Sourcing and Screening Applicants

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Once you are ready to begin the competitive recruitment process, the information on this page will guide you through the process of sourcing and screening applicants. 


  1. Create the Job Posting. The HR representative creates the job posting in PeopleAdmin and submits for approval. Depending on the department’s approval structure, the approvals may include the hiring manager, director, finance director, administrative/dean head.

      Recruitment Resource: Position Posting Guidelines (PDF)

  2. Advertise. Talent Acquisition will advertise the job on the internal job board and on external sites indicated in PeopleAdmin by the HR representative.

  3. Accept Applications. Applications are accepted for the time period agreed upon in the recruitment strategy and indicated as the job posting close date in PeopleAdmin.

    • EEO requirements: positions should generally remain posted for a minimum of three calendar business days.

  4. Execute the Applicant Sourcing Plan. The applicant sourcing plan is indicated in the recruitment strategy.

  5. Identify Advertising Gaps. Monitor the applicant pool weekly to ensure you are receiving a suitable number of applicants. Conduct a brief review of applicant materials to ensure you are receiving qualified applicants. If needed, consider extending the advertising time period and/or make adjustments to your advertising plan.

      Recruitment Resource: Advertising Plan (PDF)

    • In rare cases, after you have completed four weeks of advertising, sourcing, and appropriately adjusting your advertising plans to address identified gaps, your efforts may not have yielded a suitable number of qualified applicants. In this situation, refer to If You Are Not Finding Suitable Applicants/Candidates for considerations.

  1. Search Committee Chair Executes a Charge Meeting. The hiring manager will charge the search committee by setting forth the performance expectations for the position, providing information on the qualities candidates should possess, and clarifying the search committee’s role in helping to find the best candidate to fill the position. See Forming a Search Committee for more information.

  1. Review and Execute the Résumé Review and Interview Implementation Plan.

  2. The Search Committee Chair (or Designee) is Responsible for Screening All Applicants. The search committee chair may designate the entire search committee or the HR representative to assist with screening applicants. Talent Acquisition may also be requested through the HR representative to assist with screening applicants. 

  3. Résumé Review — Initial Screening.

    • An initial screening of applicant materials is conducted to ensure that applicants meet the basic/minimum qualifications (level of education or job experience) specified in the posting, have submitted all required documents, and have fully completed their applications. Identify initial screening criteria to guide decision making. Consider the following questions when initially screening applicant materials:

      1. Did the applicant include all requested items (e.g., résumé, cover letter, professional reference list)?

      2. Did the applicant respond to supplementary questions?

      3. Does the applicant have the minimum degree requirements for the position?

      4. Does the applicant have the minimum relevant certifications/licenses for the position?

      5. Does the applicant have the minimum relevant professional work experience?

      6. If applicable, does the applicant have the equivalent combination of education, training, and experience in lieu of the degree requirement?

      7. Does the applicant’s salary expectation fit into budget and market compensation data?

    • Applicants who do not meet your initial screening should not be considered for the next stage.

  4. Résumé Review: Second Screening: Identify High-Qualified Applicants.

    • Identify second screening criteria to guide decision making with finding high-qualified applicants. Review applicant materials to determine if they have additional qualifications (useful to have) and the preferred qualifications indicated in the job posting. Consider the following questions when conducting your second screening to identify high-qualified applicants:

      1. Are the applicant's materials clearly written and proofread, and do they articulate a clear reasoning for applying to the position and an interest in GW?

      2. Are the responses to posting specific questions well-articulated and well-reasoned? (If applicable)

      3. Does the applicant have the relevant previous work experience needed for success, considering previous level of responsibility, role in previous organizations, achievements at previous organizations, and skills developed and demonstrated?

      4. Does the applicant meet the preferred qualifications? Candidates who meet the preferred qualifications must also meet the minimum qualifications.

      5. Does the applicant relate qualifications to aspects of the position?

      6. Does the applicant demonstrate an understanding of the position?

      7. How do the applicant's previous positions and employers compare with the posted job? (Think about workplace culture.)

      8. How long did the applicant stay in each position with each employer? Was there reasonable career progression?

      9. Are there unexplained gaps between jobs? Do not assume that any gaps reflect negatively on the applicant, but do raise the question during the interview.

      10. Determine whether the résumé reflects particular achievements and results, or simply lists tasks and duties.

      11. Would the applicant succeed in the position?

    • When appropriate, the search committee chair (or designee) conducts a telephone screening interview to decrease the size of the applicant pool.

      1. Telephone screening interview. A brief (30-minute) question-and-answer conversation to complement your evaluation of applicant materials and to get more information from applicants. The following are examples of questions that could be asked during the telephone screening interview:

        1. Why are you interested in this position, GW, and/or working in the field of higher education?

        2. Detail your scope of authority, responsibilities, and your accomplishments at your current or most recently held position.

        3. What are your salary requirements? This question will allow you to assess whether applicants meet your budget requirements and whether their salary expectations compare to their experience, skill level, and the market compensation data.

    • Applicants who do not meet your second screening should not be considered for the next stage.

  5. Create a Short List of Candidates to Be Interviewed by the Search Committee.

    • Ensure a fair selection process.

    • Establish adequate records in the event that the hiring decision must be justified.

    • GW EEO requirements: assuming you have more than one qualified candidate in your pool, you are required to interview at least three candidates before a hiring decision is made.

    • In rare cases, the initial screening, second screening, and telephone screening may not yield a short list of qualified candidates to be interviewed. In this situation, refer to If You Are Not Finding Suitable Applicants/Candidates for considerations.

  6. Disposition Applicants.

    • Within 24 hours after the résumé screening is completed, the HR representative is informed to disposition applicants (through the PeopleAdmin system) who are not considered for the next stage.

    • BEST PRACTICE: To maintain a high-quality applicant experience, applicants who were telephone screened should receive a telephone call or personal email explaining that they did not make it to the next stage in addition to the change in disposition of their applications in PeopleAdmin. See Sample Communications for a sample communication to Applicants.