Staff and Faculty

10 Steps for Equitable, Inclusive and Diverse Recruitment

Step 1: Determine the Need and Evaluate Hiring Options

First, see Associate Director of Finance and Operations Dianne Qualter for an overview of the hiring process. She and her team will assist you with determining the need, funding, title and compensation for the position. The Senior HR Liaison will help you navigate the logistical steps for hiring a new team member, as well as the best practices outlined below.

The hiring process begins by determining need and evaluating hiring options in collaboration with Dianne Qualter and relevant school leaders (i.e., the dean, academic program committee(s) and/or research center/institute leaders). Depending on the position, you may also consult as needed with the educational steering committee or research steering committee. 

Step 2: Form a Hiring Committee

Form a hiring committee of a minimum of three people. The committee should designate a chair, an administrative coordinator (who will maintain the search documentation) and a diversity representative. The diversity representative attends all search meetings and monitors the emerging applicant pool to assess its diversity and whether additional outreach efforts are necessary. 

In rare instances, it may be appropriate to waive the requirement to form a committee. If you have questions about committee formation or would like to request a waiver, contact Dianne Qualter.

Step 3: Hiring Committee Training

In this step, the hiring committee practices and establishes an inclusive mindset through group practice. All hiring committee members must receive training on unconscious biases and begin the hiring process by recruiting with intentionality and proactively engaging with underrepresented sourcing. 

The committee must receive anti-bias recruitment training provided either by HR or a third party, as you prefer. To access Brandeis anti-bias training for hiring committees, complete this form. This training covers bias triggers, best practices and resources. Additional self-guided options include reviewing this PowerPoint presentation from Brandeis HR, or the implicit association tests (IAT) provided through the Harvard-affiliated Project Implicit (learn more here). 

Step 4: First Committee Meeting

Participants should come to the first hiring committee meeting with information on at least one potential candidate who they believe is a member of underrepresented populations, or a potential source for candidates from underrepresented populations. The objective of this conversation is to become aware of conscious and unconscious biases. Participants will answer the following questions:

  1. How did they define “underrepresented” and in what ways does this relate to diversity at Heller?
  2. What aspect of diversity is represented by the individual(s) found?
  3. What search process was used to find the individual(s)?
  4. Describe the individual(s).
  5. Explain their qualifications (as a candidate or as a referral source).
  6. Generate a rubric (matrix) of hiring criteria categorized by “must have, should have, and nice-to-have” qualities. Keep in mind the following potential biases:
  • Publications - Limiting to certain publications, or setting a higher than necessary number of publications that might eliminate otherwise qualified candidates.
  • Academic Institutions - Determining that qualified candidates must have earned their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from, or held faculty appointments at, select universities.
  • Considerations when reviewing CVs - Looking at large numbers of CVs may put you in a position where you are susceptible to your implicit biases. Spreading the workload across a diverse team of people screening CVs can help reduce implicit bias. Be mindful to review CVs based on the selection criteria.
  • Question your assumptions - Be mindful of your own biases. Humans naturally tend to gravitate toward likeness: people “like me” or “like the majority in the organization.” These can sometimes hide behind discussion on organizational or cultural “fit.”

Step 5: Develop the Job Description

The Senior HR Liaison can provide you with job description examples and templates. The job description should include the following items:

  • Title (may be open to more than one title) 
  • Institute/Program/Department
  • Start date
  • Specific job duties
  • Degree requirement
  • Fields of study (if required). If other fields of study are acceptable, add “or related field.”
  • Teaching and research requirements
  • Statement that salary is commensurate with education and experience
  • Required application materials
  • Duration of position (if applicable)
  • Indicate % time, (full-time, 100% FTE; part-time, less than 100% FTE)
  • Application deadline (You may indicate a preferred date: “First consideration will be given to applications received by…” This allows late applications to be considered.)
  • Contact information of person receiving application materials
  • Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action statement:
    • The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University is interested in candidates who are committed to the highest standards of scholarship and professional activities. We seek individuals who can contribute, through their research, teaching and/or public engagement, to the diversity of the academic community. Brandeis University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a culturally diverse intellectual community, and strongly encourages applications from women and minority candidates.
  • Sample language about Brandeis and Heller:
    • BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Founded in 1948, Brandeis University is a private nonsectarian research university with a liberal arts focus situated 10 miles west of Boston. Its schools include a College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the International Business School and the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, each welcoming students, faculty and staff of every nationality, religion and political orientation. Brandeis University is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
    • THE HELLER SCHOOL FOR SOCIAL POLICY AND MANAGEMENT: Since its founding in 1959, the Heller School at Brandeis University has been committed to developing new knowledge and insights in the fields of social policy and management. The Heller School is unique in its approach to the field of social policy. Through the graduate education of students, and the pursuit of applied interdisciplinary research and active public engagement in both the public and private sectors, the Heller School is constantly examining policies and programs that respond to the changing needs of vulnerable individuals and social groups in our societies. Over the last 60 years, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management has built an international reputation for professional leadership in many areas across the policy‐ development spectrum. 

Review language for bias and objectivity: Consider submitting the draft to a decoder tool such as Textio, which analyzes job descriptions for bias and suggests alternate wording that is apt to appeal to a more diverse group of people. Additional helpful (but imperfect) sites such as Gender Decoder can be useful. Consider these tips from Glassdoor to remove gender bias from job descriptions.

Step 6: Develop a Search Plan and Budget, and Submit the Search Authorization Form

The hiring committee should develop a search plan and discuss strategic outreach to applicants (including individuals identified in Step 4). At a minimum, the search plan includes: composition of the search committee, plans for outreach, early drafts of the job description, job advertisement and recruiting letters, and plans for evaluating candidates. 

The committee chair should contact Dianne Qualter to discuss the search budget, which may include estimated costs associated with advertising, such as fees to post the announcement on external websites (see Step 7) or travel expenses to attend professional meetings that represent recruitment opportunities. The final budget must be approved by the committee chair and the chief administrative officer. 

Once the budget is approved and the search plan is reasonably developed, complete and submit the Search Authorization Form to Dianne Qualter ( 

Step 7: Advertise, Network and Solicit Applicants

One key characteristic of a search that addresses diversity is a strategic, thought-out, deliberate outreach plan. Beyond the members of the hiring committee, others at Heller should be asked to activate their personal or professional networks. Be mindful that these networks may be homogenous.

Once the open position has been posted to Brandeis Workday, begin to advertise the job on appropriate job listing sites as noted in the search plan. Draft advertisements for positions should be approved by Dianne Qualter. View this list of sites to post jobs. All free sites should routinely be used.

Consider additional ways to target recruiting from protected classes, including: national origin, ancestry, age, genetic information, disability, disabled or protected veteran, race/ethnicity, color, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. For example, you might attend and/or host virtual career fairs for targeted underrepresented populations:

Lastly, promote the job announcement throughout the Heller community, including posting on LinkedIn, Handshake and BConnect, and engaging with related staff or student working groups. Extend invitations to apply to individuals who have already stated an interest in the position, and to others who have been identified by the hiring committee as being of possible relevance to the position.

Step 8: Evaluate and Interview Candidates

Applications will collect in Workday on an ongoing basis as they are received, and can be reviewed by any member of the hiring committee (the Senior HR Liaison can assist you with this). During the review process, committee members should use rubrics, which promote objectivity. Using the list of “must-haves,” “should-haves” and “nice-to-haves” identified in step 3, create a rubric to score candidate criteria (quantitatively and/or with comments).

Start by evaluating applicants based on submitted written materials, including application letters, CVs, and publications, as summarized in rubrics, where helpful. The committee may solicit input from others if appropriate. Based on these rubric-defined evaluations and their fit with the position, narrow the list down to those who will be interviewed by phone.

Agree upon a consistent list of questions for all candidates, including at least three diversity-related questions. See this extensive list of interview questions for examples. Be sure to include questions about “must-have” competencies that are consistent with the job description requirements. Assign committee members to conduct the first round of phone interviews.

After the first round of phone screenings, meet to discuss the interviews and narrow the list down to a few finalists to be invited to campus for in-person interviews. At this point, the committee should conduct reference checks or solicit letters of recommendation from at least two or three references. Brandeis HR can solicit references for you, if preferred.

Consider the following biases to be aware of during an interview:

  • First impression bias: The first information gained about a person can influence later impressions and evaluations about that person.
  • Confirmation bias: Perhaps something stood out to you about the candidate’s experience when you were reviewing their resume that made you think they were a particularly good/bad fit. Confirmation bias leads you to look for evidence that supports your initial assumption and ignore information that doesn’t.
  • Recency bias: Putting more emphasis (positive or negative) on something that the candidate says at the end of the interview versus the beginning of the interview.
  • Halo effect: Ignoring negative qualities because of one positive quality that the candidate displays in the interview. (Be aware of interpretation of behaviors and weighing observed behaviors as this may result in implicit bias.)
  • In-group bias: Favoring candidates because you perceive them to be within the same “group” as yourself. For example, graduates from the same college you attended.
  • Groupthink Bias (bandwagon effect): When individual members of a committee set aside their own  opinions, beliefs, or ideas to achieve group harmony.

The committee chair informs applicants who did not qualify for a phone interview and those who did not advance to the finalist stage that their applications are no longer being considered.

Step 9: Ranking Top Candidates and Making an Offer

The hiring committee deliberates on candidates’ materials and interview performance and makes a written recommendation. This recommendation should reference the criteria used to evaluate all finalist candidates, a rank ordering of each finalist, and the rationale for this ranking. A final summary rubric may assist with this step.

The chair of the hiring committee, the diversity representative and the Heller dean sign and submit the Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Fair Search Report Form to Dianne Qualter.

The offer and negotiation process, including negotiations on compensation and start dates, are determined in collaboration with the hiring manager and the Chief Administrative Officer/Senior HR Liaison.

Step 10: Onboarding New Hires

Once the candidate has accepted a job offer, it’s time to begin onboarding. Remember that onboarding is a process that starts before a team member’s first day on the job, and continues for several weeks; it’s much more than just a few days of training! Effective onboarding not only makes a new team member feel welcome and appreciated, it sets them up for long-term success. 

Review the Onboarding Checklist and assign each task to a responsible staff member on the person’s new team at Heller. Add any items to the list that are specific to the person’s role, such as arranging for specialized trainings or providing introductions to on- or off-campus partners. Include due dates for each onboarding task and follow up to ensure that onboarding is conducted in a timely and complete manner. 

New Staff Onboarding Checklist