Academics & Research

Health Equity & Inclusion Hiring Toolkit

Interview

Assessing Candidates’ Qualifications

Successful candidates must be committed to working with diverse student and community populations. Applicants should also describe in their letter of intent how their scholarship contributes to the health of diverse communities/inclusive excellence.

Candidates should describe how:

  • Inclusive excellence has been and will be brought into curriculum
  • They have experience or success mentoring women or members of underrepresented groups

Interview

The interview is an opportunity to evaluate candidates and for candidates to evaluate the institution.

Interviewers should set targets before interviews. Approaches include:

  • Behavioral
  • Situational
  • Core values
  • Mission-based

Topics for interviewers to cover include:

  • Academic experience
  • Technical skills
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Organizational skills
  • Decision making
  • Initiative & problem solving
  • Know what you can/cannot ask

Interview Dos

  • DO deepen the applicant pool.
  • Research shows if you interview more than one woman/URM candidate and they will be evaluated more fairly (Heilman & Stopeck, 1980; Sackett et al., 1991; Valian, 1998).
  • DO allow enough time to read candidate materials and write notes.
  • Allowing sufficient time for evaluations increases accuracy and reduces gender bias (Bauer & Baltes, 2002; Blair & Banaji, 1996; Martell, 1991).
  • DO have specific job-related hiring criteria that correspond to the interview process.
  • DO have a set of interview questions prepared in advance that relate directly to the position.
  • DO be consistent – use the same set of interview questions for each candidate.
  • Structured criteria for decision-making result in more accurate evaluations (Martell & Guzzo, 1991).
  • DO standardize evaluation forms and refer to them in discussions regarding candidates.
  • DO take good notes during the interview process and ask others to do the same.
  • Structured processes for recording observations increase accuracy and reduce bias; writing both positive and negative comments on each candidate is beneficial (Bauer & Baltes, 2002).
  • DO collect information in a systematic manner from various constituencies during and after each interview.
    • Increased accountability reduces the effects of gender schemas and increases the accuracy in evaluations (Foschi, 1996; 2000; Foschi et al. 1994).

Sample Engagement & Inclusion Interview Questions

Commitment to Diversity

  • Provide the mission statement with value on diversity. How has your experience and background prepared you to be effective in this environment with this diversity value/initiative?
  • What does it mean to have a commitment to diversity and how would you develop and apply your commitment at this university?

Ability to Work with Others

  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of a diverse working environment? What steps have you taken to meet this challenge?
  • What kinds of experiences have you had working with others with different backgrounds than your own?
  • Tell me about a time you had to alter your work style to meet a diversity need or challenge?
  • How have you handled a situation when a colleague was not accepting of others’ diversity?

Diversity Competence & Education

  • What was/is the diversity value at your current/former employer? What impact did you make on this value?
  • What efforts have you made, or been involved with, to foster diversity competence and understanding?
  • What have you done to further your knowledge about diversity? Have you included diversity in your professional development? How have you demonstrated what you have learned?

Leadership

  • What kind of leadership efforts would you make to ensure a commitment to the diversity initiative or value?
  • What strategies have you used to address diversity challenges? What were the positives and negatives?

Candidate letters should also:

  • Include a record of accomplishments
  • Describe personal characteristics only if they predict growth/job performance
  • Close with a summary recommendation

Best Practices for Campus Visits: Dos & Don’ts

Dos

  • DO treat all candidates well – they will tell others about their experience with your department. Be aware of applicant’s background, name preference/pronunciation.
  • DO tell candidates in advance exactly what type of presentation, job talk, seminar, or other demonstration of abilities will be required during the visit. Include details about expected audience and time allotted for each activity. Ask for equipment needs in each case and be sure to follow up.
  • DO ask candidates in advance about food likes and dislikes before planning restaurant meals.
  • DO think about making candidates comfortable. Consider choosing a guide/escort who has some similarities to the candidate (for example, junior level, gender, interests).
  • DO be consistent in creating candidate visit schedules, e.g. give each candidate sufficient time with key decision-makers.
  • DO think about having a diverse group take a candidate to dinner.
  • DO consider having a candidate meet with someone from another department if your department doesn’t have anyone with particular similarities (for example, have a woman candidate meet with another woman from a different but related department if your department is all male).
  • DO forward community information that would be welcoming prior to the visit such as demographics of academic community and local environment
  • DO give the candidate information on diverse places of worship, dining, leaders, social spaces, and service organizations.
  • DO arrange for a candidate to meet and be interviewed by minority faculty, staff, and community representatives and other faculty and administrators. Discussions with the program’s ethnic minority faculty or with other minority faculty on campus can provide valuable information about how the candidate might fit into a particular setting.
  • DO (if possible) arrange for the candidate to visit with family or friends in the location after the formal visit, as that might increase the attractiveness of the position.
  • DO allow time for candidates to examine aspects of relocation during the recruitment visit. URM candidates may want to make multiple visits to campus, and committees must be prepared for the possibility. Committees should seize the opportunity to view it as an aspect of continuous recruitment. How the campus/program is able to communicate a good fit, a supportive environment, openness and acceptance, and professional and personal opportunities may outweigh the benefits of a home environment the URM knows so well.

Don’ts

  • DON’T schedule a faculty member’s meeting only with candidates of the same gender or race.
  • DON’T schedule one-on-one time between candidates and department members whom you don’t trust to represent the department and/or treat candidates well.
  • DON’T keep a candidate up late after a long flight and prior to early meetings the next day.

Factors of Interest to Applicants

Spousal/Partner Placement Committees cannot overlook the needs of dual career couples. In preparing for the visit, search committees should find out about available campus resources that can assist in finding employment for a partner. The search committee should develop these job sources and set up job interviews for the partner whenever possible. Candidates will typically raise these issues themselves, so the search committee need not broach the subject if the candidates do not initiate it.

Avenues to investigate for spousal placement include:

  • The EEO/AA Office, which can circulate vitae and resumes on campus or in the community
  • Chairs informally contacting faculty/chairs at nearby institutions that may have openings
  • Grant-supported positions on campus
  • Split or shared appointments between partners when additional resources for a single position are available to an academic unit
  • Work/life resources through human resources.

Additional benefits that attract diverse faculty include:

  • Same-sex domestic partner benefits
  • Parental/family leave, lactation, child care on site, sick child care, elder care
  • Space where new faculty engage with other faculty
  • Mentorship, orientation e.g. weekend away, social, collegial, academic- ongoing
  • Stories of success
  • Salary equity
  • Teaching resources
  • Grants that focus in area, for example: ADVANCE (http://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/advance/) and BIRCH
  • Work/life resources: PT, tenure, tenure clock extension, transitional support
  • Loan forgiveness
  • Research
  • Research support for faculty to support research efforts
  • Undergrad/grad residency program
  • Pilot funding
  • Supportive environment
  • Campus and community demographics/resources welcoming to faculty/family
  • Diverse study population