Hiring Process Steps: Classified Staff
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 aligns with 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).
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 by updating the status in 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, please contact HR’s Classification and Compensation (Class & Comp) team at email@example.com or visit the Classification and Compensation website for 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 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 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”. 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 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. Classified positions that are posted externally (i.e., applications considered from the general public) must remain open for a minimum of two weeks or the equivalent 10 business days. Classified positions posted internally (i.e., applications considered from current George Mason University employees only) must remain open for a minimum of one week or the equivalent 5 business days.
Classified 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 paid winter break, health benefits, tuition reimbursement options, 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: 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 assistance on creating a compelling job ad, feel free to contact the Talent Acquisition (TA) Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Talent Acquisition specialist can assist in developing a strategic ad campaign with language that is relevant to your needs and a coordinated 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're on a tight timeline, you may require more upfront advertising to attract candidates quickly. If you have flexibility and can afford a longer search, you can leverage a more balanced and calculated approach to see whom 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 and online to social. While some positions may only need free advertising sites and posting on Mason-affiliated sites such as HERC and Higher Ed Jobs, others may require a much more 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, TA 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, at 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 guidance on crafting the perfect advertisement, please contact the TA team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADVERTISEMENT FORMULA: 5 CRUCIAL ELEMENTS TO INCLUDE
- Position Title
- Introductory Paragraph w/ brief description of department.
- Example: The George Mason University [Department] is looking for an enthusiastic and energetic person for a….
- Position Summary
- Example: This position is responsible for… and will report to…
- Required Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills and Abilities)
- Example: Applicants must have the ability to… ….or have the equivalent combination of education and experience
- Preferred Qualifications
- Example: The following education and/or skillsets are preferred….
Note: All Mason job ads are automatically posted in HERC, Higher ED, and The Washington Post.
Before the Search
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 search 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.
All participating individuals must attend training or have completed training within a year prior to their search. This is the minimum requirement.
During the Search
Classified staff searches must utilize a consistent and competitive hiring process that promotes equal employment opportunity and a highly effective workforce. A competitive search must review multiple applicants equitably based on the required and preferred qualifications in the Employee Work Profile (EWP). All scheduled interviews must be completed before a final selection and job offer are made.
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 department 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.
While Mason encourages the use of search committees in Classified searches, we understand the challenges this can create for a department. Factors such as expediency, scheduling, and availability can mean that using a search committee may not be the best option for conducting a search. Therefore, the use of a search committee is not required for classified staff positions. Departments may use discretion when deciding whether to utilize a search committee.
If utilizing a search committee, the unit/department is encouraged to include those who can add diversity to the committee and bring different perspectives to the group. Search committees must be comprised of at least three (3) members. All committee members must be included in the Search Committee tab in the applicant tracking system.
If a unit/department elects NOT to use a search committee:
- Search Committee Training remains mandatory for those involved in the search process.
- A search coordinator is still highly recommended.
- The process will be similar to that of a search committee, but with one or two individuals managing the review process prior to finalist interviews with the Hiring Authority.
- Documentation must still be completed and submitted at the end of the search process, including interview notes, search matrix, closeout document, etc.
For additional details on Mason’s hiring policy related to Classified Staff, please refer to University Policy 2224.
Determining Viable Candidates
A hiring matrix should be used for every competitive search. Please see this sample hiring matrix to help your committee develop a matrix that is right for your search.
It is required that search participants 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 also consider alternate methods of interviewing (telephone, Skype, video conferencing, etc.).
For questions about interviewing or for sample interview questions, please contact the Organizational Development and Learning team at email@example.com.
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-round interviews are completed, the search participants must select two (2) to six (6) candidates to advance as finalists. These candidates will be marked as "finalists" within eWork.
Finalist interviews can be conducted in-person or via web conferencing alternatives 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 opportunity to interview. Examples include having the same number of interviewers present for the interview, similar flexibility for scheduling, and asking the same questions.
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.
Please note: The Hiring Authority may decide to conduct only one round of interviews depending on the size of the applicant pool and the position type. For guidance, please contact the TA team.
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 more details, please see our Quick Guide to Creating a Hiring Proposal.
After finalizing the Hiring Proposal, the Initiator will transition the status of the Hiring Proposal to Department Approver Review within eWork. The Department Approver will then transition the status to HR Review by approving the Hiring Proposal.
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 Talent Acquisition team approves the Hiring Proposal, they will formally extend an offer to the candidate and communicate any questions or concerns to the eWork Initiator (including whether the candidate accepts, declines, or counters). Offers should coordinate start dates at least 14 days (two weeks) into the future when possible to allow for all possible background checks, Motor Vehicle Records (for applicable positions), etc. to be completed prior to starting. Once the selected candidate accepts, the Talent Acquisition team will send the new employee a welcome letter via email.
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 submitted to the Talent Acquisition team at email@example.com for appropriate filing of historical records of the search process. 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."
PLEASE NOTE: Submission of search materials is required. If the search materials are not submitted, the status of the posting will not be updated to Filled.
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.