Resources for Hiring Departments

Select from these topics to review information for unit administrators and hiring managers.

Resources for Recruiting, Selection and Hiring

Conducting a Successful Employee Selection Process

As a manager or supervisor, one of the most important responsibilities you have is to staff your organization with the most qualified individuals in the job market. Consequently, you play a critical role in conducting an effective selection process. The university’s is to "Hire the Best" qualified candidates and fill positions in a timely manner, and to achieve this goal we use an open employment system utilizing widely published postings that promote inclusive hiring. To accommodate the highly decentralized nature of the university, you have a high degree of autonomy in the hiring process and thus more accountability.

While you are meeting the staffing challenge, it is critical to remember that you are hiring to fulfill an institutional need, not simply an open position within your department. The employee you select may well become your legacy. Therefore, you must be aware of the relationship your position has to others outside of your department as well as within and seize this opportunity to hire individuals who bring diverse skills, traits, talents and abilities to those departments. You should also take into consideration future needs of the department and consider how your selected candidate might bridge this gap.

The Human Resources Departments of the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses have combined efforts to provide you with the following information to assist you in fulfilling your staffing needs. Please use and share this information with colleagues in your area who have responsibility for hiring faculty or staff.

If you have questions or concerns during any phase of the hire process, contact your human resources representative.

Developing a Position Description

Regulations and Definitions

  • A "position" is a group of duties, responsibilities and working conditions requiring the service of one person for the hours per week specified.
  • A "classification" is a group of positions sufficiently similar in content of duties and responsibilities that the same title and pay grade is assigned to each position.
  • To "classify" is the assignment of a position to a classification.
  • To "reclassify" is the reassignment of an existing position to another classification.
  • New positions are classified and existing positions reclassified at the request of the department.

Position Analysis

Before developing a Position Description, complete the following departmental needs analysis:

  1. If applicable, review the generic classification description.
  2. Describe the position: full or part-time, temporary or regular, position share or other special circumstances?
  3. If this is a new position, have you talked with your Human Resources Representative?
  4. What does the position accomplish? If there is an incumbent, what are that person's duties?
  5. Who does this person report to? Are there any special considerations/issues, such as multiple reporting relationships?
  6. How does this position fit into the department? Where does it connect with others?
  7. Does the department have current unmet needs this position could fill?
  8. What ramifications do upcoming organizational changes have on this position?
  9. What new directions are in the future for the department? Do they impact this position?
  10. Who can provide information about this position before the "formal" Position Description is written?

Once you have answered these and other questions, you may begin the process of creating a Position Description.

Writing a Position Description

Preparing an effective position description involves defining the following:

  1. Title of position and working title
  2. Basic functions and responsibilities
  3. Characteristic duties and responsibilities
  4. Related duties
  5. Supervision received
  6. Supervision exercised
  7. Qualifications, and
  8. Required Contacts

Basic functions and responsibilities

Describe the basic functions and responsibilities of the position by distinguishing the position function from other classifications using characteristic duties, responsibilities and contributions. These are generally identified by the following factors:

  • Recognized as being the primary duties and functions.
  • Occupy a significant portion of time.
  • Performed on a regular or recurring basis.

Look closely at the nature of the work and its relative responsibility and difficulty. Position descriptions should contain enough information to clearly define what duties are to be performed. Note: All positions in a classification have comparable duties and responsibilities. Positions in a classification have the same university title—e.g., secretary, senior accountant, etc. Review the position description with HR prior to posting for consistency. The written description should be worded succinctly and precisely.


Departmental qualifications should be tied directly to the work involved and directly relevant. Example: Selected candidate must have at least one year in designing software programming in Novell and Fortan, C++. Note: Avoid qualifications not related to the duties and responsibilities. For example, the qualification “Must have winning personality" is not appropriate and can be legally challenged. A better qualification could be stated as "Demonstrated excellent customer service skills." Interview questions should be prepared to probe for knowledge and demonstration of those skills and should be measurable using documented selection criteria.

Developing Selection Criteria

Selection criteria are determined by individual departments and are a necessary and critical tool in the faculty/staff selection process.Their primary function is to guide the hiring supervisor in determining which set of candidates meet the qualifications for the posted position. Selection criteria should be:

  • Established before a position is advertised or posted.
  • Clearly defined and relevant to the position.
  • Used to evaluate applicants for the position.
  • Easy to use when evaluating candidates.
  • Understandable and defensible.
  • Aligned with the department's needs.

Emphasis in screening applicants should be on demonstrated performance. Successful candidates should be those clearly possessing the prerequisite skills and the strongest combination of strengths.

Advertising a Position

Consult with your Human Resources Representative at the outset of posting to make a decision about whether to advertise and to help you decide where and for what period of time. The decision to advertise should be considered if your position has traditionally been hard to fill or the posting generates a small pool of candidates. (See Tips on Recruiting for Staff Diversity. Advertising in appropriate venues may help ensure that you attract a diverse pool of female and minority candidates.

Your ad should include:

  • An overall description of the basic functions and responsibilities of the position;
  • A general description of your department (i.e. size, budget, reporting relationships (optional);
  • A more specific explanation of the duties of the position and expectations of the candidate;
  • Candidate selection criteria;
  • Detailed information on how to apply for the position;
  • A deadline date for application (if applicable); make sure the position is available for applying through the deadline date.
  • The University of Michigan Affirmative Action/Non-Discrimination statement must appear in employment ads as required by the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Where space is limited, please use the following instead: “A Non-discriminatory, Affirmative Action Employer”

Electronic Recruiting Sources

Recruiting and Employment Services contracts with several of these resources to provide placements. Before placing an ad, call your Human Resources Representative to discuss placement. While there may be a fee associated with advertising on electronic job sites, most are available at no expense to job seekers.

Advantages of involving a team in the employment process

  • A team interviewing process is more likely to prevent errors and omissions in screening applicants
  • Team participants take the responsibility of helping to choose a potential colleague very seriously and are likely to accept that person more readily
  • Interview tasks including screening, formulating effective interview questions and reference checking can be shared or delegated
  • The team process reduces the chance for failure in selecting the right candidate for the position

Prerequisites for success in the team interviewing process

  • The team should request training (if necessary) in interviewing and selection procedures and techniques before starting the process
  • The teams must know the expectations of higher management for filling the position
  • A team facilitator (usually, but not always a supervisor) must chair the team to ensure that all university and UHR rules and procedures are honored
  • The team must plan and prepare for the interviews

Reference documents for recruiting and selection

Temporary Employee Definitions

There are three (3) categories of temporary employment:

A. University of Michigan Student Employee

A University of Michigan Student Employee is:

  1. an individual enrolled in the University of Michigan, and
  2. employed by the University of Michigan, and
  3. whose primary purpose for being at the University of Michigan is to obtain an education.

B. Non-University of Michigan Student Employee

A Non-University of Michigan Student is:

  1. an individual enrolled full time in high school or enrolled for six credit hours or more at a college or university other than the University of Michigan, and
  2. employed by the University of Michigan.

C. Temporary Employee (Non-Student)

Temporary Non-Student employees are not students as defined in Section A or B. A Non-Student temporary employee is an employee whose employment is:

  1. in a specific position not limited in duration but is sporadic or casual (normally 8 hours or less per week), or
  2. fixed at the time of employment for
    • a specific project, or
    • relief for regular employee absences including vacations or termination, or
    • augmenting regular staff occasioned by increased workloads or other conditions that may create a short term need.
  3. For Non-Students, temporary employment may be either part time or full time, but in either case is limited in duration, not exceeding 12 months (for AFSCME and Trades regulations, see contractual language). In the instance of a specific project as mentioned above, the fixed appointment may be set to a maximum of 18 months if approval prior to employment is received from the Human Resource Office or staff responsible for Employment. There is no maximum duration an individual can remain a student employee if the above criteria under A or B as applicable are met.
  4. For Non-Students, a temporary appointment may not be made for the purpose of a trial period for an individual being considered for a regular appointment or as a “probationary period” preceding regular employment.

Temporary Employees are covered by the university’s Overtime Policy, Worker’s Compensation, Social Security, Unemployment Compensation (subject to the student exclusion required by State Law), and Travel Accident Insurance Plan. Temporary employment does not generally establish eligibility for regular staff benefits, except for certain full-time temporary employees who may become eligible for health benefits under the Affordable Care Act beginning in 2016. See the Benefits website for more information.

Employment Process Contacts

UHR Employment Process Coordinators by Department

UMHS HR EPC/Consulting List

Other Helpful Links

Pre-employment Background Checks

New Employee Orientation