What Is the Conventional Hiring Process in Higher Education Like?

Applying for a job in higher education comes with a lot of uncertainty–it might feel like the bid materials you spent hours working on ended up in a black hole. Sometimes, you don’t even hear back from your potential employer. Such situations can make the Submit button seem like the end of the story.

However, this is just the beginning. 

Understanding the hiring process in higher education helps you create effective applications that align with your employers’ preferences and perspectives. In addition, the knowledge will help you navigate the job search process with more confidence and clarity.  

What to Expect From the Hiring Process in Higher Education

Different institutions have unique processes and protocols. However, the hiring process in higher education generally entails:

Application Review

The hiring committee will assess your qualifications and experience and how your capabilities align with the position’s requirements. Afterward, they’ll create a shortlist of candidates for further consideration based on the initial screening.


The committee will invite you for the initial interview if you make the shortlist. This stage involves facing a panel of faculty members, administrators, and sometimes external stakeholders.

If you’re seeking a teaching position, you might deliver a mock lecture to assess your teaching methods and classroom management. On the other hand, research-focused positions may involve in-depth discussions about your research agenda and contributions.

Here are some questions to expect from the interviewing panel:

  • What are your strengths as an educator or administrator?
  • What are your weaknesses?
  • How do you balance your work with other responsibilities?
  • Highlight your significant contributions to your field.
  • Why are you interested in this position?

Research the institution to better understand its values. Additionally, organize your documents and arrive on time to prevent last-minute panic. 

Campus Visit

Some institutions invite candidates for on-campus interviews. You’ll meet various stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and administrators. Part of the campus visit might involve delivering presentations like research seminars or teaching demonstrations to a wider audience.

Reference Checks

Expect the hiring committee to contact your professional references, for example, academic mentors, colleagues, and supervisors.

This sheds light on your past performance, work ethic, and overall suitability for the position. Reference checks also verify the accuracy of the information in your application.

Final Deliberation

The hiring committee will then evaluate all aspects of your interviews, presentations, and references and use these insights to make a final decision. In some cases, the hiring decision may need approval from higher levels of administration.

Job Offer

The university or college will extend a job offer. You might negotiate salary, benefits, and other terms of employment. You can formally accept the job offer upon reaching an agreement.


This is the last step of the hiring process in higher education. Generally, you’ll undergo an onboarding process comprising orientation sessions and paperwork. Additionally, you’ll meet colleagues and the broader campus community.

Leveraging a Talent Community to Gain a Competitive Edge

Meeting the job requirements and knowing what to expect with the hiring process in higher education can go a long way. However, you could still use the support of a talent community.

This is essentially a collection of resources with pre-established qualifications that becomes accessible when a college or university has an opening for a specific talent category. The community aims to foster a “talent pipeline” by enabling thoughtful, purposeful, and sustained communication among members. This strategy is also called “talent nurturing.”

Joining a talent community can benefit you in the following ways:

  • Access to exclusive opportunities: Talent communities grant early access to job opportunities. Higher learning institutions may share openings within the community before posting them on public job boards.
  • Networking opportunities: The communities allow you to network with professionals in your field to create valuable connections, learn about openings, and gain market insights.
  • Industry insights and updates: Talent communities share the latest developments in the industry. This way, you adapt to what employers want and stay updated on new opportunities.
  • Direct communication with recruiters: The communities provide a platform for direct communication between members and recruiters. This creates opportunities for personalized interactions, allowing recruiters to better understand your skills and work preferences.
  • Opportunities for skill enhancement: Some talent communities offer webinars, workshops, and other resources to boost competitiveness.
  • A chance to showcase your expertise: Sharing your qualifications in talent communities and participating in relevant discussions makes you more visible to potential employers.
  • Personalized job recommendations: Advanced talent communities use algorithms and data analytics to provide personalized job recommendations based on your skills, experience, and preferences. This feature can present you with roles that align with your profile and streamline your search.
  • Community support: Job searching has its challenges. However, a talent community provides a support system to share experiences, seek advice, and learn from other group members on a similar journey.

You’re In the Right Place

Are you looking for a reliable talent community to make you the most competitive candidate on the shortlist? You’re home! Join nextSourcing, an institution-branded talent community designed to benefit employers and job seekers by providing talent resources on demand.

Our community focuses on building connections with talented individuals like you who possess unique qualifications or skill sets. Count on us for ongoing engagement through company updates, career guidance, networking opportunities, and regular check-ins during assignments.

nextSourcing is an inclusive community that actively supports Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts. The Higher Education Group, a nextSource constituent, is staffed by individuals who understand the needs of higher education job seekers.

You’ll get help identifying, locating, and managing talent, particularly as colleges and universities broaden their search to include inter-state contingent workers. nextSource further supports compliance for out-of-state workers through its Employee of Record solution.  

Speak with Us!

There’s no better time to join the nextSource talent community than now. This is your opportunity to grow your networks and familiarize yourself with the hiring process in higher education. So don’t wait. Reach out to our Higher Education Group experts today to stand out from other job seekers. Got questions? Call us at 612-615-1202 or fill out our contact form to discuss your employment needs.

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