Ensuring Bias-Free Recruitment
A Guide for Search Committees
The Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy of Indiana University
“Indiana University prohibits discrimination based on arbitrary considerations of such characteristics a
s age, color,
disability, ethnicity, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status.”
It is important to keep this in mind when evaluating candidates for positions at Indiana University
Southeast. Although it is unlikely search committee members would overtly discriminate against
candidates based on the characteristics above, discrimination may never the less occur. Search
committees may set criteria or make inquires that screen out otherwise qualified candidates because of
characteristics such as those above. They might also make assumptions about candidates based on such
characteristics, which would therefore exclude the candidate from consideration. Interviewers might ask
questions or make comments that would lead a candidate to believe one or more of the above
characteristics will be a factor in their evaluation either negatively or positively. This may lead the
candidate to “voluntarily” remove him or herself from consideration. The effect of these situati
ons is the
same as overt discrimination and is not in keeping with Indiana Universit
In addition to finding the best qualified person for the position, search committees are often concerned
with finding someone who will fit in well in their department. Nobody wants to hire a candidate who
subsequently feels uncomfortable in the department. But whether a candidate will be comfortable in the
department is an issue for the candidate to decide. This can best be accomplished if candidates have the
opportunity to meet and interact with a large number of the faculty, staff, and students in the department.
They can then form their own opinion about what the department is like and if they would fit in. A
candidate should never be asked if he or she thinks they would fit into the department given an arbitrary
characteristic unrelated to his or her administrative, research or teaching area.
Specific information on characteristics that should not be used to evaluate candidates and ideas on how to
avoid possible perceptions to the contrary is listed below.
Persons age 40 and over are legally protected from discrimination on the basis of age. Questions that
would reveal age should be avoided. Additional comments or questions that might indicate age as a factor
should be avoided. Examples include:
“Our faculty is young and on the cutting edge of research.”
“We are interested in getting new blood or new energy into the department.”
Some positions at Indiana University have a mandatory retirement age. This part of the position should be
made known to all candidates, not just persons suspected of being close to the retirement age. If a position
requires a specific term such as five years, then all candidates should be asked if they can fulfill that term.
All candidates should be asked only if they are currently eligible to work in the United States. This
question should be asked of all candidates not just those suspected of being citizens of another country.
After an offer is made, he or she will be required to produce documentation of eligibility.