People are our greatest resource. HMS is the leading medical school in the country, and we attribute this to the remarkable people who teach, conduct research and work here. A central tenet of the Human Resource mission is to identify and hire individuals who reflect the values of this institution and who will be dedicated to the success of our daily efforts “to create and nurture a diverse community of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease.” Below, please find the tools and resources needed to gain an understanding of the recruitment process and to successfully attract and retain the highest quality talent.

Our Recruitment Process

  • Step 1

    Completing Job Posting and Position Request Form

    Use the HR Position Request Form (electronic submission [user guide]) to:

    • Post a replacement position
    • Post a replacement position with changes
    • Request a new position To begin, electronically fill out the form. 

    Contact Information

    Designate the main contact working with the HR recruiter to fill the position. In general, this is typically the Hiring Manager, Department Administrator (or other designee), or both.

    Position Information

    Position Title

    The business title specific to the job.

    • For an HUCTW position, you must use the job code title as the position title (e.g. Staff Assistant).
    • For an exempt position, you can modify the job code title as needed.

    Working Title

    A working title is optional and only necessary for HUCTW jobs. Its purpose is to provide a more descriptive job title than the default job code title.

    When an HUCTW position is listed in Harvard Careers (Harvard’s candidate recruitment system) it appears with the job code title first, followed by the working title, such as: Staff Assistant (Customer Service Specialist).


    Positions can either be adding to head count (new position) or a replacement (filling a position that was vacated). Adding a new position may require review and approval if the job has not been funded in the current budget.

    Work Schedule

    Harvard has three types of full-time schedules, 35, 37.5, and 40 hours per week. If the employee is working a normal Monday through Friday (7.0,7.5, or 8.0 hours a day) you are not required to provide schedule information, however, we recommend you do so candidates know the schedule when applying. This is especially helpful when schedules are considered atypical.

    Candidate in Mind

    An individual you have identified as a new hire for a position prior to posting. This could be someone internal or external.

    Alternative Work Arrangements

    Some positions may allow for flexible work arrangements, such as flexible hours, telecommuting, and/or job sharing. If these options are available, include this information on the position form. Click here for more information about Alternative Work Arrangements 

    Funding Information

    Indicate if the position is grant funded. You will need to provide information about the position funding, including the 33 digit billing code, and the budgeted minimum and maximum salary range. If you have questions about funding information, contact your local Finance department. If you are unfamiliar with Harvard’s salary grade ranges, you can view them within Harvie by clicking here.

    Job Description

    A job description summarizes the most essential job duties and the skills, qualifications and experience you are seeking in a candidate. It is used not only for recruiting and hiring, but goal setting and performance evaluation, pay grade and salary range, and for career path development. It is also is used to determine if the position is exempt or nonexempt from overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

    Form Duties and Responsibilities

    The job duties and responsibilities section summarizes the overall purpose, expectations and objectives of the job. Typically the most important duties and responsibilities are listed first. Include information on the position’s supervisory responsibilities, if any. This section is not intended to include every detail of the work performed, but rather to provide an understanding of the position and expectations.

    • HUCTW Positions: When creating a job description for a HUCTW position, refer to the generic job descriptions as a guide.
    • You can also use Harvard Careers to view similar jobs that have already been developed. To review existing jobs in Harvard Careers, go to Harvard Jobs and click the Administrative/Staff link on the right side of the page. Do a search on jobs similar to the one you are trying to fill. You can use the descriptions for ideas in crafting your own. Be selective – not all Harvard Careers job descriptions are well written.

    Basic Qualifications

    Basic Qualifications are the minimum qualifications a an applicant must have in order to be considered for the position. These qualifications, which are discussed in more detail here, must be:

    • Non-comparative (e.g., three years’ experience in a particular position, rather than a comparative requirement such as “must have the most years’ experience among applicants”);
    • Objective (e.g., a Bachelor’s degree in accounting, but not a “technical degree from a good school”);
    • Relevant to the performance of the particular position; and
    • Demonstrable by evidence or statements in the candidate’s “expression of interest” (resume or cover letter).

    Establishing basic qualifications helps determine which applicants to include and which to exclude for purposes of Harvard’s Affirmative Action record keeping responsibilities.

    Basic qualifications for HUCTW jobs should be modeled after the (see generic job descriptions link above). 

    Additional Qualifications

    Included in this section are qualifications that are required, but do not meet the basic qualifications criteria (noncomparative, objective, relevant, and demonstrable) and qualifications that are preferred (if absent will not disqualify a candidate, but which are strongly desirable).

    Note the additional qualification designation does not limit your ability to use that qualification as a basis for selection among applicants for the position.

    Job Posting and Position Request Addendum

    Pre-Employment Screens

    The types of pre-employment screening required depend on the duties and responsibilities of the position, and must be indicated in Harvard Careers at the time the position is posted. Screening is only conducted for the final candidate to determine that nothing objectionable exists in the finalist’s background. HMS HR manages the pre-employment screening process for all staff positions, working with an outside vendor, HireRight.

    New positions and replacement positions with substantial changes will be reviewed for grade and FLSA status by the HMS Classification Committee. Completed forms should be sent to your Human Resources Consultant and Recruiter.

    If you have questions at any point during the recruitment process, please contact your HR Recruiter.

  • Step 2

    Position Posting Process

    Job Posted to Harvard Careers

    Once a position has been graded and posted, you will receive an email informing you of the requisition number and your recruiter will be in touch to set up an intake meeting to discuss your search strategy. Please note that all HUCTW positions will be posted internally for 10 days.

    External Postings

    All positions that are listed on Harvard Careers are automatically posted (after 10 business days for HUCTW positions) on New England HERC,, Indeed, Simply Hired and Direct Employers. All jobs are also sent through automatic feed to diversity sites such as VetJobs, Veterans Enterprise, Be A Hero – Hire A Hero, Job Opportunities for Disabled American Veterans, Disabled Person, The Black Perspective, Hispanic Today and Women in Business & Industry among others. Local organizations can be selected by your HR Recruiter through JobTarget to have job postings emailed directly to them. These organizations include Urban League, GetKonnected, Asian American Civic Association, El Mundo and North American Indian Center of Boston. Please contact your HR Recruiter if you would like to advertise at these organizations or on other job boards, publications, or professional organizations or if you have any questions.

    Diversity Recruitment Resources

    The recruitment of a diverse workforce is important to Harvard Medical School and Harvard University. By building a diverse team, we will expand the perspectives and approaches from which decisions are made. Additionally, as a Federal Contractor, Harvard is required by Federal Law to conduct fair and inclusive searches and as well as make “good faith efforts” in the recruitment of minorities, women, individuals with disabilities and veterans. At the time of posting you will be informed if there is an Affirmative Action goal associated with your position and your recruiter will partner with you to develop a strategy to attract a diverse pool of candidates. Below are additional resources to assist with recruiting a diverse team.

    • Diversity and Inclusion Partnerships
    • Administrative Fellows Program
    • Effective Strategies for Recruiting a Diverse Team: Training designed to examine why diversity recruitment is important, how to think differently about staffing needs and gain skills to reduce unconscious bias during the interview process. Additionally, the training covers the law surrounding Affirmative Action.
  • Step 3

    Intake Meeting

    After the job has been posted, your recruiter will schedule an intake meeting with you to review the components of a consistent and fair search process, including: 

    • OFCCP Compliance
    • HUCTW Compliance
    • Sourcing options
    • Resume access
    • Interview process
    • Reference options
    • Pre-employment Screens/Offer
  • Step 4

    Screening and Interviewing

    Resume Review

    Your recruiter will search for and identify candidates who, at a minimum, meet the basic qualifications. You may access qualified candidates in Harvard Careers via the Hiring Manager role or via eLink.

    Hiring Manager Role

    The Hiring Manager role in Harvard Careers provides you quick access to view the credentials of candidates who have applied to a requisition where you are listed as the hiring manager and the candidates are in a status of Manager Review or higher. The Hiring Manager role replaces the eLink. For more information regarding the hiring manager role, please contact your recruiter. If you already have the role, click here to access a guide on how to use it.


    The eLink is an email containing a link to each candidate’s Talent Record. You should review these candidates in a timely manner, typically 1-3 days from receipt. If a candidate interests you, it is good practice to save the resume as a PDF file in a folder on your network or local drive; eLinks expire after 60 days. If someone outside of Harvard needs to review a candidates’ resume, you can forward this reviewer the resume you saved on your network or local drive. (Recruiters can only send eLinks to Harvard employees.)

    Good candidates do not stick around forever

    Identifying candidates quickly and getting them into the interview cycle is critical to the success of your search. A recent study showed that 34 percent of job candidates used their experience in the interview process (good or bad) as a determining factor in whether to accept or decline a job offer. Long delays and very little action or communication result in a bad experience.

    Phone Screens

    Review candidates presented by your recruiter via hiring manager role or eLink. Identify those candidates you would like the recruiter to phone screen. The phone screen is usually considered an initial interview, and a way to glean basic information to be used to decide whether a candidate should move on to an in person interview. Some typical questions included in a phone screen are:

    • Please give a brief overview of your current position.
    • How did you hear about this position? What interested you in applying?
    • Why are you looking for a new role?
    • What are your salary expectations?

    Preparing for an Interview

    Before you meet with candidates, it is recommended that you review their resumes and cover letters and note areas about which you would like additional information. Familiarize yourself with the legally permissible interview questions and prepare a list of basic behavioral interview questions to ask every candidate. It is also recommended that each candidate be interviewed by a team. Based on their role in the department and expertise, members of the interviewing team will be able to gather different information from the candidates.

    Below are resources to assist with preparing for and interviewing candidates.

    • Guide to Legally Permissible Interview Questions and Discussions
    • Behavioral Interview Questions: Behavioral interviewing is a style of interviewing based on the premise that past behavior is the best indicator of future performance. Interviewees are asked questions designed to elicit specific examples of when they have demonstrated particular behaviors or skills. The answers to these questions can give interviewers a better idea of how the candidate would deal with an actual work situation, and help assess a candidate’s potential for success in a position.
    • Guide to Interview Questions for Hiring Managers
    • HMS Competencies: This tool was designed to assist you in crafting job descriptions and framing interview questions.
    • Record Retention: The notes you make on resumes, during interviews or other notes you make related to job applicants are legal records. These notes must be retained for three years after the end of your search. 2 Screening and Interviewing

    Format of an Interview

    It is recommended that each member of the interview team use a structured approach for all of the interviews. This structured approach involves being clear about the competencies needed in a job candidate, preparing questions ahead of time, and sticking to the agenda. Below is a recommended format for an interview.

    1. Set the tone of the interview
    2. Greet and welcome the candidate
      1. Describe your position and what you do for the department
      2. Explain the purpose of the interview
    3. Give a brief overview of your school, your department goals, and objectives
    4. Provide a brief description of the job responsibilities
    5. Exchange information/the “body” of the interview
      1. Conduct the behavioral interview using the questions you have outlined beforehand
      2. Gain relevant information that will be useful to your decision making process
      3. Discuss any travel requirements
      4. Allow the candidate to ask you questions
    6. Closing the interview
      1. Go over the next steps in the hiring process
      2. Thank the candidate for their time

    Identifying a Finalist(s)

    After all interviews have been conducted, the interview team should meet to review their post interview analyses and determine which candidate should proceed to reference checks. Below are the recommended steps to follow when conducting a post interview analysis:

    • Review interview notes
    • Add any details you may remember but did not write down
    • Identify additional red flags you may not have noted in the actual interview
    • Compare your notes with the “Must List” of skills that the candidate must have to be considered for the position
    • Compare your notes with your “Wish List” of skills you would like the candidate to possess
    • Make a decision as to whether you recommend moving forward with the candidate
    • Share recommendations with other members of the interview team
  • Step 5

    Reference Checks

    Checking References Finding the right candidate is essential in the recruitment process. Background and reference checking has proven to be a critical process to augment employer selection. Conducting checks helps to minimize risk associated with adverse impact, hiring/replacement cost, lost performance time and time invested in training. Please note that checking references should only be done for finalists. 

    • SkillSurvey: HMS uses a third party reference checking vendor to collect feedback on the candidate from the candidate’s former managers and colleagues. The Recruiter will initiate the Skill Survey process.
    • If a hiring manager does not want to utilize Skill Survey, that hiring manager will need to call 3 supervisory references.
  • Step 6

    Offers and Pre-employment Screening

    Salary Offers

    Harvard University staff salaries, when combined with comprehensive benefits, generous paid time-off, access to education and professional development and a vibrant campus environment offering almost limitless cultural and recreational opportunities, represent a compelling total rewards package. Starting salaries vary depending on experience, skills, the market for the position, and the departmental budget. After the reference checking process is complete, your Recruiter will work with you to determine the externally competitive and internally equitable salary for each new employee. Click here to see salary ranges. In all cases, your Recruiter contacts the candidate to make the final offer.

    Pre-Employment Screening

    Before hiring can be finalized, your recruiter will conduct pre-employment screening. The types of pre-employment screening required depend on the duties and responsibilities of the position, and must be indicated in Harvard Careers at the time the position is posted. Screening is only conducted for the final candidate in order to determine that nothing objectionable exists in the finalist’s background. HMS HR manages the pre-employment screening process for all staff positions, working with an outside vendor, HireRight.

  • Step 7

    Closing the Position in Harvard Careers

    Applicant Data for Affirmative Action Reporting Form

    The University is required by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) to retain applicant data for affirmative action reporting. Once an offer has been accepted, you should electronically complete the Applicant Data Form and return it to the recruiter. Click here to find the Affirmative Action EEO Reporting form.

    You must indicate on the form the disposition reason for any candidate who was interviewed. Click here to download a list of Harvard Careers disposition reasons. Note: This form is required to be submitted to your recruiter in order to close a position.