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Penn State University Libraries

Policies and Guidelines




  • Purpose
  • Decision to Recruit and Planning the Recruitment 
  • Advertising the Vacancy
  • Receiving and Screening of Applications
  • References
  • Telephone Interviews
  • Scheduling the Interview
  • Interviews
  • Decision to Hire
  • Making the Offer
  • Closeout


To state the University Libraries' recommended guidelines for the recruitment of faculty at University Park and Commonwealth Campus library locations.


Upon identifying the need for a position (notice of resignation has been given by incumbent or a new position has been created), a Request to Fill Request resource in an alternative format form should be completed and submitted through the appropriate approval path. If a waiver of hiring hold is being requested, explanatory documentation should be attached. Through this process, priorities are established and source of funds is identified by the Dean. Approval to recruit must be given by the Dean before the start of any recruitment plan.

Once Libraries Human Resources has received the completed request to fill form, LHR will inform the Assistant/Associate Dean or Department Head of the Dean’s decision. Decisions would include decision to fill, decision not to fill, or decision to hold.

The AD or Department Head works with LHR to establish a recruitment plan, which takes into account the University calendar, holiday or planned vacations, professional meetings, other recruitments already in progress, and LHR and departmental workflows. The Department Head notifies LHR within one week concerning intent to recruit (start-up of recruitment may or may not be immediate).

For positions at the Commonwealth Campus Libraries (CCL), the AD should inform the Director of Academic Affairs of the plans for the vacant or new position and the Libraries’ intention to recruit as appropriate. Both the AD and the DAA should review any campus and University Park timeline considerations, such as those listed above. NOTE: Coordinated planning between campus and UP is essential to a professional and successful recruitment for positions at CCL locations.

The AD and/or Department Head will appoint and charge a search committee. Search committees can consist of members (both faculty and/or staff), who are employed in the same department, who have similar job duties, who work closely with the position, and may contain employees both internal and external to the Libraries. Careful consideration should also be made to identify diverse individuals to serve on the search committee when possible. A Chair of the Search Committee should be identified (only tenured faculty members who have attended Affirmative Action training may serve as chairs of search committees). Once a committee has been identified, the names of the prospective members should be forwarded to LHR.

The appropriate AD, Department Head, and LHR representative should be present at the first committee meeting to provide pertinent information to the search committee. This information should include: a timeline which establishes ad placement strategy, application deadline, goals or expectations regarding diversity and/or Affirmative Action, deadline for completion of screening the applicants, interview time frame and desired hiring decision date, and overall responsibilities of the search committee.


The appropriate AD, Department Head and/or Search Committee are responsible for drafting the advertisement. The draft of the ad should include: a brief description of position responsibilities, the position requirements (both required and desirable), a short description of the work setting or collection (optional), and an encouraging or welcoming statement directed to members of underrepresented groups. In writing the position requirements, particular attention should be made so that stated requirements match anticipated screening criteria. An application deadline if appropriate must leave a minimum of four weeks (or 30 days) for candidates to apply. LHR will add the standard language concerning salary, benefits, application instructions, deadline and codes for tracking responses by recruitment sources. All draft ads should be approved by the Dean before formal announcement of the position is made.

To ensure consistency in presentation of the University Libraries to the professional community, and to control costs, LHR has final edit authority, but will consult with responsible individual(s) if major edits to the ad are necessary. All faculty advertisements must be approved by both LHR and the Affirmative Action Office prior to placing the ad in nationally recognized publications.

LHR submits the advertisement to standard sources. If recruitment sources other than the standard sources are to be used, the Department Head and/or Search Committee Chair informs LHR during the planning meeting so that LHR can obtain publication deadlines and post accordingly. If position is to be posted on an electronic listserv, someone on the Search Committee who subscribes to the listserv is assigned that responsibility and given ad copy exactly as it should be reproduced. LHR will also post the announcement as an email to all Libraries' faculty, in case current Libraries' faculty are contacted by colleagues in the profession.


All application materials are directed to be mailed to LHR for processing. LHR will confirm receipt of the application with the candidate and request Affirmative Action information. The Search Committee will be notified when applications are available for review.

The Search Committee is responsible for screening the candidates for job related qualifications and applying the criteria consistently across all applicants. Special effort should be made to incorporate diversity and affirmative action goals when selecting the pool of finalists. Once the initial screening of the pool has been completed, the Search Committee Chair should forward a list of candidates to be interviewed, those to be closed out, and those to be kept in a reserve pool to LHR for further handling.


The Search Committee Chair, after consulting with the appropriate AD, forwards the short list of candidates selected by the committee to LHR, noting the candidates for whom references should be requested.

In the event that written references are desired, LHR will contact the referees requesting letters of support. A copy of the advertisement for the position should be included in the request and at least two weeks should be given to the referee for a response deadline. LHR will acknowledge receipt of the reference letters and inform the Search Committee when the letters are available for committee viewing.

When a reference is solicited or taken over the phone by the search committee, detailed notes should be taken of the conversation. Include date, time, name of referee, questions asked and the referee's responses. Request that the referee briefly confirm the phone conversation in writing. The Search Committee Chair should provide LHR with a copy of telephone reference notes. These become part of the official recruitment record and will be retained in the search file.

Interviews may be scheduled prior to receiving references.


Telephone interviews are recommended in most cases in order to control costs and narrow the applicant pool. Should the Search Committee Chair wish to conduct initial screening interviews by phone to limit the number of individuals brought in for interview, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Search Committee Chair works with administrative support to schedule the time of the call. 
  2. Be mindful of any necessary accommodations for candidates with hearing-related disabilities. 
  3. At least two members of the search committee should be present during the call in order properly facilitate the conversation and document the candidate’s responses to questions.
  4. Ask the same questions of all candidates telephoned. 
  5. Keep notes of all answers to questions and impressions of the candidates. These become part of the permanent records and should be given to LHR at the close of the recruitment process.


Candidates to be interviewed are recommended by the Search Committee and approved by the Department Head, appropriate AD, and the Dean. Schedule recommendations can be made by the Search Committee, and then shared with the Department Head and LHR to insure inclusion of key faculty and staff. The Department Head or appropriate AD can identify critical participants listed on the schedule and possible alternates should a key person not be available. AD’s administrative support should identify dates and contact the candidates. The number of open dates identified should allow each candidate a choice of at least two dates. The candidate should be given a minimum two weeks’ notice of interview date.

When the interview date has been finalized, administrative support should send the proposed interview schedule to all interview participants and include the candidate's resume, a copy of the announcement and instructions for providing evaluative comments. Administrative support should make all prepaid lodging, luncheon, and dinner reservations, the location to be identified by the Department Head or Search Committee Chair. Administrative support should send a confirmation letter to the candidate and include information on promotion and tenure, employee benefits, the University, the community, and a confirmation number for lodging accommodations.

NOTE: Candidates for tenure track positions at CCL locations interview at University Park as well as the campus. Typically, the CCL Department Head travels to the campus to participate in all interviews of both tenure track and non-tenure track positions.

Additional information on faculty interviews can be found by viewing UL-HRG17, Guidelines for Faculty Interviews.


When deciding whom to involve, it is important that the Search Committee consider the time commitment required of participants. Tenure track faculty interviews are typically scheduled to be one full day and include elements such as a 30 minute presentation, and meetings with various individuals including:

  1. Immediate colleagues
  2. Individuals the candidate may supervise
  3. Members of the Search Committee
  4. A representative from Libraries Human Resources
  5. Members of the Promotion and Tenure Committee
  6. Members of appropriate councils, committees or departments.
  7. The Dean and appropriate Associate and Assistant Deans 
  8. Representatives from collegial academic departments or services 

In addition to the above recommendations, interviews for tenure track positions located at any of the CCL locations are normally 1.5 to 2 day interviews, due to the need to interview at the CCL location as well as University Park. For fixed-term faculty positions at the campus locations, it is not required that the candidates interview at the campus and at University Park, so half-day interviews are acceptable. Individuals involved in campus interviews will vary from position to position, but should always be limited to essential contacts considering that the UP visit is the second in a two-day interview. Interviewers should keep in mind that the primary purpose of the UP visit is to make candidates aware that CCL faculty are part of a larger system, and to explain how CCL faculty might expect to relate with their UP colleagues.

Regardless of the location of the open position, all individuals involved in an interview are expected to provide meaningful written feedback on each candidate. The feedback should to be sent via e-mail to the Search Committee Chair who will distribute evaluative comments to the other members of the Search Committee for their review. The confidentiality of all feedback is vital to the process and is expected of all who are involved.

More detailed information on faculty interviews can be found by viewing UL-HRG17, Guidelines for Faculty Interviews.


The Search Committee should consider input from all individuals and groups who participated in the interview process and make a recommendation to the appropriate AD based on feedback.

The Department Head may make an independent recommendation and it may differ from Search Committee and other interview participants’ recommendations.

The AD shall take the recommendations forward to the Dean along with the resumes and copies of letters of reference. The Dean makes all final hiring decisions, as well as those regarding academic rank at appointment and status on the tenure track (see below).


The AD will contact the LHR Manager with the name of the selected candidate and the suggested rank of appointment. The AD and LHR Manager typically discuss ballpark salary in light of candidate's stated expectation.

The LHR Manager develops salary proposal taking into account the candidate’s current salary or salary requirement if known; professional and pre-professional experience in light of position requirements; level of position (e.g., subject head); degrees held; marketplace; and equity within the Libraries. It is the LHR Manager's responsibility to ensure salary equity across the Libraries' system. If the candidate's salary requirement would create an equity problem, LHR Manager alerts AD to the specific problem encountered and suggests an uppermost limit for the Dean to consider, presuming the candidate is a top prospect. The LHR Manager shares the salary workup with the appropriate AD and makes a salary recommendation. Recommendation may be set amount or negotiating range. The recommendation is discussed with the Dean before any offer is made. Before offer is made, the AD should also consult with the Director of Business Services to make arrangements for salary line preparation.

The AD will make the offer to the successful candidate. Discussion points include: rank, salary, start date, moving assistance, and, in appropriate cases, tenure credit or the process for seeking award of immediate tenure. The AD may negotiate within limits approved by the Dean. All offers are subject to a successfully completed background check.

When notified by the AD of verbal acceptance, LHR informs Financial Officer of agreed upon salary. LHR will prepare the formal letter of offer for the Dean's signature and will send letter and Memorandum of Personal Service to the candidate. Written acceptance of offer and is required.

The AD or Department Head notifies University Park or CCL faculty and staff of hire, and provides biographical information to the Libraries' Department of Public Relations and Marketing for announcement in the InterView and other appropriate publications. Timing of announcements should allow for unsuccessful interviewees to receive notification.


Unsuccessful candidates who have been interviewed are contacted by either the appropriate AD or the Search Committee Chair as soon as an offer has been accepted. LHR sends closeout letters all remaining active applicants who were not interviewed, upon receiving instructions from the Search Committee Chair.

Search Committee members must submit all notes from initial screening of the applicants, telephone interviews, in person interviews, and any other documents related to the search to LHR for retention in the search file. Documentation should include reasons for rejecting candidates who were interviewed but not selected. LHR will prepare the necessary Affirmative Action documentation and forward appropriately. A copy is retained for the Libraries' official record.

The recruitment record and search file is retained in LHR for three years after the date position is filled.

Effective Date: May 15, 1995
Date Approved: May 15, 1995 (Libraries Academic Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • April 12, 2010 – Revised to combine the Commonwealth Campus Libraries and University Park Libraries faculty recruitment process into one guideline. 
  • July 11, 2006 – Revised to reflect campus reorganization
  • 2004 – Editorial
  • May 15, 1995 – New policy

Last Review Date:  April 2010