and “Cognitive Errors” document.  These members include [Name search members].”

5. Outreach and Advertising Plan

  1. List of publications in which you plan to advertise, with dates:
  2. Cost of each advertisement
  3. List of other outreach plans and recruitment sources describing the kinds of networking your search committee intends to do in order to create a diverse applicant pool: calls placed to whom; letters to chairs at which graduate programs; minority organizations and women’s organizations to be contacted:

Please be aware that you will be asked to report on the effectiveness of this outreach as part of the August/September Searching Departments meeting and in Search Report II.

6. Description of anticipated screening process that will lead to ranking of top ten candidates. All departments are expected to include (i) Intellectual Leadership and Teaching Effectiveness, (ii) Professional Achievement in Scholarship, (iii) Service, and (iv) Ability to mentor a diverse undergraduate student body in their search criteria.  We ask that each department discuss in their Search Report I how it will address each of these four criteria. We recommend that you provide a numeric weighting for each of the four categories, and that you provide a detailed description of the evidence to be used for each of the four criteria.

We also expect you to describe how candidates will be contacted and interviewed (e.g., travel to professional meetings, remote interviews, departmental deliberations).

7. Anticipated format for campus visits Describe the format of the on-campus visit for those candidates who make it to the short list (2-4 candidate). All candidates who make it to the on-campus stage of the search will meet with the President and the Dean of the College.  It is assumed that candidates will both demonstrate classroom teaching and present their research.  It is also assumed that candidates will meet with search committee members, and other constituencies at the colleges as deemed pertinent.  It is also assumed that the candidates will meet with students. Please address these recommendations and describe what other activities are planned. 

8. Anticipated space needs: what are the anticipated needs in terms of office, lab, or studio space?  What are your recommendations for such space?

Faculty Search Report 2

Faculty Search Report Part II
2021-2022 Revision

This report is to be submitted to the Dean of the College and the Associate Dean/Diversity Officer at the conclusion of the screening process prior to inviting candidates for on-campus visits. The Dean and the Diversity Officer should be given access to all files via Academic Jobs Online at this point. The office will need four to five business days to review the report and the dossiers. The department representative(s) will meet with the Dean and the Diversity Officer to discuss the long list.

At the time that SRII is submitted, the chair or academic coordinator should also schedule meetings for each of the Top 3 candidates (even though their names will not yet be known) with the, the Diversity Officer, the Dean, and the President, given that  all their schedules tend to be impacted far in advance.

After this meeting, the department representatives will take back to the department a summary of the discussion so that the department can construct a recommended short list of three candidates.  This short list should be sent via e-mail to the Dean and Diversity Officer, who must approve it in writing before candidates can be invited for campus interviews. See “Faculty Recruiting Procedures” for important details regarding campus visits.

Please fill out this form and email it, from the department chair’s email account, to the Diversity Officer at and to as an attachment.

Date of this report:

  1. Number of applications received: information from will provide you with demographic information including gender, race and ethnicity.
  2. Please describe for us the kinds of efforts you made to create a diverse applicant pool. How do these differ from the efforts you laid out in Search Report I?  We recommend using the “Candidate Evaluation Rubric” pdf found on the Dean of the College website under “Reports and Resources” to help narrow the applicant pool.

    In keeping with the College’s diversity initiatives, (Lighting the Path) to develop a diverse applicant pool, please look at demographic data collected on candidates.  To access this information on Academic Jobs Online, you will need to login and click on the "Admin" tab on the upper right-hand side of the webpage. A drop-down menu will appear and you will select "EEO/EOE" from the list of options.
  3. List the top 10 candidatesYou need not rank them (1-10) at this point. For each candidate list his/her name, degree(s) with granting institution(s) and dates, present position, years of prior experience, and reasons for inclusion in the list (based on the screening process suggested here). Please make the documents for these candidates available to us through or through the Sakai website.

Faculty Search Report 3

Faculty Search Report Part III
2021-2022 Revision

This report must be submitted to and approved by the Dean of the College and the Diversity Officer before any offers can be made and as soon as possible after the conclusion of on-campus interviews and adequate discussion among participants in the search process.

It is anticipated that the department will gather all relevant feedback from students, faculty and both the Dean of the College and the President before ranking the candidates. We recommend using the “Candidate Evaluation Template” found on the Dean of the College website under “Reports and Resources” for an in-depth assessment of your top candidates.

After the approval of this report and if an offer is authorized, the Dean, in consultation with the department chair, will make an offer to the successful candidate, and negotiate the terms of the appointment.

This report asks for a two-part recommendation, (i) indicating which of the candidates who have visited campus are acceptable and (ii) how the department ranks the acceptable candidates.

Please fill out this form and email it, from the department chair’s email account, to the Dean’s office at and as an attachment.

Date of this report:

  1. List all candidates who visited the campus for a complete interview:
  2. From the candidates who had a complete interview, list all the candidates that the department found unacceptable for the position, briefly indicating the basis for the decision.
  3. Rank all the candidates that the department found acceptable.  Briefly indicate the basis for your decision, including reference to teaching and scholarly, artistic, or coaching capabilities, mentoring of diverse students, student evaluations, and other relevant considerations.

Search Budget Worksheets

Moody’s Ground Rules for Search Committees

Copyright 2012 by JoAnn Moody,
Faculty Development & Diversity Specialist.

Ground Rules governing the search committee’s work

Note to Reader:  The sample Ground Rules below are meant to spur thought and discussion by members of search and other evaluation committees and their chairs. After discussing and amending, adding, subtracting, and refining items below, each committee may wish to officially adopt its own version of Ground Rules, to benefit its committee’s deliberations and decision-making.

  1. We will concentrate on rising above cognitive biases and errors in our discussions.    Each of us, including the Diversity Advocate and the search chair, will stay alert to the errors, biases, and shortcuts we learned about in our two coaching workshops. To help remind and prompt us, we will verbally review all of the cognitive shortcuts and errors from time to time; place abbreviations of them on a banner for taping to the wall of our meeting room(s); and employ other visual aids as reminders, as we go along. Each of us bears responsibility for asking for a “Time Out” if she/he detects a possible error in-the-making. At this point, we will quickly pause to discuss and try to self-correct.
  2. We will adhere to the weighting of each job category, as we agreed when doing our planning with the dean’s or provost’s office.  There will be no switching or trade-off of points from one category to the other. After deliberating, we will rate all applicants according to the categories and their designated values. A matrix, corresponding to the job categories and their agreed-on value, will be taped to the wall, to assist all of us in staying with the official job criteria and gathering evidence regarding each of those.
  3. Attendance at each search committee meeting will be the norm.  It will undermine the committee’s deliberations if one or more members are habitually absent or late. Moreover, no one during a meeting should be multi-tasking (such as texting, phoning, checking email, or whatever) while other colleagues are working and trying to stay on task. Full and courteous concentration is needed. Electronic devices should be put away.
  4. We will present and consider concrete evidence not personal opinion or hearsay about job candidates.
  5. We will guarantee strict confidentiality regarding job candidates, the committee’s procedures, discussions, and deliberations. First, confidentiality to job applicants is owed, most especially when a candidate does not wish his/her interest in the job opening to be shared with those at his/her current position at their home campus or office. Second, confidentiality is necessary in order to protect the committee proceedings themselves. When members make jokes to non-members about the how the search is progressing, hint at how the applicant pool is measuring up, or confide snippets of the committee’s deliberations and internal conflicts, they are in fact compromising the integrity of the process.  It is no excuse to explain that the non-member who received the information (or more likely, misinformation) is not a member of the hiring department or resides outside the United States. In order to highlight the importance of confidentiality, some search chairs ask that each committee member plus any secretary or other staff member assisting with the search sign a pledge of confidentiality. Others remind colleagues and staff at the end of each meeting of their confidentiality obligation. All of us together will decide which option we prefer.
  6. We will decide, before the committee commences its work, how we will come to decisions during various stages of our work. Will we be governed by voting (with a simple majority prevailing), by reaching consensus, or by some other method?
  7. We will undertake outreach to build up the pool of candidates—the searching part of the search process. Every committee member will undertake pro-active outreach to identify promising job candidates, especially under-represented minorities and under-represented women—by means of making personal phone calls to colleagues far and wide; placing info about the job opening on various listserves; contacting appropriate staff at professional societies; asking for nominations of strong candidates from former students, post-docs, outside speakers (who have been on campus and know the hiring department fairly well), and so on. The point is to widen and deepen the pool of possible candidates. The committee chair should at times invite prospects to send in their applications. All this is legal because the committee is trying to enlarge the pool. No prospect will be hired surreptitiously on the spot. On the contrary, everyone invited to apply will be evaluated the same way as those responding on their own to job ads.
  8. All members will have more or less equal “air time” during committee deliberations. To facilitate this, we will observe the protocol that no one speaks twice until everyone in the room has spoken once. The chair will make sure that no one becomes a monopolizer and undermines the committee’s team work.
  9. All members agree to treat every job applicant with cordial respect. The committee will share essential planning and logistical information with each applicant being interviewed by phone or in person. Even though it may be a buyer’s market and applicants seem plentiful, each committee member will be expected to be on their best behavior in interactions with applicants.  As a courtesy to all candidates chosen for phone interviews, we agree to provide beforehand to them three sample questions (the same three for all) with one of the three being “How do you see yourself in our geographical area and at our campus?”

    Further, as a courtesy, we will provide to every applicant coming for a campus interview essential information so that there are no surprises. The types of information should include:
    1. the job talk expected of each candidate on campus (length of talk; who will be in the audience; audio-visual equipment that can be provided, etc.)
    2. interviews of the candidates (length of interview sessions; names and job titles of attendees; format—only questions or also role-playing and simulations; forms used to gather feedback about various interviews, etc.)
    3. teaching a class or talking with a group of students (length and structure of the interaction, academic level of the students, and so on).

    Further, we will ask each on-campus applicant, before their arrival, if there are other groups or individuals on campus whom they would like to privately meet with. Sometimes applicants will request private conversations with other women or other minority faculty on campus or wish to talk with leaders of specific groups on or off campus.
  10. We will use several behavior-based questions, standard questions, and perhaps simulations during our phone, video, and face-to-face interviews; the same list of questions and simulations will be posed to every applicant.  Throw-away questions such as “tell us about your research and teaching” should be avoided, if possible.  The applicants’ materials will have given all of us at least a superficial glimpse of those categories. So let’s try to dig deeper and ask questions such as the following.
    1. Tell us specifically how and why your teaching approaches have evolved over the past few years.
    2. Tell us specifically why you would be an asset for our department.
    3. Looking at the courses you’ve taught, as listed on your C.V.,  I wonder which two courses were the most problematic for you and how exactly you dealt with the issues in those courses.
    4. We are interested in how you have mentored and inspired undergraduates to aspire to graduate studies. This is a requirement we listed in the job announcement. In particular, how have you mentored and inspired women and non-immigrant minorities (such as African American, Mexican American, and American Indian students)?  What worked for you and them and what didn’t? Why?
    5. If you encountered this classroom problem (describe a specific situation that a new hire might be expected to deal with), how would you handle it?
    6.  Recall for us a successful collaborative research project that you undertook with others over the past two years. What was your role? What problems came up? How did you resolve them?
    7. All of us, from time to time, have to deal with colleagues who severely disagree with us. Recall a time when this happened, and explain in detail how you managed the situation. What did you learn from the experience?
    8. Given our geographical location, how do you see yourself thriving here?
    9. Given our institutional mission and the needs of our students (or our new cross-disciplinary center or whatever else the committee wishes to focus on), what contributions do you see yourself making?

[Note to reader: more details about behavior-based questions can be found in search guides by Fernandez-Araoz et al, 2009; Vicker and Royer, 2006.]

These ground rules for the search process will certainly help keep the committee on track. Before the committee leaps to its tasks, it should spend time discussing, adopting, and reaching consensus on ground rules. These rules are essential preparation. But do the chairs of search committees require any additional coaching and preparation, especially if they have had limited leadership experience ? My answer is yes.

Extra Coaching for the Search Chair, to Reduce or Prevent Troublesome Dynamics and Shortcuts

The chair deserves and indeed requires special attention, prior to the commencement of the committee’s work. The dean’s or provost’s office (or perhaps a management or communications studies expert on campus) should give the chair real-time practice in dealing with bad behavior and psycho-dramas that can develop  (e.g., Charlie, you and everyone else on this committee needs to know that I will fight to the death for my candidate; the rest of you can go jump). Practice is also called for so the chair can deal with these familiar situations: one member resorts to bullying or to refusing to yield the floor to others; another seems to withdraw into timidity or indifference; another spends insufficient thought on the homework required for the next committee meeting.  

To bolster the chair’s preparation, the dean’s office could ask senior and retired colleagues who are veteran search chairs to share how they have or would respond to those and other typical problems. The search chair should also be provided by the dean’s office with a list of game plans on “dealing with difficult people”; there are several how-to books on this subject. Tips for chairs can also be found in Faculty Recruitment “Toolkits” and guidelines posted at the websites of the Universities of Washington, Wisconsin, Michigan, and others. For instance, the Wisconsin Guidelines for Chairs advises the chair to assign tasks to members at end of each meeting and then ask for a report from each person at the beginning of the next.  The dean’s office should compile a list of pointers for the chair from these and other sources.

Search chairs might consider taping the job-criteria matrix on the wall of the meeting room together with a  bulleted list of cognitive errors to avoid. These two visual aids, as I previously mentioned, will help both the chair and the Diversity Advocate/Monitor keep members on course and avert common mistakes.

Above all, the chair and the Diversity Advocate/Good Practices Monitor together should be given practice “drills” so they are ready to disarm typical lines of resistance and confusion regarding faculty diversity efforts. By assuming the part of devil’s advocate and hard-nosed obstructionist in these practice sessions, the associate dean (or chief diversity officer, vice provost for faculty affairs, or some other appropriate person) could act out questions, retorts, bullying, passive aggression, and other actions which both the chair and the advocate/monitor, in real time, might confront. The chair and the advocate should “rehearse the new behavior [and interventions] at every opportunity until it becomes automatic (that is, until mastery has occurred at the level of implicit learning)” (Coleman et al, 2004).

Moody Cog Errors

Several Domains Where Cognitive Errors and Biases Contaminate Evaluations and Decision-Making

The overview below was written and copyrighted 2012 by JoAnn Moody, PhD, JD
National Consultant, Faculty Diversity & Development

Definitions.  During cognitive processing (defined as our collecting, sifting through, and interpreting various kinds of information to use in our decision-making), most of us often unwittingly take cognitive shortcuts and fall prey to cognitive errors described below. These shortcuts and errors compromise decisions and evaluations made within various domains.

Examples of Domains.   In scientific experiments, in piloting aircraft, in diagnosing medical ailments and disorders, in investing small and large sums of capital—in all these arenas, brain scientists and other experts are finding that decision-makers unwittingly rely on cognitive shortcuts and biases as they do their jobs. These “contaminants” in decision-making can have serious consequences. They can bring about:  unfair personnel evaluations and unfair hiring/firing/promoting; patient suffering and death; crashes of aircraft, with widespread human and property damage; unraveling of seemingly sound financial enterprises; and misleading results from experiments.

These same contaminants, in our daily lives, can affect all of us.  More details are below.

  1. In medicine, “predictable and preventable cognitive errors” mar diagnosticians’ cognitive processes and decisions (Groopman). Four examples include: rushing to closure; failing to revise first impressions (a kind of “anchoring”); selectively choosing information to support one’s hunch; stereotyping patients.  More errors are discussed in the following publications.
    Groopman, Jerome (2007). How Doctors Think. (Boston: Mifflin).
    Singh, H. et al (2006). Understanding Diagnostic Errors in Medicine: A Lesson from Aviation. Quality and Safety in Health Care  215(3): 159-164.
    Redelmeier, Donald (2005). The Cognitive Psychology of Missed Diagnoses. Annals of Internal Medicine 142 (2): 115-120.
    Bond, W.F. et al. (2004). Using Simulation to Instruct Emergency Medicine Residents in Cognitive Forcing Strategies. Academic Medicine 79:438-446.
    Croskerry, Patrick (2003). The Importance of Cognitive Errors in Diagnosis and Strategies to Minimize Them. Academic Medicine 78(8): 775-780.
  2. In our daily lives and in our work at colleges, universities, and professional schools, most of us also prove susceptible to cognitive contaminants. The following are findings from  almost a decade of operation of the Project Implicit program (see
    Three major researchers (at Harvard and the Universities of Washington and Virginia) created a website for self-administered Implicit Association Tests. More than 5 million visitors have taken the tests. Other countries have started participating.   The excerpt below is from the Project website at
    • Implicit biases are pervasive. They appear as statistically "large" effects that are often shown by majorities of samples of Americans. Over 80% of web respondents show implicit negativity toward the elderly compared to the young; 75-80% of self-identified Whites and Asians show an implicit preference for racial White relative to Black.
    • People are often unaware of their implicit biases. Ordinary people, including the researchers who direct this project, are found to harbor negative associations in relation to various social groups (i.e., implicit biases) even while honestly (the researchers believe) reporting that they regard themselves as lacking these biases.
    • Implicit biases predict behavior. From simple acts of friendliness and inclusion to more consequential acts such as the evaluation of work quality, those who are higher in implicit bias have been shown to display greater discrimination [and hostility].  The published scientific evidence is rapidly accumulating. Over 200 published scientific investigations have made use of one or another version of the IAT.
    • People differ in levels of implicit bias. Implicit biases vary from person to person --- for example as a function of the person’s group memberships, the dominance of a person’s membership group in society, consciously held attitudes, and the level of bias existing in the immediate environment. This last observation makes clear that implicit attitudes are modified by experience.
  3. In various domains, biases can be negative or positive.   A few years ago, the Swedish Research Council made an astonishing discovery: a female applicant for SRC post-doctoral funding had to have 2.5 times greater credentials (articles published, etc.) than a male applicant—just to reach the threshold of “competency” which enabled her to have her proposal reviewed by a panel. [Wenneras, C. & Wold, A. (1997). “Nepotism and sexism in peer-review.” Nature 387: 341-3.]   Another way to view the findings at the Research Council: men’s track records could be considerably weaker but they would still be deemed competent. The remedy for this inequity in peer review? Merely removing names from the applications!
    Likewise, journal editors in several countries are increasingly removing authors’ names and institutional affiliations from their articles before they are sent to peer reviewers.  In a similar way, equity in orchestras has been bolstered by having all applicants for musical posts anonymously perform their auditions behind a screen, so that gender is not a factor. “Blind reviews,” in short, can reduce unintended negative bias for some and positive bias for others.
  4. Good news regarding the mitigating of cognitive errors.   All of us  (most of us?)  unwittingly make cognitive errors.  BUT  there are several ways to prevent or diminish these. As one example, checklists for evaluation committees and for medical diagnosticians are proving invaluable to use  (A. Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, 2009).

In addition, giving ourselves and our colleagues consistent prompts and reminders has been proven useful (C. Sustein and R. Thaler, Nudge: Improving Decisions, 2008). Social cognition expert Susan Fiske and others have been experimenting with how to “prime” subjects so that they intently concentrate on recognizing and rising above biases and errors and begin to build self-correction habits of mind (see Fiske’s publications at the Princeton U. website).   In fact, by using brain-imaging technology, neuroscientists can pinpoint the specific brain areas activated---when we learn to self-correct/minimize predictable errors and become “primed” to develop new cognitive habits.  

For illustrations of 15 cognitive biases and shortcuts that contaminate decision-making and personnel evaluations at colleges, universities, and professional schools, see JoAnn Moody’s 40-page booklet “Rising Above Cognitive Errors: Improving Searches, Evaluations, and Decision-Making.”  Organizational dysfunctions (such as overloading and rushing evaluation committees) predictably intensify the errors. Reducing the errors can be accomplished through ground rules for committees and evaluators, checklists, matrices, coaching, and frequent reminders and visual prompts about the 15 errors—all these strategies and others are outlined in the booklet. Or write to

15 Common Errors Made By Search Committees

Rising above Cognitive Errors

Guidelines for Search, Tenure Review, and Other Evaluation Committees

JoAnn Moody, PhD, JD

I. Common Errors of Individual Members

Not errors just made by the ‘bad guys' but things we all tend to do if we are not motivated to avoid them.

  1. Negative Stereotypes. "A stereotype can he defined as a broad generalization about a particular group and the presumption that a member of the group embodies the generalized traits of that group." Negative stereotypes are negative presumptions such as presumptions of incompetence in an area, or presumptions of lack of character or trustworthiness.
  2. Positive Stereotypes. A halo effect where members of a group are presumed to be competent or bonafide. Such a member receives the benefit of the doubt. Positive achievements are noted more than negative performance, and success is assumed.
  3. Raising the Bar. Related to negative stereotypes, when we require members of certain groups to prove that they are not incompetent by using more filters or higher ones for them.
  4. Elitism. Wanting to feel superior through certain attributes or selectivity that highlights how we characterize more positive stereotypes (accents, schools, dress, ratings).
  5. First Impressions. Drawing conclusions in a matter of seconds based on our personal likes/dislikes.
  6. The Longing to Clone. Devaluing someone who is not like most of 'us' on the committee, or wanting someone to resemble, in attributes, someone we admire and are replacing.
  7. Good Fit/Bad Fit. While it may be about whether the person can meet the programmatic needs for the position, it often is about how comfortable and culturally at ease we will feel.
  8. Provincialism. Similar to cloning, this is undervaluing something outside your own province, circle, or clan. For example, trusting only reference letters from people you know.
  9. Extraneous Myths and Assumptions. Undermining the careful collection and analysis of information, such as we can't get a person like that to come here, or we have all of them we need.
  10. Wishful Thinking. Opinions rather than facts and evidence. Examples are assumptions that we, and certain other institutions, run on objective meritocracy, or we are colorblind.
  11. Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Some call it ‘channeling,’ where we structure our interaction with someone so we can receive information congruent with our assumptions, or avoid information incongruent with our assumptions.
  12. Seizing a Pretext. Hiding one's real concern or agenda (e.g., excessive weight) behind something trivial, or focusing on a few negatives rather than the overall performance.
  13. Character over Context, or Attribution errors. For example, failing to recognize the context of a situation—was it social, late in the day, outside of the professional arena, or an attribution of responsibility for a situation that is misplaced on one person rather than others.
  14. Premature Ranking/Digging In. Rush to use numbers, as if they are objective, to drive a decision.
  15. Momentum of the Group. It is difficult to resist consensus when the majority seems to be heading one way without a full hearing on other considerations.

II. Organizational Dysfunctions that exacerbate cognitive errors.

  1. Overloading and Rushing. Undertaking complex tasks without appropriate time, resources, or relief from other loads.
  2. No Coaching or Practice. No training in searching and interviewing practices, so people default to what they have seen or experienced before.
  3. No Ground Rules. Before filtering applicants, have we established the needs and priorities for the program? How the committee will function, process and help each other? Gathered information on who else they can call upon?
  4. Absence of Reminders and Monitoring. For example, reminders of common errors, highest priorities, and a process monitor on the committee.
  5. No One is Accountable. No updates or disclosure is required.
  6. Lack of Debriefing for Systematic Improvement. Committees start from scratch over and over again.

III. Rising above Cognitive Errors
Remedies for Dysfunctions

  1. Clear intentions by individuals to avoid errors. Dialogue followed by visual reminders and intentional checks for errors in every stage.
  2. Coaching, preparation, reminders. Toolkits and workshops before process begins, chair coaching and equity advisors
  3. Ground Rules and Preparation for Process- set out problems of past and establish ground rules to avoid these and sharing of lessons learned from past efforts
  4. Non-voting process person for Quality Control- to avoid unintentional contaminants
  5. Use a visual matrix to stay focused on agreed upon evaluation and evidence to consider
  6. Slow down, don't overload, and provide appropriate assistance
  7. Incorporate Accountability- whether to administration or constituents
  8. Gather and highlight non-stereotypical evidence (not raising the bar though)
  9. Avoid rush to numerical ranking - filter not ranking
  10. Avoid solo situations
  11. Practice
  12. Personal Relations to Diminish Social Distance
  13. Courage and Leadership to insist on evidence being shown
  14. Constant attention to improvement debriefings.

Managing Search Budgets

For Tenure-Track And Three-Year Positions

Each department conducting a search is to manage its own search budget using funds transferred from the dean's office to the department for that purpose. In consultation with the chair, the administrative assistant fills out the  Search Budget Worksheets [xlsx], the first part to be submitted shortly after Search Report I and the second to be submitted shortly after Search Report II. Once these budgets are approved by the Associate Dean, the total amounts allocated are transferred to the department. The department must also submit copies of all receipts associated with the search to the Associate Dean at the end of the search.  If the department should spend more than the budgeted amount, the additional expenses will come out of the department budget. Once the search is over, the department submits to the Associate Dean a final budget that accurately reflects the actual expenditures related to the search.

Remember that the college's recruiting budget is used exclusively for  

  • advertising
  • recruiting trips by faculty search committee members
  • campus visits by candidates

Departmental budgets are expected to cover the costs of

  • stationery
  • postage
  • telephone calls
  • photocopying

The following are guidelines for preparing and managing just such a customized budget.


An advertising budget must be submitted as part of Faculty Search Report I to the Associate Dean for approval before the ad is placed.

  • Whenever possible use the minimum-size ad. Because the college posts the full job descriptions on its "Faculty Employment Opportunities," you can use abbreviated web-based ads to refer the potential candidates to the full ad on the "faculty job" website.
  • Immigration law requires that one of the advertisements be placed in a print journal. You must indicate in Search Report I where your print ad will appear.  The printed ad should be submitted to the Dean's Office.

Recruiting Trips by Faculty Search Committee Members

Most searches involve interviews conducted by search committee members at the annual professional meeting for the discipline in question. The college recruiting budget is designed to cover transportation, lodging, and meals for 2 faculty members and the 1 outside reviewer of the search committee who attend such a professional meeting for this purpose.

It is essential that you:

  • Book all flights far enough in advance to get the lowest fares.
  • Book all rooms far enough in advance to be able to take advantage of special conference rates.
  • Investigate the options for interviewing space and pick the most economical one. The college will cover the cost of a suite or interviewing room, whichever is less expensive. If a suite turns out to be the best option, it is expected that as many members of the search committee will use the suite for lodging purposes as there are bedrooms in the suite.

You should also investigate ground transportation options (airport to hotel and back) in advance and inform all committee members about them. Usually the hotel operates a shuttle.


  • The search committee chair should brief the search committee members prior to the meeting regarding the budget and its limitations.
  • If guests accompany search committee members, they are responsible for paying their own way. If, for example, a committee member brings a spouse or partner and the rate for a double room is higher than that of a single, the guest is responsible for the additional cost. If a guest occupies a room in a suite that might otherwise have been used by a committee member, the guest in responsible for the expense of the displaced committee member's room.

Campus Visits by Candidates

Under normal circumstances, three candidates are invited to campus for each search. Flight and lodging arrangements should be made immediately after the dean has approved the top three candidates for campus visits. A typical campus visit lasts two days and thus requires three nights of lodging.

Additional information:

  • Lodging: if Sumner House is full (call Candie Putnam, ext 74020), the candidate should be lodged at the Doubletree Claremont (626-2411), which offers rooms at a flat rate (plus tax) for The Claremont Colleges, or Hotel Casa 425 (624-2272).
  • Food: it is expected that most of the meals during a candidate's visit will be hosted by members of the department or other college personnel.
    • For those meals that are not hosted, the candidate is responsible for submitting original receipts to the department administrative assistant.
  • Food: Only $350 will be allotted for meals for each candidate (3 x $350 = $1,050)
  • Local transportation: Only $200 will be allotted for transportation to and from the airport to the hotel/campus for each candidate.
  • Candidates are responsible for:
    • any long-distance phone charges and the like incurred while they are in Claremont.
    • the costs associated with the lodging, food, etc. of any guest accompanying them.

If a candidate's schedule changes, it is the department's responsibility to make the appropriate cancellations (Sumner House, Doubletree, or Casa 425) as soon as possible but at least 48 hours in advance.

The recruiting budget does not cover:

  • departmental receptions. These are to be covered by the departmental budget.

Recruiting for Temporary Positions

Temporary Full-Time* Positions

Replacement needs for the following academic year must be discussed with the Dean of the College during the first semester. Please note that sabbaticals are normally not replaced, while "Leaves without Pay" are usually at least partially replaced. Once the Dean has approved the position in writing, the department should draft the job description and e-mail it to the Diversity Officer, Associate Dean Zayn Kassam to approve. In order to explicitly reflect the College's commitment to diversity, the job description should include a sentence such as the ideal candidate will have experience working with students from diverse backgrounds and a demonstrated commitment to improving higher education for underrepresented students.  Faculty Search Reports need not be filled out, but these approvals must be obtained before the department publicizes the description. We do not conduct national searches for short-term appointments. Please send flyers with your approved job description to local universities (UCLA, UCI, UCR, USC, etc.), from which candidates could drive to Pomona College for a one-day interview. Please speak with all candidates by telephone at some length about their teaching experience and teaching philosophy before inviting them to campus for an interview. At a minimum, candidates should be asked to submit a curriculum vitae and graduate-school transcript.

The candidates for temporary full-time positions must be interviewed by Associate Dean Anne Dwyer, who will need a curriculum vitae and graduate-school transcript at least one day before the interview. Neither the Dean nor the President needs to interview these candidates. A limited amount of funding for on-campus expenses (typically lunch) may be provided. Please contact Associate Dean Anne Dwyer for advance approval if you plan to ask for college funds.

The department chair recommends the appointment to Associate Dean Anne Dwyer and, if the appointment is approved, the chair is informed as to the salary. The chair then makes the offer to the candidate, making it clear that it is contingent upon proper documentation being presented to the Human Resources Office.** If the candidate accepts the offer, the Dean is to be notified in writing so that a contract can be drawn up. The Associate Dean will forward the candidate's materials to the Operations Coordinator so that she can prepare the contract and gather the contact information.

The department is responsible for ensuring that there is adequate office space for the visiting faculty member. For questions about office space, please consult Associate Dean David Tanenbaum.
*The teaching load for full-time temporary faculty is 5 courses per year.

People Hired to Teach Three or Four Courses

As with every hire, these appointments must be approved in advance by the Dean of the College. Faculty Search Reports need not be filled out. Once the Dean approves the position, these persons need not be interviewed by the Associate Dean, Dean, or President, but should be interviewed by the department chair, in person, not just via telephone. For candidates with a Ph.D. who are newly employed by the college, we pay $8,000 per course, except by special arrangement with the Dean. Anyone who teaches three or four courses is also eligible for benefits. The chair orally conveys the offer of employment to the candidate, saying that it is contingent upon proper documentation being presented to the Human Resources Office.** If the candidate accepts the offer, the Dean and the Dean with Operations Coordinator are to be notified in writing so that a contract can be drawn up.

People Hired to Teach One or Two Courses

As with every hire, these appointments must be approved in advance by the Dean of the College. Most of these positions are filled during the academic year in response to enrollment pressures. Part-time appointments may also be made to cover course releases. These persons need not be interviewed by the Associate Dean, Dean, or President. They are paid at the same rate per course as the people teaching three or four courses. However, the College does not provide benefits because they are less than half-time employees. The hiring is handled as it is for the persons hired to teach three or four courses (see above).

** If the candidate for a temporary position is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, the college will not assist him or her in obtaining an H-1B visa.  Such candidates need to arrive with papers in hand.  If a candidate is eligible for another type of work authorization, the hiring department must contact the Dean's Office for approval prior to making an offer of employment.

Recruiting for Diversity

Consortium for Faculty Diversity at Liberal Arts Colleges (CFD)

Hosted by Gettysburg College, this consortium serves as a clearing house for minority scholars from all disciplines seeking pre-/post-doc opportunities at the liberal arts colleges that support CFD. Visit the Consortium website.

Ford Foundation Fellows

The Ford Foundation offers predoctoral, dissertation, and postdoctoral fellowships to minority scholars. View the directory of fellows.

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)

Although SACNAS does not have a candidate database, it is a reasonably inexpensive venue. Learn more about how to advertise faculty positions in the sciences.

Inside Higher Ed

A free website with daily news aimed at people involved in higher education, Inside Higher Ed also posts job listings. It boasts a wide and diverse readership as well as very reasonable advertising rates.

Casting a Wide Net