Building a Positive Relationship with a Future Colleague
Appendix to Policy
The way the unit presents itself, the University of Minnesota and surrounding communities during candidate campus visits can have a significant impact on the outcome of the search. A visit might include: (1) a seminar or formal presentation by the candidate with sufficient time for comments, questions, and discussion. If the appointment involves faculty from more than one unit, representatives from those units should be invited to interview the candidate and attend the presentation; (2) a meeting with the dean, associate dean or other appropriate administrators. The dean should also receive a copy of the candidate's resume and the agenda for the visit.
- Candidates should have some voice in the scheduling and logistics of their visit. In advance of their trip, they should receive in writing information about the interview process, the scholarly and professional interests of people they will be meeting, the unit, the campus, and the Twin Cities community.
- Prior to the interview, call the candidates to ask if they would like to add any other appointments or tours, based on materials they were sent. Ask if the proposed schedule presents any problems or if they have particular needs. Ask questions like, "Do you need a slide projector, microphone, video equipment, portable ramp? If you require disability-related accommodations (e.g., transportation), please feel free to request them. Do you have any dietary restrictions or strong food preference?"
- Anticipate and prevent awkward situations or comments that can skew the interview dynamics: restaurant inaccessibility or inconvenience for disabled; speaking to or having a meal with a group that is entirely one gender or race; inappropriate conversations about families, inappropriate remarks and jokes, etc.
- Provide information regarding the Twin Cities and Minnesota women's and minority communities. If the unit is all male or all white, be sure to provide opportunities for professional networking outside the unit.
- Don't make any assumptions about whether or not members of various minority groups would want to come here (e.g., because of lack of tolerance for the weather, absence of communities to relate to, etc.). Emphasize the positives and available resources.
- Without asking inappropriate questions about family situations, let candidates know we can provide assistance and information about schools, opportunities for partners, childcare or eldercare, etc. Use inclusive language about family.
The Second Campus Visit (Usually for Administrative Searches Only)
In the past several years, it has become customary to bring finalists for administrative positions back to the campus for a second visit after the search committee has completed its task and given its report to the appointing authority. These visits are not required. If they are scheduled, the following suggestions should be considered.
Be sure the candidate's schedule is not unduly burdensome. Two days of non-stop individual and group presentations, including during meals, is too much. Time should be provided for rest and for activities the candidate might want to schedule.
Since this process is partly for the benefit of the candidate and partly for continuing the evaluation of the candidate, the individual should be aware of both purposes. This is especially true if a public presentation has been scheduled. The type of presentation should be specified and the probable audience should be described.
If persons meeting with the finalist are going to have input into the final selection, their comments should be submitted in writing. They should also have made efforts to become, at a minimum, familiar with the vitae. The letters should make clear how much contact they have with each candidate.
Some groups, such as the Faculty Consultative Committee, which frequently meet candidates, have formal protocols about the meeting. This is to be encouraged. Also, the more representative these groups are in their composition and interests, the fewer number of such meetings are necessary.
Each candidate, including any internal candidate, should receive the same treatment during these visits, consistent with the dictates of common sense.
All of these suggestions are relevant to first as well as second visits. What needs to be emphasized in second visit preparation is that the candidate should be clearly informed of the purpose of the second visit, as confusion has occurred in past searches.