Hiring Process Guide for Supervisors and Search Committee Chairs

For questions about the hiring process at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, please reach out to Beth Hawkyard at beth.hawkyard@maine.edu or call 207.581.2892.

Contacts and General Responsibilities

Francine Sulinski
Assistant Director, UMaine Extension, fran.sulinski@maine.edu

Assists in determining the appropriate position type, review of JD and PDQ, salary range determination and salary offer. Offers search chair briefing and troubleshooting issues that come up during searches.

Beth Hawkyard
Staff Coordinator, UMaine Extension, beth.hawkyard@maine.edu

Provides job description templates and review, example and/or drafted interview questions and review, completes the Request to Fill form for HireTouch, ensures advertising for PAs is arranged, ensures interview scheduling for PAs is arranged, creates and sends job opening announcement to all staff. Provides rating sheet for Search Chair. Reviews strengths and weaknesses summaries.

Melissa Gray
UMaine Talent Acquisition Operations Specialist, melissa.gray@maine.edu

Supports Chairs with HireTouch, interviewees, and offering. Enters Request to Fill form data, gives approval for advertising once the position has been posted in HireTouch, reviews applicant rating sheets in order to approve interviewees, approves proceeding to second interviews/offering based on strengths and weak summaries, schedules background checks.

Brief Overview of the Initial Steps of a Search

  1. New or vacant position identified → Job search approval from PA / ELT → Supervisor prepares job description.
  2. The supervisor / Search Committee Chair collects information necessary for Beth to complete the Request to Fill (RTF) HireTouch Requisition Form.
  3. Fran and Beth review all.
  4. Position documents/information are uploaded to HireTouch by HR.

What We Need From You

Gathering details in advance, if at all possible, will help the hiring process move along smoothly and quickly. These are described in more detail in the steps below. The Supervisor/Chair should be gathering details such as:

  • Position title and type,
    • When it is a new position, there should be a consult with Fran if there is any ambiguity about the position type (professional or hourly).
  • A drafted Job Description;
  • Names and contact information for an adequate and diverse Search Committee;
  • How the position will be funded and which account chartfield to use;
    • Soft-money or grant funded? Ongoing or base funded?
    • Michael Bailey can confirm chartfields
  • An estimated timeline (application review, interviews, and tentative start date); and
  • Where the Supervisor would like to advertise beyond the usual HireTouch/UMS, All Staff email, and CE Facebook (this should be broad and reach diverse audiences).

Prepare the Job Description

If the position is base funded or a county support staff position, the Supervisor must seek approval from the ELT before beginning the hiring process. Contact your county’s PA to seek approval.

If this is a new position, with no existing job description, Beth will provide appropriate examples to the Supervisor/Chair. The Supervisor/Chair will look these over and edit as necessary to fit the needs of the position.

  • A Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) (Google Doc) is required for a new or significantly revised professional position. If you are using the same job description as the previous employee, the older PDQ can be used. The supervisor of the new position completes this form (**remember to first make a copy of the Google document, then change the title to include the position title, such as “Agriculture Professional PDQ” when you save it) and sends it to Beth.

If the position is vacant and a job description already exists, review the job description for any suggested edits, then send it to Beth for review and formatting.

Fran provides final approval.

Gather Your Search Committee

For all searches, each search committee member must attend a presentation offered by the Office of Equal Opportunity staff to be updated on equal opportunity and affirmative action issues that pertain to the search being conducted. Attending this training must occur before the committee meets to review applications for the position. Briefings are held bi-weekly via Zoom and the schedule can be found on UMaine’s Office of Equal Opportunity Search Briefing Schedule page.

Fran is available to go over the details of chairing a search committee for those leading a committee for the first time, or for those who haven’t led a committee in one year or would like a refresher

  • Based on the position type, the committee must consist of the following:
    • Faculty: four faculty total (one as chair or two serving as co-chairs), one professional staff member, one hourly staff member and one stakeholder
    • Professionals: two professional staff, one faculty member, one hourly staff member and one stakeholder
    • Hourly: two hourly staff, one professional or one faculty member (in addition to the hiring supervisor) and one stakeholder

Send your search committee names and email addresses to Beth.

Identify Where to Advertise the Position

All advertisement locations (online or otherwise) need to be listed on the RTF.

Melissa (HR) will post to HireTouch, where it will be seen when the public searches for positions on the UMaine website.

Please review the Advertising Menu for Job Listings (Google Spreadsheet): which includes information on standard sites such as the Journal of Extension (for faculty positions) and Live and Work in Maine (which is statewide), as well as sites aimed to advertise to a broad and diverse audience. Specific posting requests will be considered.

If the position reports to a PA, advertising will be taken care of by Ella Glatter.

If the position reports to a Supervisor who is not a PA, then the Supervisor/Chair will be responsible for advertising.

All advertisement postings need to be documented (such as taking a screenshot of the payment/confirmation/invoice or the advertisement itself) and emailed to Ella once completed.

Advertising funds will come out of the same account the salary is being charged to, unless otherwise necessary.

Provide Necessary Information for the Request to Fill (RTF) Form

After you’ve gathered all the details (see “What We Need From You” list above), please send this information to Beth to complete the OCES Request to Fill (RTF) and HireTouch Requisition form.

Melissa (HR) will enter the data in HireTouch.

HireTouch guidance is provided by HR via email to all committee members.

HR and HireTouch administrators will continue with the approval process and confirm when the position is officially posted.

Anticipate Applicants!

Once the position is posted, applicants will begin applying through HireTouch. Applicants will be seen by HR, the search committee and supervisors involved. HR will provide guidance in HireTouch, including getting familiar with the Applicant Tracking System.

When the screening date arrives, the search committee Chair reviews the essential and tangible criteria (degree and experience) and moves the applicants to the next stage “acceptable” (this is within HireTouch), so the applicants and their application materials can be seen by the rest of the search committee.

Beth will develop a spreadsheet template for the committee to use to score the applicants based on the criteria of the job description.

Create Interview Questions

The Chair and the search committee use the position’s job description and/or criteria to ensure interview questions are appropriate and relevant.

An interview guide is available with samples of interview questions to use, please visit the Interview Questions and Answers page (indeed for employers). Beth is available to provide example questions based on the job category or program area.

The Chair sends the interview questions to Beth for review.

Select Interview Candidates

The search committee completes a screening spreadsheet (provided by Beth) and their scores must justify those they intend to interview. There should be a significant gap between the last person the search committee would like to interview and the next candidate scored. The search committee chair sends the completed screening sheet to Melissa Gray to gain approval to interview. In order to ensure equal opportunity for all interviewees, the format for the interview and/or presentation needs to be the same. For example, all via Zoom technology or all in-person.

Common Interview Mistakes and Their Consequences, From the Interview Guide for Supervisors, 5th Edition (PDF), )UMaine Human Resources)

Interview Candidates

During or immediately following interviews, all committee members will document each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. All strengths and weaknesses are based on the criteria or job description and must be kept factual, objective, and unbiased. Keep these documents to send to the Chair and Beth when the process is complete. A Ranking and Strengths and Weaknesses template (Google Doc) is available to use, please make a copy and save it with the position title in the document title. Example language to avoid words that would describe a candidate’s characteristics unrelated to the job criteria. For example: bubbly, energetic, lazy, uninteresting topic chosen for their presentation, etc.

Offer/Hiring Process

After interviews are conducted, the Search Chair compiles committee notes into a summary with rankings and their top candidate selected and sends it to Beth for review. It will then be sent to HR for approval to offer the position to the selected candidate.

With approval, the Chair notifies those selected to move forward and those not selected.

If there is a salary range, the person offering the position (Chair or Supervisor) connects with Fran about the salary offer.

The Chair or Supervisor connects with Melissa or Brian about the start date and required background checks or physicals.

HR contacts the candidates about any pre-employment physicals required.

HR (Brian) issues the offer letter which includes the required step of the applicant to officially accept the position within HireTouch.

The Chair follows up with any candidates who interviewed but did not move forward with communication such as “Thank you for your participation in the interview process for this position. Our search committee is moving forward with another candidate / other candidates at this time. We wish you the best in your employment search.”

Onboarding: See the Complete Onboarding Process Guide

After successful acceptance within HireTouch, HR (Melissa) issues a welcome to UMS letter, which includes instruction on completing the standard UMS onboarding requirements (such as completing I-9, required UMS training, etc.).

Supervisors consult the Manager Resources page on Plugged In (such as the Orientation Checklists below) and take steps to bring the new employee onboard successfully. This includes ensuring that resources are in place and a welcoming environment is anticipating their arrival.

New Employee Orientation Checklists

Beth Hawkyard sends a Welcome Email (Google Doc) with a list of staff (Orientation Team) and a variety of resources, including the upcoming Dean’s Welcome video.

Supervisors share the New Staff Orientation and Training page on Plugged In with the new hire to sign up for a series of orientation webinars. Angela Martin will contact new staff to register them for a series of trainings led by Fran Sulinski (Human Resources Things to Know, Providing the Ultimate Customer Service Experience, and Meeting Our Civil Rights Obligations).

Ella Glatter will add staff to general Google Groups, such as Extension All Staff, position type (Extension Professionals, Extension Faculty, etc.) and county/location specific (Extension in Cumberland, 4-H Camps and Learning Centers, for example). Supervisors should double-check appropriate Group designations and suggest any others their staff should be included on.

If the new staff requires the ability to reserve and drive an Extension vehicle, please contact Ella Glatter at ella.glatter@maine.edu for process instructions.

Additional Resources