Hiring Toolkit

As a UVA hiring official or HR professional, you are tasked with a great honor and responsibility —- bringing in top talent to help the University achieve its mission and to advance your department’s mission and goals. Whether this is your first hiring experience or you are a seasoned hiring veteran, we hope to provide you with the tools and resources necessary to recruit and retain new employees successfully. We are always open to suggestions for continuous improvement, so if you have suggestions or ideas, please share them with us.

The information set out here should be helpful for first-time managers and experienced HR professionals alike. In addition, you can contact your school/unit HR department or your school/unit’s assigned HR Consultant for further assistance throughout this entire process. A list of HRCS Consultants is available here. Or, if you are unsure of whom to contact, call the UHR Service Center at 434.982.0123.


Throughout this information we will refer to “applicants” and “candidates.” These terms are not interchangeable.

We also will refer to certain steps and requirements dictated by UVA’s status as a “federal contractor” (receiving Federal funds such as student financial aid, grants and research funds, etc.). These compliance requirements are monitored by the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. As a federal contractor, UVA is required to engage in affirmative outreach and other efforts to broaden the pool of qualified applicants to include groups previously excluded from consideration. Equal employment opportunity ensures individuals the right to be treated on a non-discriminatory basis. Affirmative action is a set of positive steps the employer uses to promote access and opportunity, and to eliminate discrimination. The Affirmative Action Plan contains placement goals to assist the employer in addressing any existing underutilization in its workforce of women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans (“underutilized groups”). Underutilization exists when fewer persons in the underutilized groups are employed in job groups than would be expected, given their availability (with the requisite skills to perform the job) in the relevant labor pools.

Federal contractors must engage in “good faith efforts” to expand outreach and recruitment of women, minorities, persons with disabilities and certain protected veterans, thereby making them aware of employment opportunities and providing access to be able to pursue such opportunities. Learn more about good faith efforts here. While placement goals are important, the demonstration of a good faith effort to achieve those goals is more important. As a federal contractor, UVA must be able to show that it has taken vigorous, active, measureable steps to ensure that qualified women and minorities are included in its applicant pools and be able to objectively demonstrate that the selection process was fair and consistent.

Creating a Job Posting

All vacancies (faculty, staff, professional research staff, wage, temps) are posted online at Jobs@UVA. Currently, all University Staff and Wage positions are reviewed by HR Consulting Services prior to posting except for units/schools with delegated hiring authority agreements. University Executive Staff, Professional Research Staff and Faculty positions are reviewed by Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) prior to posting.

Prior to posting a vacant position, the hiring official should take the following steps to help ensure hiring the best possible person for the job:

  • Ensure that the position description is up to date, as well as the “required” experience and qualifications and any “preferred” experience and qualifications. Don’t just rely on what may be in the system; take the opportunity to review and update as necessary focusing on the tasks that you really need the person to do. Try not to use overly bureaucratic language. Make sure there is logic between what is “required” and what is “preferred.” An offer cannot be made to a candidate who possesses “preferred” attributes but not the attributes “required,” so think carefully about your choices.
  • Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate in any aspect of employment. If an educational requirement for a job, like a degree, has a discriminatory impact on minorities or other protected categories of applicants, it could be considered a violation of Title VII or applicable Virginia law dealing with discrimination based on protected categories, unless the educational requirement has been validated. This means that there must be a correlation between the educational requirement and the functions that the employee will perform.
  • Generally, employers may inquire of job applicants if they have a certain level of education and require that they possess a high school, college or other degree so long as it can be demonstrated that successful performance of the particular job requires that specific level of education. In other words, there must be a correlation between success on the job and the level of education required for the position. To make it clearer, if you require an educational degree for a position, the degree requirement would need to be specifically job related in that you would have to be able to demonstrate that the specific behaviors, products, skills or training from the content of the degree directly correlate to successful job performance. For example, to practice law in Virginia it is generally required that attorneys have a law degree and are licensed in this state. Thus, there is nothing discriminatory to require such qualifications for an applicant to be considered to work as an attorney for the University.
  • We have developed a “Position Description Degree Requirement Analysis” worksheet to assist you in determining whether the position for which you are recruiting requires a degree. The worksheet also contains examples of licenses, certificates, degrees, registration, or credentials required by Federal or State Law to perform the duties assigned to the position.
  • The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued regulations that provide guidance on selection procedures and criteria. To access the complete set of regulations, visit the Uniform Guidelines. For a more summary interpretation, including frequently asked questions, please click here.
  • As you review the job duties and responsibilities, you should also think of and draft questions for applicants that will help to distinguish among applicants. These questions can be used in the posting in order to highlight required qualifications and to allow applicants to better describe their related experiences.
  • If changes to the job description need to be made, use Jobs@UVA to submit a modification to the position (work with your school/unit HR department or designated HRCS Consultant).
  • If there is a need to create a new position for posting, submit a request to “Create a New Position” through Jobs@UVA. For instructions on how to create the job posting or how to modify a position, please refer to the Department User’s Guide.
  • All Hiring Officials must complete the EOP’s Search Committee Training and University Staff Hiring Official Training found on the EOP’s Training and Education website found here.
  • A Hiring Official may elect to use a search committee to assist in the hiring process. If so, the committee must consist of at least three members, including the chair, and all members must take the University Search Committee Training found on the EOP’s Training and Education website found here.

Once a posting has been finalized, the hiring official submits it through an established work flow process to obtain the necessary approvals. Each department has a different internal approval process for the creation of new positions or maintenance of existing positions, so please check with your school/unit/department HR professional to learn your process. Once all the necessary approvals are obtained, the posting goes “live” on Jobs@UVA.

Recruiting Process

It is the University’ general practice to post all vacancies first for “Current UVA Employees Only” in order to offer promotional opportunities to qualified candidates within the University and to encourage the use of existing skills and abilities gained through the current employee’s service.

Who are considered “Current UVA Employees”? Medical Center and Academic Employees including Wage, UVA Temps and UVA Student Workers in active assignments as well as current UVA Foundation employees. Note: Contract Workers are not eligible.

All internal postings must be posted for at least five (5) business days. During this period, the hiring official may review applications as they come in but only to determine if the applicants meet required qualifications (this step is different than the “screening” process which occurs after the posting period has closed).

If the internal search does not yield suitable candidates, the position may be posted externally. External postings must be posted for at least ten (10) business days during which time the hiring official may review applications as they come in but only to determine if the applicants meet required qualifications (as noted above, this step is different than the “screening” process which occurs after the posting period has closed).

If your position falls within a job group deemed underutilized for women, minorities, persons with disabilities and/or veterans, you may post directly externally for a minimum of fifteen (15) business days. If your position demands a highly specialized skill set, with your VP/dean approval, you may post directly externally for a minimum of fifteen (15) business days.

As noted below in Certifying the Applicant Pool, the hiring official will have to “certify” that the candidate pool is acceptable prior to any interviews being scheduled.

Advertising a Position

Advertising is a critical step in the hiring process. It goes without saying that having a targeted advertising plan for a position can help to yield a diverse pool of highly qualified candidates.

HRCS Consultants are available to assist hiring officials in drafting and reviewing advertisements before they are published to ensure they contain appropriate language and meet EOP requirements. They can also assist hiring officials with selecting the appropriate advertisement options and arrange for ad placement in a variety of publications for University Staff positions. For a list of advertising options, please review our Recruitment Advertising list.

EOP manages advertisements for University Executive Staff and Faculty positions.

For positions with placement goals under the University’s Affirmative Action plan, hiring officials should refer to the EOP Recruitment and Hiring Resource Guide for details on developing a Diversity Recruitment Plan. Note: The training guide is currently being updated to reflect OFCCP updates and is temporarily unavailable. Please contact EOP with specific questions

Please note that the cost of advertising positions is the responsibility of the department.

Viewing & Accessing Applicant Information

Jobs@UVA allows hiring officials to have access to all application materials in real time, 24/7/365. Application materials should be reviewed to ensure the required qualifications (as detailed in the job posting) for the position are met. If an applicant does not meet the required qualifications, hiring officials need to indicate this fact in Jobs@UVA by selecting the appropriate drop down: “Does not meet the required qualifications-send email”.

It is important to note that there is a difference between “required” qualifications and “preferred” qualifications. If a candidate meets the required qualifications, they are part of the “active” applicant pool and can now be referred to as “candidates.”

Please consider carefully both the requirements and the language used to describe them. Candidates that meet the preferred qualifications must also meet the required qualifications. For example, if a required position qualification is “Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering” and a preferred qualification is “Master’s of Arts in Teaching,” an applicant with the MAT and a Bachelor’s in English cannot be considered for the position. If hiring officials need assistance in screening their applicant pool, please contact either your department’s HR professional or your designated HR consultant.

Certifying the Applicant Pool

Certifying the applicant pool is required for external postings only and must be done prior to interviewing candidates. Once you have reviewed the applicant pool to ensure that only those people with the required qualifications remain, the hiring official must certify that the pool is diverse. An automatic pool calculator is available for your use here. If you download the Excel file below and input the numbers from the applicant report in Jobs@UVA, the calculation will be displayed. For more information about this process, please visit the EOP Website.

Interviewing Candidates

A successful interview should gather information about a candidate, present a realistic description of the position, ensure a fair selection process, establish adequate records in the event that the hiring decision must be justified, and determine whether the candidate would succeed in the position. Assuming you have more than one qualified candidate in your pool, you are required to interview at least two people before a hiring decision is made. For interview assistance, please visit the Behavioral Interviewing guide.

Checking References

Once you have selected your finalist and made a tentative hiring decision, you are next required to conduct reference checks. References are used to substantiate the hiring decision, not to make a decision between two or more candidates. Generally speaking, you should only do reference checks on one candidate.

It is best to obtain a reference from the candidate’s current supervisor, a previous supervisor and/or a colleague. Candidates should be notified that you will be contacting their references. As with the rest of the selection process, the questions should be focused on the requirements for the position.

In order to assist you with reference checking, a sample Candidate Reference Check document is provided for your use.

If the selected candidate is currently employed by the University, you are encouraged to contact your designated HRCS Consultant in order to obtain information regarding the employee’s past performance and conduct. In order to review this information, you will need to request it; it is not provided automatically.

Update the status of Applicants & Candidates in Jobs@UVA

Once you have selected a candidate and completed the required reference checks, it is important to ensure that Jobs@UVA contain an accurate record of the reasons why other candidates and applicants were not selected (this is sometimes referred to as “candidate disposition”). This requirement is imposed by DOL/EEO/AAP. You can change the status of candidates at any time during the process, such as after phone screens or after an initial interview. Don’t wait until the end when your memory may fail you.

Jobs@UVA contains a drop down menu that helps to document why an applicant was not selected, including the following:

  • If the applicant was minimally qualified for the position to which they applied
  • How far into the hiring process an applicant progressed
  • The reason an individual was not considered for interview
  • The reason an individual that was interviewed was not selected for hire
  • The reason an individual who was interviewed was ultimately selected for hire

Before an offer can be made (or even a hiring proposal can be initiated), there should be an accurate status chosen for each of the other candidates and applicants in the pool.

Completing the Hiring Proposal

Once you have selected a candidate, you are ready to complete the system requirements to generate an offer. Work with your department’s HR professional or administrator to initiate and complete the hiring proposal in Jobs@UVA. The hiring proposal will include important information like the recommended salary and start date, as well as other pertinent information regarding the selected candidate. To view salary ranges, consult the resources available here.

Preliminary Offer & Background Checks

Once the hiring proposal is complete and routed for approvals within the school/unit, it will be routed for further review by the appropriate HR professional (either within your school/unit if there is delegated hiring authority or an HRCS Consultant). If the offer is fair and equitable, a preliminary verbal offer of employment will be extended via phone to the selected candidate. This preliminary offer contains basic employment terms, explains that a final offer is conditional upon the successful completion of required pre-employment background checks, and seeks to solicit the candidate’s level of interest in accepting employment.

If the candidate wishes to continue discussions, the person extending the offer will send the candidate the documentation required to conduct the background checks. The required checks will be determined by the nature of the position. All candidates, regardless of the position, are subject to the National Sex Offender registry check and Criminal Records verification.

These checks will be processed through HR Consulting Services and the results will be communicated to the appropriate departmental contact as soon as they become available. The candidate may not begin employment until the results of all pre-employment checks have cleared and all final offer documents have been signed and received.

Final Offer

The final step involves sending a formal written final offer letter to the candidate with information about the Grounds for Success orientation program, required tax and other paperwork, information about completing the online I-9.

New Employee Checklist

Please use the Departmental Orientation Checklist when onboarding your new employee. This checklist specifies information for discussion between the manager and new employee during the department orientation process. By using this document, managers will know what department arrangements to make and what information to cover prior to the employee’s first day, first day/first week and approximately three months from the date of hire. Managers are also encouraged to customize the checklist to address department-specific information. To access the checklist, please click here.

External Resources

Below, please find a list of local external resources that may be useful should you have questions regarding recruitment in the greater Charlottesville area

  1. Virginia Workforce Center Flyer
  2. Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services Quick Reference Resources
  3. Area 6 Piedmont Workforce Network Quick Reference Guide
  4. Hiring and Recruiting Individuals with Disabilities