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Staff Position Requests

Vacant regular staff positions, as well as employee changes, including promotions, reclassifications, pay adjustments, increase in hours and term appointment extensions or conversions, need to flow through the Position Management Process. 

The process comprises a school/unit internal review, followed by central review by the Position Approval Committee. HR Compensation review is also required, prior to submission to the Position Approval Committee, for the following request types:

  • Vacant Position – New headcount, backfill (if the job description is changing), or reclassification
  • Employee Change – Promotion, reclassification, or pay/equity adjustment

Completing the Position Request Form is the first step in the process. Follow the instructions on the form to complete the submission process.

It is recommended you consult with your Department/Business Administrator to familiarize yourself with the internal review process that has been established for your school or unit. Effective October 31, 2018 the Dean/Vice President can nominate a delegate to approve on his/her behalf. A delegate must be a direct report of the Dean/Vice President and/or be able to evaluate requests for both annual budget and strategic alignment. To appoint a delegate, a delegation of authority memo, signed by the Dean/Vice President, should be submitted to the Position Approval Committee.


The Position Approval Committee reviews requests on a weekly basis with an expected turnaround time of 10 business days. Once a decision is made, it will be communicated to the relevant school/unit leader, and anyone copied on the original submission.

Job posting guidelines

Upon approval, a staff position may need to be posted. Positions are generally posted for at least five business days to ensure an open and transparent process. Job posting are required for:

  • All benefits eligible full-time and part-time regular staff positions, including both new positions and vacancies
  • All union positions
  • Employee promotions (defined as a change in appointment where an employee moves to a new position at a higher pay/grade) and/or reclassifications (defined as a change in position duties that results in a pay/grade change) if:
    • there are similarly situated employees (individuals having the same job profile) within the same supervisory organization, and/or
    • there is a comparable vacant position, within the same supervisory organization
  • Increase in scheduled work hours, resulting in a benefits ineligible employee becoming benefits eligible

Exemptions & exclusions

(Guidance updated - 3/25/20)

The position request process applies to all regular staff positions, except for those that are 100 percent funded through sponsored research grants.

The process does not apply to:

  • Faculty positions – including tenure line, non-tenure eligible, and research faculty.
  • Research staff – including postdoctoral fellows and research associates.
  • Work-study Students – students who are doing work at Northwestern as part of their financial aid package are also exempt from the process.

Posted staff positions require an additional approval step, as follows:

  • Once an offer is developed – it is recommended this be done in partnership with your HR Talent Acquisition Partner – complete the Approval to Hire Form.
  • Secure any internal approvals that are required, and submit the Approval to Hire form to your HR Talent Acquisition Partner. They will facilitate HR and Position Approval Committee approvals, as needed.
  • A verbal offer can be made only after all approvals have been secured.

Effective October 31, 2018, the approval requirements have changed, as follows:

  • Offers at or below 102% of the Target Annual Salary listed on the Position Request Form only require approval by HR Talent Acquisition prior to a verbal offer being extended.
  • Offers exceeding 102% of the Target Annual salary listed on the Position Request Form require approval by the Associate Dean/Head of Administration and the Position Approval Committee prior to a verbal offer being extended.

While these are the only approvals required by the process, it is recommended you consult with your Department/Business Administrator to determine if an internal offer approval process has been established for your school or unit.

Northwestern University is a federal contractor that actively participates in affirmative action planning. For more information about Northwestern’s commitment to Affirmative Action, visit the Diversity at Northwestern webpage.