The following terms relating to searches and hiring are used in this module:

affirmative action

refers to efforts made to expand employment opportunity for members of a particular race, gender, or ethnicity group previously excluded from employment opportunities. These efforts must be consistent with applicable laws and regulations.


in the context of unlawful harassment, persons qualified for protection based on "age" are defined as "persons 40 years of age or older" (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).

charge to the search committee

the expectations of the search committee, as defined by the hiring official.


the complexion of a person's skin; usually refers only to skin color or pigmentation (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).


any statement or system of belief, principles or opinions (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).

departmental equal opportunity officer

this person is designated by the department head and is familiar with the universityís Equal Opportunity plan and its goals. The unitís Equal Opportunity Officer serves as a consultant, resource, and advisor to the search committee and helps to scrutinize the search process to ensure a diverse set of qualified candidates are being considered.


a handicapping condition: any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities; one who has a record of such impairment; or one who is regarded as having such an impairment (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).


unequal and unlawful treatment based upon race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.

equal employment opportunity

the right of all persons to be considered based on their ability to meet the requirements of the job. Because equal opportunity does not typically change existing conditions, affirmative action efforts may be necessary.

essential functions of the job

job duties that must be performed by the person in the position, or a job duty that is not performed frequently but is critical to the position (as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act).

hiring official

the dean, department head, director, or other person who is responsible for selecting the search committee members, designating the chairperson, and making final hiring decisions.

national origin

characteristic of or peculiar to the people of a nation; of or relating to ancestral beginnings (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).

panel interviews

applicant interviews with more than one member of the search committee or other designated interviewers; they are recommended to help ensure objective screening and evaluation of candidates.

protected class

a group of people protected by federal or state law or by university policy; federally protected classes are race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and veteran status; additionally, the classes of creed and sexual orientation are protected by some states' laws and/or some universities' policies.


a local geographic or global human population distinguished as a more or less distinct group by genetically transmitted physical characteristics; any group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographical distribution; mankind as a whole (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).

reasonable accommodation

a modification in the work or campus environment or in the way things are usually done that results in equal opportunity for an individual with a disability.

recruitment plan

a comprehensive plan developed by the hiring official and the search committee that includes items pertaining to the organization of the search committee, creation of the position description, organization of the search, and advertisement of the position.


the expression of one's belief in and/or reverence for a superhuman power recognized as the creator and/or governor of the universe; or lack thereof (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).


the condition or character of being male or female; the physiological, functional, and psychological differences that distinguish the male and female (definition by the North Carolina Office of State Personnel).

sexual orientation

an enduring emotional, romantic, sexual or affectional attraction to another person. It is distinguished from other components of sexuality including biological sex, gender identity (the psychological sense of being male or female) and the social gender role (adherence to cultural norms for feminine and masculine behavior).

Sexual orientation exists along a continuum that ranges from exclusive homosexuality to exclusive heterosexuality and includes various forms of bisexuality. Bisexual persons can experience sexual, emotional, and affectional attraction to both their own sex and the opposite sex. Persons with a homosexual orientation are sometimes referred to as gay (both men and women) or as lesbian (women only). Sexual orientation is different from sexual behavior because it refers to feelings and self-concept. Persons may or may not express their sexual orientation in their behaviors (definition from the American Psychological Association).


occurs when the percentage of employees in a protected group (women or minorities) is less than the availability percentage for that protected group, as indicated by census data, reports of graduates from graduate programs, and other data that give an indication of how many individuals in the protected class are available in the geographic recruiting area. This term is used by affirmative action planners who seek to apply good faith efforts to increase the percentage of utilization of minorities and women in a work force.

veteran status

the quality of having served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days and discharged or released with other than a dishonorable discharge (definition from the U.S. Department of Labor).

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UNC-Chapel Hill Online Search Committee Training