Search committees should provide certain information to all candidates ahead of campus visits and use best practices when conducting the visits and evaluating the candidates.
Information to be Provided to All Candidates Prior to Visit
- Before making arrangements for campus visits, inform the candidates that if they wish to request accommodations (such as dietary restrictions, access to lactation rooms, etc.) in the application or hiring process, they should contact the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance rather than members of the search committee or the department chair. Additional information on the accommodations process is available at https://www.northwestern.edu/civil-rights-office/policies-procedures/accommodation/disability.html.
- Provide work-life information, including the Faculty Work/Life and Family Resources brochure, to all candidates regardless of gender before they come to campus for interviews. Direct them to information regarding family leave policies, child care and school options, and other policies and resources. Hard copies of the brochure may be requested by emailing email@example.com. Prospective employers are not permitted to ask questions regarding candidates’ personal lives. Other useful resources for new hires may be found in Appendix E.
- Ensure that the department’s website is current and robust in content, as prospective faculty members are likely to review it early in their consideration of Northwestern.
Plan the Campus Visit
- Schedule consistent campus visits with equal time for each candidate to interview and meet with as many of the same faculty members as possible.
- Ask instructional-position candidates who are being interviewed to give a sample lecture demonstrating their pedagogical skills. Consider inviting undergraduates to attend these sample lectures and soliciting their feedback.
- Publicize all job talks and sample lectures to the broader Northwestern community.
- Make efforts to ensure that candidates have significant contact with undergraduate majors and graduate students in the field during the campus visit.
- Arrange meetings with faculty in related departments to showcase Northwestern’s rich intellectual and interdisciplinary community. Especially when a potential colleague is recruited by a department populated by few women or members of underrepresented groups, it is important to introduce the candidate to faculty members beyond that department.
- Maximize the likelihood that the top candidate will accept an offer by focusing on Northwestern’s comparative advantages and the attractiveness of the Chicago area.
- Encourage your staff and faculty to be warm and professional. All candidates should leave the visit with a positive impression of Northwestern.
- On post-offer recruiting visits, welcome the candidate’s spouse, partner, or significant other.
Evaluation of Finalists
- As much as possible, use uniform questions and review criteria. Search committee members should agree in advance on a set of questions that will be asked of each candidate during interviews and should use structured evaluation templates for evaluating interviews. Ask each candidate the same questions in the same order. See Appendix D for sample templates.
- All interviewers should be generally familiar with the law on employment discrimination as it relates to interviewing. See Appendix F for legal considerations.
- Create an unranked list of top candidates and discuss all candidates rather than assigning them numerical scores. Be prepared to defend each decision to advance or eliminate a candidate, defending the quality of applicants you recommend for hiring and the fairness and equity of the review.