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Best Practices for Diversity in Hiring

  1. Scouting and Recruiting
    1. Whenever possible, recruit with the intention of filling tenure-track or tenured positions
    2. Send faculty recruiters to conferences attended by members of historically underrepresented minority groups.
    3. Maintain contact with professional organizations to communicate information about ongoing searches and to solicit potential referrals.
    4. Recruit faculty who may have an accompanying cohort of graduate students or colleagues who can also be recruited to UF.
    5. Recruit candidates who have already given lectures or conducted research at UF.
    6. Identify qualified candidates who could potentially be mindful of ways to increase diversity, contact them directly and invite them to apply.
  2. Launching the Search Process
    1. Clearly delineate the roles of the hiring authority, unit chair(s)/director(s) and search committee members.
    2. Appoint or identify a diversity and inclusion advocate on the committee who will ensure best practices throughout the entire search process and who will remain in communication with the department’s diversity liaison. The advocate could be internal or external to the department.
    3. Raise awareness of implicit bias through HR tutorials and other resources. The definition of implicit bias can be found at
  3. Developing the Position Description and the Criteria by Which to Evaluate Candidates
    1. In all job announcements, clearly articulate the expectation for candidates to be mindful of ways to increase diversity and inclusion through research, teaching and/or professional service.
    2. Define qualifications that are inclusive and flexible. Focus on the needs to be met instead of on the mere replacement of a particular faculty member.
    3. Clearly and explicitly articulate and document evaluation criteria.
    4. Develop a position that can be used to hire clusters of faculty. Make arrangements with administrators so that the funds will be available to hire more than one candidate for these positions.
    5. Take an expansive view towards application materials asked for and how they are interpreted. For example, in addition to a traditional writing sample (chapter of dissertation or published article), allow candidates to submit, e.g., an electronic portfolio. Otherwise, acknowledge contributions on the curriculum vitae that do not fall under traditional rubrics.
    6. Advertising the position
      1. Disseminate the announcement early.
      2. Engage in broad and proactive distribution of the announcement beyond typical outlets, including outlets that reach women and under-represented minority candidates (e.g. industry journals, professional organization listserves, graduate programs in African-American/Asian-American/Hispanic-Latino/Native-American studies, etc.)
      3. Advertisements should also be sent to listserves that reach an audience of academics from historically underrepresented minority groups, including the Ford Foundation and the McKnight Fellows Program.
  4. Interviewing
    1. Consider conducting videoconference interviews as intermediary step to in-person invitations. Videoconferencing should follow strict protocols that ensure all candidates the same opportunity to showcase their skills, abilities, and interests. The interviews should be conducted with the same professional standards as face-to-face interviews and at times that are suitable for the candidate (during business hours in the candidate’s time zone). In addition, candidates should be asked the same questions during these interviews to ensure fairness.
    2. When requesting letters of reference, specifically ask for behavioral-based examples of a candidate’s performance (e.g. Tell me about a time when X demonstrated Y quality/skill).
    3. Invite a larger pool of applicants (4-5) for on-campus interviews and hire more than one candidate if multiple strong candidates emerge. Simultaneous cluster hiring versus serial hiring is more cost-effective and is itself a recruitment incentive for candidates.
    4. Prior to candidates’ campus visits, provide the hiring authority with the HR forms and instructions about the negotiation process so negotiations can move forward efficiently after visits.
    5. Welcome visiting candidates warmly (e.g. prepare gift bags and handwritten welcome cards).
    6. During the campus interview, attempt to include meetings with faculty, staff and students that are members of under-represented groups (even if from other units at UF) to give the candidate an opportunity to learn about the campus climate.
    7. Use behavior-based interview questions (;
  5. The Selection Process
    1. Return to the explicit evaluation criteria (III C) consistently throughout the evaluation process, but allow committee members to give their opinions about the candidates.
    2. Build the best case for and against every finalist to try to manage any potentially biased input.
    3. Send offer letters as quickly as possible. Require that candidates accept or decline these offers within a certain period of time (i.e. one or two weeks).