Screening Applicants

Screening Expressions of Interest

Early in the planning stages, and prior to posting announcements if possible, the department should decide on the process for initially screening and tracking of expressions of interest. For instance, will the department chair, search committee chair, other experienced administrator or the entire search committee handle the initial screening process? The purpose of the initial screening process is to determine whether the jobseeker is a bona fide GW applicant as defined below and to determine how to handle appropriately an expression of interest or application.

Who is an Applicant?

To be considered an applicant for a faculty or librarian position at the George Washington University, a jobseeker must:

  1. Submit application materials, for a specific, open and advertised position, in accordance with the application procedures stated in the relevant position announcement;
  2. Be considered by the relevant department/library for employment in the specific position;
  3. Demonstrate, by way of their application that s/he possesses all basic qualifications for the position; and
  4. At no point in the selection process, prior to receiving an offer of employment remove himself or herself from consideration or otherwise indicates that s/he is no longer interested in the specific position.

All jobseekers must specify the open and advertised position for which they are applying. An individual is not an applicant unless all criteria above are satisfied.

Departments should set aside the expressions of interest of individuals who:

  • did not have the basic qualifications,
  • did not submit all application materials in accordance with the application procedure, or
  • were removed from consideration because of "passive" disinterest.*

*Please note that passive disinterest may be demonstrated by statements in a cover letter or other applicant materials/communications pertaining to salary, location of work, or other needs that may provide the basis to decide that the individual is not interested in the advertised position and, therefore, can be removed from consideration.  Passive disinterest may also be shown by a person declining an invitation for an interview, failing to respond to telephone inquiries, emails, etc. asking about continued interest.

Because these individuals are not GW applicants, their materials should not receive further consideration.

Once a department determines that a person is not an applicant, we encourage them to notify the jobseeker, thanking them for their interest and affirmatively stating that their application will not be considered further.

However, departments may choose to acknowledge receipt of an incomplete application package of a basically qualified jobseeker and inform the jobseeker they will only be considered when they submit the missing information/materials. Consistency and equal treatment is critical. If one basically qualified jobseeker is requested to complete an application procedure, the department must make the same request of all basically qualified jobseekers for a particular position.

Building in Fairness and Consistency

On or following the review date for applications, the search committee will begin to consider the files of those individuals identified as bona fide GW applicants. Prior to screening applicants, it is a good idea to reexamine the position description containing the listing of qualifications and responsibilities and the selection criteria. The law requires applicants have the right to expect and receive a fair process and an equitable review of their dossiers. Reviewing job responsibilities and selection criteria will keep search committee members focused on job priorities and related issues.

Selection criteria should be applied consistently throughout each stage of the review process. Please remember that Basic Qualifications cannot change once the position has been advertised. To assist the search committee in using job-related criteria throughout the process, we strongly encourage the use of evaluation instruments to:

  • Foster a common understanding about qualifications and to clarify ambiguities in advance of the screening process,
  • Ensure that members focus on the priorities of the hire, and
  • Mitigate unconscious bias.