The full life cycle of a candidate from job opening to hire can be a daunting process. To help you navigate this cycle, please select the chronological process below that is where you are. If you are just beginning, please select step 1!
Before the Search
Before the search begins, determine the need that exists within your department/unit and review compensation, classification, and wage to ensure they are accurate and up-to-date prior to posting the position.
After your initial review of the needed position, your next step will be to ensure that there is a valid job description in place to post a job ad. For all faculty positions (Administrative/Professional and Instructional), this is referred to as their Position Description (PD).
If this is a new position, submit a Position Maintenance Form (PMF) to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the PD. The Position Maintenance Form (PMF) is used to create a new benefited position, ensuring that it is assigned the correct position number from Budget.
When reviewing a job description, consider the following:
- Does this position already exist?
- What is the position's purpose and overall contribution to Mason?
- What are the essential and marginal functions of the position?
- What is the appropriate salary range for this position?
- If this position already exists, what is/was the pay range for the previous employee(s) holding this position?
- If this position doesn’t exist, please determine your department’s budget for the position and expected pay range.
Also, consider identifying or describing the physical elements required for the position, equipment use and working conditions.
- Does the position require supervisory skills? If so, how many will report to this position?
- What education and/or experience are needed to successfully accomplish the essential functions of the job?
- How might military experience equate?
- What licenses or certifications, if any, are required?
After finalizing the different components of your job description, the Initiator for the position will input it into the applicant tracking system (ATS) and submit to the Department Approver by updating the status in the ATS. Should anything need to be modified, the Department Approver will make final edits prior to moving the status to HR Review.
For assistance on retrieving or creating a position’s job description, please contact the Classification and Compensation (Class & Comp) team at email@example.com or visit the Class & Comp website for guidance.
Tip: We encourage job descriptions to be reviewed annually to ensure they are accurate and true to Mason’s mission. For example, veteran candidates, who understand how their skills and experience can translate to the civilian workforce, are more likely to apply to our opportunities. As a position evolves over time, the job description will often evolve with it. Up-to-date job descriptions ensures that Mason attracts the most qualified candidates based on current data, both internal to Mason and the external market. In this spirit, please work with the Class & Comp team regarding position creation, modification, and annual review of your department’s job descriptions.
The next step prior to advertising your vacancy is to evaluate and finalize your compensation. This step is initiated within the ATS through the HR Review stage and will cue Class & Comp to review the compensation based on pay equity within GMU and market analysis specific to the position.
Note: The pay range will be provided by Class & Comp within the job posting under the Notes tab. This data is only viewable by Mason employees and not the general public. For any faculty positions (Administrative/Professional or Instructional), it is strongly recommended that the position be listed as “commensurate with experience." Pay data can be provided by candidates during the application process by electing to answer a prescreening question providing their minimum salary requirements. However, please note that it is prohibited to ask for a candidate’s current and/or past salary information. For additional guidance on how to utilize pay data, please reach out to HR’s Class & Comp or Talent Acquisition team.
After compensation is confirmed, the position must be staged for HR Advertising Review within eWork. This moves the job opening into the critical stage of sourcing candidates. Your department may have an excellent job opportunity, but without a proper sourcing strategy, you may not attract the best candidates to apply. Attracting the top talent and developing a strong list of candidates is an important step in finding the best fit for your department/unit and for Mason.
The first step in a successful sourcing strategy is creating a compelling job ad. A well-written job ad accurately markets the job opening and draws interest in the position.
Your job ad must include:
- A job description
- Minimum qualifications in order to be considered
- A closing date for at least initial consideration.
Faculty positions that are posted externally (positions open to the general public) must remain open for a minimum of two weeks or the equivalent of 10 business days. Internal faculty searches (open to current Mason employees only) may be posted for a minimum of 5 business days. Note: Internal faculty searches must be approved by the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
For positions that may require additional considerations (e.g., work authorization, visa sponsorships, PERM labor certifications, etc.), please consult the Office of International Programs and Services (OIPS) for further job posting guidance.
Faculty positions may elect to include compensation ranges. However, it is strongly encouraged to list “commensurate with experience” for most job ads. This protects proprietary salary data, allows a broader pool of candidates, and ensures that compensation can be negotiated based on the candidate’s requirements as well as pay equity at Mason. In addition, this affords the opportunity to discuss the whole compensation package. While the base pay requirements may not be within the initial minimum salary range of a candidate, Mason has so much to offer beyond just base salary. With above-average benefits including winter break, health benefits, tuition reimbursement plans, an ideal commuting location, and an amazing culture, we truly believe that compensation is more then what a base salary has to offer at other competing organizations.
Note: If compensation is disclosed, please add “commensurate with experience” after the range.
Example: “$75-100,000/yr, commensurate with experience”
Tip: Consider posting prescreening questions when drafting the job ad in eWork. While more work, incorporating voluntary job-relevant questions based on qualification requirements for the position, minimum salary requirements, relocation requirements, etc., can provide valuable data about a candidate upfront that can help you evaluate candidates more quickly, establish a candidate matrix, and save valuable time in the search process.
Example: “Minimum salary requirements”
For guidance on creating a compelling job ad, feel free to contact the Talent Acquisition team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Talent Acquisition specialists can assist you in developing a strategic ad campaign that is relevant to your needs. They can also you create a target campaign specific to your hiring grade, labor category, and niche market.
What is your department’s realistic budget to source for a candidate? Do you have a flexible timeline to attract and retain a qualified candidate? If you are on a tight timeline, it may require more up front advertising to attract candidates quickly. If you are flexible and can afford a longer search, you can leverage a more balanced and calculated approach to see what you attract. For many job openings at Mason, free advertising can be leveraged with minimal advertising expenses if a strategic and proactive plan is put in place.
Advertising Options and Resources
Job ads can be posted in various advertising mediums from print, online, and social. While some positions may only need free advertising sites and posting on affiliated sites of Mason such as HERC and Higher Ed Jobs, others may require a much more well thought out marketing plan to draw the appropriate level of interest. In certain competitive markets such as Information Technology, STEM fields, and healthcare, it is strongly suggested that paid targeted advertising be used. If you are unsure of what a strategic ad campaign that will generate the best chances of success will look like, consult with the TA department to determine your marketing goals and what a realistic campaign will consist of based on your unique needs. From there, you can determine budgeted cost and approximate time-to-fill.
George Mason University prides itself on its diversity and the value this adds to our school. We provide several resources for ensuring that the hiring process includes a diverse pool of underrepresented candidates, whether to address identified search goals, or as a proactive component of a successful search process. Below is a link to diversity based organizations, websites, and resources that can be included in a strategic sourcing campaign.
In addition, Mason Talent Acquisition has a dedicated Director of Diversity Outreach and a member of the Mid-Atlantic HERC that can provide industry expertise tailored to best practices and industry resources. For more information, contact: Dwala Toombs, Director of Diversity Outreach - email@example.com
Advertisements and job announcements make a difference in who applies for our positions. The language and appearance of our ads should be considered as carefully as the job description itself. For training on crafting the perfect advertisement, please contact the Talent Acquisition team firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADVERTISEMENT FORMULA: 5 CRUCIAL ELEMENTS TO INCLUDE
- Position Title
- Introductory Paragraph w/ brief description of department. Ex:
- The George Mason University, (Department) is looking for an enthusiastic and energetic person for a….
- Position Summary
- Ex: This position is responsible for…. and will report to…
- Required Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)
- Ex: Applicants must have the ability…. ….. or equivalent combination of education and experience
- Preferred Qualifications
- Ex: The following education and/or skill sets are preferred….
Note: All job ads are automatically posted in: HERC, Higher ED, and Washington Post.
Before the Search
Establishing a Search Committee
A search committee must be established for the recruiting and hiring of all faculty positions, including Instructional, Research, and Administrative/Professional Faculty. Note: For inquiries related to possible AP Faculty search committee waivers, please reach out to Talent Acquisition at email@example.com.
The primary role of the search committee is to determine which candidates will advance in the search process and be interviewed based on the required and preferred qualifications in the position description. The search committee is responsible for ensuring that all applicants are considered equitably throughout the review process. Departments are encouraged to establish diverse committees by seeking participants who accurately reflect the Mason environment and who can bring different perspectives to the group. All scheduled interviews must be completed before a final selection decision and job offer are made.
Search Committee Training
Before the search, ensure that all individuals participating in the search process meet the following training requirement:
Effective April 4, 2022, all individuals involved in a search must have attended hiring training jointly provided by Human Resources & Payroll and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) within the last 12 months. Individuals who do not meet this requirement must complete training prior to reviewing applicants.
For questions or to register for training, please contact the Organizational Development and Learning team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the Search
Each qualified application must be reviewed alongside the supplemental materials for that particular search. If an applicant does not meet the posting criteria or fails to attach the required materials, the committee reserves the right not to consider the applicant. This standard must be applied to all applicants consistently. Establishing a system for reviewing applicants will improve your chances of including the most relevant candidates in your interview pool.
Once candidates have been screened, preference shall be given to state layoff employees, veterans, and alternative hiring process (AHP) applicants who have provided the DARS certification (see AHP tab above), per DHRM policies 1.30, 2.10, and 2.2-1213. An additional preference point shall be given to any veteran applicant who has a service-related disability. State Layoff, Veteran, and AHP statuses are disclosed within the candidate’s application in the Applicant Tracking System.
Determining Viable Candidates
Please review this sample hiring matrix to help your committee develop a matrix that is right for your search.
It is required that committee members ask the same initial questions of all candidates, without exception. Follow up questions are permissible. Interview questions must be written prior to the commencement of the interview process.
First and second-round interview questions must be uploaded using the online applicant tracking system. The method of interviewing must be consistent for each applicant. Each candidate must be afforded the same opportunity to interview. Search committees should consider alternate methods of interviewing (telephone, Skype, video conferencing, etc.).
For inquiries about interview questions or for interview question examples, please contact the Organization Development and Learning team at email@example.com or 3-4516.
Selection of Candidates
During interviews, search participants and the hiring authority (if attending interviews) must take interview notes used in the evaluation of the selected candidates. It is strongly encouraged that an interview evaluation matrix is used that lists questions and documents evaluation criteria to ensure all candidates are equitably interviewed and evaluated. A sample interview evaluation is available for download here. Search participants and hiring authorities involved in the search must submit all completed search materials, including the interview evaluation, hiring matrix, confidentiality forms, reference checks, and any other documentation that may have been a part of the search to the department designee (search coordinator, HR liaison, etc.).
Once first and second-round interviews have been completed by the search committee, the chair must submit the committee’s recommended top two (2) to six (6) candidates to the Hiring Authority without any ranking or preference shown. These candidates will be marked as “finalists” within eWork.
Finalist interviews can be conducted in-person or via web conferencing alternatives for interviewing, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and other approved online platforms. For updated guidance and requirements on interviewing via web conferencing platforms, please visit the ITS page: How to Conduct Web Conference Interviews.
Each candidate must be afforded the same equitable opportunity to interview. Examples include having the same number of interviewers present for the interview, similar flexibility for scheduling, asking the same questions, and having the same diverse make-up of the search committee present for the interviews.
The Hiring Authority must interview the committee recommended finalists and select the candidate to hire.
Once a finalist has been selected, the Hiring Authority must conduct reference checks prior to moving forward with recommendations for an offer. Three reference checks, including one from the most recent supervisor, are required. Please refer to the Applicant Reference Check Form on the Forms page. This step may be delegated to a non-committee member such as the Search Coordinator or eWork initiator.
Interviewing a veteran or wounded warrior is no different than interviewing any other candidate. Questions relevant to experience or training received while in the military, or questions to determine eligibility for veteran's preference required by law, are acceptable. In addition, the Talent Acquisition team has a dedicated Director of Diversity Outreach who can provide industry expertise tailored to best practices and industry resources.
For more information, please contact Dwala Toombs, Director of Diversity Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the search, the Hiring Authority will work with the Initiator to create the Hiring Proposal in eWork for AP faculty. The Initiator will update all candidate statuses/dispositions and reason codes appropriately within eWork.
In addition, a draft offer letter with attachment A must be attached to the Hiring Proposal packet for AP Faculty hires. This must be submitted to the appropriate dean/director for approval. Please visit the Provost Website for additional instructions regarding offer templates and procedures related to various faculty classifications.
For Instructional and Research Faculty, Hiring Proposals should be routed through the Request Tracking System (RTS) with appropriate documents uploaded.
Please note: The new hire and the incumbent cannot occupy the same position number for more than two weeks. If more than two weeks of a position overlap is expected, then the department should request a new position number using the incumbent’s EWP/PD and hire the new employee into the new position number. Once the incumbent has separated, the department may abolish the old position number.
Once the Department, Central HR, the Provost Office or appropriate VP, and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion approve the Hiring Proposal packet (in this specific order), the Hiring Proposal Initiator will be notified that the offer can be formally extended to the candidate by the Department Designee. For AP Faculty, once the candidate accepts, the offer letter must be signed by the candidate and uploaded to eWork by the department. Once uploaded, the department will transition the Hiring Proposal to HR Final Review-Offer Accepted. If the initiator cannot upload the signed offer letter please contact HR to facilitate.
For the Instructional & Research Faculty, the Department will complete the steps in the Request Tracking System (RTS) Workflow and upload the executed contract.
All hiring paperwork through the online onboarding system and Banner entry will be initiated and entered by Central HR.
Please note: Offers should coordinate start dates at least 14 days into the future (two weeks) when possible to allow for all possible background checks, Motor Vehicle Records (for applicable positions), etc. to be completed prior to starting.
All search materials, including the interview notes, hiring matrix, confidentiality forms, search completion forms, reference checks, and any other documentation that may have been a part of the search (presentation rubrics, portfolios, etc.) must be kept for a minimum of one year from the date of hire within the department. In addition, for all faculty searches, especially for administrative/professional faculty searches, departments are strongly encouraged to submit the recruitment search materials to the Talent Acquisition team at email@example.com via email for appropriate filing of historical records of the search process. After the one-year mark, it is recommended departments send the documents to Records Management for confidential destruction.
*NOTE: Please note that when sending recruitment search materials to the Talent Acquisition team, acceptable file formats include PDF and Word files. Please limit the number of attachments to ten (10). It is recommended that departments combine similar search materials into one file.
Example: Combine all Confidentiality Forms into one PDF file and save it as "Confidentiality Forms."
Mason requires background checks on all employees. Background checks include criminal, motor vehicle, and/or financial history and any additional background related to potential job duties.
Background checks are initiated once the employee begins completing their personal information in MasonOnBoard. Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of all required background checks, which must be completed before the employee's start date. Please visit the Background Investigation policy page or email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information.
Finalizing the Hiring Process
New employees must complete required paperwork online, including but not limited to: W-4/VA-4, Form I-9, benefit forms, selective service, etc. The Immigration Reform and Control Act requires new employees to complete the I-9 no later than the close of business on their third (3rd) day of work. The employee OR a designated representative must visit HR & Payroll to complete section 2 of the Form I-9. International employees should reach out to the International Tax Office at email@example.com to schedule an appointment to complete section 2 of their I-9.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.