CU Boulder is committed to fostering a community of inclusive excellence for students, faculty, and staff by supporting a diverse environment to teach, research, learn, and work. Additionally, CU Boulder is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, national origin, pregnancy, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, veteran (military service) status, political affiliation, or political philosophy.

As a federal contractor, CU Boulder must demonstrate positive actions towards the recruitment and advancement of qualified minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and protected veterans. Furthermore, we are required to list all of our jobs vacancies with the State of Colorado when we consider individuals outside the institution for non-executive level positions. Therefore, to meet federal regulations and objectives to be an inclusive environment, CU Boulder adopts an open, competitive search policy that is free from unlawful discrimination and reflective of equal opportunity.

In certain circumstances, a department may make the decision not to use an open, competitive search process. Internal movement (transfers and promotions of current employees) does not require a search waiver or an open, competitive external search process.

Other situations may require an exception, or search waiver, where the intention is to hire someone from outside the university who is not a current employee without conducting an open, competitive search process. These exceptions should be used sparingly and can be highly criticized by the Department of Labor, which can led to potential violations of federal regulations.

To initiate a waiver request, follow the process listed below depending on the type of position (staff, faculty, or research faculty). The request will be reviewed and either approved/denied; last minute requests may result in a delay in employment.

Examples of when a search waiver is appropriate are listed below. Some of the justifications are unique to particular types of employees, such as regular faculty or research faculty.

When is a search waiver appropriate:

  • Limited – Interim Appointments whom are not a current employee to fill an immediate short-term need for 12 months or less. This would apply to employing students into a professional staff appointment independent of regular student employment. Should the appointment last beyond 12 months or wish to become permanent, a standard search process shall be needed. These positions should not be extended beyond 12 months or renewed.
  • Spousal/Domestic Partner Appointments of a fully qualified academic faculty hire where the individual’s qualified spouse or domestic partner is given an academic faculty or staff appointment for which there is no current active recruitment. It is the responsibility of the department hiring the faculty member to find a position for the qualified spouse or domestic partner.
  • Candidate specifically named in a contract or grant where a candidate is specifically named in a contract or grant award and paid 100% from an auxiliary source. 
  • Candidate Uniquely Qualified or Unique Circumstances where the candidate possesses a specialized skill, focus area, knowledge, and/or qualification; and who can fill a special need in a department and not otherwise be reasonably available on short notice. When completing the justification for the Search Waiver on this basis, first briefly describe the role, project, or research that is being conducted. Next, describe what specialized knowledge, skills, or background are required to perform these duties. Last, describe how this candidate is uniquely qualified based on their background/experience, either because of familiarity with the work, having conducted research in the field, written publications, etc., tying it to the qualifications described above.

These situations are carefully reviewed and approval depends upon, among other things, the comparison between the candidate and the needs of the department. This can apply to situations where finalists from a previous and similar search would serve the purpose of an upcoming vacancy.

The search waiver request process varies depending on the type of employee whom the department wishes to hire. If you are unsure of the best way to proceed with your staff vacancy, you may contact your campus HR recruiter or position management consultant to discuss the options.

Process

Faculty

  • The department chair or faculty liaison should complete a draft of the Search Waiver form and send the draft, along with a copy of the resume/CV, to the Affirmative Action Officer AAO@colorado.edu) for review prior to routing for signatures.
  • The department chair or faculty liaison and the Affirmative Action Officer will discuss the reasoning for the search waiver request and make changes if needed. The Affirmative Action Officer can assist with the language of the search waiver justification upon request.
  • The Affirmative Action Officer will review the Search Waiver draft and determine whether it is appropriate to use a waiver in this situation. Search Waivers should only be used when hiring a person external to the University into a new position. New positions for faculty members who are already current employees should be classified as internal movement and do not require a search waiver. An example is moving from a non-tenure track position into a tenure track position.

Steps for Search Waiver Draft Approval

  • Department or HR Service Center (Payroll and Transaction Team – HRSC@colorado.edu) creates a new position or updates a vacant position in HCM
    • Research Faculty HR will approve the position once the completed checklist is received (reference step 2)
  • Department completes the Research Faculty Series Checklist and emails to resfachr@colorado.edu for position approval
  • If this is a newly created position, department ensures the job description (including minimum and preferred requirements) has been finalized before proceeding with the Search Waiver process
  • Once the position has been approved, department discusses the reasoning for the Search Waiver with the department PI and takes notes to share with the Affirmative Action Officer
  • Department requests a resume from the targeted candidate
  • Department completes a draft of the Search Waiver form and emails the draft and resume/CV to the Affirmative Action Officer (AAO@colorado.edu) for review
  • Department and the Affirmative Action Officer will discuss the reasoning for the search waiver request and make changes if needed. The Affirmative Action Officer can assist with the language of the search waiver justification upon request.
    • The most common justification is that the applicant is uniquely qualified. When completing the justification for the Search Waiver on this basis, first briefly describe the project or research that is being conducted. Next, describe what specialized knowledge, skills, or background are required to perform these duties. Last, describe how this candidate is uniquely qualified based on their background/experience, either because of familiarity with the work, having conducted research in the field, written publications, etc., tying it to the qualifications described above
  • The Affirmative Action Officer will review the Search Waiver draft and determine whether it is appropriate to use given the situation. Search Waivers should only be used when hiring a person external to the University

Once Search Waiver Draft is Approved

  • Department routes the Search Waiver form with the CV/resume attached in DocuSign for the required signatures
  • Once Search Waiver has been completed, department creates a posting request in the Search Committee Portal using an abbreviated job ad
    • Please include a note in the “Job Posting” section that the position is for a Search Waiver.
  • Talent Acquisition will create the posting and share the private link with the department
  • Department will send the link to the candidate with a request for the candidate to upload the required hiring dossier documents (resume, cover letter, and letter of recommendation)
    • A SkillSurvey reference report may be used for the hiring dossier in lieu of a letter of recommendation
  • Department completes an offer letting using the Research Faculty Offer Letter Template and routes for signatures via DocuSign, including initial approval from Research Faculty HR
  • Talent Acquisition sends candidate request for DOB/SSN, background check, and degree verification
  • Once information has been collected, Talent Acquisition pushes information to HCM and sends confirmation to Research Faculty HR and department
  • Department or HR Service Center (Payroll and Transaction Team – HRSC@colorado.edu) enters the hire in HCM
  • Research Faculty HR reviews and approves the hire if all conditions are met, and will reach out to the department liaison for any questions or follow-up

For staff search waivers, the hiring manager or department liaison should work with the recruiter assigned to your department. The recruiter will work with the hiring manager or liaison to discuss the reasoning for the search waiver. The recruiter will work directly with the Affirmative Action Officer and will route all documents electronically through the CU Boulder Jobs ATS (Avature).

Note: Positions with a placement goal are not eligible for Search Waivers in most cases. Positions that have placement goals are also referred to as being “flagged” for women and/or minorities. A placement goal is set for a position if the number of women and/or minorities who are currently employed in that role is less than would reasonably be expected based on the availability in the relevant job market for that position. Speak to the Affirmative Action Officer about the limited times a search waiver for a position with a placement goal is justified and for further information about placement goals.

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