Human Resources Department

Step 2: Search Committees


Generally a search committee is made up of no less than three people, including the chair of the committee. There is no set number, but there should be few enough members that schedules and discussion can be managed effectively, and enough members to ensure diverse perspectives and insights. The membership of a search committee should reflect the diversity of the campus. Women and minorities should be included on the committee. To achieve this in less diverse departments, consider asking students, faculty, or staff members from other departments to serve on the committee.

The vice president or designee shall appoint a search committee to consist of about 3 - 7 members, and should include persons of both genders and (where practical) minority members.Committee appointments are typically representative of the following constituents:

  • college faculty directly involved (excluding deans)
  • faculty outside the involved college
  • administrators
  • CSA personnel
  • students (when appropriate)
  • business community/alumni (when appropriate)

The committee should include at least one member whose specialty is similar to qualifications listed for the position, and one member who is knowledgeable about Black Hills State University hiring and Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action policies.  

Chair Responsibilities

One member will be designated chair. The responsibilities of the chair are to ensure that all members of the committee understand the assignment of the committee, understand the rules and requirements under which the committee must operate, and to lead the interviewing and subsequent committee discussions. The search chair has the responsibility of ascertaining that the committee is aware of the university’s commitment to equal opportunity and the procedures that will be used in reviewing applications and materials that are received for any particular position. 

 During the review process, the search chair is responsible for meeting with the hiring manager and/or hiring manager assistant (HM/HMA) to provide him/her with information that the hiring manager can use to change the status for each applicant on an on-going basis. Prior to the first meeting, the HR Office will confirm the individuals' appointments by email, which will outline the specific instructions regarding the committee's responsibilities. If the search chair or the committee have questions regarding any search procedure(s), the chair shall request clarification from the university’s human resources director/affirmative action officer.  

Committee Responsibilities

The charge of the search committee is to provide an equitable process to screen and interview applicants for a vacant position. They should uphold BHSU’s commitment to a policy of equal opportunity in faculty and staff employment and personnel actions as well as other areas of operation without regard to race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. They should be aware of the procedures used in reviewing applications and materials that are received for a particular position. The committee is a “search and screen” committee only. Usually, the search committee will forward their recommendation of qualified candidates for consideration to the hiring manager. Final determination of the candidate that is to be hired is made by the President through the Vice President of the applicable area.

Consider inviting a member of the Human Resources Office to an early meeting of the search committee to discuss affirmative action concerns, procedures and recruitment strategies. If the search chair or committee members have questions regarding the search procedure(s), the chair shall request clarification from the university’s Human Resources Director/Affirmative Action Officer.

Within the charge of the committee, as outlined in the appointment memo, the committee is responsible for the following:

  • conducting a search which is reflective of equal opportunity and affirmative action issues;
  • drafting recruitment letters, communications with applicants, and other appropriate letters;
  • establishing job-related criteria and procedures for screening;
  • compiling a diverse pool of candidates through a variety of advertising methods;
  • using fair, objective, and uniform procedures to review and evaluate all candidates, including credential reviews, reference checks, and interviews of those under serious consideration;
  • completing the required documentation on the search and completing a final report of the search in a timely manner;
  • recommending to the appropriate administrator a specific number of candidates.

The hiring manager will ensure that a job description will be available for use by the search committee.  

Search Timing

Forming a search committee as soon as possible after determining a vacancy can decrease the challenges in dealing with publication deadlines, payroll cut-offs, visa delays, etc. Publication deadlines can often be more than a month prior to the publication date and visa processing can take six months or more.  


The committee is advised about confidentiality. Good candidates may withdraw if they believe their candidacy is not treated confidentially. This is especially important when there are internal candidates for a position. To maintain the highest level of confidentiality, remember these guidelines:

  • Discussions about candidates should involve only members of the search committee and University administration.
  • Candidates should not be discussed with colleagues outside BHSU or with other candidates. 
  • Discussions about candidates should not take place outside of formal meetings, especially in public areas.
  • All discussions are "on the record."
  • Email should not be used to discuss candidates. 

The committee might receive applications from individuals who do not have information in YourFuture, the online employment system. The applicant is required to complete the online NFE/Faculty application for the committee to consider any additional material received by email or regular mail. All additional materials received shall be reviewed by the committee.

There will be instances when an applicant “status” will be at “Special Handling.” Special Handling means that an individual has preference, and must be included in each step of the process and, if they meet the minimum qualifications for the position, must receive at least an initial interview.  

Important Highlights

  • Black Hills State University is committed to a policy of equal opportunity in faculty and staff employment and personnel actions as well as all other areas of operation without regard to race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability or veteran status.
  • Applications are accepted only through the online employment system – All applications for employment are to be considered confidential and shall not be discussed with others who have a passing interest.
  • A set of questions shall be developed for the interview process. These questions shall be job related in nature and shall be non-discriminatory. A copy shall be included in the documentation that is forwarded to the Human Resources Office at the conclusion of the search.
  • Applications shall be reviewed based on the requirements in the advertisement. If the ad stated masters degree required, then applicants holding only bachelors degrees are not qualified for the position. If a doctorate is preferred, then doctorates must be given preference over those holding a masters degree.
  • Likewise, if a specific discipline(s) are mentioned, an applicant who holds a degree in a different discipline may not be considered. For example, if the announcement requires a doctorate in Psychology, an applicant with a doctorate in medical sciences cannot be considered.
  • If the advertisement carried the statement that “applications accepted until the position is filled,” the committee shall review all applications as they arrive until the position offer has been accepted by the selected candidate. If a final date was stated in the announcement, the opening is moved by the system to a status of “Closed” at midnight on the specified date. No other applications may be accepted/reviewed by the committee, and the online system will not allow additional applications after the specified date.
  • During the review process, the search chair is responsible for meeting with the hiring manager to provide him/her with information that the hiring manager can use to change the status for each applicant on an on-going basis. There are several status changes that are applicable at this point and are listed below for review by the search chair prior to meeting with the hiring manager. The search chair is also responsible for providing the hiring manager with documentation as to why applicants did not meet the minimum qualifications.
    • Hr/Dept Determined Did not Meet Min Quals – send email at filled
    • Hr/Dept Determined Did Not Meet Min Quals – send email now
    • Recommend for Interview
  • Before Black Hills State University appoints a candidate who has been employed by a Board of Regents institution and who has been either terminated or allowed to resign in lieu of being terminated, the institutional executive officer and the board office shall be advised of the circumstances surrounding the separation. If a candidate is currently employed by and institution and applies for another position in the system, the employee’s institutional HR Office or Academic Affairs Office, as appropriate, will share job-related information with the requesting office. If there is a candidate that the committee is considering someone in one of the situations above, please contact the HR Office for assistance. BOR Policy 4:1.
  • All visits across the campus as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner visits are considered an extension of the interview process. A committee member should accompany the applicant to each meeting to ensure that discriminatory questions are not posed to the interviewee. If a question is directed to the interviewee, it is the responsibility of the committee member to inform the application that the question(s) should not be answered.
  • If this step has not been previously completed, the search chair is responsible for meeting with the hiring manager to provide information/documentation for each candidate that shall be used in the “History/Notes” section for each applicant in the online employment system. The hiring manager shall determine that the information for each applicant does not contain any discriminatory notes and is responsible for entering the information in the “History/Notes” section for that applicant. The hiring manager may ask the hiring manager assistant to enter the documentation after s/he has completed the review of the notes to ascertain that nothing to be entered is discriminatory.
  • Upon completion of the search, the search chair is responsible for gathering all written documentation, notes, and additional materials that were submitted by candidates. The information shall be delivered to the Human Resources Office as quickly as possible after completion of the search, preferably within 3 days. This information is held by Human Resources until the statute of limitations has expired for filing complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.