Phase 2: Implementing the Search

NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Toolkit logo

Expand the Candidate Pool

We encourage search committees to search for their candidates. You can expand your candidate pool by using several approaches:

  • Contact other institutions and see if they have anyone graduating who is from an underrepresented background.
  • Use your network and contact alums and colleagues to generate a list of diverse names.
  • Attend conferences and seek out candidates.
  • Invite people to come to campus to give a talk.

One resource is the NIH Scientific Workforce Diversity Recruitment Search Protocol.

Once you have generated names, actively recruit those candidates.
Encourage them to apply.


The Office of the Provost has developed a Checklist for Faculty Search Committees, which reflects best practices for ensuring a fair and robust search process that promotes diversity and excellence across the faculty. Keep reading for more information about conducting a fair and robust search.

Status-Quo Benchmarks

If we keep looking for the same type of candidate, we will never diversify our faculty. Some areas to consider for your evaluation could include:

  • Potential for/evidence of scholarly impact
  • Potential for/evidence of research productivity
  • Potential for/evidence of research funding
  • Potential for/evidence of collaboration
  • Potential for/evidence of effective classroom teaching
  • Potential for/evidence of alignment with department’s priorities
  • Ability to make positive contribution to department’s climate
  • Potential/demonstrated ability to be a conscientious university community member
  • Potential/demonstrated ability to teach and supervise diverse undergraduates*
  • Potential/demonstrated ability to attract and supervise diverse graduate students*
  • Potential/demonstrated ability to mentor diverse students*

* Diversity is an institutional priority and featured in The Plan for Pitt as one of six institutional goals. 

Appropriate and legal questions to ask about diversity could include items such as:

  • Please describe how you have worked (would work) to create a campus environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and diverse.
  • Describe how as a faculty member you (would) function and communicate effectively and respectfully within the context of varying beliefs, behaviors, and backgrounds.
  • What opportunities have you had to work and collaborate in diverse, multicultural, and inclusive settings?

Status quo creates a bubble that prevents
those who are underrepresented from entering into it.


Evaluate Each Candidate Individually

It is helpful if each committee member:

  • Thoroughly understands the qualifications needed for the position.
  • Evaluates and rates each candidate individually prior to meeting as a group.
  • Uses the same form to evaluate the candidates.
  • Writes both positive and negative comments for every candidate to help avoid bias.
  • Spends at least 20 minutes with each applicant’s file.
  • Considers all of the elements in the file.
  • Screens for bias statements that might be present in the reference letters.
  • Applies equal weights uniformly across all candidates.
  • Consciously considers if each female and underrepresented candidate is being fairly reviewed.

Research shows that people use different standards to evaluate candidates of different genders and ethnicities, and can shift the weight of these criteria to favor white male candidates. Pre-defined standards focused on job centered competencies reduces intentional and unintentional bias in the selection process. Refer to the Reviewing Applicants: Research on Bias and Assumptions brochure, by the Women in Science & Engineering Leadership Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, for additional information and research references.

Have at least two diverse candidates on the short list
to avoid tokenism.

Beyond the Position

What does the city have to offer someone from a diverse background? Check out these websites for more information about Pittsburgh.