Selection Committee is a group of people who meet to review applicants, interview candidates and make decisions about the best candidate to fill a specific position. Whether your unit is looking for someone to work in the lab or for leadership positions, these committees can help make the right decisions that are fair and transparent. Selection committees are generally a required part of any hiring process, including for honors and awards.

To help facilitate the process, it is recommended that the Selection Committee have a conference call to discuss nominations and scoring. APS staff can assist with this by providing Zoom meetings and connection information in advance of the call. While the chair may participate in discussion, it is important that they do not score or vote on nominees unless they need to break a tie. The chair should take on the role of facilitator, ensuring that all committee members can contribute and that all deliberations are conducted within the Society’s policies.

Before a Selection Committee convenes, it is important to ensure that all members have read the Selection Committee Guidelines and understand their responsibilities. The chair sets the tone and reminds members of these guidelines, as well as explains the voting procedures and conflict of interest rules.

A strong Selection Committee should have a balance of expertise and perspective. This helps minimize the likelihood of a bias or disagreement about a candidate and allows for more objective evaluations.

Diversity on Selection Committees is especially important for prizes, awards and fellowships. A diverse committee increases the chance that a nominee will be selected and can reduce biases against particular groups or research areas. Committees should try to include gender, racial or ethnic minority, functional expertise, and other diversity factors in their membership.

The Selection Committee should have at least one member who can serve as a “backup” in the event that a committee member has a conflict of interest or is unable to participate for any reason. The committee can use this backup member to vote on any candidate that requires a tiebreaker, as well as for general discussions. It is also possible to use voice or ranking votes during a Selection Committee meeting to speed up the decision-making process and prevent social loafing.

It is important to communicate clearly to the Selection Committee the ideal candidate profile and the competencies required for the position. The committee should be able to agree on the profile and weightings before moving to the interview phase. The interview process should focus on relevant skills, rather than the candidate’s background or experience, so that it is possible to compare candidates fairly.

After the Selection Committee meets and decides on a finalist, it is important to document its decision in order to support transparency. The selection committee should write a short summary of its deliberations and the reasons for its recommendation, and share this with the officers who approve the award. In addition, the committee should provide an evaluation form to each nominee that includes questions and ratings on each of the candidate’s core competencies.