Faculty Candidate Interviews: Request to Schedule ~30 min. University & Diversity Resources Meeting- see Faculty Hiring for the Recruitment and Initial Appointment Checklist Part IV, section B.b.
It is a best practice to have a neutral pair of people not involved in evaluating the candidate to have 30 minutes on the itinerary where the candidate can ask additional questions and the university resources for diversity and faculty success can be shared. To arrange this meeting, use this link and await confirmation. This new request form and resources for Faculty Recruitment Best Practices are available at: https://advance.cc.lehigh.edu/best-practices-faculty-recruitment.
So, who will meet with the candidates?
For 2019-2020 the following faculty and staff members may be added to a candidate's itinerary and will be scheduled in pairs. No one will meet with a candidate being considered by their own department, and to provide each search's candidates the most harmonized experiences, whenever possible, a least one person of the pair will be consistent across all the candidates. All colleagues will be trained and prepared with an adaptable script, answers to common data-related questions, and can use the candidate-tri-folder to guide the discussion.
Denise Beautreau (DI&E, SAS), James Gilchrist (CHEME), Angela Hicks (MAT), Garth Isaak (MAT), Rita Jones (DI&E, CGE), Marci Levine (ADVANCE), William Lowry (THE) , Joseph Manzo (ACT), Henry Odi, (DI&E) Amber Rice (BIOS), Augustine Ripa (THE), Michael Stavola (PHY), Natasha Vermaak (MEM)
Remember, don't contact individuals on the list above directly; those building the candidate itinerary should use this form: to foster centralized coordination, tracking and matching the pair of discussants for a given search. Once scheduled, the meeting location and relavant background about the candidate (usually CV and/or personal statements) will be given to the discussants to support the dialogue.
Tell me more about the discussion? Anchored by the Principles of our Equitable Community, this meeting shares university level information about our diversity, inclusion and equity resources and infrastructure and highlights how the candidate may experience these and other university level professional development opportunities if they are offered and accept the faculty position. This meeting also shares a bit about the location and greater Lehigh Valley community. This discussion invites the candidate to ask anything, including about issues they may not feel comfortable asking those colleagues on the search committee or hiring department- for some, it's a chance for 'let's get real.' While we have made a lot of progress related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (such as opportunities for community outreach and engagement, programming for first generation scholars, family-friendly policies to support retention of staff and faculty, diversifying faculty and student demographics, etc.), we are cognizant of the journey ahead.
Feedback from candidates: When discussed genuinely and honestly, the feedback from candidates is routinely of appreciation for the chance to focus on aspects of faculty life that are not often part of other interview components, and they are thankful for this welcome, unique, positive experience which establishes Lehigh as a standout and apart from other places they have interviewed.
Our desire is to meet or exceed expectations of candidates in how they experience their interview. By expanding the cadre of qualified colleagues to take part in this meeting, we also spread awareness of the resources and supports on campus that are part of our DE&I journey. For more information, see this August 2019 piece; many of the strategies proposed are best practices shared in other references: https://www.chronicle.com/article/5-Easy-Fixes-for-a-Broken/246798.
Fix No. 4: Let candidates have personal lives. In American culture, and particularly in academic culture, work consumes the majority of peoples’ waking hours. But we are more than our jobs. Candidates expend a lot of worry about whether — and how — to present their fuller selves to you, their future colleagues.
Women routinely remove their wedding rings because of the (sometimes well-founded) fear that they might be passed over in favor of a single, childless candidate. Applicants who either have children, or plan to, wonder whether, and how, to ask their prospective department (and institution) how family friendly it is.
Here are a few things departments can do to ease such fears:
- Don’t wait for candidates to ask. Take the initiative and spell out the institution’s family-friendly policies and practices to every candidate as a matter of procedure. Offer information upfront about area schools. If the institution helps with employment for spouses and partners, explain that to all applicants.
- Provide every candidate with access to a neutral and informed staff member who can discuss HR matters in confidence. This person can answer questions about topics as diverse as disability accommodations, tenure-clock-stoppage policies, parental-care resources, and access to specialized health care for transgender people. There are many things that candidates need to know in order to fully assess whether they will thrive at an institution but are reluctant to ask — either because it detracts from showcasing their abilities or because they fear it will result in their not being offered the position.
- A neutral staff member — someone uninvolved with the hiring decision — can help solve another problem, too. If candidates have a bad experience during the interview — for example, someone asks an illegal question or belittles them — they need to be able to inform the institution about that. Tell candidates who they can report such incidents to.