Online Search Process & Applicant Tracking

Search Process and Preparation

St. Lawrence University is committed to diversity and inclusion. It is important to follow the recruitment procedures we have established, to provide equal opportunity for employment and affirmative action. Open, public recruitment of candidates is a crucial strategy for the appointment of qualified members of under-served populations, including women and minorities.

Even for temporary full-time positions, active recruitment helps to assure the University learns of the most qualified candidates for appointments. Length and rank of a temporary full-time appointment, as well as compensation, are factors to consider in recruitment.

In rare instances, an exception to established recruitment procedures may be permitted, with appropriate justification and when it is in the best interests of the University. A request to waive the normal recruitment process must be approved by the division vice president; the Vice President for Community and Employee Relations; Human Resources and the President. In situations where a waiver is approved and an “emergency hire” is planned, efforts should be made to seek out individuals in under-served populations whenever possible.

Recruitment Process at St. Lawrence University

Requests to fill open or new positions are managed through the online PeopleAdmin tool. "Staff," "Faculty" and "Adjunct/Temp" requisitions are initiated by accessing the website (instructions for logging in below) and beginning the request for a posting. Within the system, this process is accomplished through the "Requisition Initiator" or "Hiring Manager" user role to create a posting. Once complete, the submitted posting will route electronically through an approval process that includes the division vice president or Dean, Human Resources, Budget and the Vice President of Community and Employee Relations. The Hiring Manager will be notified when the position is approved, to begin planning recruitment and advertising efforts.

Once the position is posted and advertised, all applicants must apply via the online application process, our PeopleAdmin site. Early in the search process, the Search Committee should plan to meet with a representative from Human Resources for training, in order to assure adherence to the University's policies and practices. Search Chairs and Search Committee Members will view applications and related materials electronically, as well as have the ability to rate candidates. Initial, supplemental questions may be added in the application process to help screen applicants, so that the committee need only view materials for applicants meeting the minimum requirements, thus saving time.

When a candidate has been identified for an interview by the committee, the "Hiring Manager" selects that candidate in the system and moves them to the status of "Request for First Interview" moving the applicant through the electronic approval process. No candidate may have a campus interview without approval. Phone screens/interviews and in some cases, reference checks – which do not require approval – are encouraged before selecting a candidate for an on-campus interview.

Similarly, requests to hire ("hiring proposals") are also managed electronically through the electronic workflow process in PeopleAdmin. Once the Search Chair or Hiring Manager has a recommendation to hire, he or she will select that applicant by name in the system and "Recommend for Hire" and then start the hiring process workflow. The Hiring Manager will be notified when the applicant has been approved for a verbal offer. All offers of employment will be contingent on a background check (including criminal check) which is initiated post-offer, pre-employment. Offer letters may be sent and will include the information about the background check contingency.

Planning for Recruitment and Advertising

Start by reviewing and understanding the job description and minimum qualifications. Focus on identifying the primary scope of the position and the primary responsibilities, knowledge, skills and abilities required for the job. Think about education (degree and field), certification or licensure (if required or preferred), experience (number of years and field) and any unique requirements or technical expertise considered essential. If updates are needed, please draft the updates/changes and provide them to Human Resources for review and for the University’s records.

Position announcements and advertisements are used to recruit as many qualified applicants as possible. In advertisements, basic academic and experiential requirements, as well as desirable qualifications, are specified. The advertising plan should project sufficient time for the advertisements to generate applicants, preferably a minimum of four weeks after publication, if using a print medium. Human Resources strongly recommends online ads as a large part of the advertising plan due to flexibility in updating postings, candidates' expectations and better use of the University's advertising funds.


  • Greater flexibility in recruiting can be achieved if the advertisement includes the statement "applications received after 'x date' cannot be assured full consideration" or "screening will begin on 'x date,' continuing until the position is filled," or similar language. Late applications from qualified applicants do not have to be discarded (but will be advised if a deadline has been met) and re-advertising is less likely to be necessary.
  • If a deadline is used, the University must abide by that deadline and no resumes/CVs may be accepted after a deadline date has passed; no candidate can start a position until that deadline has passed and/or no conditional offers may be made until the deadline passes. This ensures that all candidates are treated equitably, have ample time to apply and/or have access to all hiring and recruitment information at the same time. This also ensures that we are following our own practices and procedures.

Advertisements should include the following:

  1. Position title and administrator title (not the name) to whom the position reports.
  2. The number of positions available if more than one position is open.
  3. Description of responsibilities and duties.
  4. Basic academic and experiential requirements or the "must-haves" to be considered, and desirable qualifications beyond those required.
  5. Application procedures: how to apply. For example, "candidates must submit materials using the online applicant tracking system," or "to be eligible for consideration all candidates must submit documents using the online applicant tracking system, located at," or similar language. The Search Chair name and phone number may be included in postings, if the chair approves. It should also outline the materials to be submitted (e.g., cover letter, resume/CV, names of references or letters of reference, etc.) A cover letter and resume/CV, plus contact information for three professional references, may be sufficient for initial screening or some search committees' needs. Committees may determine what documents to request from candidates initially.
  6. The date application materials should be received for full consideration, or other information on deadlines, such as when interviews will commence, etc.
  7. The following approved language describing the University's commitment to diversity and inclusion:

"Located in Canton, N.Y., St. Lawrence University is a coeducational, private, independent liberal arts institution of about 2,400 students from more than 40 states and 40 nations. The educational opportunities at St. Lawrence inspire students and prepare them to be critical and creative thinkers, to find a compass for their lives and careers, and to pursue knowledge and understanding for the benefit of themselves, humanity and the planet. Through its focus on active engagement with ideas in and beyond the classroom, a St. Lawrence education leads students to make connections that transform lives and communities, from the local to the global.

"The University is committed to and seeks diversity among its faculty, staff and students. Such a commitment ensures an atmosphere that is diverse and complex in ways that are intellectually and socially enriching for the entire campus community. Applications by members of all underrepresented groups, as well as from individuals with experience teaching or working in a multicultural environment, are encouraged. St. Lawrence University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

  1. Incomplete and updated applications – the only rule is that all applications be handled in the same way. Search Chairs/committees may decide what to accept or not accept, as long as the procedure is consistently applied throughout the entire process and for all candidates.

A note about internal candidates: For our bargaining unit positions, there is a prescribed process that must be followed and by which we are legally bound. For non-bargaining unit positions, it is normally in our best interest to consider current employees who apply. In such cases, hiring managers/search chairs should check on the job performance and with the employee’s current manager. It is required for external candidates and should be the same for internal candidates.

Screening Applicants

The most important role of the search committee is to screen applicants and to do so evenly and with the same lens, based on the position requirements and minimum qualifications. Screening includes analyzing applications, resumes, CVs and requested materials as they relate to the qualifications specified in the ad. This process may also include checking references and assessing presentation and samples of work. Time and care spent in this part of the search process will better assure that those who most closely meet or exceed the requirements of the job will be selected for interviews and placement.

Ideally, more than one person reviews the applications. This may include the whole committee or a portion of the committee, depending upon availability and time. Having more than one person reviewing application materials affords better assurance that the selection process was evenly applied and helps avoids possible misunderstandings of an applicant's credentials or experience. More importantly, having a multi-person review limits any bias that any one screener might bring to the process. At a minimum, it is recommended that at least two (preferably three) search committee members review all applications.

Ranking or rating models can be used to help identify the most qualified candidates. This is normally applied in the later stages of the process and for determining which candidates to screen via phone interviews, or the results of phone screens/interviews. When using this approach, committee members should simply indicate whether each candidate should receive further consideration. Examples of ranking/rating models include screening checklists and/or matrices.


Phone Interviews/Screens:

Phone screens and/or interviews are recommended for non-local candidates, prior to an invitation for an on-campus interview. It is strongly recommended as both a better use of the University's resources and as the most efficient use of search committee members' time.

If phone screening/interviewing is done for non-local candidates, it should also be done for local applicants, including internal applicants. This ensures equal opportunity for applicants to answer questions in the same context.

All written professional references are to be received by the committee prior to inviting a candidate on campus.

On-Campus Interview(s)

All those who interview should review the job description for the open position and be familiar with the essential function and duties of the position and minimum requirements for qualification. All interviewers should be trained by Human Resources for appropriate interview skills and areas to avoid in conversations with applicants.

Interview questions:

  • Should be documented and the same essential questions must be asked of all candidates. Doing so ensures that the hiring decision is based on consistent information gained from all interviewees. You do not need to track follow-up or clarifying questions to ask of all candidates.
  • All interviewers should review the "Legal/Illegal Questions" document and be aware of how even informal conversations (before the interview starts, during lunch or dinner) can lead into the "must-avoid" areas. If the candidate asks about schools, local churches or employment opportunities for partners, for example, direct them to Human Resources for information and change the topic. You can listen, but do not document if these discussions come up.
  • The search chair and committee members should document their notes from each interview and the search chair should retain all interview notes until the committee makes a recommendation or decision on a candidate. These notes are retained in the search file and must be maintained for four (4) years.
  • Sample interview questions may be obtained from Human Resources.

Documents for Your Use: