X. Hiring Guidelines - Benefited Employees

Affirmative Action Policy
It is the policy of Holyoke Community College not to engage in unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, ethnic or national origin, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation. The College operates under an affirmative action plan and encourages underrepresented individuals to apply, both in terms of employment and to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students. This policy is in compliance with applicable federal, state and local statutes, ordinances, and regulations.

Search Committee Composition
All selection/search committees must have at least three members for professional positions. AFSCME position searches will be conducted by the Hiring Administrator. The Hiring Administrator may request the assistance of other HCC staff.   It is recommended that search committees be comprised of the following whenever possible:  

  • Someone who has expertise in the area of appointment.
  • Someone from outside the unit to ensure a broader view of the process.
  • Employees from diverse backgrounds, including those who may speak a first language other than English and persons with disabilities, gender balance, etc.
  • A member of the student body.  Student members are selected from the Student Senate or Green Key Honor Society.
  • Representatives from the AFSCME unit.
  • Selection committees for academic appointments will be comprised of three faculty from the department (or closely related departments, when necessary), and once professional staff member.  The chair will be a member of the department.

Briefing Meeting with Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer
The Dean of H.R. will meet with the Hiring Administrator to develop a process for the search and prepare a candidate selection timeline.  Human Resources may assist Hiring Administrator in Phase I of the interview process in developing specific interview questions.

Affirmative Action Initiative
Committee members are required to attend every three years an Affirmative Action orientation.   Professional staff and faculty searches require that interviews be offered to applicants from under-represented groups who meet the required qualifications. 

Responsibilities of the Hiring Administrator (Developing the Position Description)
A well-prepared position description is the starting point for any successful search.  Since the needs of a department change periodically, it is advisable to review and revise the existing job description as soon as you become aware that it is about to become vacant.   Considerable thought should be given when establishing the required qualifications candidates should possess.  These requirements will serve as the basis for the first round of screening.    Generally speaking, required qualifications are the minimum qualifications in education and related experience required for a position.  Other criteria such as certification or a license may also be a required qualification for a position.   For classified (AFSCME-type) positions, the required qualifications must not exceed the minimum entrance criteria specified in the State Classification Specifications.  These specifications are available in the Human Resources Department.   For full-time faculty vacancies, a graduate degree in the specified or related field is a required qualification for all tenure-track positions (with the exception of those disciplines where no graduate degree is offered), in which case the Academic Vice President and Division Dean will determine an appropriate alternative.   All other qualifications for the position should be specified in the job description.  Keep in mind that all candidates for a position must meet all criteria stated as a requirement for the position in order to advance in the process.  It is important to differentiate between "preferred" qualifications and "required" qualifications when preparing the position description.  If there are specific work-related characteristics that are critical to the success of a given position, these should be stated.  Examples of this type of qualification would be "willingness to travel", "ability to work in a high traffic office", or "willingness to work occasional weekends or evenings".   For all positions other than faculty positions, the supervision received (the title of the position to which the vacancy reports) and the supervision exercised (the types of positions that report to the vacant position) should be specified.   Holyoke Community College job postings list the required qualifications in education and experience acceptable for the posted position. In addition to the stated required qualifications, an "equivalent combination of education and/or experience from which comparable knowledge, skills, and abilities have been achieved" will be considered for all positions. Related work experience would include: work performing similar duties at comparable responsibility levels, experience utilizing similar skills, equipment, and procedural methods. Experience may not necessarily have to be in higher education, unless specifically stated in the posting, but must be directly related to the position in terms of job content.   It is very important to list all essential functions of a position in the job description. These are the duties that all candidates must be able to perform with or without reasonable accommodation in order to be employed in the position. If a candidate with a disability applies for a position, the listing of the essential functions of the position may become a critical issue during the selection process.  It is also advisable to include the statement, "other duties as assigned by supervisor" in the position description, since it is not possible to anticipate all of the future changes and demands that may affect a department or a specific position.    The unit or union status of a position should also be stated in the position description.   Collective bargaining agreements require that unit status be indicated in postings and advertising.  (This is information that all potential candidates should have in order to make an informed decision about pursuing a position vacancy.)   Overall, the position description should provide a potential employee with a realistic and relatively accurate expectation of what s/he will be doing if hired for the position.    It is important to keep in mind that failure to provide a realistic picture of positions through well-prepared position descriptions may negatively impact employee retention.  Additionally, frequent employee turnover is time-consuming and costly.

Developing a Search Plan and Requesting Authorization to Fill Vacancy
The College's policy is to recruit broadly for benefited positions.  Therefore, all positions are posted and recruited externally at the same time they are posted internally.  An internal-only search is the exception and must be requested, justified, and approved following the guidelines that follow.  A request for an internal search should be pursued only after serious consideration by the originator.  Generally, a vacancy that is posted internally may eliminate the opportunity to: Diversify the workforce by reducing the opportunity to increase under-represented groups where they are not represented or are under-represented. Enhance the collective talent of the workforce.  New people bring new ideas and fresh perspectives.   An adequate justification for the waiver is necessary.  Appropriate reasons should fall within the following categories:  

  • Staff mobility or promotional opportunity.
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements and the Non-Unit Management Package. Both include specifics on promotional opportunities for employees. 
  • A number of employees meet the requirements as posted. 

  Therefore, the Hiring Administrator and/or reporting Vice President should:  

  • Determine the impact of an internal posting
  • Assess the effect/impact of promoting from within
  • Justify the loss of opportunity for external candidates

During the start of the planning process of recruitment, the Hiring Administrator will assess the availability of selecting committee members and requesting volunteers from the hiring unit or department. The Hiring Administrator can officially appoint the search committee following the completion and approval of the position. The committee members should be reflective of the diversity within the staff, whenever possible. Also, the committee shall have appropriate departmental representation. This will ensure that the committee makes the best decision.    

The Charge to the Committee (Senior Staff/Faculty)   The Hiring Administrator should provide a written memorandum to the committee specifying the following:  

  • The timeframe for the search.
  • The anticipated starting date for the position.
  • The desired or optimal number of unranked finalists, listing strengths and weaknesses of each one.
  • Any special requirements of the search such as teaching/work demonstrations, or presentations.

  It is strongly recommended that the Hiring Administrator meet with the search committee, personally provide the committee with the charge, and answer any questions they may have.         


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040