Developing Search Criteria

When an open position is being filled, applicants are to be judged according to certain standards or criteria in order to find the best-qualified applicant for the job. Two sets of standards are used:  minimum qualifications and selection criteria. Minimum qualifications must be applied fairly to all applicants and must be: 1) job related, 2) measurable/demonstrable, and 3) necessary to perform the work successfully.

  • Job related – Job related means that every standard must be specifically connected to the work to be performed on the job.
  • Measurability/Demonstrability - When a standard is measurable/demonstrable, it can be measured somewhat objectively and demonstrated by the applicant.
  • Necessary to perform the work successfully - All standards used in the hiring process must be necessary for successful performance of the work.

Ambiguous evaluation criteria invite subconscious sorting of candidates, which makes space for judgments based on schema.

Minimum qualifications:

Minimum qualifications are the absolute requirements a candidate must have in order to be effective in the position.  An individual who does not meet the minimum qualifications cannot be considered for the position, regardless of any other characteristics they may possess.

Minimum qualifications are beginning to be closely scrutinized by a number of federal agencies.  You should be prepared to clearly illustrate why a minimum qualification is a BFOQ (Bona Fide Occupational Qualification), or key to the business purpose of the University.  An excellent source of information is the O*Net, a federal government jobs database which provides a variety of information on Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, work experience, and educational requirements for a wide range of position types.  Click the link to explore:

Selection criteria:

Selection criteria recognize the quality and amount of education, experience, knowledge and skills that each applicant possesses beyond the minimums, including knowledge, skills, or abilities that were not initially considered as contributing to success in the position. Selection criteria must also be job-related and measurable.

After the position has been well defined through the requirements explained above, the selection process begins by using the minimum qualifications to initially screen, and selection criteria used to subsequently sort and select.

Make sure that hiring criteria are directly related to the requirements of the position, clearly understood, and accepted by all members of the search committee.

Return to Selection Committee Guide