Case Study: Bates College
Bates College started using Interfolio’s ByCommittee to help bring consistency and ease-of-use to faculty recruiting on their small liberal arts campus, as well as to boost neutrality in the committee search process.
Before adoption of ByCommittee, Bates had separate hiring processes for faculty and staff: staff were hired through a traditional applicant tracking system (ATS), while faculty were reviewed and recruited through email and paper. Rather than bring faculty hiring into the staff applicant tracking system, Bates chose to bring all hiring onto Interfolio’s ByCommittee, a faculty-driven platform for committees. This decision was motivated in part by the limitations of typical application tracking systems for faculty-hiring specificities: ATS’s are often not able to accommodate file sizes for the types of documents that the faculty searches require, and often do not include features to request or distribute confidential recommendations.
A central challenge to faculty hiring before ByCommittee was around a “single source” of failure—a common pain point among smaller colleges that run hiring out of a single office. While benefiting from staff expertise, the process is dependent on no one getting sick or retiring—when the source of knowledge is out of the office, no one is able to pick up the work and move on it in their absence.
Usability has been a highlight of the ByCommittee experience at Bates. “We were looking for an interface that was more user friendly for our search committees, and that was something Interfolio delivered,” said Amie Parker, Director of Staff and Student Employment at Bates College. “Faculty love it. And, people being hired for professional-level staff jobs love it as well.” Previously, because faculty hiring was paper-driven, committees had to go into an office and “sign out” materials one at a time, so review became long and laborious. Now, it’s easy for committee members to review materials asynchronously. Furthermore, the process no longer requires an administrative assistant to coordinate all the applications (previously, someone had to download the applications into a folder and notify the committee). “Before,” says Parker, “the system wasn’t so intuitive that a search committee member could just look at the applications. Now, we have more independence for the search committees. Plus, faculty all over the world can participate. It makes committees more robust because the faculty members don’t have to be on campus to review.”
A favorite feature on campus has been ByCommittee’s ratings functionality. Previously, committee members would rate candidates individually and hiring managers would spend time coordinating and calculating the results into complicated matrices. Now committee managers can customize criteria within the platform, and enjoy that they don’t have to do any extra legwork to combine and average different ratings across committee members.
ByCommittee has also helped contribute to the neutrality of the search process by taking on much of the technical support. Rather than field questions from applicants themselves, committees and administrators can let applicants ask Interfolio as many questions as they need to feel confident in their submission—without interacting with the college in a way that might influence the search outcome.
Additionally, while previously under no obligation from the federal government to track hiring demographics, Bates College has recently become a federal contractor and is now required to collect EEO data to prove fair employment practices. “It feels a lot better knowing that Interfolio has the tools and experience in the arena of documenting faculty diversity,” says Parker. “I think it will be a great resource in this transition.”