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Human Resources | Employee Handbook: Part X

Part X: HIRING PROCESS

Step One:  Establishing the Existence of A Vacancy and Approval to Begin Process

Step Two:  Formalizing the Position Description and Position Announcement

Step Three:  Advertising and Searching

Step Four:  Vetting the Applications and Resumes

Step Five:  Telephone Interviews

Step Six:  On-Campus Interviews

Step Seven:  References

Step Eight:  Making the Offer

Step Nine:  Preparing the Office

Step Ten:  Welcoming the New Colleague

The hiring process has significant legal, financial and performance implications for Trinity College, and as a result, Trinity is acutely concerned with all hiring actions. For these reasons, all hiring for staff positions at Trinity College must follow the process described in this section. A supervisor or manager who hires someone outside of this process will incur disciplinary action.

Step One:  Establishing the Existence of A Vacancy and Approval to Begin Process

Before any potential candidates for positions may be contacted, the manager responsible must be sure that the vacancy exists in fact, meaning in the budget, and that approval exists to begin the hiring process.

Just because a position is vacant does not mean that a hiring process may commence. In some cases, a vacancy may result in a position elimination, a change in position, or other adaptation that affects the hiring process.

The manager should begin the process by discussing the vacancy with the senior staff supervisor. If the senior staff member agrees that the position needs to be filled, the manager should make a request in writing to the director of Human Resources, copy to the senior staff supervisor, the vice president for Financial Affairs, stating that the vacancy exists, that the senior staff supervisor has consented to the search, and seeking approval to begin the hiring process. Having all documentation in writing is essential (email is acceptable, but copies must be kept). (In all cases referenced in this section, the senior staff supervisor may choose to take the place of the departmental manager in the management of the search.)

The request to begin the hiring process should state:

  1. The title of the position, and the previous incumbent’s name if relevant
  2. The summary position description (fuller description should be attached)
  3. Salary level when the position was vacated
  4. Why the position should be filled as described
  5. Any adaptations that should be made in the position
  6. Qualifications for a new hire

After receiving the message, the director of Human Resources and vice president should confer about the budget implications for the position, and any other issues that may affect the decision to proceed. If there are significant variations from the manager’s message (e.g., a decision to deny the position, a decision to restructure the position significantly), then the director of Human Resources should call or meet in person with the senior staff supervisor to explain the reasons for the change or denial, and after that meeting the senior staff member may determine the appropriate next course of action.

In no circumstance may a supervisor proceed with activities to fill any position without formal approval as required in this section. Failure to secure such approval may result in personnel action.

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Step Two:  Formalizing the Position Description and Position Announcement

Upon receiving permission to proceed, the manager should then prepare a final written position description and announcement of the position availability; the senior staff member should approve the final version of the job description and forward it to the Office of Human Resources for further processing.

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Step Three:  Advertising and Searching

Advertising and searching are distinctly different parts of the process, and no amount of advertising can substitute for searching.

Only the Office of Human Resources may place advertisements and post position notices. No other personnel at Trinity are authorized to do so.

The searching manager should, however, send out letters, make phone calls, and conduct all other tasks associated with identifying candidates for the position.

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Step Four:  Vetting the Applications and Resumes

When the applications and resumes arrive, and no longer than two weeks after the published deadline, the manager, senior staff supervisor and appropriate colleagues should review the resumes and identify 3-5 candidates for telephone interviews, and possible on-campus interviews.

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Step Five:  Telephone Interviews

The telephone interview stage of the process is very important; before incurring the expense of bringing a candidate to campus, the telephone interview can establish whether a further step is warranted.

Following are the key questions for telephone interviews:

  1. What aspects of this position appealed to you? What experience do you have that would work well in this position?
  2. What is it about the idea of working at Trinity College that appeals to you? What do you know about Trinity? What talents would you add to Trinity?
  3. Verify the most recent positions listed on the resume and ask the person to talk about why he/she moved through each position.
  4. In the last two positions held, what was your most significant accomplishment? Why?
  5. What were some less desirable aspects of those positions that you hope you would not encounter at Trinity?

At this point, the candidate should have revealed a sufficient amount of information that the interviewer can establish, at least minimally, whether a face-to-face interview would be appropriate If there is any reason to hesitate about the candidate at this stage, the interviewer should wrap-up the conversation without making an on-campus appointment, and report and analyze the interview with the director of HR before proceeding with a next step. However, if the conversation has gone well, then the next step may ensue quickly.

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Step Six:  On-Campus Interviews

At least two candidates for each position should come to campus for interviews. The on-campus interview stage is very important, and all appropriate parties should have an opportunity to participate. The manager responsible and the senior staff supervisor should discuss how to handle the on-campus interview with the director of Human Resources.

All persons who will participate in the on-campus interviews should received in advance (a) a copy of the application and resume, (b) a rating sheet, and (c) the job description. In addition, the participants in the interview should have an opportunity to meet ahead of time to be sure that everyone understands the position, qualifications and experience sought.

The on-campus interview should be an in-depth exploration of the candidate’s qualifications and experience, and questions should be designed to elicit the right kind of information. A set of recommended questions should also accompany the materials sent out ahead of time.

The manager in charge, or a designee, should be ready to greet the candidate upon arrival on campus, and a printed schedule with names and titles of participants should be available to the candidate. Interview sessions should last about 50 minutes, with time allowed for breaks. If possible, a brief campus tour is also usually appropriate.

The interview day is not an appropriate time for other staff members to discuss their disagreements with their supervisors, their confusion about the position, or their unhappiness in their current positions. The candidate is assessing Trinity’s climate and professionalism, too, and the manner in which the interview is conducted tells the candidate a lot about whether Trinity is a good place to work.

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Step Seven:  References

The director of Human Resources conducts the reference conversations, and as appropriate for the level and scope of the position, the hiring manager or senior staff supervisor may also be involved in calling references. The director of Human Resources will prepare a set of questions for references as appropriate for the position.

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Step Eight:  Making the Offer

No offer may be extended to any candidate without the express approval of the vice president for financial affairs and director of Human Resources, and as necessary, they may consult with the president. If the decision is to proceed, then the salary level and other conditions of the offer must also be approved, and only after that may the offer be extended. Unless otherwise directed in specific circumstances (for faculty positions or executive personnel), only the director of Human Resources may conduct the final conversation extending the offer, discussing salary and other conditions of employment.

In all cases, as soon as the candidate accepts the offer, the Human Resources director will immediately inform the vice president for financial affairs, the senior staff supervisor and the hiring manager.

The hiring manager will then confirm the appointment and terms in writing to the hiree.

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Step Nine:  Preparing the Office

Hiring is not complete with the offer. Immediately upon the acceptance of the offer, the hiring manager must make appropriate preparations for a workspace, telephone, computer and related tools of the position. No candidate should start a job if the tools are not available. The director of Human Resources is responsible to work with the manager to ensure that the workspace and equipment are ready and functional.

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Step Ten:  Welcoming the New Colleague

On the day that the new colleague starts work, the manager should be present and ready to greet the new colleague, conduct a mini-orientation about the office and workspace, and do introductions in the office and around Trinity. The manager should also have prepared a work plan for at least the first few days, depending upon the position, so that the new employee is able to be productive at the earliest possible moment.

New staff orientations occur every month, but in the interim, new staff also need an opportunity to get to know other colleagues informally, and to learn the Trinity routines. The manager should pay careful attention to training the new employee in Trinity’s various procedures and the specific details of the position.

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Trinity College reserves the right to interpret or change the policies stated in this Handbook as the need arises. This document is not a contract.

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Trinity Office of Human Resources, 125 Michigan Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20017
humanresources@trinitydc.edu   Phone: 202-884-9121   Fax: 202-884-9123

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