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Recruitment & Hiring

Human resources provides recruitment and related services to hiring managers in order to attract, hire and retain the best qualified candidates. It is our goal to work collaboratively with hiring managers and staff search committees to attract a diverse pool of applicants during the selection and hiring process. We are also available to provide guidance and support to employees seeking career development assistance.

Diversity Outreach

Smith College is committed to equal opportunity, diversity and a climate of inclusion. We have a list of recruitment sources and organizations that will help you to diversify your applicant pool and familiarize you with services for people of color, women and people with disabilities.

Steps for Staff Recruitment & Hiring

The hiring process begins when a position becomes vacant or a new position is created. The steps below should be followed sequentially. For questions on the hiring process, please contact the HR Specialist for Recruitment/Hiring at 413-585-2289.

Position Justification Process

All position replacements, new hires and extensions/regularizing of limited term roles require a justification form to be completed prior to submitting the position to Workday. Approval for casual and agency temporary employees should be approved by your cabinet member and HR (contact your HR Partner).

Position Justification Form

The form must be accompanied by a brief write-up justifying the position request, along with an updated job description (to be completed in conjunction with Human Resources). Please forward the justification form and documentation to your respective ​​cabinet member for review and a signature. Once the request has been submitted by the ​cabinet member it will be reviewed by the position review committee for a final determination. The committee meets during the first week of every month; the position justification form should be submitted at least one week prior.

Hiring managers should have notified their department head and senior staff officer prior to starting the online posting process. This will allow for faster turnaround of the online approval process.

The hiring manager will review the job description and work with HR for final approval. If major changes are needed, contact Anne-Marie Szmyt at 413-585-2262 for assistance and possible grade review.

Things to Consider

  • Does this position still meet the needs of the department?
  • Should there be a process or position redesign before this position is posted?
  • What other restructuring needs should be considered before moving forward with the position?

Determining Job Qualifications

  • Consider whether a specific degree or certification is required or preferred. This is critical in order to target the most appropriate pool of prospective employees.
  • Can the knowledge and skills be acquired on the job with specialized training, courses or seminars? Generally, a year of college translates to two years of experience.
  • Is academic experience really required? The skills applied in a different environment often can be transferred to support work at the college.
  • Is Word or Excel really needed? Word processing and spreadsheet applications are very similar, so avoid specifying brand software whenever possible.
  • Are the qualifications defined too narrowly so as to screen out or exclude applicants who may have broad experience that would enable them to perform the duties of the position? More broadly defined experience expands the pool of applicants.
  • Preferred skills: Consider how long it will take to learn required skills or knowledge. Are they essential for performing the work from the beginning, or can they be acquired within a reasonable period of time? If this is the case, these skills should be expressed as desirable or preferred.
  • Related experience: Essential skills have been demonstrated in a different role or environment (e.g., a customer services representative may have demonstrated the communication skills required for an administrative assistant position).
  • When replacing a long-time service employee, consider the experience actually needed to perform the work, not the experience of the prior incumbent.
  • Is supervisory experience needed, or could someone who has demonstrated the ability to guide or coach others as a lead or who has managed projects perform the work?
  • Have you required a level of expertise that is too high? Employees can become dissatisfied when work is not challenging.

Once the job description has been finalized, you will schedule prerecruitment meeting with HR Specialist, at 413-585-2289.

Prerecruitment Meeting Agenda

  • HireTouch training
  • Discuss challenges and priorities of position
  • Identify resources for attracting a diverse applicant pool
  • Review job description
  • Discuss recruitment plan
  • Determine advertising and outreach options
  • Meet with the search committee to review process
  • Screen resumes, if requested
  • Provide interviewing tips
  • Interview final candidates
  • Conduct reference checks, if requested

You must contact the budget office to discuss funding for the position.

Once the online posting has gone through its approvals, it is sent to human resources for final review and posted to the website and other advertising sources as requested.

Once approved, the position will be posted "internally" (to consider applications from employees only) for 5 business days. On the 6th business day, the position will move to an "external" status (to begin accepting applications from non-employees). Some positions will be posted internally and externally simultaneously.

Review the cover letter and resume information to determine if the applicant meets the minimum requirements as outlined on the job description, and has provided the required information. Review the resume to determine how the strengths and weaknesses compare to the position requirements.

Cover letters should:

  • Always accompany a résumé
  • Be free of errors
  • Personalize the candidate to you
  • Be neat in appearance
  • Express genuine interest in the position
  • Describe how past experience would be transferable to the position

Résumé Strengths

  • Specific skills and abilities
  • Scope of responsibilities, capabilities, and accomplishments
  • Education, continued learning, and special training
  • Direct, related, and transferable experience
  • Care given to growth and progressions
  • Continuity of employment and career
  • Writing skills
  • Job stability

Possible Résumé Weaknesses

  • Lacking in related experience
  • Job hopping
  • Employment gaps
  • Lack of career progress
  • Lack of education and continued learning
  • Lack of specific accomplishments

What information can you get from a résumé?

  • Ability to think on feet
  • Need for direction
  • Verbal communication skills
  • Maturity level
  • Initiative
  • Flexibility
  • Reason for looking for a new position
  • Attitude toward achievement, work and people
  • Basic work values
  • Career goal and ambitions
  • Hiring managers are encouraged to give consideration to internal candidates whose experience and performance record makes them strong candidates for positions of greater responsibility.
  • Review résumés
  • Sort the candidate pool.
  • The first screening should eliminate all candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements specified in the posting. Candidates who do not meet the advertised minimum requirements should not be interviewed or hired.
  • The second screening focuses on specific skills, experience, and overall sense of the candidate's ability to do the job.
  • Schedule first round of telephone interviews (see Interviewing section) with the search committee members.
  • When on-campus interviews will involve meeting with many people, the search committee should send the candidate an interview schedule in advance. Copies of the schedule should be distributed to the search committee including those responsible for escorting the candidate to and from meetings.
  • If applicable, travel arrangements and accommodations should be coordinated with human resources. Reimbursement for travel expenses is handled on a case-by-case basis.

The purpose of a face-to-face interview is to further narrow your initial group of applicants by learning as much about the applicant as you can in a relatively limited time. This is a fact-finding mission for both parties. Both parties need information to ensure a successful outcome.


Prepare interview questions in advance. Some applicants are very rehearsed. They know how to anticipate or deflect difficult questions. They know the "correct" answer to many questions, mainly because they have been asked the same questions over and over or they have a written script that anticipates questions. There is a way to limit too many "canned" answers by formulating questions that cannot be anticipated by the applicant.

You will want to formulate original questions that are less commonly asked by interviewers and will lessen the possibility of getting formulaic responses.

  • Do not include questions related to race, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, handicap status, marital status, childcare or health issues as there are legal implications to consider (see Interviewing section).
  • Identify open-ended questions (questions to which the answer cannot be a yes or no, or a one-word answer) to ask each applicant and be prepared for follow-up questions.
  • Analyze the qualities that are important for someone in the position and design questions that can assess whether a candidate possesses them (e.g., Describe a stressful situation that might occur on the job and ask candidates how they might react).
  • Ask "what-if" questions (e.g., Describe a typical job situation of the open position and ask the candidate how they would handle it).
  • Learn about the candidate's perception of strengths and weaknesses (e.g., What would your manager say were your major achievements and your major areas for improvement?).
  • Open the interview by asking the candidate to share an overview of their background, education and skills and reasons for applying for the position.
  • Close the interview by asking the candidate to add other pertinent information.

Telephone Screening

A brief telephone screening is also a time-saving strategy. This allows you to find out potential interest in the position and the salary range the applicant is looking for.

Sample Questions

Below are samples of different types of questions for phone and face-to-face interviews, as well as tips on nondiscriminatory interviewing and legal considerations.

The Interview

  • The candidate should receive a welcome packet upon arrival. It should include the college catalogue or marketing materials, departmental brochure (if available), organizational chart, campus map, benefits summary, job description and interview schedule.
  • Select a quiet, private area to conduct an interview.
  • When scheduling interviews, set aside an appropriate amount of time between 45 to 60 minutes.
  • Follow the Behavioral Interviewing Outline (see Interviewing section) with each candidate.
  • Close the interview by letting the candidate know the next steps in the process and expected time frame for the hiring decision.
  • Allow 15 minutes for wrap up following the interview.
  • Helpful hint: Follow the 80/20 rule when interviewing; you should only be speaking 20 percent of the time.

Inform job applicants at the initial interview stage that all finalists are subject to a thorough reference checking process, which will involve contacting prior employers for detailed discussions of the candidate's work experience and performance. This advice sends the message to applicants that we have a rigorous selection process and that we don't rely solely on the applicant's "prepared" reference list. Advance notice can also help eliminate some applicants from pursuing the interviewing process further.

  • Search committee or hiring manager identifies finalists.
  • Finalists are scheduled to return to campus for second round of interviews with the committee or other members of the college community.
  • Copy of Benefits Summary given to each finalist.
  • Search committee reconvenes to recommend final candidates.
  • Complete the Recruitment Summary and send to the Office of Institutional Diversity for approval.
  • Whenever possible, human resources will interview the candidate before a formal offer can be made. The human resources recruiter will bring an added perspective to the process and will familiarize the applicant with the benefits Smith has to offer.

Hiring decisions should not be made without making an effort to check references. References help you get the full picture of the candidate's skills, work habits and personality. Reference checking is all about making sure the candidate is right for the job. Making hiring decisions without complete information on candidates could lead to costly mistakes and may subject an employer to liability for its hiring decision. Reference checking should simply be regarded as a component of the interviewing process.

Inform job applicants at the initial interview stage that all finalists are subject to a thorough reference checking process, which will involve contacting prior employers for detailed discussions of the candidate's work experience and performance. This advice sends the message to applicants that we have a rigorous selection process and that we don't rely solely on the applicant's "prepared" reference list. Advance notice can also help eliminate some applicants from pursuing the interviewing process further.

Have candidate provide a minimum of three reference sources. It is helpful to get references from a combination of people who can discuss the candidate's skills and work habits (e.g., prior supervisors, peers and subordinates). However, it is essential to get references from past managers. Ideally, one reference should be from the candidate's current or most recent manager. If it is not possible to speak with the current manager before hiring the candidate, you should still check the reference, even if it is after the candidate has been hired.

  • Communicate with human resources regarding the results of the interviews and begin checking references (see Reference Checking section).
  • It is recommended that three reference checks be conducted with present and former supervisors.
  • Human resources checks educational references and conducts other background checks, where appropriate.
  • Contact human resources to discuss references and determine salary.
  • Make verbal offer to the finalist.
  • Determine official start date.
  • Human resources sends finalist official offer letter.
  • Human resources schedules New Employee Orientation.
  • Human resources sends regret letters.

Getting a new employee off to a good start can make a big difference in their feeling welcomed and in their effectiveness on the job. Do all you can to make the "onboarding" process as smooth as possible for them. The onboarding process begins when a position has been filled. There are defined steps in this process for the new employee. If you have any questions please call 413-585-2271.

Your new hire will be invited to a New Hire Orientation Program conducted by the Office of Human Resources. Guest speakers from across campus will include Office of Institutional Diversity, disability services, purchasing and information technology. In addition, your new hire will be scheduled for a benefits information session. Information on the date, time and place will be included in the new hire package sent to the employee.

It is now time for you to immerse your new hire in your specific department. The onboarding process for a new employee doesn't happen in one day, one month or even six months; it is an ongoing process. However, it is critical to officially welcome your new employee and to provide a formal orientation to your part of the organization within the first week of work.

PDF icon Orienting Checklist (PDF)

This checklist will help you make the onboarding and orientation process as smooth as possible for your new employee.

Posting Exceptions/Waivers

There are times when a department would like to waive a posting period for internal candidates or waive a job search. Both instances are an exception to general policy and special handling and approvals are needed.

Requesting a Posting Exception

The hiring manager needs to contact human resources to discuss petitioning for an internal posting exception. If granted, a waiver of the five-day internal posting period will result in concurrent internal and external posting periods.

Requesting a Posting Waiver

The hiring manager needs to contact the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity to discuss petitioning for a posting waiver of the search process. A posting waiver exempts the job opening from normal posting requirements. If the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity approves the request, the job is not posted or advertised, and an immediate hire is allowed. If the waiver is denied, the hiring manager can petition human resources to waive the five-day posting period. If the waiver is approved, the hiring manager forwards the approved waiver to human resources to initiate the job offer.

  • Log into HireTouch from the Smith College Portal
  • Log in using your strong password
  • Go to My Info and click Hiretouch – Admin/Approvers (You will automatically be logged into HireTouch).
  • Click on the Jobs tab
  • Click on the title of the position
  • Review the list of applicants. You may click on the icons to view the application, cover letter or resume. It will pop up in a PDF and you may print, save or exit the pdf.
  • To give an applicant a status or ranking: Click on "Not Started" in the review column of an applicant. Choose the appropriate status/ranking and click on save. Continue to do so until all applicants have a status/ranking.
  • Click on the "activity" tab, then click on the "documents" tab
  • All of the documents (application, resume and cover letter, etc.) for each applicant will be listed. You may click on the check box next to the documents you want to view for each applicant, then click on "download documents". A pdf file will open with the selected documents. You may review, print or save the pdf.
  • Please note: you can only view the documents that are listed on the current page. To see the remaining documents, you need to go to the next page and/or you can change the number of documents per page (by clicking on the "per page" drop down in the lower right hand corner of the screen) and click "go".
  • To minimize the amount of documents to sort through, it may be better to choose the document type. To do this, click on "document type" and select the document you want to review (one document only – resume, cover letter, application, etc.) click on "go".
  • Then click on the check box next to the documents you want to view for each applicant, then click on "download documents". A pdf file will open with the selected documents. You may review, print or save the pdf.
  • Once all applicants have a status/ranking, click on "send correspondence" in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
  • Choose the template called "Applicant log review notification" and click on "go".
  • This will create an email to send to Institutional Diversity for approval. The email text is pre-populated. Click on "send".
  • You will receive an email from Institutional Diversity regarding the approval of your applicant log/interview list. You may then proceed to interview the approved candidates.
  • Once the first interviews have taken place, you may then schedule the second/campus interviews (Make sure to coordinate the proposed interview schedule with HR to ensure that HR is on the interview itinerary for the second interviews).
  • Once the final interviews have taken place and the search committee has decided on which candidate they would like to hire. Complete the reference checks (this process is outside of the system). Once the reference checks are completed, the next step is to complete and submit the recruitment summary for approval.
  • Click on "select disposition" and choose a final status/disposition for the applicant that had an interview. Repeat this until all candidates that were interviewed has a disposition including the ones that had the first interview/telephone/SKYPE screen.
  • Once each candidate has a disposition, click on "send correspondence" in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
  • Choose the template called "Recruitment Summary Review Notification" and click on "go". The email template will populate, and then click on "send".
  • Institutional Diversity will receive the email and get back to you regarding approval of the recruitment summary. Once approved, you will need to work with HR regarding the offer. Once you have made the offer and it is accepted, HR will send the new hire information to the finalist.
  • You will then need to decide how you want to contact those candidates that were interviewed but not hired to inform them that the position has been filled. For those who had an on campus interview, HR recommends that you contact them directly via telephone or by a more personalized email. As for the applicants that were not interviewed or for those who were interviewed but not considered to be finalists, HR will send that group the regret emails.