Policies & Contracts

202 - Talent Acquisition

Subject: Talent Acquisition

Section: U202

Date: August, 2017


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.

Who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all Hiring Units and associated HR Partners and Hiring Managers involved in staff talent acquisition and all phases of workforce planning, strategic sourcing, talent pool assessment, and selection.


The University of Chicago is committed to attracting and engaging a high performing, diverse workforce. 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. The COE - Talent Acquisition maintains a dedicated online library of resources to support diversity and excellence. 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. 

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 applicants based on job-related factors including work experience, applicable education, knowledge, skills and abilities.
  • Provide opportunity for internal mobility of qualified applicants 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.

All staff talent acquisition efforts must be coordinated through the Center of Expertise (COE) - Talent Acquisition. The HR Partner 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).

Posting Requirements

All new and vacant benefits eligible staff positions must be posted in Workday. 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 HR Partner can request a posting exception on behalf of the hiring unit. In those instances, the HR Partner must submit a justification rationale in Workday as part of the Create Position process. This will route to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources (AVP) and the EEO/AA Office for the University for consideration. The AVP and the University’s Affirmative Action Officer, 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 HR Partner. The request and outcome documentation will be included in the University's annual Affirmative Action Audit, and if the exception was granted, will be reflected as a non-competitive promotion. The Change Job, Non-Competitive Promotional process in Workday is used to capture posting exceptions.

The University requires newly hired staff employees (benefits eligible, non-benefits eligible and temporary) to undergo a background check. Minors are excluded from background check requirements, though there may be other hiring requirements specific to minors. (See U204 Reference and Background Checks and U216 Safety of Children in University Programs.)

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 required, the HR Partner and Hiring Manager should collaborate in developing and documenting objective, nondiscriminatory criteria for a job posting. All criteria and qualifications must be position-related. Qualifications including mental and physical demands must be bona fide occupational qualifications.

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 Workday.

Strategic Sourcing

External Advertising

The Hiring Unit or the SSO, if requested, may advertise a job opening with an external vendor after it is posted on Workday. The Hiring Manager selects the external vendors for the postings; if requested, a list of available external vendors can be provided by SSO. Advertising and other notification of a vacancy or new position must reflect the same qualifications and job requirements as listed in the posting on Workday and must be nondiscriminatory. 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 the Shared Services Office by calling 773-702-5800 or by emailing sharedservices@uchicago.edu with their request.

To enhance sourcing efforts, in addition to Workday, 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). HR Partners 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.

Additional AA/EEO Outreach Requirements

As part of the University's AA/EEO efforts, HR Partners are required to determine when creating the job requisition whether a position requires extra outreach based on the Affirmative Action Plan information located in Workday. If a job requisition is determined to require extra outreach, the HR Partner must develop a plan and provide documentation with the job requisition in Workday. The HR Partner is responsible for ensuring the plan is compliant with the University’s affirmative action obligations. The SSO will review to ensure a plan has been submitted prior to posting. The HR Partner and Hiring Manager are responsible for executing outreach efforts and recruiting applicants if the availability of women or minorities is significantly greater than their incumbency in a job or group.

Search Firms

A unit considering the use of a search firm or employment agency must consult with COE – Talent Acquisition 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 the COE - Talent Acquisition.
  • Units must consult with both the COE - 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 the COE - 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 HR Partner or Hiring Manager before the University processes payment of the final invoice or expense reimbursement.
  • The position must be posted in Workday and the applicants provided by the search firm must apply for the position through Workday.

Talent Pool Assessment

The HR Partner or Hiring Manager may consider applicants 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; and
  • 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. The Shared Services Office will provide reasonable accommodations upon request by any applicant with a disability to complete the application process.

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., citizenship, date of birth, 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 HR Partner or Hiring Manager can partner with the COE - Talent Acquisition to discuss additional sourcing strategies.

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

  • Reposting: In an effort to increase the applicant pool, the HR Partner 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.
  • Language Updates: Similarly, as an AA/EEO employer, we are not able to update job title, job profile, or adjust the language in the job requisition once it has been posted as this would potentially impact the applicant pool.

Interviews and Testing of Applicants

The employment interview is a critical step in the talent acquisition process; 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 HR Partner or Hiring Manager must ensure consistent administration of the interview process. The interviewer's questions should address the applicant's qualifications and ability to meet the requirements of the position. Consistent administration includes equal treatment of applicants, 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 will be facilitated through the SSO, 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 HR Partner or Hiring Manager must disclose the use to the SSO for recordkeeping purposes. If a third party vendor is used to administer additional testing, 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 HR Partner or Hiring Manager must provide reasonable accommodations during the interview and testing processes, as determined by the COE - Employee Labor and Relations or the Provost's Office.

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, the SSO 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 deemed ineligible for rehire if previously employed by the University).

All staff positions and temporary positions require an offer letter to be provided to the applicant. The offer letter is required to be uploaded to the applicant’s file in Workday.

  • The COE - Talent Acquisition will review offer letters upon request, and also authors standard templates to ensure consistency in appearance and to define benefits and other broad employment terms in a consistent manner. Units should share language variations which the COE - Talent Acquisition will maintain for auditing purposes.
  • The COE - Compensation will review the pay level of an offer upon request, and 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 should share the rationale, which the COE - 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 tax implications associated with tuition reimbursement outside of the Plan. These offers cannot be extended without an agreement that the employee remains with the University for at least two years after obtaining a degree, maintains an agreed-upon GPA or grade level, and the degree must be related to the industry or area of expertise of the position being offered. Any tuition reimbursement language that does not follow this criteria must receive prior approval from Office of Legal Counsel, the VP of Operations and the Chief Financial Officer.

The HR Partner or Hiring Manager must notify an unsuccessful applicant who was interviewed by indicating the applicant's status in Workday and also may send a letter or call the applicant. The HR Partner or Hiring Manager must dispense of the applicant pool (i.e. update the status of applicants in Workday to accurately reflect non-selection reason). The HR Partner or Hiring Manager must 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 applicant experience.

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 two weeks advance notice. (See U208 Termination of Employment.)

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

key Definitions:

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 as required by the University; identifies a specific position opening; and is minimally qualified (i.e., possess 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 on behalf of their department/division.
University HR The central human resources for oversight of the university made up of Centers for Expertise (COE).
Center of Expertise-Talent Acquisition The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff talent acquisition process.
Center of Expertise-Employee and Labor Relations The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff employee and labor relations policy and processes.
Center of Expertise-Compensation The COE responsible for oversight of the university's staff compensation policy and processes.
Shared Services Office The Office responsible for providing oversight and approving key transctional 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.

Roles and responsibilities

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.

Develop and maintain a library of resources to support diversity and equal opportunity efforts (COE - Talent Acquisition)

Review and assess the structure and operation of the unit and determine the talent needed to meet objectives and priorities.

Review submitted postings to ensure clarity, relevancy and consistency in job description, qualifications and other posting specific information (SSO)

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.

Provide reasonable accommodations to complete the application process upon request by any job seeker with a disability (SSO)

Develop a position description that includes clear job responsibilities, required education, experience, and knowledge, skill and abilities; assigns job profile.

Provide base-pay references to inform the level of as base-pay (COE - Compensation)

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

Provide standard employment offer letter templates (COE - Talent Acquisition)

For postings that require expanded outreach efforts, submit specific outreach plans to the SSO via Workday and satisfactorily execute the plans.


Ensure any external sourcing firms are fully informed regarding their 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 if requesting any changes to the standard template.


Upon request by an applicant with a disability, provide reasonable accommodations during the interview or testing processes.


Disclose the use of any job related test(s) to the SSO.


Notify unsuccessful applicants who are interviewed of the position being filled and update all applicant statuses in Workday to reflect the reason why they were not selected.


Ensure employment decisions are in compliance with University and unit policies and procedures.


Related Information

Policy U203 Temporary Employment

Policy U204 Reference and Background Checks

Policy U208 Termination of Employment

Policy U214 Regular Non-Benefits Eligible Employment

Policy U216 Safety of Children in University Programs

Key Contacts:

Name Email  Extension
Center of Expertise - Talent Acquisition talentacquisition@uchicago.edu  
Shared Services Office