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Recruiting and Hiring

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EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 1999 | Revised: November 2000 | Revised: April 1, 2003 | Revised: September 1, 2009


The purpose of this policy is to outline the required steps in the recruiting and hiring process for all staff positions at Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. All new hires and transfers 1 must be hired in compliance with the required hiring practices as outlined by this policy. This policy addresses requirements for posting/advertising, screening and selection, pre-employment testing, offering employment and recordkeeping in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations requiring nondiscrimination and affirmative action in employment. Failure to adhere to the terms of this policy could lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination.


Applications for Employment: Only online applications of employment submitted through the hiring process as established by this policy.

Candidate: An applicant who has been referred by a Recruiter and is being considered by the Hiring Official for a specific position.

Referral: Submission of candidate materials (resume and/or application) from Recruitment to the Hiring Official.

Requisition: The Position Management Form (PMF) is the official requisition document for identifying an open position and initiating the recruitment and hiring process.

Posting: Listing an employment notice on the Vanderbilt University job board to notify of staff employment opportunities.

Hiring Official: The departmental representative designated as having the authority to make the hiring decision.

Internal Job Website: Job board where Vanderbilt jobs are posted and can be accessed only by Vanderbilt staff members.

Internal Applicant: Any job seeker who is currently employed at Vanderbilt.

Regular Position (full time, part time): An ongoing position that has no defined end date. “Ongoing” does not mean that the position cannot end, just that there is no current expectation that the position will end at a defined time.

Term position (full time, part time): A position expected to exist for a period longer than six months, but generally not beyond one year. A term hire may be appropriate when the department’s need is expected to last less than one year. Hires who are in term positions could receive notice of employment ending at anytime in advance of one year. Hires in term positions are bound by all Vanderbilt policies and procedures and must successfully complete an initial orientation period. Staff members in term positions are eligible for certain benefits.

Full time: The status of a position in which the standard work schedule requires a minimum of 30 hours per week and offers eligibility for Vanderbilt benefits (such as health care, dental, vacation, sick and holiday time, etc.)

Part time: The status of a position in which the standard work schedule requires less than 30 hours per week. Part-time positions do not offer eligibility for most employment benefits (with the exception of vacation/sick/holiday time and in some cases retirement).

Temporary position: A specific position limited to a duration of no more than six months which does not offer benefits (there may be some benefit exceptions).

PRN position: PRN is an acronym that stands for the Latin phrase “pro re nata”, which translates to “as the situation demands”. PRN positions should not require a standard work schedule and are utilized on an as needed basis. PRN positions are budgeted positions; however, they are considered temporary and do not offer benefits (retirement may be an exception if all other requirements are met).

Goal Position: A job that, based on utilization analysis contained in Vanderbilt’s Affirmative Action Plan, indicates that a goal has been established for women and/or minorities. Vanderbilt hiring officials are to make good faith efforts to try and attract qualified minorities and females to apply 2 .

Outside Employment Agencies/Search Firms: Non-Vanderbilt resources used in identifying, recruiting and/or placing workers in staff positions.

I. Requirements for Posting an Open Position

These steps describe the requirements to recruit, interview and hire for all open Vanderbilt staff positions classified as regular, term, full time, part time and temporary/PRN. All staff must be hired through this process.

A. Posting of All Staff Positions

1. Submitting a Requisition

A Position Management Form (PMF) for an open position must be completed with appropriate approvals. A position must formally exist within the Vanderbilt classification system before it can be posted for recruitment. The completed PMF must be submitted to Human Resources Recruitment Services.

2. Posting an Open Position

Staff vacancies including regular, term and temporary positions which are anticipated to last for 3 days or longer are required to be posted for a minimum of 5 calendar days or until a reasonable applicant pool is developed. 3 This must occur prior to an offer being made.

Term positions must be classified by Compensation and posted with the basic qualifications.

The posting of an open position must have the same basic qualifications as the description of record.

Positions are required to be reposted if basic qualifications as defined by the job description are changed for any reason. If that occurs, a new posting must be created and the 5-day requirement must begin again.

Vacancies that are expected to be filled with a current staff member can be indicated as such by including “internal applicants only”, in the posting. All other vacancies must be posted to the external Vanderbilt Jobline.

A position will be considered dormant if there has been no communication from the hiring department to the Recruiter for 60 days. After the Recruiter notifies the Hiring Official, a dormant position will be removed from the active recruitment listing and cancelled unless the Hiring Official requests that the posting remain open. A Hiring Official will need to resubmit the PMF to re-post the position.

3. Advertising an Opening

External advertising for open positions at Vanderbilt must be coordinated through Recruitment Services and job seekers must be directed to the Vanderbilt Jobline. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising on websites, targeted recruitment sites, newspapers, professional organizations, trade journals, state employment service 4 , and personal contacts, etc.

II. Applications for Employment

Communications made directly to the Hiring Officials about employment are not considered an application. All job seekers must complete an application for a particular position through the online applicant tracking system. A jobseeker is not considered an applicant unless an application is submitted “online” for a specific position. Job seekers with a previous employment history with Vanderbilt must disclose this information at the time of submitting application to determine eligibility for rehire 5 . Applications for employment will not be accepted by any other means or outside of the established Human Resources Hiring Process. Hiring Officials must direct all job seekers to complete an online application 6 .

A. Applicant Screening

Recruiters in consultation with the Hiring Officials are responsible for identifying and screening a pool of applicants. The Recruiters will pre-screen job seekers against advertised basic qualifications and identify the most qualified applicants for referral to Hiring Officials. Hiring Officials may refer qualified applicants to apply through the regular process. Job seekers who do not meet basic qualifications will not continue in the selection process and shall be notified of their status by the Recruiter.

B. Applicant Testing

Both internal and external applicants can only be tested (when required) under the direction of Recruitment Services. Vanderbilt uses only validated job-related testing such as verbal or written skill tests 7 as appropriate for the positions.

C. Applicant Referrals

The designated Recruiter will determine which qualified applicants for the position will be sent to the Hiring Official. The application materials will be forwarded to the Hiring Official for consideration. The Hiring Official reviews all referred applications and either moves them forward in the selection process or notifies the Recruiter that the applicant is no longer in consideration. All applicants must be notified of their status in the process by the Recruiter, unless the Hiring Official requests to make the communications. A Self Audit Report (SAR) is required for all applicants who have been considered for a position. The SAR is completed by the Hiring Official (within two weeks of the selection). (Link to (SAR) Self Audit Report)

III. Interview/Selection of Applicants

A. Internal applicants

In support of Vanderbilt’s goal to retain staff and provide professional opportunities, internal applicants who meet the basic qualifications of open positions should receive first consideration for referral to the Hiring Official. (Also, see the Transfer Policy HR Policy#008: and the Reduction in Force Policy: for language related to internal applicants.)

B. Interviewing Applicants

Hiring Officials will conduct interviews with candidates selected from the list of applicants referred from Recruitment Services. In an effort to ensure consistency and to select the best candidates for open positions, Hiring Officials are recommended to use a behavioral interviewing methodology 8 . For information regarding documenting interview notes, see the Managers’ Toolbox for Hiring Officials located on the Human Resources webpage. In addition, any interview notes must be retained by the Hiring Official and kept in the departmental file in accordance with recordkeeping guidelines established by Human Resources Recruitment Services.

C. Interviewing Guidelines

Hiring Officials are responsible for being consistent and equitable in interviewing candidates. They should:

1. Interview a number of candidates to ensure that a fair comparison takes place;

2. Ask only job related questions;

3. Use the same standardized interview guide for all those interviewing for the same position; and

4. Schedule and plan to spend the same amount of interview time with all candidates

IV. Salary Recommendation

Recruiters are responsible for making the recommendation of salary offers, often in consultation with Human Resources Compensation. Salary determinations are based on pay grade, market value, and internal equity with similarly situated current staff. Hiring salaries will not be approved outside the established pay range. Hiring Officials, in consultation with the Recruiter, are ultimately responsible for determining the salary offered for any position based on the departmental budget. If the Hiring Official and Recruiter cannot mutually agree on a salary recommendation, the matter will be referred to a designated executive leader, who will have the authority to mediate an acceptable resolution.

V. Offers of Employment

A. Extending Intent to Hire

Hiring Officials are responsible for the selection of the candidate from the applicant pool and extending a contingent offer of employment. See the Managers’ Toolbox for contingent offer letter template to be used in communications with perspective hires.

Reminder: The selected candidate must meet all of the posted basic qualifications.

B. Formalizing the Offer of Employment

Recruitment Services must be notified of the intent to hire in order to finalize the hiring process. Finalizing the process will include successful completion of the following:

1. The department’s communication to the Recruiter of the hiring decision.

2. The Recruiter’s initiating the necessary pre-employment screening (references, drug test and background check as applicable 9 ); and

3. The Recruiter’s generating the offer confirmation letter with all the pre-employment terms to be satisfied before start date. (New Hire paperwork to be initiated by the Recruiter)

The proposed start date must allow sufficient time for completion of pre-employment screening prior to start of employment (See Section VI). Usually, a period of 5--7 business days 10 is required before an offer can be finalized. New hires are not permitted to begin work prior to the department receiving notification from Recruitment Services that the candidate meets all pre-employment screening criteria 11 . New Hire PAFs must have confirmation documentation in order to be processed by Payroll.

C. Rescinding an Offer

Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to rescind an offer of employment. These circumstances include, but are not limited to the following:

1. A candidate fails to comply with established timelines associated with the pre-employment screening process;

2. A candidate does not pass the pre-employment screen;

3. A candidate omits or falsifies information on the application or related documents;

4. Reference information is unfavorable or inconsistent with information provided by the candidate.

In the event that it is appropriate to rescind an offer, the Recruiter will notify the Hiring Official as well as the candidate in writing.

VI. Pre-Employment Requirements

Offers of employment are contingent on the pre-employment evaluation or screen as determined by the position. Hiring Official must complete all Hiring and Pre-Employment screens as determined by the position prior to starting a new hire. Failure to do so may result in Performance Improvement Counseling up to and including discharge for the Hiring Official.

A. References

Vanderbilt requires a minimum of two work related references from the candidate’s previous employment. References should be obtained from individuals that held positions of authority above the candidate or from the office specifically designated by the employer to provide such information. To supplement any references obtained by the Hiring Official, references on external candidates will be conducted by a pre-employment screening vendor. The Recruiter or Hiring Official is responsible for conducting references for internal 12 candidates. The reference check process will be agreed upon at the time the contingent offer is made. Internal candidates pursuing a transfer must receive a reference from the current supervisor prior to an offer being confirmed.

B. Pre-Employment Criminal Background Check

The Recruitment Services Office of Human Resources utilizes a third party vendor to conduct all pre-employment background checks. The background check will be completed only after a contingent offer of employment is made to the selected candidate and the Recruitment Services Office is appropriately notified. Vanderbilt will conduct pre-employment background checks on all final candidates for positions in departments which have elected or are required to utilize these checks in the hiring process (see below). The Vanderbilt University pre-employment background screen program will be administered in compliance with all Fair Credit Reporting Act requirements.

All offers of employment are contingent upon the successful completion of the background check. Prospective hires cannot begin work prior to the hiring department receiving notification from Recruitment Services that the candidate meets all pre-screening criteria.

1. Standard Background Checks

Criminal Background checks are done for hires as follows:

a) All Medical Center hires and rehires in full-time, part-time, temporary and term positions.

b) Hires and rehires in designated University positions.

c) Transfers - A background check is necessary for transfer into medical center positions unless one has already been completed.

d) All VTS staff.

Note: External staffing agencies employing temporary workers must adhere to the same background screening procedures and criteria established for Vanderbilt staff for positions that they are filling within Vanderbilt. Departments must notify Vanderbilt Temporary Services of the intent to make such hires. Hiring Officials should ensure that in appropriate cases a background check is done for independent contractors who will be performing work on campus. A person’s status as an employee, independent contract consultant 13 is determined by Human Resources Compensation.

2. Evaluation of Background Check Results

a) Employment eligibility of new hires, transfers, and rehires will be determined by reviewing the findings against the established criteria and the job duties/requirements for each position 14 . The determination will take into account the position applied for, as well as the relevant factors, including any legal and/or regulatory requirements.

b) If the results received contradict the application, the candidate will be removed from the process due to falsification of application. Applicants who falsify their applications will be documented as ineligible for hire and will not be eligible for future consideration for employment at Vanderbilt.

c) If a Vanderbilt staff member seeking a transfer does not qualify for the new position based on the results of the background check, he/she will not be allowed to transfer 15 .

C. Pre-Employment Drug Screen

Vanderbilt will conduct “post offer/pre-employment” drug screens once an offer is made to the final candidate for a position in departments which elect or are required. Drug screens will be administered in compliance with the Vanderbilt protocol for drug testing. Please refer to the University’s Policy on Pre-Employment Drug Testing for protocols 16 .

Staff positions that require pre-employment drug screening consistent with other pre-employment screening requirements can be found in B1 of this Section.

VII. On-Boarding New Hires

The hiring department designee is responsible for completing a Personnel Action Form (PAF) for all new hires/rehires. All PAF’s submitted to Payroll must be accompanied by the approved PMF containing the authorized signature of appropriate Recruitment Services Representative. New hire paperwork will not be processed until pre-employment contingencies have been removed by Recruitment Services. No individual may start work until the results of prescreening requirements for that person are known, and disposition has been satisfied under this policy.

Note: Staff hires that are identified as made without using the authorized pre-employment process will be immediately put in a “leave of absence” status and not allowed to work until the required process is completed 17 .

New Hires will be required to complete Section I of the I-9 electronically upon accepting an offer of employment; but no later than the 1st day of employment. For more information regarding the I-9 process as well as a list of available locations for completion, see the I-9 Information section on the Human Resources webpage. Documentation that establishes eligibility to work in the United States must be presented no later than the 3rd day of employment 18 . Please review the New Hire Checklist to ensure that all paperwork is completed appropriately.

VIII. Record Keeping Requirements on Hiring Decisions

All documentation used in making a hiring decision must be maintained by the Hiring Official for a minimum of two consecutive calendar years from the date of the making of the record or the personnel action involved, whichever occurs later (i.e. references, resumes, interview notes, etc.) This includes documents related to any job seeker considered for a particular position.

Self-Audit Report: As required by Vanderbilt’s Affirmative Action Plan, Hiring Officials must provide justification for the decision made for each applicant referred for consideration for a particular position by completing a Self-Audit Report (SAR). The SAR includes each applicant referred for consideration for the position. SARs must be completed within 2 weeks following the selection of the successful candidate.

IX. Notification of Disposition to Job Candidates

The Recruiter will notify and document the disposition of any candidate who was not interviewed. The Recruiter and Hiring Official will agree upon the notification to anyone who was interviewed for a position. (Standard notification letter/language is available.) The notification to candidates who were not selected must be made promptly upon determination of the disposition of the candidate. Documentation of all determinations must also be promptly recorded in the applicant tracking system.

X. Temporary Workforce

Hiring of staff for temporary positions must be posted and coordinated through Human Resources, Vanderbilt Temporary Service (VTS) or the Clinical Staffing Resource Center (CSRC). Temporary and PRN positions are created for a limited period of time: no more than six months or on a situational basis as needed.

A. Vanderbilt Temporary Services

Vanderbilt operates an internal temporary employment service which provides the University with non-nursing temporary staff. VTS serves as the central point of contact for external agencies providing staffing services to Vanderbilt University.

B. Clinical Staffing Resource Center

The Clinical Staffing Resource Center (Nursing Registry) operates a temporary staffing service for nursing/clinical personnel at Vanderbilt.

C. Use of Outside Temporary Staffing Agencies

To ensure consistency in hiring processes and adherence to compliance requirements, VTS is responsible for contracting with and managing all outside temporary employment agencies as approved secondary vendors for non-nursing positions. The Clinical Staffing Resource Center is responsible for contracting with and managing all outside temporary agencies as approved secondary vendors for nursing positions.

D. Contract Labor

Use of Contract workers must be approved by Human Resources Compensation. The department must contact Compensation for a determination of whether a Consultant/Independent Contractor relationship exists. All contingent workers who do not meet the definition of a contract worker must be paid as VTS temporary employees.

E. Use of Search Firms

Use of search firms must be coordinated with Human Resources Recruitment Services to ensure compliance with legal and regulatory obligations. All search firms doing business with Vanderbilt must contractually agree to collect and provide Vanderbilt with information in compliance with Vanderbilt’s recordkeeping obligations.

XI. Restrictions on Employment

A. Employment of Minors

Vanderbilt does not employ individuals under the age of 18 in regular positions. It may be appropriate to hire individuals who are under 18 years of age in temporary positions available through Vanderbilt Temporary Services (VTS) or in defined programs. Due to safety concerns, minors may not work in certain types of laboratories or operate certain types of machinery/equipment. Minors are also generally prohibited from positions requiring patient contact or care.

Vanderbilt has the right to determine suitability of employing minors in compliance with federal and state laws.

B. Employment of Family Members

See the Relationships in the Workplace Policy.

C. Volunteering

All volunteer opportunities must be coordinated through Volunteer Services. Individuals interested in volunteering can contact Volunteer Services at 322-2379 or go to the website at for more information. Volunteer opportunities may also require background screening.

XII. Employment of Non-Resident Aliens

Individuals who hold citizenship in countries other than the United States are subject to special conditions related to employment. Hiring Officials who are considering hiring a foreign national applicant must contact the Office of International Services at 343-7467 to make sure that all legal and policy requirements are met before any job offer is made.

XIII. Consequences of Violation of the Hiring Policy

Hiring Officials who violate the provisions of this policy or who fail to document staff hires appropriately may be subject to the terms of the HR Performance Improvement Policy–HR#014.

Note: A staff member hired outside the prescribed hiring process as set forth in this policy will not be allowed to work and will be put into an inactive status. A representative from Human Resources will contact the Hiring Official when this is discovered. This leave status will have a limit of 30 days after the notification date, after which time the employment of the staff member will be terminated.

Approved by Lenon J. Coleman, Interim Chief Human Resource Officer

Approved by Jerry G. Fife, Interim Vice Chancellor, Administration

Approved by Jeffrey R. Balser, M.D, Ph.D., Vice Chancellor, Health Affairs

Vanderbilt University and Medical Center are committed to ensuring equal employment opportunities. In compliance with federal law, including the provisions of TITLE IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Vanderbilt University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or military service in its administration of educational policies, programs or activities; its admissions policies; scholarship or loan programs; athletic or other University-administered programs; or employment. In addition, the University does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation consistent with University nondiscrimination policy.

1 There will be an exception to this policy for staff hired to some Senior Executive positions. In these cases, a separate hiring process will apply. Contact Human Resources Recruitment Services for assistance on this.

2 In addition to these efforts, Vanderbilt has affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations for disabled and other covered veterans and for persons with disabilities. These efforts are addressed in the Affirmative Action Plan.

3 As determined by Human Resources Recruitment Services. The time period for posting may vary for some positions as determined by the Collective Bargaining or other agreements that may apply.

4 All employment openings must be posted with the local employment service; the following exceptions will be determined by contacting HR-Recruitment Services:

– Executive and top management positions.

– Those positions that will be filled from within the organization.

– Positions lasting 3 days or less.

5 Eligibility for Rehire is determined in accordance with the Eligibility for Rehire Policy HR#034:

6 Assistance will be available at designated location(s) to persons with disabilities and others to enable them to access the online application system.

7 All testing and screening questions need to be pre-approved by the Chief Human Resource Officer. Contact Human Resources Recruiter for testing availability.

8 Targeted Selection is Vanderbilt University’s behavioral interviewing approach for consistency when Hiring Officials are interviewing and selecting new employees. Targeted Selection training develops a variety of key behavioral interviewing skills and sharpens existing skills to improve selection decisions. To schedule training, contact Organizational Effectiveness at 322-8320.

9 All designated Vanderbilt Medical Center staff positions require a pre-employment background check and drug screen. There are designated positions within University Central that also require background checks.

10 Pre-employment screens are tracked and confirmed expeditiously for hire based on the extensiveness of the screen. Typically this period does not extend more than 5-17 business days. However, extensive background screens and international verifications will require an extended period of time.

11 Hires that begin working without the required Pre-Employment screen will not be allowed to work and will be processed as “inactive” from the date Human Resources becomes aware of the hire until the required hiring process is completed. This period will not last longer than 30 days before the employment separation is processed.

12 Internal Applicants – Hiring Official has an obligation to get a reference from the current and/or previous supervisor. Current and/or previous supervisor has the responsibility for giving an objective reference supported by documentation.

13 Consultants in some cases may be required to have background checks. Please consult with the Purchasing Department (322-2911) on whether this is required.

14 Vanderbilt reviews criminal background information for both misdemeanor and felony convictions as they relate to the position to be filled.

15 Vanderbilt staff may remain in the current position provided that any information obtained has been disclosed during the interview process. If at any time during employment, it has been determined that a staff member has falsified an application or has not disclosed a conviction or provided other information required to be disclosed under Vanderbilt policy, the staff member’s employment can be terminated.

16 Executive level positions may have separate pre-employment conditions.

17 A staff member hired outside the prescribed hiring process as set forth in this policy will not be allowed to work and put into an inactive status. A representative from Human Resources will contact the Hiring Official when this is discovered. This leave status will have a limit of 30 days after the notification date, after which time the employment of the staff member will be terminated.

18 Electronic completion of I-9 can be done at various locations throughout campus as well as in the departments anytime after offer is confirmed, but prior to end of third day of employment.