Information for Search Committees
Please read the guide here, for an
overview of lawful and unlawful pre-employment inquiries. The guide has been
adapted from the Maine Human Rights Commission's guidelines. Personal
questions, especially those related to protected class status should be avoided
in any search process. Protected classes include: race, color, religion,
sex, ancestry, national origin, parental status, marital status, physical or
mental disability, age, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Please contact the EEO office (email@example.com or ext. 4733) if you have any questions about the guide or the following information.
General Rules for Search Committees
- All questions during
the search process should be relevant to the position being filled.
- All search committee
members should be familiar with the job description and essential duties of the
- Interview questions
should be similar for all applicants - it is helpful to write down relevant
questions before the interview.
- Caution all search
committee members which questions not to ask of job applicants.
- If an applicant brings
up any of the protected class topics, such as family and children, disability,
or religion, it is best to not dwell on such information and to not ask any
follow-up questions that may elicit further information
- Note taking, if done,
should be in a neutral language and not include any information regarding a
Strategies for handling protected class information if volunteered
- Search committee members should
quickly move the discussion back to job related information.Do not take notes on personal information.
- If an applicant
volunteers information which would be illegal to request, the search committee may not use that information as a basis for
rejecting the applicant or in the rating process – liability for discrimination
exists, regardless of whether the information was unlawfully solicited or
- If an applicant brings up any protected class
information, the search committee can explain that Colby makes employment decisions based
on a person's qualifications – not any other factor.
- If an applicant brings up a disability, the search
committee can explain that
the Colby is committed to considering a reasonable accommodation after a
tentative job offer has been made.
- Search committee members should not solicit more
information regarding any protected status. Instead, answer questions directly
or refer the applicant to others not on the committee (ex. HR & EEO) who
may be able to provide additional information sought by the candidate.