Inclusive Hiring Toolkit

The Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO) Office is available as a resource for any campus unit in administering both faculty and staff recruitment and hiring processes, and works collaboratively with the Human Resources Office. AA/EEO has compiled a robust summary of promising practices and effective strategies for inclusive faculty and staff recruitment and hiring based on a review of current initiatives and practices at Grand Valley, activities at other universities, and practices identified within the research literature. AA/EEO is available for consultation at any time.

Strategies for Inclusive Recruitment & Hiring

The AA/EEO Office provides support for search committees, department chairs, hiring managers, Appointing Officers, and Deans engaged in faculty and staff searches. AA/EEO works collaboratively with Human Resources in all stages of the hiring process.

The AA/EEO Office support includes:

  • Consultation on best practice strategies for inclusive searches.
  • Formal inclusive search training workshops for departments and search committees.
  • Providing data to assist in understanding the current diversity, utilization/underutilization rates, and any relevant placement goals of a unit/job category and establishing minimum thresholds for applicant pools based on availability data:
    • Current demographic statistics: see the Diversity Dashboard for updated division and college demographic data.
    • Availability analysis (an estimate of the number of qualified racial and ethnic minorities or women available for employment in a given job group):
    • Utilization/underutilization reports (underutilization exists where racial and ethnic minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are not employed at a rate to be expected given their availability in the relevant labor pool).
    • Other Affirmative Action Plan data relevant to a specific search.
  • Research into potential candidates from underrepresented groups (recent and forthcoming PhDs from targeted graduate programs, etc.) who could be contacted regarding upcoming or current searches.
  • Early assistance drafting job advertisements and proposals for searches (Note: the AA/EEO Office reviews and approves all job ads, but early outreach can assistant with intentional inclusive efforts).
  • Early assistance drafting inclusive search and recruitment plans (Note: the AA/EEO Office reviews and approves all recruitment plans, but early outreach can assistant with intentional inclusive efforts).
  • Participation in portions of interview process.
  • Upon request, the Division of Inclusion and Equity will work with Appointing Officers and Vice Presidents to seek potential support for funding for the following initiatives (Note: a request for funding does not guarantee support):
    • Informal visits to campus of potential candidates who may advance the university's commitment to diversity (e.g., bringing potential candidates to campus for research talks in years prior to searches).
    • Sending additional faculty to conferences to attend talks by potential candidates who may advance the university's commitment to diversity.
    • Bringing additional candidate(s) to campus who may advance the university's commitment to diversity.
    • Other funding in support of inclusive searches may be available.

Additional information or requests for support should be directed to Scott Ayotte, J.D., Director for Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity at

Before reviewing the list of recommended strategies at each stage of the recruitment and hiring process, please review the following explanatory and introductory notes:

  • This resource is intended to supplement, not to replace, established policies and procedures.
  • This resource is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather serve as a "working toolkit" that can help guide efforts.
  • While research and practice has demonstrated the success of these strategies, specific practices may be more relevant to some searches compared to others, constraints may exist, and research-based practices continually evolve. The entire community is encouraged to shared promising practices, either based in research or implementation, by contacting the AA/EEO Office.
  • It is expected that units will modify, adjust, and/or adapt these recommendations in accordance with factors such as the size of a search committee and pool of candidates, the breadth of areas encompassed in the position description, and the standards of each discipline or administrative unit.
  • Search committee members and chairs are encouraged to consult their respective Appointing Officer's office on questions regarding academic or administrative level hiring protocols or requirements.
  • Units are encouraged to track use of specific practices for data-gathering purposes. Inclusion Advocates and search committee chairs should report effective practices to the AA/EEO Office or when completing required evaluations as part of the Inclusion Advocates program.
  • Some strategies may be more applicable for faculty or staff depending on the type of search/position.
  • Inclusion Advocates are primary resources for search committees.
  • In some situations, "recommendations" identified may be required by the AA/EEO Office.
<p> <a href="">NSF ADVANCE &amp; STRIDE</a><br> <a href="">Promising Practices Sources &amp; External Resources</a> <br> <a href="/cms4/asset/92332B37-04FB-CE3C-7F14A5A4BE2F95E9/inclusivehiring-onlinev2.pdf">GVSU Inclusive Hiring Symposium Booklet</a> </p>

The following strategies are recommended for unit heads and committee chairs prior to beginning a search:

Before the Search

  • Attendance at professional conferences, particularly affinity-based conferences, allows current colleagues to communicate that search(es) may be forthcoming. Faculty attending conferences are encouraged to reach out to promising scholars who may advance the university's commitment to inclusion and equity.
  • Units are encouraged to follow-up with promising scholars or candidates from diverse groups that are identified at academic or professional conferences in order to maintain ongoing relationships.
  • Units may consider inviting promising scholars or professionals who may advance the university's commitment to diversity to visit campus for informal conversations, research presentations, department meetings, campus talks, etc.
  • Recruitment Plans are required for most searches.
  • The recruitment plan should include inclusive recruiting strategy (e.g. strategies for building a diverse applicant pool of qualified candidates).
    • Recruitment plans should consider efforts beyond only posting job announcements in diverse publications.
    • Recruitment plan may identify strategies to attract a diverse applicant pool, and specify steps for active outreach to potential candidates from underrepresented groups.
    • Recruitment plan should include a list of referral sources and publications that may be used for advertising and potential candidates who will be contacted. A list of inclusive recruitment resources is available
    • Job advertisements should include a statement regarding the university's commitment to inclusion and equity, and specify how the position has the potential to contribute to the university's strategic priorities. Examples of these statements are available.
    • Units should consider how the proposed level of appointment, field of specialization, and required qualifications may affect the availability of diverse candidates in the applicant pool. Required versus preferred qualifications should be seriously considered.
    • Engage the AA/EEO Office and selected Inclusion Advocates early in reviewing the recruitment plan, job description, and advertisement [required].
        • Search committee membership should include diverse representation (e.g., in institutional roles, race, disability, gender, perspectives) and representation from those with a demonstrated commitment to diversity. To enhance diversity of membership, committees may seek to include a representative from a contiguous department. Inclusion Advocates must be selected from outside any unit with the same Appointing Officer.
        • Search committees should determine hiring qualifications and develop a template for screening applications prior to beginning the search.
        • Search committees should attempt to meet with university leaders to discuss the university’s commitment to diversity and best practices for inclusive recruitment and hiring.
        • Search committees may choose to review current demographic statistics, availability analysis, and utilization/underutilization reports. Review of the data may assist the committee in adjusting search and recruitment efforts as needed. Contact the AA/EEO Office for more information.
        • Search committees should share aggregated demographic analysis and inclusive search and recruitment plan with the entire committee.
        • Inclusive language that communicates the university’s commitment to inclusion and equity should be used in the position announcement. See Affirmative Action/Inclusion Statement options.
        • Position announcement should be placed in strategic sources for attracting diverse applicants. See Inclusive Recruitment Resources.
        <p> <a href="">Recruiting Information and Forms</a><br> <a href="">Inclusive Recruitment Resources</a> </p>

        The following strategies are recommended for hiring committees during faculty and staff searches:

        During the Search

        • Search committee should strive to make good-faith efforts to reach out to candidates from underrepresented groups and use strategic and targeted outreach to diverse groups and individuals.
        • Targeted invitations for application may be sent to diverse candidates (e.g., internal candidates, candidates from minority-serving institutions, recent graduates from diverse backgrounds, graduate programs at minority-serving institutions, etc.).
        • Current department or university employees, particularly underrepresented employees and/or faculty and staff affinity groups, may be encouraged to recommend promising candidates.
        • The AA/EEO Office may be used to solicit promising applicants from diverse backgrounds.

        Search committee and/or committee chair with the Inclusion Advocate may review aggregate data of applicant, candidate, and finalist pools regularly throughout the process, and adjust strategies if necessary.  Review of the data is encouraged at the following three phases of the search process:

        • Review of aggregate diversity data within applicant pool. For example, does the applicant pool reflect the diversity of recent Ph.D. recipients for field or labor market (availability data)?
        • Review of aggregated diversity data. within short-listed (conference interviewees, phone or Skype interviewees, etc.) candidates.
        • Review of aggregated diversity data of candidates invited to on-campus interviews.

        Aggregated data for searches can be requested from the AA/EEO Office.

        In addition, the following resources can be provided by the AA/EEO Office or at pages linked below:

        • Current demographic statistics: see the Diversity Dashboard for updated division and college demographic data.
        • Availability analysis (an estimate of the number of qualified racial and ethnic minorities or women available for employment in a given job group):
        • Utilization/underutilization reports (underutilization exists where racial and ethnic minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans are not employed at a rate to be expected given their availability in the relevant labor pool).
        • Other Affirmative Action Plan data relevant to a specific search.

        Search committees require the appointment of an Inclusion Advocate. The following are requirements for the search that are supported by the Inclusion Advocate. At a minimum and in consultation with the search committee chair, Human Resources, and the AA/EEO Office as appropriate, an Inclusion Advocate will:

        • Serve on search committees for all full-time positions.
        • In most cases, be selected from outside the hiring department. A closely related department, even if within the same school or division, is encouraged. See the Inclusion Advocates Directory for a list of Inclusion Advocates.
        • Review and approve recruitment plans and job advertisements prior to the beginning of a search.
        • Review availability and application pool data and, if necessary, suggest additional recruitment options and/or changes to the recruitment plan and/or search timeline.
        • Provide a statement reviewing the search process, and assuring full inclusive practices were implemented during the search, and/or acknowledging concerns related to the search prior to the final hire is approved.

        In addition, Inclusion Advocates can serve as points of contact with the AA/EEO Office in exploring and implementing other inclusive recruitment and hiring strategies outlined in this toolkit. Inclusion Advocates are able to seek support from the AA/EEO Office at any stage of a search.

        More information about the Inclusion Advocates Program is available at:


        <p> <a href="">Online Hiring System</a><br> <a href="">Screening</a> <br> <a href="">Interviewing</a> <br> <a href="">Reference Checking</a> <br> <a href="">Non-Selection Reasons</a> </p>

        The following strategies are recommended for unit heads and committee chairs after the search:

        After the Search

        • The Appointing Officer should encourage debriefing meetings with committee chairs and Inclusion Advocates to specifically discuss items related to diversity and inclusion.
        • Unit and department heads should consider contacting short-listed (conference interviewees, phone or Skype interviewees, etc.) or on-campus applicants from underrepresented groups who did not receive offers for notification of their status. This may allow the department to maintain an open relationship with promising candidates for future searches.
        • Communication should be maintained with promising candidates from underrepresented groups for future searches.
        • Department chairs and unit heads are encouraged to consult with the Division of Inclusion and Equity, Human Resources, and the Faculty Teaching and Learning Center to prepare for the new colleague’s arrival on campus and on-boarding activities.
        • Information about faculty and staff affinity groups, and an invitation to meet with members of the groups, should be provided to new employees.
        • Unit and department heads and Appointing Officers are encouraged to continue the pipeline and relationship building efforts for future searches as outlined in previous sections.
        • Share practices learned and suggestions with the AA/EEO Office.
        <p> <a href="">Employment Forms</a><br> <a href="">Affinity Groups</a> <br> <a href="">Health, Wellness, Benefits</a> </p>