Forms, Policies, & Guides

202 - Talent Acquisition

Subject: Talent Acquisition

Section: U202

Date: January, 2016


To describe the University's policies for staff talent acquisition throughout the four core phases of workforce planning, strategic sourcing, talent pool assessment, and successful selection.


The University of Chicago is committed to attracting and engaging a high performing, diverse workforce.

To facilitate achievement of our talent acquisition philosophy, we apply the following design objectives:

  • Enable strategic talent delivery and optimization of talent investment.
  • Fill positions with the best qualified candidates based on job-related factors including work experience, applicable education, knowledge, skills and abilities.
  • Provide opportunity for internal mobility for qualified candidates to build strong institutional capacity.
  • Continually extend and support a diverse workforce and to create equal opportunities for underrepresented groups as part of our affirmative action efforts.

The University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity/Disabled/Veterans Employer (AA/EEO). Searches, promotions, and lateral movements are conducted in compliance with the laws of the United States, the State of Illinois, local jurisdictions, and the Affirmative Action Plans of the University. 


These definitions apply to these terms as they are used in this policy.

Job Seeker An individual who is looking for a job

An individual who, in a timely manner;

  • Requests to be considered for employment;
  • Completes a profile/application via UChicago Jobs;
  • Identifies a specific position opening;
  • and is minimally qualified (i.e., possesses the required knowledge, skills, education and experience) for the position opening
Similarly situated employees Employees assigned to the same job profile across the University. Note, this is not limited by supervisory organizational structure.
HR Partner Department/division liaison who serves as the representative for the department in all human resource issues and processes staff transactions in campus HR systems (i.e. Workday and UChicago Jobs) on behalf of their department/division.
University HR The central human resources for oversight of the university made up of Centers for Expertise (COE).
HR-Talent Acquisition The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff talent acquisition process.
HR-Employee and Labor Relations The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff employee and labor relations policy and processes.
HR-Compensation The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff compensation policy and processes.
HR-Operations The COE responsible for providing oversight and approving key transactional HR activities for staff employees and providing assistance to Workday end users.
Hiring Unit Campus unit to which a new or vacant position reports.
Hiring Manager The individual requesting the new or vacant position be filled. Generally, the position being filled will report to the hiring manager.
Benefits Eligible Position A regular staff position (expected to last at least twelve consecutive months) that is scheduled to work 20 hours or more per week, and is therefore eligible for benefits.


Talent Acquisition is the mutual responsibility of the units in which the positions exist and University Human Resources (HR). Units know their own organizations best and the type and level of talent they need both now and in the future. University HR brings expertise through its Centers of Expertise in organizational and position design, position-related qualifications, sourcing strategies, assessment and selection techniques, compensation and offer negotiation.   The table below describes the roles and responsibilities of each group for all talent acquisition efforts.

Hiring Unit University HR
  • Know, understand and apply relevant state and federal employment laws and University policies necessary for conducting a fair and open search
  • Review and assess the structure and operation of the unit and determine the talent needed to meet objectives and priorities
  • When necessary, justify the need to fill a vacant position or create a new position and ensure sufficient budget exists to fund a position before starting a search
  • Develop a position description that includes clear job responsibilities, required education, experience, and knowledge, skill and abilities; assigns job profile
  • Ensure a good faith effort is made toward meeting the University's commitment to AA/EEO by conducting a thorough, thoughtful and legally compliant talent acquisition process
  • For postings that require expanded outreach efforts, submit specific outreach plans to HR-Talent Acquisition and satisfactorily execute the plans
  • Ensure any external sourcing firms are fully informed regarding its responsibilities for meeting the University's (AA/EEO) search documentation responsibilities; all contracts with outsourcing firms must first be reviewed and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel
  • Upon request by an applicant with a disability, provide reasonable accommodations
  • Disclose the use of any job related test(s) to HR-Talent Acquisition
  • Notify unsuccessful applicants who are interviewed of the position being filled and update all applicant statuses in UChicago Jobs to reflect the reason why they were not selected
  • Ensure employment decisions are in compliance with University and unit policies and procedures
  • Provide advice, when requested by the unit, on organizational and position design issues (HR-Organization Effectiveness)
  • Develop and maintain a library of resources to support diversity and equal opportunity efforts (HR-Talent Acquisition)
  • Review submitted postings to ensure clarity, relevancy and consistency in job description, qualifications and other posting specific information. (HR-Talent Acquisition)
  • Inform unit of expanded outreach efforts when applicable (HR-Talent Acquisition)
  • Provide reasonable accommodations to complete the application process upon request by any job seeker with a disability (HR-Talent Acquisition)
  • Provide base-pay references to inform the level of as base-pay (HR-Compensation)
  • Provide standard employment offer letter templates (HR-Talent Acquisition)


All staff talent acquisition efforts must be coordinated through HR-Talent Acquisition. The HR Partner (HRP) and hiring manager have the flexibility to partner with University HR for full service offerings (i.e., workforce planning through successful selection), or single service offerings (i.e., talent pool assessment).

As a federal contractor, the University has legal obligations to develop and implement affirmative action programs to recruit, hire and promote women, minorities, people with disabilities and Vietnam era and disabled veterans. HR-Talent Acquisition maintains a dedicated online library of resources to support diversity and excellence.

Posting Requirements

All new and vacant benefits eligible staff positions must be posted on UChicago Jobs.

As an AA/EEO employer, promotional opportunities require a competitive process and posting must occur when there are similarly situated employees.

Under extremely rare circumstances, an HRP can request a posting exception on behalf of the hiring unit. In those instances, the HRP must submit documented rationale of this request to both the Chief Human Resources Office (CHRO) and Affirmative Action Officer (AAO) for consideration. Only the CHRO and AAO, in conjunction with review by the Office of Legal Counsel, have the exclusive authority to review and grant posting exceptions.   The final decision will be communicated to the HRP, and request and outcome documentation will be included in the University's annual Affirmative Action Audit, and reflected as a non-competitive promotion.

Workforce Planning

Position Description

After the hiring unit identifies a talent acquisition need, and the roles and responsibilities of the position have been documented as described in University Policy 302 – Job Descriptions, the HRP and hiring manager collaborate in developing and documenting objective nondiscriminatory criteria for a job posting. Qualifications including mental and physical demands must be bona fide occupational qualifications. All criteria and qualifications must be position-related. HR-Talent Acquisition will review the submitted description prior to posting.

Posting Length

Each position must be posted for a minimum of seven calendar days, but no longer than six months. A unit may not hire an applicant or close a requisition prior to the seventh calendar day. Any position posted for six months will be closed and removed from UChicago Jobs.

Strategic Sourcing

External Advertising

A unit may advertise a job opening with an external vendor after it is posted on UChicago Jobs. Advertising and other notification of a vacancy or new position must reflect the same qualifications and job requirements as listed in the posting on UChicago Jobs and must be nondiscriminatory. All external advertising must be reviewed by HR-Talent Acquisition in advance of posting. All external advertising must include reference to the University's commitment to affirmative action through equal employment opportunity using exactly the following language:

"All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran status or status as an individual with disability.

The University of Chicago is an Affirmative Action / Equal Opportunity / Disabled / Veterans Employer.

Job seekers in need of a reasonable accommodation to complete the application process may contact Human Resources by calling 773-834-1841 or by emailing with their request."

To enhance sourcing efforts, in addition to UChicago Jobs, all postings automatically appear on America's Job Exchange (AJE), which also spiders out to additional job sites.

Internal Applicants

The University encourages the consideration of current employees for open positions (i.e. promotions and lateral movement).  HRPs and managers are encouraged to allow staff employees to take reasonable time off for interviews. Pursuit of a job opportunity within the University should not in any way jeopardize a staff employee's present position.

Refer to Policy U215 Probationary Period for Staff Employees or Policy U703 Progressive Corrective Action, as appropriate, for additional details.

Additional AA/EEO Outreach Requirements

As part of the University's AA/EEO efforts, additional outreach may be needed for some positions. In those cases, HR-Talent Acquisition will notify the hiring unit before the position is approved for posting. Prior to commencing sourcing efforts, the HRP or hiring manager must submit a specific plan for expanded outreach efforts to HR-Talent Acquisition and then execute the plan. HRPs and hiring managers are responsible for expanding outreach efforts and recruiting applicants if the availability of women or minorities is significantly greater that their incumbency in a job or group.

Search Firms

A unit considering the use of a search firm or employment agency must consult with HR and use the standard University search firm agreement template before making any arrangements.

  • All searches conducted by an outside agency or search firm must meet the same federal, state, local, and University guidelines as searches conducted directly through HR-Talent Acquisition. 
  • Units must consult with both HR-Talent Acquisition and the Office of Legal Counsel before agreeing to any substantive changes to the search firm agreement template.
  • The search firm works on behalf of the University and is responsible for the same applicant tracking the HRP, hiring manager and HR-Talent Acquisition would otherwise do, including keeping records of Affirmative Action outreach efforts, and the talent acquisition process.
    • The unit that contracts with a firm or agency is responsible for ensuring that any firm or agency is fully informed regarding its responsibilities for meeting the University's (AA/EEO) search documentation responsibilities.
    • The search firm must submit a copy of all search records to the HRP or hiring manager before the University processes payment of the final invoice or expense reimbursement.

Talent Pool Assessment

The HRP or hiring manager may consider candidates immediately upon receipt of all application materials, including reviewing resumes for basic qualifications. A job seeker who does not meet all the required qualifications as provided in the job posting is not an applicant and should not be considered.

Talent pool assessment must be based on job-related qualifications including, but not limited to:

  • Required and preferred education;
  • Experience;
  • Knowledge, skills, and abilities as identified in the job description;
  • References.

An applicant who is hired must meet all required qualifications listed in the job description, and may not, directly or indirectly, provide the University with funding to support the position.

Online Application Process

To be considered for a position, a job seeker, including any University staff employee, must complete the online application process. Unsolicited resumes cannot be considered. HR-Talent Acquisition will provide reasonable accommodations to complete the application process upon request by any applicant with a disability.

To comply with affirmative action requirements, certain data is requested as part of the online application and new hire process. This information is provided at the individual's discretion and cannot be used in the decision making process. However, the applicant will be required to provide such information (i.e., race and gender) as part of the employment process at time of hire.

Applicant Pool

The applicant pool should be sufficient to enable selection of qualified applicants for interviews. To broaden the applicant pool, the HRP or hiring manager can partner with HR-Talent Acquisition to discuss additional sourcing strategies.

If there are no well qualified candidates for a position, then the requisition must be cancelled.

  • Reposting: In an effort to increase the applicant pool, the HRP or hiring manager has the flexibility to modify qualifications. In these cases, the position must be re-posted for at least seven calendar days, and all applicants for the re-posted position must be considered.
  • Reopening: As an AA/EEO employer, we cannot take actions which would potentially impact the applicant pool. To ensure compliance, positions cannot be closed and re-opened, regardless of the passage of time.

Interviews and Testing of Applicants

The employment interview is a critical step in the talent acquisition process since it provides the hiring manager the opportunity to review applicant qualifications and to determine their suitability for the position. It also provides applicants with the chance to learn about the position and its requirements and to present information on their skills and experience.

The HRP or hiring manager must ensure consistent administration of the interview process. The interviewer's questions should address the candidate's qualifications and ability to meet the requirements of the position. Consistent administration includes equal treatment of applicant's avoidance of discriminatory questions, and uniform interview content.

An applicant may be tested for job-related competencies using a properly validated test or other selection procedure. If appropriate, job related assessments can be facilitated through HR-Talent Acquisition, who administers a computer based testing system. Assessments include business math, MS Office Suite, data entry, typing, and administrative skills.

  • Prior to administering a job-related assessment, the HRP or hiring manager must disclose the use to HR-Talent Acquisition.
  • To ensure compliance with federal guidelines for employee selection procedures, HR-Talent Acquisition in conjunction with the HRP or hiring manager will partner with third parties such as industrial psychologists or other appropriate experts to review and validate test scores. 
  • The hiring unit is responsible for the cost of review and validation by third party vendors.

When used, approved tests and selection procedures must be given to applicants under equivalent conditions, must be scored, evaluated, and used as a selection factor equally for applicants, and must be maintained with other application and selection materials.

Upon request by an applicant with a disability, the HRP or hiring manager must provide reasonable accommodations, as determined by HR-Employee and Labor Relations or the Provost's Office during the interview and testing processes.

Reference and Background Checking

For guidance regarding reference and background checks, please refer to U204 Reference and Background Checks.

Successful Selection

Offers of Employment

An applicant may not be offered or start in a position until the required seven-day posting period has been completed and a proper search has been conducted.

In addition, HR-Operations will verify that a proposed hire is eligible for University employment (e.g., meets the basic qualifications, has applied to the position, has completed the background check, and any other job requirements and has not been terminated for cause if previously employed by the University).

The HRP or hiring manager must use the approved standard offer letter.

  • HR-Talent Acquisition does not review or approve offer letters. HR-Talent Acquisition authors standard templates to ensure consistency in appearance and to define benefits and other broad employment terms in a consistent manner. Units can share language variations which HR-Talent Acquisition will maintain for auditing purposes.
  • HR-Compensation does not review or approve offer letters. HR-Compensation provides base pay references (i.e., external market data and internal peer data via Workday, when available) to inform the level of base pay. If base pay falls outside of the competitive range (i.e., +/- 10%), units can share the rationale, which HR-Compensation will maintain for auditing purposes.

Offers including tuition reimbursement in a way not provided for by the University's Educational Assistance Plan, must first be reviewed and approved by the Office of Legal Counsel, as there are serious tax issues associated with tuition reimbursement outside of the Plan. These offers cannot be extended without an agreement that the employee remains with the organization for at least two years after obtaining a degree, maintains an agreed upon GPA or grade level, and the degree is related to the industry or area of expertise of the position being offered. Any tuition reimbursement language that does not follow this criterion must be receive approval from Office of Legal Counsel, the VP, Operations and Chief Financial Officer.

The HRP or hiring manager must notify an unsuccessful applicant who was interviewed by indicating the applicant's status in UChicago Jobs and also may send a letter or call the applicant. The HRP or hiring manager must dispense of the applicant pool (i.e. update the status of applicants in UChicago Jobs to accurately reflect non-selection reason). The HRP or hiring manager may not use a reason of '"did not meet basic qualifications" if minimum experience and education requirements as reflected in the posting have been met by the applicant. It is imperative to communicate applicant status in a timely fashion throughout the talent acquisition process, as this directly impacts the candidate experience and the University's brand.

Lateral Movement

After accepting a position, a University staff employee is responsible for giving sufficient notice to his/her former unit; notification for lateral movement involves at least one month advance notice for exempt level employees and at least two weeks advance notice for non-exempt employees. Notification for employment termination is as stated in U208 Termination of Employment.

Upon beginning a new position in another unit or department, a current employee will maintain accrued but unused sick, vacation, and personal holiday time, which will be transferred to the new unit.


The requirements and process for posting a staff position at the University is outlined in the following resources:

Staff Posting Requirements

Process for Posting Staff Positions in UChicago Jobs & Workday

UChicago Jobs User Guide for HR Partners

Once the offer is accepted, the appropriate process should be initiated in Workday:

Hire (for new employees to the university)

Change Job (Staff) (current employees of the university)

Document Retention

Hiring units and HR-Talent Acquisition are responsible for ensuring

retention of applicable search documentation: Guide to retention for talent acquisition documents