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Penn State University Libraries

Policies and Guidelines

HUMAN RESOURCES

Guideline UL-HRG17 GUIDELINES FOR FACULTY INTERVIEWS

Contents:

  • Purpose
  • Unit Head/Supervisor
  • Presentation
  • Tour of Libraries
  • Lunch
  • Individuals to Include in the Interview Process
  • Dinner
  • Community Tour
  • General
  • Cross References

PURPOSE:

The purpose of this guideline is to provide general standard elements in faculty interviews.  It is not meant to be prescriptive, as interviews should be customized to ensure that candidates meet individuals appropriate to the position.  However, to ensure fairness and provide a comparable experience, all candidates for a given position should have a similar schedule and process. 

UNIT HEAD/SUPERVISOR:

If at all possible, the candidate’s potential supervisor should start the interview, possibly via breakfast or dinner.  The supervisor should:

  1. Review the interview schedule.
  2. Explain who the candidate will meet during the interview.
  3. Review the organization charts of the Libraries and of the unit.
  4. Ensure that the candidate fully understands the position.
  5. Enhance the candidate’s comfort level by answering questions, clarifying points, etc.

PRESENTATION:

  1. The type of presentation can vary with the position, e.g., an instructional or classroom-like presentation might be appropriate for librarians who have teaching as part of their primary assignment.
  2. The presentation can be scheduled at any time during the day of the interview.  Scome candidates may prefer an early or late presentation time, if there is flexibility in the schedule.
  3. The topic of the presentation is generally recommended by the Search Committee, with approval by appropriate administrators.  Each candidate for the position should be given the same assignment and instructions.
  4. The topic of the presentation (or choice of topics), should be given to the candidate when scheduling the interview.
  5. The chair of the Search Committee introduces the candidate.

TOUR OF LIBRARIES:

  1. This is a good opportunity for the candidate to meet a potential colleague who is not involved in other elements of the interview process.
  2. Include a focus on the candidate’s unit.
  3. If possible, show the candidate where his/her office would be.

LUNCH:

  1. Include a maximum of four people, including candidate.
  2. Involve faculty and staff who are not part of the standard interview.
  3. Provide candidate with an opportunity to chat with members of his/her peer group.
  4. Consider including the chair of LFO or a member of LFO Council to discuss faculty governance in the Libraries.
  5. To save time, and sometimes to avoid the possibility of inclement weather, a box lunch is appropriate and often appreciated.

INDIVIDUALS THAT THE CANDIDATE WILL SUPERVISE (if this is part of the position):

  1. Immediate colleagues:  It is often desirable to schedule the staff and librarians as two separate groups. 
  2. Individuals that the candidate will supervise (if appropriate):  Schedule separate meetings for the faculty and the staff. 
  3. Members of appropriate councils, committees, or departments:  For candidates who will have collection development and/or instruction responsibilities, schedule interviews with the appropriate administrators or department heads.  Include others as appropriate to the position.
  4. Libraries Human Resources representative:  To discuss any questions regarding University benefits and employment-related concerns.
  5. Associate and Assistant Deans: 
    1. Schedule interviews with Associate and/or Assistant Deans(s) as appropriate.  Tenure track librarians should meet with their associate or assistant dean.
    2. If an associate or assistant dean is unavailable, sometimes another dean can substitute.
  6. Director, Commonwealth Campus Libraries:  Should be involved in all CCL faculty interviews held at University Park.
  7. Chancellor and/or DAA or Associate Dean for local campus:  Should be involved in all campus faculty interviews. 
  8. Dean:  This is a required element.  It is wise to build the interview schedule around the Dean's availability.  If the interview is for the recruitment of a fixed-term position for a CCL location, meeting with the Dean is not required, but highly recommended. 
  9. Promotion and Tenure Committee:  
    1. Include no fewer than (2) participants, preferable three (3).
    2. Ask one person to chair the meeting to ensure that someone is responsible for providing feedback on behalf of the Committee.  This should be the responsibiity of the P&T Chair, if present. 
    3. Responsibilities of committee: 
      1. Explain P&T process
      2. Explain support infrastructure for faculty
      3. Discuss candidate's research interests
      4. Make recommendation in regard to candidate's P&T potential to Search Committee Chair

DINNER:

  1. If the dinner is scheduled prior to the interview, it is a good opportunity for the candidate to meet with his/her potential supervisor or appropriate dean in a less formal setting.
  2. If the dinner is after or during the interview, peers can be included.
  3. The guest list should be limited to two or three, in addition to the candidate.
  4. If the candidate has a two day interview, have the dinner on the first day conclude early.
  5. Dinner expenses for interview participants will be reimbursed with a credit card receipt and the submission of a Request for Reimbursement of a Group Meal Form.  Alcohol consumption is generally not appropriate in an interview setting. 

COMMUNITY TOUR:

  1. Determine if the candidate would like a tour of the community.  This is particularly helpful if the candidate may be relocating to the area.
  2. The candidates’ time spent with the realtor is in addition to the interview; the academic interview should not be compromised.

GENERAL:

  1. Ask the candidate if s/he requires any special accommodations or has any dietary restrictions.
  2. For UP positions:  for fixed-term faculty interviews, a half-day interview is fine; for tenure-track faculty interviews, a one day interview is fine (possibly with dinner the night before).  For administrative or executive positions, an interview of 1.5 days is optimal. 
  3. For CCL positions:  for fixed-term faculty interviews, a half-day interview is fine; for tenure-track faculty interviews, a 1.5 to 2 day interview is necessary due to the need to interview at the CCL location as well as University Park. 
  4. Ensure that the candidate gets breaks and adequate travel time between interview sessions.
  5. The interview process should allow the candidate to begin establishing a relationship with the librarian who will be the immediate supervisor.
  6. Participants in the interview should understand their roles in the process and their responsibility to provide meaningful written feedback on the candidate.
  7. Depending on the position, faculty or staff from outside of the Libraries can be involved in either the interview or invited to meals with the candidate.
  8. Encourage faculty and staff to attend the candidate presentations through announcements and reminders.
  9. If possible, someone from the Libraries should pick up the candidate if arriving by air.
  10. Some diversity candidates and candidates with special needs or interests sometimes like to meet with Penn State faculty or staff from under-represented groups. If so, the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity should be contacted to make arrangements.
  11. The final interview schedule should be approved by the appropriate assistant or associate dean.

CROSS REFERENCES:

Other Policies/Guidelines in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

UL-HRG15 – Faculty Recruitment


Effective Date:  November 2007
Date Approved:  November 1, 2007 (Associate Deans)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • April 12, 2010 -- Revised to combine two previous guidelines for the same process, faculty interviews at campuses and at University Park.
  • November 1, 2007 -- New guideline

Last Review Date:  April 2010