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The key to any successful hiring process is effective planning. This includes making an effort to diversify outreach and recruitment practices as you seek to successfully onboard a new hire. The Hiring for Diverse Staff Checklist is intended to guide you through this process. Consider the following items to contribute to a successful diversity hiring process.

Create a timeline for your search. Set a target date for when the new hire will begin and work backward from that date. This will allow you to recognize what must be achieved to meet the deadline. Hiring processes are typically sequential – you do not interview applicants before screening – by considering each step in order, your timeline then becomes a helpful roadmap. It is also helpful, however, to build in time for contingencies, as no search transpires perfectly.

Create a budget. Most professional staff searches proceed without a hiring budget. For higher-level searches, however, consider allocating resources for advertising with publications that attract diverse readers. The section on outreach provides more details on advertising. Some positions will also require resources for items such as travel (airfare, mileage, etc.), hotel accommodations, ground transportation and per diem. Consult with your unit’s fiscal administrator to review allowable costs in advance of the search.

For higher-level searches, form a search committee. Ensure that all participants are aware of the timeline, commitment, roles and responsibilities of the search. Questions to consider when forming a search committee:

  • Is the composition of the search committee diverse and inclusive?
  • Are members of the search committee able to offer diverse outlooks and are they able to be respectful of different perspectives?

It is also important to clarify if the committee’s participation will be limited to the interviews or if their assistance is needed in reviewing resumes, cover letters, etc. Additional activities where search committee members may be involved:

  • The creation and review of an assessment rubric (discussed in the candidate review & selection section);
  • The development of interview questions, relative to the position.

Discrimination. It is critical to have open discussions with the committee about the legalities of what can and cannot be asked of potential job candidates. The consequences of discrimination in hiring are serious. Please make sure to review and make available the following document.

Unconscious Bias. Understanding unconscious bias is an important part of building capacity and competency in the workplace. Everyone holds biases to some degree. The goal of understanding our unconscious biases is to build awareness and uncover biases we may not have been aware of, as these shape the way we conduct business in the workplace. Biases can form in both a positive and negative manner towards particular candidates.

Factors influencing positive bias towards a candidate:

  • Traditional career pathway;
  • Previous experience with UW and/or higher-profile institutions/organizations;
  • “Fits” a units existing profile (e.g., in terms of gender, age, background, interest, perspectives, etc.).

Factors influencing negative bias towards a candidate:

  • Non-traditional career paths;
  • No experience with UW and/or higher-profile institutions/organizations;
  • Does not “fit” a units existing profile (e.g., in terms of gender, age, background, interest, perspectives, etc.).

It is important to provide resources to your committee on unconscious bias at your initial committee meeting. This article might be helpful to review and consider.


Write a job ad that encourages diversity and inclusion. An emphasis and shown value in diversity in the job ad may increase the pool of diverse candidates. This can be accomplished by considering the ad as having multiple parts. Use each job ad section below as an opportunity to describe how diversity is valued in your unit and across the University.

  • Position Description- highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion
  • Unit Description- describe the unit as a place that values diversity and diversity-related work on multiple levels
  • University Description- include UW’s broader commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Description of Materials to be Submitted- request a statement that describes a candidate’s experiences and commitments to diversity and inclusion

Click here for examples of UW job ads that have successfully connected diversity values into their position descriptions.

Review the position description and required vs. desired sections. Many units seek to widen applicant pools, but limit or discourage prospective applicants by failing to review the essential functions listed in the position description. Carefully review each component of the position description and consider the following:

  • Are the responsibilities current and accurate?
  • Do the requirements align with the responsibilities?
  • Is the desired section necessary?
  • Is there language in any of the three sections that is unnecessarily limiting and ‘weeding out’ your applicant pool?
  • Are there items in the position description that are unnecessary or outdated that should be reconsidered?

Diversity statements. One method for assessing an applicant’s competence as it relates to diversity is to require a diversity statement. This can be requested at a point in the process that is the most practical for your hiring team and for prospective candidates. Diversity statements provide the following for applicants:

  • An opportunity to articulate how their work, volunteer, or other experiences have contributed to their engagement and interaction with a broad range of individuals;
  • An opportunity to communicate how they envision diversity in their prospective role at the UW;
  • An opportunity to focus on their experience and expertise, not on their personal characteristics or attributes.

Click here for examples of diversity statement requests that you may adopt or modify for your search.