Yowza! After my recent post, “Is It Time for a Search Committee Code of Conduct?,” more than 50 of you wrote in to say “Heck, yeah” and were kind enough to provide dozens of thoughtful suggestions. I’ve been thinking about how to organize your ideas into something that would be usable and not preachy. Rather than provide a checklist of good practices, I thought I’d provide a set of questions to help search committees evaluate the quality of the experience they provide to candidates. Here goes:
Did we attend to the candidate’s basic needs? Did we provide water during the interview? Was the schedule designed to allow for regular restroom breaks? If the candidate traveled from west to east, did we avoid a 7:00 a.m. start time? Did “working lunches” allow the candidate to actually to eat? Were inquiries made in advance so that vegetarians were not subjected to the best steak place in town? Did we non-judgmentally inquire if accommodations were necessary so that we avoided holding a meeting in a building without an elevator when inviting a candidate with mobility challenges?
Did we provide transportation from the airport or at least good directions to the interview? Did we arrange for a decent place for the candidate to stay that allowed for privacy and downtime (as in not the search chair’s guest bedroom)? Did we provide bios of the search committee and name tents during meetings so the candidate had a sense of his/her audience?
Did we make travel arrangements or provide prompt reimbursement for them?
Did we make the candidate feel valued and interesting? Did we make sure not to cause embarrassment by talking to others about the candidate without permission? Did we invite only those who were serious contenders for the role? If a committee member started asking combative questions, did we protect the candidate by cutting him off? Did we politely notify candidates as soon as they were no longer in the running?
Were we honest about the challenges currently facing our institution? Did we fairly represent the actual workload and working conditions? Were we upfront about the true “costs” of employment (e.g., unusually high health-insurance costs, waiting periods for retirement contributions, parking fees, inability to provide basic office equipment)?
Thanks for your excellent suggestions. What else do we need to add to the list?