Recruitment, Assessment, and Selection of Academic, Faculty, Limited, and University Staff Employees

recruitment, assessment, selection, hire, applicant, toolkit, reference, check, vacancy, eligible, waiver, pool, diversity, approval, position

Functional Owner

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Human Resources

Executive Sponsor

Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration

Policy Contact

Office of Human Resources

Policy Summary

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to hiring the right talent to ensure that our university continues to be a world-class institution of higher education. Our goal is to provide opportunities for talented people from all backgrounds to help us maintain a highly productive, welcoming, empowering, and inclusive community. UW–Madison encourages women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities to apply for our vacancies.

To meet this commitment UW–Madison fills vacancies through civil service processes. Therefore, the primary objectives of this policy are recruiting well-qualified and diverse applicant pools; assessing applicants in a timely, fair and transparent fashion; treating applicants in a customer-friendly, unbiased, fair and equitable way (consistent with university policy and state and federal laws); and selecting the best candidates. Consistent with this policy, UW–Madison is an equal opportunity employer that hires without regard to, but not limited to, the following: gender, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, creed, religion, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, political affiliation, ancestry, status as a veteran or disabled veteran, or other classifications protected by state or federal laws.

Who This Policy Applies To

Unless otherwise noted, this policy applies in all situations in which UW–Madison recruits, assesses and/or selects talent to fill Academic, Faculty, Limited, or University Staff vacancies.

This policy can also be used to recruit, assess and/or select temporary employees, student employees or Post-Degree Training, although it is not required for these employment categories.


UW–Madison is best served when it has a highly talented, diverse pool of interested and qualified applicants and a selection process designed to ensure fair, open, and timely recruitment and competition.

Policy Detail

Section A – Overview
  1. General Recruitment, Assessment and Selection Principles

    1. UW–Madison’s decentralized organization and operations have resulted in a large number and range of campus jobs. Our recruitment, assessment and selection procedures must meet the needs of individual employing units while still promoting efficient, effective, fair, and legal hiring practices.
    2. Before the recruitment, assessment and selection process begins position descriptions must be reviewed and approved for job title and salary range.
    3. In addition to the policy elements listed below, staff who recruit, assess or select Academic, Faculty, Limited, or University Staff are responsible for following their department or division policies and procedures.
  2. Direct-Hire Waiver Process

    Open recruitment for specific Academic, Faculty, Limited, Temporary and University Staff vacancies is not required when certain criteria is met. All waivers of the recruitment process must be approved by OHR before the position is offered. Waivers are used in situations when it is helpful to do a direct hire of an otherwise qualified applicant, for example temporary, acting or interim appointments to fill a vacancy or when an employee goes on leave.

  3. Candidate Experience

    The recruitment, assessment and selection process supports the university’s need to identify the best-qualified candidate for each position. UW–Madison also recognizes that it is important to provide applicants with a timely, transparent and positive experience. Consequently, hiring administrators must:

    1. Write and post clear job announcements;
    2. Facilitate a user-friendly applicant process;
    3. Clearly identify a specific person whom applicants can contact for information about each vacancy; and
    4. Communicate with applicants about status and decisions in a timely manner.
  4. Recruitment, Assessment and Selection Process

    UW–Madison will use a variety of recruitment, assessment and selection strategies to ensure processes are consistent across campus while also allowing units to tailor their approaches to their specific personnel needs.

Section B – Filling Vacancies
  1. Pre-Recruitment Requirements

    1. For University Staff vacancies only
      1. Blue-collar multi-shift vacancies: Transfer opportunities for designated employees
      2. Reemployment after layoff: Notification to, or mandatory placement of, laid-off employees. (See Layoff of University Staff ).
    2. For Academic Staff vacancies only

      Referral priority: Opportunity for a laid-off employee or for long-term Academic Staff non-renewed for reasons other than performance to be considered for a vacancy prior to proceeding with open or internal recruitment. (See ASPP 3.06 Referral Priority and ASPP 5.09 Reappointment Rights and Referral Priority)

  2. Recruiting Strategy

    UW–Madison uses different recruitment methods to support best-qualified selection and diversity. The hiring administrator must evaluate each vacancy to determine which of the following recruitment approaches to use:

    1. Standard Recruitment. In the vast majority of recruitments, this process will be used to publicly post vacancies, and applications are accepted from all interested applicants. For additional guidelines related to Faculty recruitments, refer to Searching for Excellence and Diversity: A Guide for Search Committee Chairs.
    2. Centralized Recruitment (University Staff vacancies only). For specified vacancies with high volume applicant pools, applications can be accepted from all interested applicants. OHR manages the initial intake and screening.
    3. Internal Recruitment. For limited situations (unique skills or business need), this process can be used when it is necessary for the University to consider only current university employees (and eligible former employees).
  3. Assessment Criteria and Benchmarks

    Hiring decisions will be based on qualifications and merit. The hiring administrator should develop predetermined, job-related, and nondiscriminatory criteria and benchmarks (including any minimum qualifications) to assess each candidate’s qualifications, decide whom to interview, and work with the hiring manager to ultimately select the best-qualified for each vacancy. Hiring administrators are encouraged to use a variety of assessment tools.

  4. Advertising and Recruiting

    The hiring administrator must proactively post and advertise for all vacancies. Passively posting a vacancy on the OHR website or advertising a vacancy in one publication is not enough to attract the best pool of applicants. Recruiting widely and aggressively will help attract a more diverse pool of qualified applicants. Additionally, hiring administrators must ensure the following:

    1. Recruitment Efforts Plan (REP). For specified vacancies including all underutilized positions, a REP must be approved to outline the proposed recruiting efforts and help ensure a diverse pool of applicants. A completed REP is required to follow federal reporting guidelines, and must be approved by the UW–Madison Office for Affirmative Action Planning and Programming (OAAPP).
    2. Advertising. Advertisements must contain specific OHR-developed language about diversity and affirmative action/equal employment. Additionally, departments can advertise a vacancy to allow the later filing of a permanent residency petition, per OHR requirements.
    3. Posting the Vacancy. Postings must include a detailed but plain-language description of the position, specific instructions about how to apply, contact information, and any minimum qualifications.
      1. All postings will meet required minimum posting periods as designated by OHR.
      2. All postings will identify an “ensured-consideration” date, and hiring administrators will ensure that applicants who apply by this date receive equal consideration.
    4. Third-Party Recruiters or Search Firms. Hiring units may use third-party recruiters or search firms as approved by OHR.
  5. Assessing the Applicant Pool and Selecting the Best-Qualified

    The hiring administrator must uniformly apply pre-developed criteria to all applicants. Regardless of hiring techniques, the hiring administrator is responsible for ensuring that only job-related information is considered and that the recruitment, assessment and selection process is fair and nondiscriminatory. UW–Madison is an equal opportunity employer and does not hire based on gender, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, creed, religion, age, marital status, disability, genetic information, political affiliation, ancestry, or other characteristics protected by state or federal laws.

    In addition to applying pre-developed criteria to all applicants, the hiring administrator should deploy specific strategies during the assessment and selection process:

    1. Evaluate applicants and ensure applicants meet minimum qualifications.
    2. Conduct additional screenings or assessments as needed.
    3. Conduct appropriate and job-related interviews. The interview is a mutual exchange of information between the candidate and the employer. Interviews are critical to assessing a candidate’s potential for success. Additionally, the interview provides information to help the candidate decide if UW–Madison and the job match their educational/work background and career goals. Interviewers should use the interview as an opportunity to promote UW–Madison as an employer of choice.
    4. Reuse established applicant pool if approved by OHR.. Although hiring administrators are encouraged to conduct open recruitments for each vacancy, some reuse of established applicant pools is allowed as approved by OHR.
    5. Vetting of Final Candidate. Before a hire is made, the following vetting processes must occur:
      1. Reference Check. Divisions must always check references for final candidate(s) and this information should be considered along with other candidate assessment data. Divisions must ensure a reference check is conducted with the final candidate's current or most recent employer and with all previous UW System institution and Wisconsin state agency employers from the past seven years, including inquiring whether the final candidate has been found to have engaged in any sexual violence or sexual harassment, are currently under investigation or left employment during an active investigation into allegations of sexual violence or sexual harassment against them. Reference information that reveals past misconduct (including any violation of sexual violence or sexual harassment policies) must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis prior to making any hiring decisions and, when appropriate, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Legal Affairs should be consulted. Note, depending on the specific facts, past misconduct is not an automatic disqualifier. Consult with the above offices.
      2. Background Check. Divisions must complete all other required background checks including but not limited to criminal background checks (See Criminal Background Check Policy).
      3. Sexual Violence or Harassment Inquiry. The University will ensure the final candidate(s) is (are) asked whether they have been found to have engaged in any sexual violence or sexual harassment, or are currently under investigation or left employment during an active investigation into allegations of sexual violence or sexual harassment that were made against them.
  6. Job Offer

    1. All employment offers are contingent upon verification of the information that the candidate provided during the assessment and selection process, and passing appropriate criminal and other background checks as needed, as well as employment verifications [(Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9)].
    2. The hiring unit can negotiate within the terms of the vacancy announcement (e.g., salary, FTE and title range). Hiring managers must make employment offers in accordance with the policies and procedures established by their department or division.
    3. Before reaching the point of extending a formal offer of employment to a faculty or high-level limited appointee in another UW System institution, the official responsible for initiating such action must first notify the appropriate vice chancellor (or UW College dean) of the other UW institution.
  7. Closing the Vacancy and Notifying Unsuccessful Candidates

    After a candidate is hired, the hiring administrator should notify each candidate who was not selected, in a timely manner. The hiring administrator must also satisfy affirmative action reporting requirements and retain records in a formal Search File as needed.

  8. Best Practice Review Process

    To support departments in conducting an efficient, effective and compliant recruitment, assessment and selection process, OHR will review and approve the overall division recruitment, assessment and selection plan which includes processes and procedures used by divisions and departments. This will include reviewing recruitment records and assessment processes annually.

  9. Access to Recruitment Records

    If contacted for candidates’ names, hiring administrators should direct the requestor to the UW–Madison Public Records Portal. The UW–Madison Office of Compliance will review the request and work with OHR and the appropriate division to complete the request.

  10. Providing Reference Checks

    UW–Madison must provide a reference check regarding current or former employees when a potential employer makes a reference check request. The potential employer should receive an objective evaluation of the candidate’s training, experience, skills, abilities, and job performance as they relate to the duties and responsibilities of the job they held at UW–Madison. As part of the information conveyed to the employer requesting the reference check, divisions must indicate that the employer can receive information regarding whether the employee has ever been found to have engaged in, or left during an active investigation into allegations of, sexual violence or sexual harassment against them.

    When the potential employer is another UW System institution or State agency, the personnel file of the current or former employee must be shared upon hire. See UW–Madison’s Employee Personnel Files policy.

  11. Legal Considerations

    Claims of wrongdoing and unlawful discrimination

    1. Hiring decisions are at the sole discretion of the hiring manager and cannot be appealed. It is important, however, to ensure that a candidate’s experience is positive. Candidates can contact OHR if they are dissatisfied with their experiences. The decision whether to take action is at the sole discretion of UW–Madison.
    2. Any candidate who believes that they have been discriminated against for a reason prohibited by state or federal law should contact the UW–Madison Office of Affirmative Action Planning and Programming, the State of Wisconsin Equal Rights Division, or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Supporting Tools

OHR provides tools and resources to help managers complete the recruitment, assessment and selection process efficiently, effectively and in compliance with laws and policies. OHR also provides regular training on recruitment, assessment and selection.

RAS Procedure

Recruitment Toolkit


Applicant: job seeker who has applied for the vacancy.

Blue-Collar Multi-Shift: University Staff titles that are in pay schedule 03 (e.g., custodian, food service assistant, food retail/catering leader and food production assistant) and in multiple-shift environments (e.g., first shift, second shift and third shift).

Candidate: applicant who has been deemed minimally qualified for the vacancy.

Centralized Recruitment: process in which OHR helps divisions manage the recruitment, assessment and selection of high-volume and continuously recruited vacancies (e.g., custodial positions).

Civil Service System: a hiring process that incorporates merit selection principles including objective criteria to evaluate job applicants and make hiring decisions.

Employee: any individual who holds a faculty, academic staff, university staff, or limited appointment with any UW System institution.

Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action: an active effort to improve the educational and employment opportunities of members of minority groups, women and other protected against discrimination by Federal and State laws and UW System and UW–Madison policies.

Final Candidate: candidate who will be offered the position.

Hiring Administrator: person who is responsible for ensuring the recruitment, assessment and selection process for a particular vacancy is completed in accordance with established policies. A supervisor, unit human resource (HR) representative, or designee may serve as the hiring administrator and delegate different aspects of the search process. The hiring administrator continues to be responsible for the process, regardless of delegation.

Hiring Manager: supervisor for a particular vacancy who has the authority to make the final hiring decision. The hiring manager works closely with the hiring administrator to complete all aspects of the search process in accordance with established policies.

Internal Recruitment: standard recruitment process that requires that applicants be currently employed at UW–Madison.

Merit: the qualifications, experience, standard of work performance, and capabilities of those persons that are relevant to the performance of those duties.

Nominee: For a number of university vacancies, people will be nominated for a position by another person. In these cases, the person nominated does not become an applicant or candidate until they inform the search committee or contact person that they would like to be considered for the position and subsequently applies for the vacancy.

Position: specific duties and responsibilities of a job.

Recruitment, Assessment, and Selection Plan: a document created by division HR in collaboration with division leadership, and approved by OHR which provides overall guidelines for recruitment, assessment and selection. It outlines the division’s expectations of specific steps, processes and requirements for recruitment, assessment and selection and identifies plans and procedures to increase diversity.

Sexual harassment: has the same meaning as in UW-Madison’s Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence.

Sexual violence: has the same meaning as in UW-Madison’s Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence.

State agency: a Department or Independent Agency as defined under Wis. Stat. §15.01(5) and §15.01 (9).

Standard recruitment: merit-based process used to fill most vacancies. This process allows UW–Madison the flexibility to target specific skill sets as well as a diverse pool of qualified applicants. The process is open to all qualified applicants and does not require that applicants be employed at UW–Madison.

UW System institution: any of the following: UW-Eau Claire; UW-Green Bay; UW-La Crosse; UW–Madison; UW-Milwaukee; UW-Oshkosh; UW-Parkside; UW-Platteville; UW-River Falls; UW-Stevens Point; UW-Stout; UW-Superior; UW-Whitewater; UW System Administration.


Office of Affirmative Action Planning and Programming (OAAPP)
  • Identifies and communicates the positions that are underutilized
  • Consults with departments and hiring administrators on their Recruitment Efforts Plans (REP) and other efforts to ensure balanced applicant pools
  • Manages UW’s affirmative action plan and coordinates campus compliance with affirmative action and equal opportunity regulations applicable to UW–Madison
  • Develops and facilities professional development and training opportunities on affirmative action, equal opportunity, and diversity and consults with colleges, schools and divisions
  • Verifies the effectiveness of diversity recruiting efforts
  • Provides diversity training to campus
Office of Human Resources (OHR)
  • Provides policy oversight to ensure compliance with campus policy
  • Conducts periodic reviews of the policy with campus human resources departments
  • Approves overall division recruitment plan (“Recruitment, Assessment and Selection Plan”)
  • Implements changes to the policy as needed
  • Consults with and advises division HR representatives
  • Approves requests to use the internal recruitment process when positions are underutilized for minorities or females
  • Develops and oversees campus-wide policies and procedures
  • Maintains the Applicant Tracking System (ATS), JEMS, the employment website, and internal resources
  • Provides sample tools for assessing applicants
  • Develops and provides training on the hiring process and assessment techniques
College/School/Division HR
  • Ensures administrators, supervisors, and hiring managers are aware of this policy and comply with its provisions
  • Develops an overall division recruitment plan
  • Consults with and advises departments and hiring administrators
  • Consults with and advises departments and hiring administrators on strategies to select and advise search committees and interview panels
  • Approves internal recruitment for non-underutilized positions
  • Ensures the justification of internal recruitments for underutilized positions
  • Maintains and retains documents relating to the hiring process
  • Trains employees involved in the recruitment, assessment and selection processes
  • Ensures all forms and process elements are completed and provided to appropriate parties ( e.g., REP)
Hiring Administrator
  • Ensures process is in compliance with policy
  • Ensures process is fair and nondiscriminatory
  • Consults with division HR or, if Division HR Rep, consults OAAPP to complete REP
  • Selects and instructs search committee and interview panel
  • Communicates with applicants in a timely manner throughout the process
  • Coordinates process working with hiring managers and other responsible parties
Hiring Manager
  • Participates in the creation of assessment criteria
  • Evaluates applicants
  • Participates in interview process
  • Works with hiring administrator to ensure process is fair and nondiscriminatory
  • Conducts reference checks
  • Extends and negotiates offer
Job Applicant
  • Provides accurate information throughout the recruitment, assessment and selection process on or before established deadlines
  • Responds to communications or requests in a timely manner

Link to Current Policy

Links to Related Policies

ASPP 3.06 Referral Priority (ASPP Chapter 3)

ASPP 5.09 Reappointment Rights and Referral Priority (ASPP Chapter 5)

Criminal Background Check Policy

Layoff of University Staff

Employee Personnel Files

UW–Madison Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence

Board of Regents Resolution 11038 adopted June 7, 2018

Other Links

Jobs at UW–Madison