Emory Report
October 17, 2005
Volume 58, Number 7


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October 17 , 2005
Panel dicusses hiring, promotion practices

BY eric rangus

The title of the Oct. 6 panel discussion was “De-Mystifying Hiring Practices at Emory,” but for the some 100 staff in attendance in Winship Ballroom, perhaps the best definition of the event was “De-Mystifying Promotion Practices at Emory,” as the speakers not only discussed how people get jobs at Emory but also gave tips on how staff can advance once they are on the payroll.

“Meet as many people as possible,” said Tom Fitch, director of employment with Human Resources (HR). While the head table included administrators such as President Jim Wagner and Provost Earl Lewis, it was Fitch who was the afternoon’s most prominent speaker. “Attend cross-departmental activities,” he continued. “That’s one of the most important things for advancing your career here.”

Another of the seven panelists, Bob Ethridge, vice president for Equal Opportunity Programs, expanded on Fitch’s answer, saying that networking also should include attending professional conferences or other skill-based forums. “Sharpening your skills makes you more marketable,” he said.

Prior to that discussion, Fitch and HR Senior Director Theresa Milazzo presented a variety of statistics that spoke directly to the panel’s title. According to their figures, in the last fiscal year, Emory received more than 150,000 job applications (many people applied for more than one job), and nearly 75 percent of those hired came from open recruitment (which encompasses applicants from outside and inside Emory). Over the last three fiscal years, the average number of days required to fill an open position ranged between 63 and 70; new hires are predominantly female (61.6 percent), and a slight majority are white (51.4 percent); and, of the 1798 positions filled in the last fiscal year, 59 percent were external hires, 29 percent were internal hires and 12 percent moved from temporary to full-time employment.

Fitch said that while fewer than one-third of new hires came from inside Emory, those numbers are slightly misleading because outside applicants outnumber inside ones by 10 to 1, meaning that hiring managers do give preference to internal applicants.

One misconception the panelists wanted to dispel is the number of hires done through administrative decision—a process that bypasses open recruitment, possibly preventing people from applying for available positions. Fitch said fewer than 3 percent of new hires come from administrative decision, and many of those were new faculty. Ethridge added that all administrative decisions must be cleared through the EOP office and they are warranted only by special need, changes in organizational structure and/or position requirements, or interdepartmental promotion.

Other things that were “de-mystified” included the difference between reclassification and a promotion. Milazzo said the former would involve a staff person whose job has evolved over time, leading to a change of description, and their previous position is not filled. A promotion involves a staff person filling a higher-level position, with their previous position being filled.

In response to a question, panelist Amy Adelman, associate general counsel, said the University’s diversity goals are not quotas, and while EOP sometimes recommends that hiring managers consider minorities for hire, they also are encouraged to hire the best person for the job.

Wagner and Lewis did not participate in the discussion itself. Instead, they gave the opening and closing comments, and both stressed the importance of increased communication between staff and administrators.
In his opening statement, Wagner said panels such as this one help the administration see what it can do better, then make the appropriate changes. In his closing statement, Lewis said sharing “best practices” from across the Emory enterprise would lead to a stronger community.

The panel, which grew out of the Campus Climate Survey from earlier this year, was presented by Employee Council and the President’s Commissions on the Status of Women, Race and Ethnicity, and LGBT Concerns.
Although the panel discussion was not recorded, a transcript of the questions and answers will be posted to the various president’s commissions’ websites in the near future.