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Follow-Up Procedures

Departments and schools should document search records and retain them for at least three years.

Document the Search

The department or school is responsible for assembling and maintaining records of faculty searches, including these records archived within the University’s eRecruit, eOffer, and Faculty Recruiting System:

  • Presearch approval documentation
  • Position advertisement text
  • All candidates’ letters of application, CVs, and other supporting materials, including any standard correspondence that is automatically sent by the Faculty Recruiting System (e.g., application acknowledgment)
  • All letters of recommendation, solicited or unsolicited

The search records should also include correspondence and other documentation generated outside the Faculty Recruiting System, such as

  • All correspondence between the department and dean, the chairperson’s request to fill the position, the dean’s authorization to search, and the dean’s authorization of a campus visit
  • All documentation of advertisements and notices of the position, including photocopies or scans of the actual ads and notices, correspondence pertaining to placement of ads, and names of websites and associated links where ads were placed
  • All notes and other documents pertaining to the department’s special efforts to seek out candidates for the position who are members of underrepresented groups
  • All interview notes (interview notes should reference only considerations that relate directly to job responsibilities)
  • All follow-up correspondence and notes about candidates’ qualifications
  • All written evaluations of candidates’ written work

Committees should retain all such materials for at least three years, whether or not a formal offer was made. Presearch approval documentation, the Faculty Search Summary form, and copies of the position announcement will be automatically archived by the MyHR system and retained according to the University’s document retention policies. If a school hires a candidate who is not a US citizen or permanent resident, consult with the Office of International Student and Scholar Services regarding required documentation.

Provide Notification

After a faculty offer is accepted, any finalist not selected for the position should be informed. If possible, your department or school should solicit feedback from finalists about the search process. Similarly, contact candidates who turn down Northwestern offers to solicit the reasons for their decisions, including feedback about the search process.

Respond to Unsolicited Applications

Departments and schools occasionally receive unsolicited applications for positions that have not been advertised or do not in fact exist. These letters should be acknowledged. It is important not to make any commitment implying that the department or school will review the application. Instead, the acknowledgement should state that no appropriate vacancy currently exists.


In unusual cases, the Provost may approve an exception to these guidelines.