Hiring and Employment

Effective: July 1, 2019
Contact: University Human Resources (UHR)


Related Policies
- Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
- Affirmative Action Statement
Roles and Responsibilities
- University Human Resources (UHR)
- HR Service Delivery Team
- Office of The Senior Vice President and Provost (SVPP)
- Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO)
Managers and Employees
- Managers and Appointing Authorities
- Employees
External and Internal Search
P&S Transfer and Promotion
- Criteria
P&S Demotion
Faculty Appointment and Advancement
Merit Transfer, Promotion, and Demotion
Search Waiver


The university endeavors to cultivate a rewarding and productive work environment through the selection and retention of a highly qualified, talented, and diverse workforce. The university encourages, and supports, staff and faculty through the provision of opportunities to experience growth and advancement. top


This policy applies to all faculty, professional and scientific, merit, contract, and postdoctoral employees at Iowa State University, unless otherwise noted in specific sections of this policy.

Related Policies

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement
Iowa State University (ISU) is committed to achieving excellence through a diverse workforce and is committed to equal opportunity in all aspects of employment for all qualified persons and prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, pregnancy, gender identity, veteran status, military service, disability unrelated to job requirements, genetic information, or other protected status. Iowa State University is dedicated to compliance with all applicable equal employment opportunity laws and regulations.

All persons with authority and influence over personnel and employment decisions are responsible for ensuring that the personnel decisions, including but not limited to decisions regarding hiring, promotion, tenure, transfers, pay, benefits, training, education, performance, layoffs, discipline, and termination are based on the principle of equal employment opportunity. 

All employment decisions shall be based on non-discriminatory, job-related qualifications and performance, using guidance and criteria provided by University Human Resources (UHR), the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (SVPP), and the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) as applicable. Employment practices will be monitored for disparate impact on any protected class. top

Affirmative Action Statement
Iowa State University has committed itself to develop and implement affirmative action programs with respect to employment and to comply with all applicable federal, state, and Board of Regents' rules, regulations and policies relative to nondiscrimination.

An affirmative action plan is a tool used to identify equal employment opportunities for applicants and existing employees. To remain in compliance with U.S. federal regulations, all contractors doing business with the U.S. federal government who meet certain employment and contract levels are required to have such a program. Using quantitative analysis, affirmative action plans compare the composition of ISU’s workforce to that of relevant labor pools. When minorities and women are not employed or promoted at the rate which would be expected, considering their availability in a relevant labor pool, an affirmative action goal is identified.

Additional information can be found in Iowa State University’s Affirmative Action Policy (see Resources below).  top

Policy Statement

Roles and Responsibilities

The following units are responsible for setting the policies, procedures and guidelines for employment, and will work with senior administrators to ensure that processes and guidelines are practical, current, and transparent with enough flexibility to serve the university’s mission. 

University Human Resources (UHR)
University Human Resource is responsible for the development and oversight of professional and scientific and merit employment procedures and guidelines for hiring, transferring, promoting, classifying, and paying employees in accordance with the established affirmative action plan, equal employment opportunity (EEO) guidelines, State of Iowa Board of Regent’s policies, and other relevant state and federal regulations. top

HR Service Delivery Team 
HR service delivery teams, consisting of senior HR partners, HR partners, HR coordinators and staff recruiting specialists, are responsible for providing front line advice and support to senior leaders, managers, and employees. The HR service delivery team is responsible for administering employment procedures and guidelines to the university community for hiring, transferring, promoting, classifying, and paying employees in accordance with established university policy, affirmative action plan, EEO guidelines, State of Iowa Board of Regent’s policies, and other relevant state and federal regulations.

Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (SVPP) 
The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost is responsible for developing academic appointment procedures and guidelines for hiring, transferring, promoting, classifying, and paying employees in accordance with the established affirmative action plan, EEO guidelines, State of Iowa Board of Regent’s policies, and other relevant state and federal regulations.  top

Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO)
The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) exists to ensure that the university’s commitment and goals toward equal opportunity are integral components of ISU’s policies and practices.

OEO is responsible for fostering an inclusive environment and setting policies and practices that create equal opportunity in employment and set standards for non-discriminatory practices. OEO strives to ensure that all university community members uphold federal, state, and campus nondiscrimination laws. 

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requires an affirmative action plan for any employer receiving federal money, such as grants. Employers are required to actively outreach to minorities and protected classes, and to ensure non-discrimination in employment practices. An affirmative action officer within the OEO will oversee compliance with the OFCCP and the development of the affirmative action plan and subsequent goals.

The OEO in partnership with University Human Resources and the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost will evaluate employment practices in coordination with the affirmative action officer for any potential impact on protected classes and recommend policy or practice revisions.  top

Managers and Employees

Managers and Appointing Authorities
Managers and appointing authorities will play an important role in administering employment decisions with consideration for the university’s EEO statement and commitment to equal opportunity and non-discrimination in employment decisions. They are responsible for adhering to all relevant employment regulations, policies, practices, and guidelines in all employment actions.

It is the responsibility of the manager and appointing authority to follow the policies, procedures, and guidelines set forth by UHR, SVPP, and OEO in making and administering employment decisions.

Employees are responsible to discuss with their manager or HR representative their interest in development opportunities, promotions, transfers, or raise questions about classification or pay. If employees have concerns about advice given on any of the above actions, they may seek assistance from guidance documentation associated with this policy, University Human Resources, the Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, or other offices as indicated by the nature of their concerns (OEO, University Ombuds, etc.) top

External and Internal Search

A search is the competitive recruitment process used to identify the best qualified candidates for a position. A search is visible to potential applicants, provides equal opportunity to applicants, and meets federal and state job listing requirements. It is also referred to as an open recruitment.

In light of Iowa State University's goal to diversify its employee population, it is the university's policy that when a position is posted, the pool of applicants for positions being filled be as broad and diverse as possible.

An external search is the competitive recruitment process used to identify the best-qualified candidates for a position both internally and externally to the university. In order to encourage a rewarding and productive work environment, and provide current employees opportunities for growth and advancement, an internal search may also be considered. An internal search is the competitive recruitment process used to identify the best-qualified internal university only candidates for a position. 

External and Internal searches for positions must be open for a minimum of seven (7) days. top

P&S Transfer and Promotion 

Transfers and promotions provide staff the opportunity for career growth and advancement at Iowa State University. Managers are encouraged to consider internal candidates from within departments throughout ISU, therefore managers should be supportive of employees who have the desire to enhance their skills or develop new competencies to pursue different or greater responsibilities and to transfer or promote within the ISU community.

Expressing an interest in a transfer or promotion at ISU will not adversely impact an employee’s current employment. There are, however, specific guidelines and criteria described in the Hiring and Employment Guidelines (see Resources below) associated with this policy for staff considering a transfer or promotion.

In all cases, the employee’s work record, including but not limited to performance, attendance, efforts to develop job related skills, demonstrated job related competencies, and behaviors may be used as valid criteria for determining suitability for hiring, promotion, and transfer. 

The Hiring and Employment Guidelines contain additional criteria and guidance for professional and scientific employees regarding eligibility for transfer and promotion. top

P&S Demotion

Demotion is defined as a change in status to a lower salary grade level. Demotion may be voluntary, involuntary, or as a result of reclassification. Standards and procedures used for involuntary demotion are outlined in the university's policies concerning performance appraisal and dismissal. 

If an employee changes positions (appointed through promotion, transfer, or demotion) outside the original departmental unit, the employee will be considered a new employee with respect to the university's policies concerning performance appraisal and dismissal. top

Faculty Appointment and Advancement

The Faculty Handbook (see Resources below) contains policy and procedure regarding faculty appointment and advancement.

Merit Transfer, Promotion, and Demotion

The Regent Merit System Rules (see Resources below) contain process and procedure regarding merit hiring and movement as set by the Board of Regents. top

Search Waiver

A search waiver, also referred to as a waiver of open recruitment, is a formal approval to hire an individual directly into a position in lieu of open recruitment. 

The reason for the search waiver must meet criteria defined by the OEO, and the individual hired must meet or exceed the qualifications for the appointment and position.

This policy does not apply to the following employee types and scenarios:

  • Dual career program
  • Newly graduated (within 30 calendar days after commencement) Iowa State predoctoral and postdoctoral students for a limited term of up to three months
  • Temporary, seasonal, event and student employees
  • Emergency appointments
  • Positions governed by Regents Merit System rules 
  • Administrative positions that are filled on a rotating basis 
  • Interim administrative appointments or assignments

In light of ISU’s commitment to equal opportunity, a search waiver requested for situations outside of those listed above shall only be used in exceptional circumstances. Exceptions to this policy must be requested from a HR service delivery team and will be approved by the Director of Equal Opportunity or a designee. Ordinarily, such requests will be based on documented evidence that qualified candidates are unlikely to be available through an open recruitment, or that an extended recruitment period would risk negating an opportunity to hire a member of an under represented group.  top


It may be necessary for the institution to reorganize or restructure the operations of the university to further strategic goals or improve operational efficiency. Campus leadership shall work with University Human Resources and the Office of Equal Opportunity to create a fair and equal process for impacted employees. The process will be designed to balance the strategic goals of the restructure with consideration for the impacted employees.

For the purposes of this policy, restructuring is considered any reorganization that impacts employees beyond a single department. Refer to Iowa State University’s Workforce Reorganization Policy (see Resources below) for more information. top