Screening Applicants/Completing the Pre-Interview Report

NOTE:  As of Sept. 10, 2018, the University of Iowa has a new system for managing advertising, applications, and searches for staff and health care jobs, therefore, this Recruitment Manual for P&S and faculty searches will be revised to reflect the university’s transition to the new Talent Acquisition system (OTAC). Information in this manual pertaining to faculty searches is still applicable until such time as the faculty requisitions migrate to the new OTAC system. Please contact Talent Acquisition support ( in University Human Resources with any questions about the OTAC system.

The screening process begins with an analysis of the application materials submitted by applicants in response to the announcement of an open position. The search committee is responsible for selecting candidates for interview who meet all the minimum requirements and are most qualified to fill the vacancy based on the advertised required and desirable qualifications.

  1. Screening Resumes/Curricula Vitaes

Prior to reviewing resumes or curricula vitae, search committees should determine the criteria they will use to screen applicants based on the advertised required and desired qualifications specified in the position announcement.

  1. Best Practices
  • Create a well-documented screening process in which each applicant’s qualifications are compared with the qualifications specified in the position announcement.
  • Use an applicant screening worksheet to chart each applicant’s qualifications and allow the search committee to compare each applicant’s qualifications at a glance.
  • Select a short list of applicants to recommend for interviews.
  • Phone screens and telephone interviews may be used as a screening tool to determine or clarify whether applicants meet the required and desirable qualifications.
  • Be knowledgeable about personal biases that might influence perceptions about applicants.
  • Assess ways the applicants will bring rich experiences and diverse backgrounds and ideology to the university community.
  • Screen applicants to be inclusive rather than for the sole purpose of narrowing the applicant pool.
  • Refrain from assessing applicant qualifications based on a single standard.
  1. PDF iconChecklist for Assessing Applicants' Diversity Skills

If the search committee is unable to determine if an applicant possesses the requisite commitment and/or experience promoting a diverse workforce the search committee may elect to conduct a telephone screening call to confirm whether the applicant meets the requisite qualifications. Note: this search committee action does not require pre-approval from the office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

For further information, please contact Equal Opportunity and Diversity at 335-0705 (Phone), 335-0697 (TDD), or

  1. Preparing the Pre-Interview Report

Once the search committee has screened, rated the applicants in Jobs@uiowa the search committee chair, Admin should complete the Pre-Interview Report form in the Jobs@uiowa application.  Examples of screen shots that illustrate how to prepare the Pre-Interview Report form can be found on page 8 of the Search Committee for P&S and Faculty Positions training manual. (Log onto Self-Service. Click on the Administration tab. Click on the Jobs@UIOWA link.  Under Help Documents on the right hand side you will find the document Search Committee Training.)

The Pre-Interview Report is submitted through workflow to the department, the organizational unit, and the office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. Upon approval of the Pre-Interview Report, an auto generated approval notice is sent to all persons on the workflow path, as well as the search committee chair and administrative support person.

  1. Common Errors when Completing the Pre-Interview Report
  • Inaccurate ratings and years of related experience are calculated and assigned to the applicant pool.
  • Documentation is not attached to support why applicants are not being considered for interviews when they possess similar ratings as candidates being recommended for interviews.
  • Incomplete documentation which does not explain how related experience was defined and evaluated by the search committee.
  • Incomplete documentation which does not fully explain the reasons why an applicant who was approved for Veterans’ Preference is not being recommended for an interview to include which required and desired qualifications the veteran applicant met/did not meet per Iowacode35C.3            
  1. Applicant Qualification Matrix

The PDF iconApplicant Qualifications Matrix is a resource to assist search committees in providing complete documentation on how applicants meet/do not meet required and desired qualifications. The Applicant Qualifications Matrix may be included as an attachment to the Pre-Interview Report to support the search committee’s recommendation of candidates to interview.

  1. Furlough Applicants (Professional & Scientific Employees)

If furloughed employees are in the applicant pool, check the documentation received from the Compensation & Classification Department that stipulates how the hiring department may proceed.

  1. Veterans Preference
  • Check if any applicants have exercised Veterans Preference as indicated by a flag symbol icon on the Pre-Interview Report that is adjacent to the applicants’ name. 
  • If the department does not recommend to interview the veteran applicant, it is required that the hiring department/unit attach a memorandum to the Pre-Interview Report which explains the reasons for the non-selection of a veteran applicant.
  • The documentation must include each of the advertised required and desired position qualifications that applicants meet/do not meet.

Per Iowa Code 35C.3, at the time of application or at an interview for the position, a veteran applicant may request notification of the refusal or specific grounds for the refusal. The notification shall be sent within ten days after the successful applicant is selected.

  1. PDF iconVeterans Preference Justification Sample


  1. Manual Application Entry (Faculty Searches Only)

The Chair/Admin has the capability to add an applicant manually to Jobs@uiowa.  Select manual applicant entry under the manage applications section; then start the new manual Application.  The first screen requires the basic applicant information to be entered; once completed select "Fill out Manual Application" to continue on the To Do list and upload the required attachments (Screen 8).

(Faculty Searches Only) If entering an applicant through the manual process, a paper Self-Identification form will need to be sent to the applicant to include the requisition number, position title, and department/unit name which are to be forwarded to EOD.