University Administrative Policies


UNM_Policy_Office-L communicates important policy announcements (such as policy approvals, revisions, or campus review-and-comment periods).

UNM Policy Office

MSC05 3357
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131

Physical Location:
Scholes Hall
114 A and B

Phone: (505) 277-2069

Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual - Policy 3210: Recruitment and Hiring

Date Originally Issued: 05-01-1990
Revised: 11-01-1991, 10-15-1995, 02-05-1996, 05-15-2003, 08-01-2006, 10-01-2007, 08-12-2008, 03-01-2011, 07-01-2011, 03-11-2014, 10-01-2014, 05-15-2015, 04-21-2017, 12-05-2018, 12-09-2020

Authorized by RPM 6.2 ("Hiring, Promotion, and Transfer") and RPM 2.17 ("Public Access to University Records")

Process Owner:  Vice President for Human Resources

1. General

The University of New Mexico is committed to ensuring equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals.  UNM is committed to taking affirmative steps to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of our recruitment area and prohibits discrimination. For more information on the University’s commitment to equal employment and affirmative action refer to UAP 2720 ("Prohibited Discrimination and Equal Opportunity").  UNM believes a diverse workforce will enhance its ability to fulfill its mission of education, research, and public service. This policy describes recruitment and hiring policies and employment restrictions for all University staff employees.

2. Objectives

The goal of the University's recruitment and hiring process is to achieve an excellent and balanced workforce with representation and participation from all of the diverse sectors of our society. The primary objectives of the process are:

  • recruitment of the best qualified candidates, matching the qualifications of the candidates to the needs and expectations of the hiring units;
  • expeditious placement of qualified candidates into vacant positions;
  • participation of qualified candidates from diverse groups in applicant pools in keeping with the University’s commitment and obligation to Affirmative Action principles; and
  • fair and equitable (unbiased) treatment of all candidates in the recruitment and hiring process, in keeping with the University’s commitment and obligation to equal employment opportunity principles.

3. Disclosure of Employment Applications

Application materials submitted by candidates for employment at UNM are public records and are subject to public inspection in accordance with the provisions of the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).  Certain information provided by candidates that is not subject to public disclosure under IPRA will be redacted in accordance with UAP 3710 ("Personnel Information Disclosure Policy") before such application materials are produced for inspection. 

When UNM conducts a search to fill a specific position, UNM policy is to withhold from public inspection application materials submitted by candidates until after the closing date established for the submission of applications, unless an IPRA request is made for an application prior to that time. 

Disclosure of application information of candidates for the position of the University President is governed by RPM Policy 1.4 ("Appointment of the President of the University")

4. Tier I and Tier II Recruitment and Hiring

There are two (2) types of recruitment procedures to fill staff positions: Tier I and Tier II. Tier I procedures are used to fill the majority of staff positions, except senior executive positions.  Tier II procedures are used to fill senior executive positions identified in RPM 3.3 ("Appointment and Termination of Key Administrators").  The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) will provide oversight to ensure the equal employment and affirmative action policies and guidelines are adhered to. The Division of Human Resources (HR) is responsible for ensuring the hiring process is conducted in accordance with this Policy. 

4.1. Tier I Recruitment and Hiring

The Tier I recruitment and hiring process is used for all staff positions excluding key executive positions defined as Tier II positions and alternative appointments as defined in Section 5.  For Tier I contract positions, there should be a search committee with at least three (3) members that reflects diversity including at least one (1) female member and one (1) member from an underrepresented group and they may not be the same person. Tier I contract positions will also require a minimum fifteen (15) calendar day posting period in order to accommodate a national search for candidates.  For more information concerning Tier I recruitment and hiring contact HR.

4.2. Tier II Recruitment and Hiring 

A Tier II process is used for key executive positions. In a Tier II search, the hiring official must appoint a formal search committee to assist in actively recruiting candidates. Every search committee must have at least three (3) members with one (1) female member and one (1) member from an underrepresented group and they may not be the same person. All Tier II recruitments will use targeted recruitment strategies to create a broad and diverse applicant pool and require a minimum fifteen (15) calendar day posting period.  The hiring official and search committee must make special efforts to recruit individuals from all protected groups; therefore, all targeted recruitment efforts must be documented.

4.3. Screening and Interviewing Applicants

The Bona Fide Applicant Pool includes all candidates or nominees who meet minimum position requirements. The search committee may assist the hiring official in screening applicants for knowledge, skills, and abilities as they relate to both the minimum requirements and preferred qualifications. The hiring official or search committee is responsible for contacting and scheduling interviews with the applicants. Generally, a minimum of three (3) candidates are interviewed.  A set of standard questions must be used for all candidates in the interview process and the candidates' answers must be documented.

4.3.1. Testing

Hiring officials may not formally test individuals unless they have obtained a validated testing instrument that has been approved in advance by HR. Testing is defined as any test that is scored. This includes verbal or pen and paper tests, such as composition or writing, and skill tests, such as typing or word processing that are scored.  Informal evaluation of work samples is encouraged as a valuable source of information during the applicant evaluation process as long as the work is not scored.

4.3.2. Reference Checks

References must be checked on the final candidate. However, if more than one finalist is identified after the interview process, then reference checks on all identified finalists may also be conducted provided that consistent and defensible criteria are used to select finalists for reference checking. For external finalists at least (3) three previous supervisors should be contacted.  For current UNM employees, hiring officials should contact a minimum of two (2) previous supervisors.  A written record of reference checks, which includes questions, responses, and identities of individuals contacted is required.  If the finalist is a current or former UNM employee, the hiring official should review the employee's UNM personnel file. If the finalist is a current or former UNM Hospital employee, the hiring official should work with UNM HR to review the personnel file.

4.4. Selecting the Successful Candidate

UNM is committed to meeting its affirmative action responsibilities in recruiting and retaining a highly qualified and diverse workforce. In accordance with RPM 6.2 ("Hiring, Promotion and Transfer") and RPM 2.3 ("Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action for Employees and Students"), when qualifications, abilities, and past performance of candidates are substantially equal as determined by the hiring official:

  • New Mexico residents shall be given preference over nonresidents;
  • University employees shall be given preference over outside applicants;
  • seniority in UNM employment shall be given weight when there are two (2) or more similarly qualified UNM employees; and
  • within a job group that is determined to have underutilization, a member of the underutilized group will be given preference.

The hiring official must provide written justification for the selection to include an evaluation of the qualifications of each finalist interviewed relative to the job requirements. Before extending an offer, the hiring official must obtain approval from HR.

4.5. Offer of Employment

Prior to formal HR approval, tentative verbal job discussions may be held as long as it is clear that the job offer is contingent upon HR approval. After HR approval, the hiring official may extend an official offer of employment. HR will send hiring officials the formal Offer Letter. All final offers must be confirmed in writing. Any deviations in the obligations, commitments, or conditions of employment in the Offer Letter must be approved in advance by HR. Refer to UAP 3500 ("Wage and Salary Administration") for a discussion of starting salaries and internal equity.

4.6. Closing the Process

Once a candidate accepts an offer, the hiring official is responsible for notifying all other applicants in writing of the results of the search. The new employee must report to HR to complete new employee paperwork (such as the I-9, W-4, demographic form, payroll deposit authorization) in advance of the first day of employment.  Certain positions may require medical evaluations or background checks.  Medical evaluations will be conducted after the offer of employment and employment is contingent on the results of the evaluation.  Background checks are typically conducted prior to a formal offer of employment.

4.7. UNM Temps

HR has a temporary services program (UNM Temps) designed to assist hiring departments with their temporary staffing needs. Temporary employees are available for many entry level and support positions.  Refer to UAP 3200 (“Employee Classification”) for a discussion of limitations related to temporary employment.

5. Alternative Appointments

The University recruits and hires through competitive processes. However, from time to time there may be circumstances when an alternative appointment is necessary to fill a position without conducting a recruitment. These circumstances are described below. Whenever an alternative appointment is used to fill a staff position, the hiring official must certify that the conditions of the appointment meet the criteria as defined in this policy. Requests to appoint staff under this policy must be documented and approved by HR.

5.1. Professional Service Appointment - Not to Exceed Twelve (12) Months 

Where there is a critical, immediate, and temporary need for an individual to perform professional services, these alternative appointment procedures may be used. The professional service appointment will last no longer than twelve (12) months and there will be no extensions allowed in these cases. Individuals hired on twelve (12) month professional service appointments are classified as temporary employees. If a hiring official thinks the assignment will take longer than twelve (12) months, the hiring official must start a competitive search at the time the professional service appointment is made. The twelve (12) month professional service appointment will allow the department to have someone on board immediately while the competitive process is taking place.

5.2. Short Duration for Less than Three (3) Months

A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position for less than three (3) months per calendar year under these alternative appointment procedures. This type of alternative appointment is for temporary employees and is typically used for full-time, part-time, or intermittent services for exempt and non-exempt staff. 

5.3. Change in Employee Status

If an incumbent of a term appointment, temporary, or on-call position was initially competitively placed, the individual may be converted to regular status without a competitive recruitment.

UNM retirees or former employees may be hired under alternative appointment procedures to perform duties similar to the position previously occupied, but may not be hired into a higher grade than previously assigned without going through a competitive hiring process. Retirees or former employees may be rehired into critical or difficult to fill on-call, temporary, or regular positions where it would be beneficial to the University to have requisite skills, training, or familiarity of unit operations or functions.

UNM retirees, who are hired under this provision, must be in compliance with the Employee Retirement Board's programs. Retirees hired for more than .25 of an FTE must be certified as eligible to work under the State's Return to Work Program. These retirees must have completed the twelve (12) month lay-out period as described in Section 22-11-25.1 NMSA 1978 and 2 NMAC 82.5.15 (A) to be eligible to return to employment without suspending retirement benefits (see UAP 3625 ("Retirement")).

In cases of re-employment of both retirees and former employees, candidates must meet minimum qualifications for the position and salary rates must be approved in advance by HR.

5.4. Lateral Transfer

A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position under these alternative appointment procedures with a lateral transfer. A lateral transfer is defined as a non-competitive move from one (1) position to another in the same or similar classification within the same pay grade.  In most instances the lateral transfer creates a vacancy that will be filled through a competitive recruitment and hiring process.

5.5. Named in a Contract or Grant Award

A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position under these alternative appointment procedures with an individual specifically named in a contract or grant.  Additionally, individuals who possess unique or highly specialized qualifications required by the granting agency may be hired under this category. In these cases, employees hired in a term position may be extended.

5.6. Acting and Interim Appointments

An employee is considered to be in an acting position while temporarily filling a position where the regular incumbent is expected to return. An employee is considered to be in an interim position while filling a position for which a search generally is to be conducted. Although a formal search process is not required when a current employee is appointed to an acting or interim position, a limited competitive process must be conducted if the appointment will involve a higher salary or greater scope of responsibilities. The limited recruitment must be documented by the hiring official and must afford all qualified and interested individuals in the department/unit where the vacancy exists the opportunity to be considered. Any exception to this limited process must be approved by HR and typically occurs when a single employee within the hiring department has the required skills to perform the job or if a delay in filling the position may have significant consequences to the department. Typically, an acting or interim appointment will not exceed twelve (12) months. Extensions beyond or appointments for longer than twelve (12) months must be approved by the Vice President for HR.

Executive vice presidents and the University President have the appointing authority to place an individual in a regular or contract position after that individual has served in an interim capacity in that position for six (6) months or longer and has demonstrated a high degree of proficiency in assuming the interim job duties.

Individuals serving in an interim capacity who are not placed in the regular or contract position may return to their prior position if it has not been eliminated or filled.

5.7 Recall from Layoff

Priority rehire of an individual who has been laid off through  UAP 3225 ("Separation of Employment”) may take place under these alternative appointment procedures.

5.8. Competitively Chosen by Outside Entity

The University may fill a new or vacant position under these alternative appointment procedures with an individual who has been competitively chosen by an outside entity according to pre-determined criteria. The UNM hiring official must provide HR with a statement from the outside entity certifying that the individual was selected through an open, competitive process. The hire is subject to review and approval by HR.  Examples of an acceptable external competitive process include a fellowship competition, or a process that, due to the nature of the work performed, must draw applicants from an identified group of candidates, such as teachers within a school district.

5.9. Sole Source

A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position under these alternative appointment procedures with an individual who has unique qualifications needed for the position. Usually the position will not exist unless a specific person can be hired. This situation is very rare. Where there is a question whether the person has truly unique qualifications, a competitive search should be undertaken to answer the question.

5.10. Specialty Service Provider

A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position under these alternative appointment procedures with an individual who is providing services that are considered specialty in nature. These positions exist because of the unique needs of a client or because the individual hired possesses specific attributes required for the job. These appointments are limited to on-call staff such as interpreters, models, note-takers, translators, readers, simulated patients, simulated students, and tutors.

5.11. Spouse or Domestic Partner Hiring

Given the significance of diversity to the University and the recognition of dual career families in today's workplace, spouses or domestic partners, as defined in UAP 3790 ("Domestic Partners"), may be hired under these alternative appointment procedures to enhance and support the recruitment, hiring, and retention of qualified executive administrators. Hiring of the spouse or domestic partner depends upon the qualifications of the spouse or domestic partner, the availability of a suitable and acceptable position in each case, and is subject to the approval of the department into which the spouse or domestic partner will be hired. Placement must comply with "Employment of Family Members" Section 6.2. herein.

5.12. Underrepresented and Established Placement Goals

A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position under these alternative appointment procedures with an individual who is a member of a group which is historically underrepresented (as verified by OEO) in the job group for which the person is being considered; and another more qualified member of a protected group is unlikely to apply.

5.13. Employment of Intercollegiate Coaches

In recognition of the unique nature of the recruitment and hiring of athletic coaches, the University provides for an exception to competitive hiring processes noted in this Policy.  A hiring official may fill a new or vacant position in those circumstances where the urgency of committing a job offer to a candidate is documented and indicates that normal competitive processes are not practical to secure the selection of a highly qualified candidate.  All candidates hired under this exception will serve under time-limited contract appointments.   

6. Restrictions on Employment

6.1. Employment Under Age 18

Normally, the University does not employ persons under eighteen (18) years of age. Any exceptions for regular positions must be approved by the dean, director, or department head of the hiring organization and HR. Applicable federal and state laws must be observed.

6.2. Employment of Family Members

Hiring officials may not hire or supervise a family member or a family member of a line supervisor without the advance approval of the President. For the purposes of this Policy, family members are defined as any individuals related by blood, adoption, marriage or living in the same household.  This applies to all categories of employees, including regular, temporary, and on-call employees. If a change in an employee's family relationship results in a violation of this Policy, the situation must be corrected within six (6) months through the transfer, resignation, or discharge of one (1) or more of the related employees. Any exceptions must be approved in writing by the President and the approval must be placed in the employee's official personnel file.  Employment of family members involving faculty are addressed in the Faculty Handbook section C-30.

7. Probation

7.1.  General Probationary Period

All new employees hired into regular positions, except police command staff (see Section 7.2), are employed on a probationary basis for the first six (6) calendar months of their employment. The probationary period end date may be extended on a day-for-day basis for full days not worked by the employee. This includes annual and sick leave as well as leave with or without pay. The immediate supervisor shall notify employees in advance and in writing that they will be extending the probationary period end date. Probationary periods may be extended for more than six (6) months for other bona fide reasons with the advance approval of the Vice President for HR. Promotion or transfer during an employee's probationary period is discouraged and any employee who is promoted or transferred during that period will be required to serve a new probationary period in the new position. An employee may be released from employment during the probationary period with or without cause in accordance with UAP 3225 ("Separation of Employment”).

7.2.  Probationary Period for Police Command Staff

Police command staff who are not in the bargaining unit, including police recruits, are on probationary status for twelve (12) calendar months from the date of hire or completion of certification as a State of New Mexico law enforcement officer. Refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement for police command staff in the bargaining unit.  

8. Trial Period

8.1.  General Trial Period

With the exception of police command staff positions (see Section 8.2), employees who are promoted or transferred to a different position after completing their probationary periods have a trial period of three (3) months to demonstrate the ability to perform their new jobs satisfactorily.   Employees who are promoted or transferred during the probationary period will be handled in accordance with Section 7 above.  The trial period may be extended on a day-for-day basis for full days not worked by the employee. This includes annual and sick leave as well as leave with or without pay.  Immediate supervisors must notify employees in advance and in writing that they will be extending the trial period. Trial periods may also be extended for other bona fide reasons with the advance approval of the Vice President for HR. Employees are permitted to return to their previous job, at their request, during the trial period if the position is still available. In addition, if a supervisor determines that an employee is not performing his or her job satisfactorily, the supervisor may return the employee to his or her former position during the trial period. If the former position no longer exists or has been filled by a regular status employee, the returning employee is given two (2) week’s notice to find another position. If no other position is obtained within the two (2) week period, the employee will be laid off by the current department and will be entitled to benefits in accordance with UAP 3225 ("Separation of Employment”).

8.2.  Trial Period for Police Command Staff

The trial period for police command staff who are not in the bargaining unit is twelve (12) months from date of promotion or transfer if the individual is already a sworn officer. For police recruits who are not in the bargaining unit, the trial period is twelve (12) months from the date of certification as a State of New Mexico law enforcement officer.  Refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement for police command staff in the bargaining unit.

9. New Employee Orientation

Each new regular employee must attend the New Employee Orientation workshop offered by HR. Supervisors must complete a departmental orientation for each new employee. Refer to UAP 3250 ("Employee Orientation").

10. Exceptions

Any requests for an exception to this policy must be sent to the Vice President for Human Resources, who will coordinate with the University President, or the appropriate executive vice president, or designee, who will approve or deny the request.  Exceptions to Section 6.2. herein require the University President's approval.