Search Committees Edition 2

A Comprehensive Guide to Successful Faculty, Staff, and Administrative Searches

May 2014
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    15th May 2014
  • ISBN 9781620362006
  • Language English
  • Pages 204 pp.
  • Size 8.5" x 11"
  • Images tables, checklists & worksheets
June 2014
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    3rd June 2014
  • ISBN 9781620361993
  • Language English
  • Pages 204 pp.
  • Size 8.5" x 11"
  • Images tables, checklists & worksheets
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July 2014
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  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    8th July 2014
  • ISBN 9781620362013
  • Language English
  • Pages 204 pp.
  • Size 8.5" x 11"
  • Images tables, checklists & worksheets

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July 2014
More details
  • Publisher
    Stylus Publishing
  • Published
    8th July 2014
  • ISBN 9781620362020
  • Language English
  • Pages 204 pp.
  • Size 8.5" x 11"
  • Images tables, checklists & worksheets

Finding the right candidate for administrative, professional and faculty positions is one of the most important tasks that any institution or enterprise undertakes. However, few higher education professionals receive training on the search committee process, but are expected to serve on or lead committees.

This book provides advice, training, and a step-by-step guide for conducting a rigorous, thorough search. Following the expert model presented in this book will virtually guarantee successful searches. This guide furthermore provides advanced diversity selection techniques that are not commonly found in many resources inside or outside of higher education, and that have become institutional priorities in the context of demographic changes and globalization that require that higher education serve more diverse populations and compete internationally.

This guide covers the complete cycle of hiring, starting with defining the position and forming and briefing the committee, through cultivating a rich and diverse pool of candidates and screening and evaluating candidates, to making the selection, successfully completing the search successfully, and welcoming colleagues to campus.

This volume includes over 30 templates that are designed to be copied and used as training handouts or as handy reference and resource materials that provide guidance at various stages of the search process. The over two dozen vignettes included can be used as training case studies or as expert advice that illuminates key concepts that are helpful with improving the quality of the search process.

The guide includes:
1. An expert step-by-step search model.
2. Dozens of templates, samples, tools, plus a bank of interview questions.
3. Diversity recruitment and selection protocols and techniques.
4. Resource guide with advice, case studies, examples, and training materials.

Coverage includes:
* How to Build a Successful Search
* Recruiting Guide
* How to Design a Diverse Selection Process
* Minority Recruiting Resources
* Interview Guide
* A Bank of Interview Questions
* Screening Methods
* Sample Forms, Templates, Checklists
* Legal, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues

This guide serves the needs of administrators who shape hiring policy and goals, committee chairs and members. It is also a resource that human resources professionals can use to train, equip and support search committees.

A complementary website at offers additional resources.

[Previous edition published by CUPA-HR: Search Committees: A Tool Kit
By Christopher D. Lee, Ph.D., 2000]

“In the second edition of his guide, Lee fully demystifies each stage of the search process and shares numerous tips, talking points, and cautions. Search committees and search chairs can rely on Lee’s highly organized and authoritative publication. Other recommended users include department chairs, human resources officers, experienced trainers of search committees, and faculty advocates for equity and diversity. Lee’s book contains thirty-four useful exhibits meant to be copied and used as training handouts or as handy reference materials. Exhibit #1, for instance, provides a checklist of almost two dozen questions that deans, department chairs, and search committees often forget to ask themselves. For example, “Did organizational issues prompt the vacancy (change of leadership, change of work requirements, frequent turnover, downsizing, etc.)?” “What changes have occurred with this position over time, such as new or different duties and greater responsibility?” Such preliminary questions are invaluable to put on the table; they demonstrate Lee’s intent to more fully engage department chairs and their search committees in scrutinizing the why and how of upcoming searches. Exhibit #13 provides a “narrative or qualitative screening instrument” that calls for committee members to provide details and evidence about each candidate’s qualifications in almost a dozen job criteria categories. This evidence-based review is an exemplary practice that blocks a rush to judgment and boosts quality control. Also noteworthy is Lee’s glossary, which provides definitions of search components so that search members and others can stay on the same page. So simple and yet so effective for quality control. Search trainers, department chairs, and others will use to advantage Lee’s twenty-seven vignettes. These are long and short call-out boxes presenting information about the exorbitant cost of a bad hire, proven strategies to avoid a failed search, reliable ways to talk with applicants’ references, and so on.

This second edition is sound, succinct, and detailed and should have a long shelf life. And his new, intense focus on how to achieve faculty and staff diversity should be immensely appreciated."

- The Department Chair

“Selecting the right person for an academic appointment has become increasing challenging in a competitive environment with dwindling resources. In his guide Dr. Lee provides a clear process for a search including helpful tools, hints, and warnings to improve the likelihood of success for the institution. Woven through the guide is an evidence-based rationale for the recommended approach, including vignettes that make the theoretical come to life. This reference is a must for both novice and seasoned search committee members.”

Patricia Maguire Meservey, President - , Salem State University

“The book is well organized, and referenced, and provides some outstanding tools and ready-to-use templates for HR professionals supporting searches, as well as committee chairs and committee members. Rather than ‘guessing’, or simply utilizing the process your institution has had for many years, this book can help any institution build (or re-invigorate) its search committee process!”

Isaac Dixon, Associate Vice President and Director Human Resources - , Lewis & Clark College

“This is a comprehensive resource and guide to effective recruitment of faculty and staff. Chris has a high level and sophisticated understanding of the higher education community, as evidenced by his ability to delve deeply and broadly into critical nuances and to offer practical advice for every stage of the search process. Throughout, Chris incorporates strategies to promote the development of a strong and diverse pool of candidates – which is foundational to an effective process and to ensure a successful outcome. I highly recommend this book for all HR professionals, especially those charged with providing leadership in the area of recruitment, and for others across campus that participate in any way with the faculty and staff search, recruitment and selection process.”

Lauren A. Turner, Associate Vice Chancellor, Human Resources and Equal Opportunity & Outreach - , University of Massachusetts Lowell

“In my 15+ years in talent acquisition, I have rarely encountered a single resource that provides step-by-step guidance in maximizing your institution’s recruitment and selection process. Dr. Lee’s book delivers exactly what it promises in the title: a comprehensive guide for search committees that will instantly upgrade faculty, staff, and administrative searches. If you are among the enlightened souls who believe diversity recruitment is not an after-the-fact consideration, but is rather a required component of all successful searches, this book will prove invaluable to you. The templates, samples, interview protocols, case studies, exhibits, and other first-class training materials make Dr. Lee’s book ‘required reading’ for all search committee members.”

Glenn R. Powell, Director, Employment Equity - , Georgia Regents University

Search Committees is an intelligent guide to identifying well-qualified candidates for various levels within academic organizations – a critical activity for the success of any organization, often taken for granted, and not always thoughtfully implemented. Included are useful techniques and strategies for illuminating the complex and sometimes overwhelming search process, including integrating diversity and involving stakeholders. The value of this book is that it can serve as a checklist of techniques many of us know, but fail to use, as well as motivate committees to renovate the search process.”

Cheryl R. Wyrick, Professor, Management and Human Resources, and Associate Dean - , College of Business Administration, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

“In the competitive world of identifying and successfully recruiting professional talent for higher education, I consider Dr. Lee’s book a must read before any serious search is undertaken. The release of this second edition further confirms why Dr. Lee’s methodical approach to finding, accessing, and securing talent is so indispensable to building a professional staff.”

Elaine M. Lemay, Executive Director of Human Resources - , Samuel Merritt University

“I saw Dr. Lee speak at a CUPA-HR conference in the early 2000’s and was immediately impressed with his knowledge of the subject matter of higher education searches. There was such a dearth of information on the subject that I, as a busy HR administrator of a higher education research organization, was thrilled to have access to a bounty of high quality material that I could actually reproduce to train with! Thanks to Dr. Lee, my campus has some of the very best material for our search committees. Our searches are lawful, cast a wide net and are fair and equitable. Our committees are thankful for the ability to understand each of their roles along with comprehension of how critical the choice is to the institution to reach and choose the most qualified applicants. I highly recommend that those with responsibilities to conduct searches, in whatever capacity, be it as an administrator or a member of a committee, take advantage of this marvelous book and the companion Web site. It may be one of the best choices you make in your career.”

Sandra Schoelles, Director, Human Resources Office of Sponsored Programs - , SUNY, Buffalo State Campus

“In this in-depth practical playbook chock-full of useful scenarios, examples, templates and tools, Dr. Lee masterfully captures the essence and art of the higher education search committee process. This is a ‘must have resource’ for all CHRO’s and higher education HR professionals responsible for leading, managing and recruiting an equitable ‘meritocracy’ in higher ed institutions.”

Brian K. Dickens, Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Payroll Services - , Texas Southern University and National At-Large Board Member, College and University Professional Association for Human Resource (CUPA-HR)

“The work of selecting new faculty, staff, and administrative colleagues is very challenging. Often, it is performed by committees made up of deeply concerned individuals for whom human capital issues are not part of their daily work. That’s why this book is so important. Dr. Christopher Lee demystifies the work of selection committees—both for those who are asked to serve on them and for the candidates with whom those committee members will interact. Ensuring that new employees are a good fit within an academic institution is a tough job, and the market for highly-skilled talent is extremely competitive. It’s important that committees work quickly and diligently to ensure their institution will have the broadest candidate base from which to select. This book will help selection committees avoid the pitfalls that can slow their progress. Dr. Lee has done a fine job of making smart selection processes accessible to committee members and the employers who rely on the fruits of their work.”

Cheryl Crozier Garcia, Professor, Human Resource Management and Program Chair - , MAHRM Program, Hawaii Pacific University

"Dr. Lee has written a comprehensive manual that provides human resources professionals with invaluable knowledge on how to conduct efficient and effective searches for their institutions. Filled with cutting-edge and practical techniques, this book will help colleges and universities identify the best and brightest talent available.”

Jaffus Hardrick, Vice President for Human Resources & Vice Provost, Access & Success - , Florida International University

“For an institution to achieve its goals, it is critical that every position be filled with the best possible candidate that fits the institution’s needs. Yet most higher education search committees, who will recruit, interview and recommend the candidates, are often assembled with little training or experience. This seminal book explains the best practices for managing the search process getting the desired results. It should be required reading for department chairs, deans, search committee chairs and anyone fortunate enough to be filling a faculty or administrative position in higher education. Search Committees will save the university time and money and will undoubtedly produce more satisfactory results.”

Betsy V. Boze, President - , The College of The Bahamas

“Whether you are chairing your first search committee or your tenth, you will learn something important from this book. Emphasizing how to hire strategically and diversely, Dr. Christopher D. Lee gives detailed advice and proposes sound practices. Who knew, for instance, that the cost to hire a faculty member for 30 years comes to about $3 million, a fact that should give committees pause as they decide whether an applicant should be offered an interview? Search Committees will be of tremendous benefit to anyone involved in the academic search process, from board chairs to HR professionals and faculty members.”

Carol M. Bresnahan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost - , Rollins College

“In order to best educate our students and prepare them for a global economy, they must learn from faculty, administrators, and staff that represent a diverse range of life experiences, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, background, and worldviews. Attracting and hiring a diverse and highly qualified workforce is critical to our mission as higher education professionals. After having served as a diversity representative on hiring committees, I understand how difficult it is recruit, hire, and retain great candidates who also increase the diversity of our campuses. Dr. Lee really understands the importance of diversity in the hiring process. In addition to including an entire chapter on diversity in the hiring process, many of the vignettes and tips reinforce this throughout the book. It should be read and discussed by everyone who cares about increasing diversity in a higher education environment.”

Laura E. Saret, Professor of Management Emeritus - , Oakton Community College

“This is a relevant, up-to-date guide with a plethora of practical information from sourcing and evaluating candidates to interview questions. The appendices offer a wealth of information and the ‘Diversity Tips’ and ‘Diversity Topic Index’ are invaluable. This book offers a complete ‘soup to nuts’ approach that is comprehensive and just right on target. Even those who think that they are pros having led searches for years will benefit from what this book offers.”

Tamara D. Spoerri, Director of Human Resources - , Bowdoin College



Foreword --Edna B. Chun

How to Use This Book


The Diversity Advantage



Organizational Analysis

Building the Foundation

Defining the Position

Forming, Orienting, and Charging the Committee





Screening and Evaluating Candidates

Evaluating Written Materials

Preparing for Interviews


Additional Screening Methods

Background and Reference Checks


Making a Recommendation

Making an Offer

Closing the Search

Welcoming a Colleague to Campus


Special Topics

Legal, Ethical, and Regulatory Issues




Diversity, Selection Bias, and Search Committee Bibliography

About the Author


Christopher D. Lee

Christopher D. Lee is a leading authority on the search process. His first Search Committees book earned the 2001 Kathryn Hansen publication award from the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR). Since that time, he has provided search committee training to more than 1,000 human resource professionals and he has consulted with dozens of colleges and universities on the search process. He is the founder of, a website that is an online repository of hundreds of resources and training materials on the search committee process designed to train and empower search committees. Additionally, Chris is a former question writer for the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) examinations administered by the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) and the author of numerous human resources-related articles, chapters, and three books, including Performance Conversations: An Alternative to Appraisals.

job search; job interview; diversity selection; cycle of hiring; evaluating candidates; Minority Recruiting