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Hiring and Recruitment Resources

In order to assist Rutgers University departments in recruiting and hiring the best candidates for employment, University Human Resources has made the following resources and guides available to the campus community.  

Advertising a Position

All open positions must be reviewed by UHR and posted through the Recruitment, Onboarding and Classification System (ROCS). Jobs posted through ROCS are fed to, HERC, and at no cost to you.

Writing and Placing Recruitment Advertising

Your recruitment advertising is more than posting a vacancy. It is marketing for your department and Rutgers. Just like a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is a marketing tool for a candidate, a recruitment ad is a marketing tool for the employer.

Getting Started

Before you begin writing copy, consider a variety of factors:

  • What is the job? Think about the responsibilities and the role the position plays in the department. Ensure you understand this first before writing the advertisement.
  • Who is the ideal candidate? Think about the qualities, experience, and attributes you desire in the individual. Also consider how the individual will fit within your department’s culture.
  • What competencies are needed? Think about the knowledge, skills, and abilities desired for the position. It’s easy to just focus on the number of years of experience or degree requirements, but think more broadly.
  • What experience is required? Focus not only on the quantity of experience (e.g., five years’ experience) but rather the quality and context of the experience (breadth of responsibilities, working in a similar environment). This will help you in attracting a diverse pool of candidates.
  • What other information is required? If the position requires special certifications, unusual work hours, travel, or use of a personal vehicle, these items should be included.
  • How can I make my position stand out? Use language that will catch a candidate’s attention. Is your department nationally recognized? Do you have award-winning researchers on staff? Use a headline or lead-in statement that will be enticing.
  • How can I make the job look attractive? This is where you can sell the department and the university. Mention competitive benefit packages and highlight the benefits of living in New Jersey. Ask current employees what drew them to your department and Rutgers University and use those comments in your ad copy. 

Suggested Content

Content for the recruitment advertisement must be concise, clear, and accurate. Conciseness of copy is especially important for print ads where you will be charged by the word. There should be enough information for the candidate to determine their interest in the position and Rutgers, and information on how to receive additional details.

The posting, in print or on the web, must include the statement, “Rutgers is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.”

Attracting a Diverse Talent Pool

If traditional posting sources have not yielded a diverse applicant pool, consider the use of print and electronic media and recruitment sources that are targeted towards specific populations. You may also want to target professional organizations that attract a diverse audience such as the National Society of Hispanic Professionals, CIC-Directory of Minority Ph.D. Candidates and Recipients, or the Society of Women Engineers, among others.

The position description and recruitment copy can be written in a way that attracts a wider audience of candidates:

  • Use inclusive language in your ad copy.
  • List qualifications broadly where appropriate. If qualifications are too rigid, it may eliminate members of underrepresented groups and potentially successful candidates. For example, “Candidates should possess a doctoral degree” rather than “doctoral degree required.” Or “Candidates should have a master’s degree in counseling or related field” rather than “degree in counseling required.”


Preparing for the Interview

The goals of the interview process are to gather information, create a positive image of the department/university, present a realistic description of the position, ensure that all applicants have been treated fairly, establish adequate records in the event the selection decision must be justified, and, ultimately, to select a qualified candidate.

Several steps are necessary in preparing for an interview:

  • Select Interviewer(s):  In addition to the immediate supervisor, there may be individuals with whom the candidate will interact who should also be part of the interview and selection process.
  • Identify Selection Criteria:  The interviewer(s) should review the responsibilities of the position and reach agreement on what education and experience requirements are necessary, as well as the required behavioral qualifications (e.g., communication skills, teamwork, customer service).
  • Review Cover Letters/Resumes/Applications:  Using the selection criteria, the interviewer(s) should carefully review the application materials to determine which and which candidates should be interviewed.
  • Develop Appropriate Questions:  The interviewer(s) should develop job-related questions that will be asked of all applicants to probe their education, level of related experience, and other attributes required for the position. You may also want to ask questions that will help you determine if the candidate has a strong client service orientation. 

Conducting an Interview

  • Establish rapport:  A cordial greeting and suitable introductions will establish rapport and help create a pleasant atmosphere. Following the greeting, some "small talk" is usually of value to relax the applicant and help establish open communication.
  • Explain purpose and set agenda:  Take control of the interview and relax the applicant by explaining what will occur during the interview process.
  • Gather information:  Interviewing requires listening, probing, reflecting, summarizing, and evaluating skills. Ideally, the interviewer should talk only about 25 percent of the time. Avoid asking questions that require only "yes" or "no" answers or multiple choice questions, since that means you are leading the conversation. Ask open-ended questions that encourage the applicant to express ideas and provide information. Ask follow-up questions that encourage further conversation. Open-ended questions start with words like, "Tell me about..., please discuss..., explain how..., tell me more about...," and encourage the interviewee to elaborate.
  • Describe the position and the organization:  Provide sufficient facts, both favorable and unfavorable, about the position and the department in a straightforward manner so that the applicant can make an intelligent decision about the acceptability of the position. Use caution in describing the position. Do not assure the applicant that if hired, he/she can count on a long career or that there are no layoffs. Discussion of salary, promotional opportunities, and job security issues must be carefully worded. Do not make promises you do not have the authority to make.
  • Answer questions and allow the applicant to add information:  The applicant's objectives are to gather information about the position and promote him/herself for the position. Provide the opportunity for the applicant to accomplish these objectives.
  • Conclude the interview:  Thank the applicant for his/her time and explain what will happen next. Tell the applicant when the hiring decision will be made and how it will be communicated.

Reference Checking

Reference checking is an essential part of the selection process.  References provide valuable information about a candidate’s performance, helps you rank candidates, and assists in making your final decision.  After completing all interviews, and prior to making a hiring decision and commitment, check the references of the final candidate(s).  The following guidelines are offered to assist you in this process:

  • You should state during the interview with a job applicant that references will be checked.  Do not only rely on letters of reference or personal references provided by the applicant.
  • A telephone reference check takes less time than a written reference check and usually more information is gained.  Forms may not uncover negative information and employers may hesitate to put into writing what they may say in a conversation.
  • The hiring supervisor is usually the best one to make the call because he/she is most familiar with the information obtained from the candidate and the responsibilities of the job.  Supervisors should be prepared with a written list of job-related questions and be consistent in the questions asked.  Questions concerning race, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, or disability cannot be asked.
  • When calling a candidate’s reference, identify yourself and tell the reference about the position for which the candidate is being considered.
  • To gain as much information as possible let the reference speak without interrupting.  If the reference pauses in the conversation, it may mean he/she has other information they are hesitant to share.  Get them to talk about everything that would be helpful, but only ask for information that will be used in the hiring decision.
  • Ask only job-related questions and document all answers.  Avoid questions that can be answered “yes” or “no.”  Ask for specific information – “Tell me about this person’s attendance and punctuality."
  • If the reference is reluctant to provide information, ask if he/she will verify the information read from the candidate’s resume or employment application.
  • One of the most important questions to get answered is if there is any reason the organization would not rehire the individual.
  • Check multiple references whenever possible.

Making an Offer

After conducting reference checks, verbally extend an offer to the selected candidate and prepare a contingent offer letter, subject to the employee’s successful completion of a background check or other applicable screening if required. An offer letter should be completed for all new hires, regardless of whether the position is a Rutgers position or a legacy-UMDNJ position.

Adobe .pdf templates for all offer letters used by the University can be found in the UHR Sakai Library   For access to the UHR Sakai Library, please contact your assigned HR Liaison, or the HR Consultant assigned to your unit.  Once you have been granted permission to access the offer letter templates, you will receive a follow-up communication from University Human Resources with instructions on how to log in to the Sakai Library.

When the offer letter is returned with the candidate's signature, change the final status of the recommended applicant to “accepted” in the Applicant Tracking System. For Rutgers positions, the designated HR Preparer must initiate the appointment of the new hire in the HCM/Payroll system by completing the “New Hire Template” at which time the offer letter should be attached. For detailed instructions on how to attach the offer letter please visit the HCM Blog.

For Legacy UMDNJ positions, an HR Generalist will submit additional information into the system.  However, the employee’s record is not completed until all background checks, medical evaluations or additional screenings are returned to the University (see Onboarding Process for New Employees – for Legacy UMDNJ Positions).

Notify the candidates who were interviewed, but not selected in writing.

Instructions on making an offer to new external hires: AFSCME Locals 888 and 1761.