A Selection Committee is a group of individuals who determine the merit of applicants and make hiring recommendations. A university may use a variety of methodologies and structures for Selection Committees, but there are some general guidelines that help ensure fairness and transparency in the process.
Ideally, diversity in Selection Committee members is maximized in order to get different perspectives on the applicants and reduce the possibility of any individual having a preference for or against certain candidates. Selection Committees should also attempt to incorporate multiple genders, ages, ethnicities, functional expertise and other factors that enhance human diversity.
Each member of a Selection Committee independently evaluates a vast amount of information throughout the process to develop their own rankings, opinions and decisions. This includes hours of personal observations, discussions with coaches, directors of athletics and commissioners, as well as review of and comparison of various data.
The NCAA lists a few factors that make up a Selection Committee’s evaluation of teams, including their own “evaluations from watching teams,” head-to-head results, conference and road records, team strength, key player injuries, imbalanced schedules and a bunch of smart nerdy metrics such as RPI, BPI, KPI and KenPom. And that’s just the start, because there are also subjective — and impossible to measure — considerations such as the “eye test,” which is that a team looks good on the big stage.
It’s also important to note that Selection Committee members are not allowed to discuss the process or any aspect of their deliberations with anyone outside of the Committee and nominated referees. It’s also not a good idea for Selection Committee members to share their individual rankings with one another, because they might try to influence each other’s decisions.
In addition to ensuring the confidentiality of their discussions, Selection Committee members are expected to follow a code of conduct that includes five core values of inclusion, fairness, respect and excellence. They are also required to complete an online Selection Committee Chair Training module, which outlines these values and provides tips on how to conduct effective meetings.
Selection Committee interviews can be daunting for candidates, especially if the interview structure is not ideal (such as having people sit in a hot-seat style arrangement or pitted against one another). To improve the interview experience and increase the chances of making a successful hire, consider seating arrangements that minimize discomfort, limit distractions and promote conversational flow.
When possible, a Selection Committee should also use random ordering when rating and discussing candidates. This helps to avoid presentation bias, which occurs when nominees who are evaluated or discussed earlier receive more attention than those later in the process.
In cases where an individual has a potential conflict of interest or commitment, they should declare this to the Committee Chair and recuse themselves from the selection process. A committee member who is unable or unwilling to recuse themselves should be replaced by an alternate with the same technical and demographic profile, where possible.