Completing Reasons for Non-Selection

The key is to demonstrate that each and every candidate was individually reviewed.  Reasons given for non-selection must be customized to the search and to the candidate.  Those selected for interview must meet each and every requirement as stated in the ad.  ‘Preferred’ qualifications can not be used in this stage of the process but are to be used in the final selection after on-campus interviews are complete.  The examples given in this document are not to be used as a list of reasons for Non-Selection, but used as a guide to assist you in coming up with customized reasons for non-selection that apply to your search.

Be consistent.  For example, if one person is eliminated for typos, application errors, or a poorly written cover letter, then everyone with errors or poor letters must be eliminated.  If a person is eliminated because he/she failed to submit his/her references or letters of reference, then all candidates that did the same must also be eliminated.

Student employment and/or volunteer experience does not count as professional experience unless allowed for in the advertised requirements.

Do not make assumptions about people’s income levels, and what may appear to be excessive qualifications for the job.  "Overqualified" is not a valid reason.

A candidate’s location is also not a valid reason for disqualifying him/her.  Positions are now considered to be posted world wide because of internet access.  While a department may not want to spend money on travel to bring in candidates, it can not be used as a reason for non-selection.

Identify those candidates that do not possess the required degree.  If a candidate does not possess the required degree OR the required discipline, then the reason for his/her elimination is “Did Not Meet Degree Requirement” OR “Degree Not In Related Field.”

Identify those candidates that do not meet the minimum experience requirements as advertised.  If a candidate is missing any part of the qualifications, then the reason for his/her elimination is “Did Not Meet Minimum Experience Requirement.” In addition, you must include an explanation as to which specific qualification(s) the candidate is not meeting.  

If you did telephone screens to gather more information from candidates and a candidate did not present themselves well, then the reason for his/her elimination is “Did Not Present Themselves Favorably During Telephone Screen.”

If you did telephone screens and a candidate told you he/she was no longer interested after hearing more about the position, then the reason for his/her elimination is “Withdrew.” Note the date of such.

If a candidate did not return phone calls made to collect additional information, then the reason for his/her elimination is “Failed to Return Calls for Additional Information.”

If you verified employment, degree, etc. prior to selecting candidates for interviews and those verifications were not favorable, then the reason for his/her elimination is “Employment/Education Verification Not Favorable.”

If you determined that a cover letter and/or references were a required element of the application and a candidate failed to provide either of those, then the reason for their elimination is “No cover letter” or "No References."

If effective communication skills are essential for the position and you determine that the candidate failed to write effectively or his/her materials had mistakes, typos, etc., then the reason for his/her elimination is “Poor Communication Skills.”

If a candidate did not give dates in his/her materials that allow you to verify he/she meets the required number of years of experience, you must call to verify, or you can eliminate that candidate with the reason that you are “Unable to Determine Minimum Experience Qualifications Are Met.”

If you have identified a candidate that meets the stated requirements on paper, but perhaps their experience is not in line with the needs of your department, then the reason for their elimination is “Candidate meets qualifications but experience is not as related to the needs of the department as that of the chosen candidates.”  Use this reason sparingly.

If you have identified a candidate that meets the stated requirements but does not rank as high as those you would like to interview, consider him/her for a second tier.  If you do not wish to put him/her in the second tier, then the reason for elimination is “Candidate meets qualifications but is not as strong as chosen candidates.”  A similar reason would be “Candidate’s expertise does not fit needs of department.”  Use this reason sparingly.