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Recruitment, Hiring and Onboarding

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015


This policy provides an overview of our hiring process, employing temporary employees, and use of search firms.


  1. Requisitions: Hiring Officials use their departmental/divisional processes for gaining general and budgetary approval for creating and re-filling positions. Requisitions are entered by the hiring manager or delegate into the recruitment system, routed for approval, and reviewed by a recruiter prior to posting.
  2. Postings: Hiring of regular Full-time; Part-time or PRN positions is coordinated through Human Resources. All positions are posted for a minimum of five days and viewable to internal and/or external applicants on the Vanderbilt job website.
  3. Advertising and Outreach: External advertising for open positions at Vanderbilt is coordinated through Human Resources. This includes, but is not limited to, advertising on websites, targeted recruitment sites, newspapers, professional organizations, trade journals and the state employment service.
  4. Search Firms: While the use of outside search firms is discouraged, Human Resources can review and recommend firms and is responsible to secure contracts on behalf of Vanderbilt. All search firms doing business with Vanderbilt must contractually agree to comply with Vanderbilt’s affirmative action obligations and to collect and provide Vanderbilt with information in compliance with Vanderbilt’s recordkeeping obligations.
  5. Applications: All applicants complete an online application when applying for open positions.
  6. Candidate Pools: To ensure consistency in the hiring processes and adherence to compliance requirements, Human Resources reviews Vanderbilt’s Affirmative Action Plan to determine if specific hiring goals have been established for women and/or minorities. If goals exist, Recruiters and Hiring Officials work to develop a recruiting strategy focused on the affirmative action goals. Recruiters and Hiring Officials also implement good faith efforts to recruit qualified veterans and persons with disabilities.


  1. Screening and Testing: The Recruiter will prescreen candidates before developing a slate for the Hiring Officer to review. Use of testing tools must be reviewed by Human Resources, the Equal Employment, Affirmative Action and Disability Services Office, and the Office of General Counsel to validate and ensure compliance with EEO/AA principles and guidelines.
  2. Interviews: The Hiring Official should conduct in-person interviews with qualified candidates and use consistent lines of inquiry to determine selection of the final candidate(s). Interviewing about past performance (using the DDI program available through Human Resources) is a preferred method to predict future performance. Questions should be job-related and not to be or perceived to be about race, sex, national or ethnic origin, religion, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, disability, military service or genetic information.
  3. References: For external candidates, the Recruiter provides the Hiring Official with contact information on three references on the selected candidate for each job. These references should be checked and documented by the Hiring Officer prior to an offer being extended. For internal candidates, Hiring Officials should contact at least two references and speak with the current supervisor before making an offer on all transfers within Vanderbilt. The Hiring Official may also ask Human Resources to provide information on past performance. Hiring Officials should use the same criteria for asking relevant reference questions as they use when conducting interviews.
  4. Background Checks: 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. The Vanderbilt University pre-employment background screen program will be administered in compliance with all federal, state and local laws. Where background checks are used, candidates should be informed that all offers of employment are contingent upon the successful completion of the background check and candidates cannot begin work prior to their hiring departments receive notification from Human Resources that they meet all pre-screening criteria. Human Resources utilizes a third party vendor to conduct all pre-employment background checks. The background check process begins after a contingent offer of employment is made to the selected candidate. These guidelines apply to the evaluation of background check results:
    • 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. The determination will take into account the position applied for, as well as the relevant factors, including any legal and/or regulatory requirements.
    • 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.
    • If a Vanderbilt employee 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.
  5. Disposition of candidates/record keeping: Hiring Managers are required to keep any notes, resumes, electronic (emails) or paper documents used during the interview process for two years after the hire is made. For purposes of appropriate record-keeping, and to comply with Vanderbilt’s EEO/AA obligations, the Hiring Manager will provide justification for the decision made for each candidate referred for interview. The Recruiter will contact the Hiring Official after the hire is made to assist with the recordkeeping portion of this process.


  1. Offers: When the Hiring Official has made the final selection of the candidate to hire, the Recruiter will provide a pay recommendation taking relevant factors into consideration. The department may prepare an offer letter and once accepted, Human Resources will prepare the offer confirmation letter of record (LOR) to the incoming employee.
  2. Under certain circumstances, it may be necessary to rescind a contingent offer of employment. These circumstances include, but are not limited to the following:
    • A candidate fails to comply with established timelines associated with the pre-employment screening process;
    • A candidate does not pass the pre-employment screen;
    • A candidate omits or falsifies information on the application or related documents;
    • Reference information is unfavorable or inconsistent with information provided by the candidate.
    In the event that it is appropriate to rescind an offer, Human Resources will notify the Hiring Officer as well as the candidate in writing.
  3. Work Eligibility: 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 first day of employment. Documentation that establishes eligibility to work in the United States must be presented no later than the 3rd day of employment. 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 to make sure that all legal and policy requirements are met before any job offer is made.
  4. Temporary Employees: Hiring of employees for temporary positions should also be conducted through Vanderbilt Temporary Service (VTS). Temporary and PRN positions are created for a limited period of time, but no more than six months or on a situational basis as needed.
    • To ensure consistency in hiring processes and adherence to compliance requirements, VTS is also responsible for contracting with and managing all outside temporary employment. The Clinical Staffing Resource Center is responsible for contracting with and managing all outside temporary agencies as approved secondary vendors for nursing positions.
    • Arrangements with individuals providing services with the intent to pay through accounts payable or other procurement processes should be reviewed and approved by Human Resources. The department should contact their human resources consultant for a determination of whether a Consultant/Independent Contractor relationship exists. Those who do not meet the IRS eligibility requirements may be considered for hire as VTS temporary employees.
  5. Rehires and Bridging: A former employee may be considered for rehire if the separation from prior employment was voluntary and appropriate notice was provided and if the employee worked through the notice period as required by the department. (Hourly paid employees who resign are required to provide a two-week written notice and exempt employees who resign are required to provide at least one month written notice.)

    The Recruiter will review the personnel file of the former employee who has applied for reemployment and verify eligibility for rehire before forwarding the application. The Hiring Manager will be advised of the former employee's eligibility for rehire and the requirement to check references.

    Some benefits can be bridged if an employee has completed at least two consecutive years of service in a regular or term full-time and/or part-time position immediately prior to their last separation or changes to temporary work-status and returns to a regular or term position in less than one year. Temporary positions are not counted when determining whether two years of service has been completed.

  6. Transfers: Employees must have successfully completed the orientation period and have remained in the current position to allow for a six-month evaluation period to be eligible for a transfer. Vanderbilt encourages employees to establish a long-term, stable working relationship before seeking other career opportunities within the Vanderbilt system. Individuals who are not meeting performance expectations must disclose any formal performance counseling to the Hiring Official to be eligible to transfer within the Vanderbilt system.
  7. 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.
  8. Employment of Family Members: Family members can be employed at Vanderbilt. However, one family member may not have direct influence over the other’s conditions of employment (i.e., salary, hours worked, shifts, etc.). For the purpose of this policy, family member may be defined as spouse, domestic partner, son, daughter, parent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law or father-in-law or someone in a close personal relationship. Disclosures are expected to be made through the conflict of interest process upon hire and on an annual basis.

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

IV. Orientation

A full day orientation to Vanderbilt is provided to new employees, generally on the first day of employment.

  1. New Employee Orientation Period: Vanderbilt utilizes a New Employee Orientation Period for newly hired employees. This orientation period provides the new employee an opportunity to acclimate to their new position and Vanderbilt and provides the supervisor an opportunity to develop and assess the skills of the new employee. Generally, for employees who are paid hourly, the orientation period is three months following the date of hire and for exempt employees the orientation period is six months following the date of hire.
    • Internal transfers and promotions are not subject to an orientation period.
    • In the event job performance or conduct during orientation is concerning or unsatisfactory; supervisors should promptly coach the new employee. If the concerns continue, the supervisor should give the employee written notice of the deficiency and explain how the performance or conduct needs to improve in order to continue employment. During the orientation period, employment may be terminated without notice. However, termination of employment should be reviewed with Human Resources prior to taking action. Termination of employment during the orientation period is not subject to the dispute procedure. However, if an employee believes that the termination of their employment is the result of unlawful discrimination they may consult with the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services.
    • If an employee's performance or conduct does not meet the expectations set by the supervisor, or there has not been enough opportunity to evaluate the employee's performance the supervisor may extend the period of orientation up to an additional ninety days. The decision to grant an extension should be made in coordination with Human Resources. Notice of extension should be given to the employee in writing. This extension provides additional time to evaluate whether the individual meets expectations. The supervisor should outline in writing to the employee why the orientation is being extended. This extension provides additional time to evaluate whether the individual meets expectations. At the end of the extension the supervisor should discuss with the employee their performance and notify them in writing that their orientation period has been completed, if appropriate.
    • There may be a need in specific departments to extend orientation for a job classification beyond the three or six month time frame in order to ensure that all required training (mandated by employer, state or federal guidelines) is completed. Should a manager believe that their department requires additional time to successfully orient new hires to the department, they may request in writing to Human Resources for the extension. The request must include documentation that supports the need for the extension and the job roles requiring the extension. If granted, the extension will apply to all new hires within that department’s designated job role.

This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs for employees. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt staff members, who are employees at will. Vanderbilt reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, at the discretion of the University.


Applicant: any jobseeker who 1) submits an application via Vanderbilt's online application process, and 2) meets the basic qualifications of the job as determined by the Recruiter.

Candidate: An applicant who has been referred by a Recruiter for consideration by a Hiring Officer for a specific position.

Hiring Official: Manager or other Vanderbilt employee with the authority to make a hiring decision.

Recruiter: Human Resources staff member who supports the outreach, screening, and presentation of candidates to Hiring Officials.

Requisition: An electronic document filled out by a Hiring Manger or their designee on Talent Central when they want to initiate recruitment for an opening.

Posting: Placing information about an opening on the Vanderbilt University job board to notify the public and VU staff of employment opportunities.

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, PTO, 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 PTO 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). /benefits/

PRN position: PRN is an acronym that stands for the Latin phrase “pro re nata” or “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).


This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs for staff. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt staff members, who are employees at will. Vanderbilt reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, at the discretion of the University.