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 Begins
Before the search begins, determine the needed opportunity 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 in order to post a job ad. For Wage and Classified positions, this will be found in an Employee Work Profile (EWP). For all Faculty positions (Administrative Professional & Instructional), this is referred to as their Position Description (PD).
If this is a new position, submit a Position Maintenance Form (PMF) to Class & Comp along with the PD or EWP. The Position Maintenance Form (PMF) is used to create new benefited ensuring that the position is assigned the correct kind of position number from Budget. The PMF is available at Budget Office Position Maintenance Form (Excel)
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 into the applicant tracking system (ATS) and submit to the Department Approver for approval by updating the status with the ATS. Should anything need to 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 (both EWP and PD), please contact HR’s Department of Classification and Compensation (Class & Comp) or visit the Classification and Compensation website for instructions and guidance
Tip: We encourage job descriptions 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 que HR’s 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 Wage positions, the pay rate should be provided for public review within the ad. For Classified positions, the Initiator may either provide the accepted pay range for the external ad or advertise it as “commensurate with experience”. 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. For additional guidance on how to utilize this 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 a critical stage in the search process 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 to finding the best fit for your department/unit and Mason.
The first step in a successful sourcing strategy is to create a compelling job ad. A well-written job ad is an advertisement that markets the job opening and draws interest in the position.
A job ad must include a job description, minimum qualifications to be considered, and a closing date for at least initial consideration. Faculty positions that are posted externally (i.e., applications considered from general public) must remain open for a minimum of four weeks or the equivalent 20 business working days. Internal faculty searches, open to current Mason employees only, may be posted for a minimum of 10 business days. Note: Internal faculty searches must be approved by Compliance, Diversity, and Ethics.
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 both 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 outside of just base salary. With above average benefits including winter break, health benefits, tuition reimbursement options, flexible telecommuting options, 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 for faculty job ads, 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 up front, incorporating voluntary job relevant questions based on qualification requirements for the position, minimum salary requirements, relocation requirements, etc., can provide valuable data up front about a candidate that can help to evaluate candidates more quickly, establish a candidate matrix, and save valuable time in the search process.
Example: “Minimum salary requirements”
For assistance on creating a compelling job ad, feel free to contact the Mason TA Department to speak with a recruiting specialist that can assist in developing a strategic ad campaign with language that is relevant to your needs and a coordinating advertising campaign. They can help you develop 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
Before the search, ensure all search committee members have completed search committee training. This is usually conducted during the kickoff meeting where the Hiring Authority will confirm that the search committee members have taken the training or refresher.
All committee members must attend training or have completed training within a year prior to their search. This is the minimum requirement. Hiring Managers and coordinators are also encouraged to attend the training.
For questions or to register for an upcoming session, please contact the Organization Development and Learning team at email@example.com or 703-993-4516.
During the Search
During the search, it is crucial that the committee review each qualified application as well as the supplemental materials for that particular search. If candidates have not met the posting criteria or fail to attach the required materials, the committee reserves the right to not consider the applicant. This method must be applied to all applicants consistently. Creating a system for reviewing applications and resumes will help you improve your chances of including the most relevant candidates in your interview pool.
Once the search committee has screened candidates who have met minimum qualifications, per DHRM policies 1.30 and 2.10 respectively, determine if these candidates are state layoff employees or Veterans. At this stage, preference shall be given by treating state layoffs and veteran status as a preferred qualification. Further preference shall be given if the veteran applicant also has a service-connected disability rating by treating the veteran’s disabled status as a second preferred qualification. Veteran status is disclosed within the candidate’s application in eWork. For further guidance and questions, contact TA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Determining Viable Candidates
Please see the sample hiring matrix (Excel) to help your committee develop one 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
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.
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.
Updated Temporary COVID-19 Interviewing Guidance: While we continue to advise that interviews remain virtual when possible for continued precaution, on-campus interviews are permitted, especially for finalist stages, if the department feels the position/search benefits from this format. Current COVID safety protocols provided by Mason during this period of time must be followed including appropriate social distancing, meeting spaces, etc., so that while in-person visits may be permitted, they will most likely look different then pre-COVID visits (roundtable discussions in small boardrooms, unnecessary interactions, etc.). For current guidance, please visit HR & Payroll’s Safe Return to Campus page.
During Non-COVID-19: All finalist interviews should be conducted in person. When in-person interviewing is not feasible after being offered to the candidate, search committees should consider web conferencing alternatives for interviewing.
For updated guidance and requirements on interviewing via web conferencing platforms, please visit the ITS page: How to Conduct Web Conference 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. This step may be delegated to a non-committee member such as the Search Coordinator or eWork initiator. Please refer to the Applicant Reference Check Form on the Forms page.
Committee members should evaluate Veterans equally to other candidates. In many instances, more follow-up questions may be needed to bring out the connection of the veteran’s experience as it relates to the job for which they have applied. Questions relevant to experience or training received while in the military or to determine eligibility for any Veteran’s preference required by law, are acceptable. GMU values our Veteran community and offers guidance on reviewing/interpreting Veteran resumes, creating interview questions, etc. Please contact Talent Acquisition’s Director of Diversity Outreach for further assistance.
For more information or assistance, please contact:
Dwala Toombs, Director, Mid-Atlantic HERC and Diversity Outreach - firstname.lastname@example.org.
After the Search
After the search, the Hiring Authority will work with the Initiator to create the Hiring Proposal in eWork. The Initiator will update all candidate statuses/dispositions within eWork.
For Instructional and Research Faculty, the appropriate offer template must be used.
In addition, a copy of the candidate’s CV/resume, draft offer letter, attachment A, and Request for Information form must be attached to the Hiring Proposal packet for Faculty hires. This must be submitted through the appropriate dean/director for approval.
Academic Units must submit Hiring Proposals to Kimberly Ford in the Office of the Provost, MSN-3A2.
Non-Academic Units must submit Hiring Proposals to the appropriate VP and then to the Office of Compliance, Diversity, and Ethics.
Once the Provost Office or appropriate VP, Human Resources, and the Office of Compliance, Diversity, and Ethics approve the Hiring Proposal packet, the Hiring Proposal Initiator will be notified by the Provost Office that the offer can be formally made to the candidate. The HR Liaison or Department Designee will extend a verbal offer and review the appropriate benefits with the finalist. This will be the Administrative/Professional benefits for all AP Faculty and the Instructional/Research Benefits for IR Faculty offers. For Instructional Faculty, once the candidate accepts, the HR Liaison or Department Design completes the steps in the Request Tracking Syste (RTS) Workflow to send candidate offer letter. The Request for Information sheet should be part of the offer letter when sent to the candidate.
Central HR will send the new employee a welcome letter via email while CC’ing the Hiring Proposal Initiator. All hiring paperwork and Banner entry will be initiated and entered by Central HR.
All recruitment search materials such as the screening matrix, interview notes, and reference checks should be delivered to Human Resources and Payroll, MS 3C3; ATTN: Talent Acquisition. As an alternative, scanned copies and recruitment search materials that are not in hard copy should be sent to Talent Acquisition Coordinators at email@example.com for appropriate filing of historical records of the search process.
Mason requires background checks on all salaried faculty and staff. Background checks include criminal and/or financial and any additional as related to potential job duties.
Employment is contingent upon the successful completion of all required background checks and investigations and must be completed before their start date. Please visit the Background Investigation policy webpage or call 703-993-1275 for additional information and questions.
Finalizing the Hiring Process
New employees hired into benefit-eligible positions must complete required paperwork including but not limited to: W-4/VA-4, Form I-9, benefit forms, selective service, etc. This is done in the New Employee Welcome (NEW) Center located in the Human Resources & Payroll Office in Suite 4100 of Merten Hall.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements
Mason recently updated its vaccination policy regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements for new hires. Employees who start at Mason after August 15, 2021, are required to either:
- Have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination by their start date, be fully vaccinated within 45 days of their start date, AND submit documented proof
- Have an approved medical or religious exemption by their start date. Documentation will be required.
This policy requirement will be directly referenced within new hire Conditions of Employment material as well as job postings submitted through eWork.
Answers to questions about immunization requirements, the process for submitting documentation, and updated guidance and information can be found through our Safe Return to Campus website.