Oregon State University

Waiver of Search FAQ

Under what circumstances can the Office of Equity and Inclusion consider a waiver of search?

To consider a waiver of search, the position must be unclassified AND the flowchart that implements OSU’s competitive search requirements must indicate that a non-competitive hire may be requested.

What criteria does the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI) consider in deciding a waiver of search request?

To approve a waiver, OEI must be convinced of the need to deny all other potential applicants the chance to be considered for the position.  We begin by evaluating the extent to which each request meets one or more of the following approval criteria:

  1. Candidate is uniquely qualified (this requires detailed explanation); AND/OR
  2. Recent failed search for this position demonstrates a lack of available qualified candidates (include posting number of failed search and brief narrative explaining what happened/why the search failed); AND/OR
  3. Unit faces emergency circumstances that cannot be resolved effectively through other means (describe the emergency and any other methods/appointees you considered); AND/OR
  4. Other compelling circumstances (provide details, background information, consequences of another decision, etc.).

What else does OEI consider in addition to the four approval criteria?

If a waiver meets one or more of the criteria above, OEI may give additional positive consideration when one or more of these factors are present:

  1. Hire advances Affirmative Action goals (explain how)
  2. Hire supports dual-career employment policy (describe situation, provide name/dept/position title of partner or spouse already employed)
  3. Hire allows continued employment of OSU employee who would otherwise lose her/his position (describe circumstances)
  4. Hire is needed to retain a valued employee (describe circumstances; does the person have an offer from another employer?)
  5. Hire provides advancement opportunity for a current OSU employee (describe circumstances)

What information should we furnish when we request a waiver?

Please attach a letter of justification to the “fill” action including:

  1. Date and author of letter
  2. The information you used in the flowchart (from OSU's Competitive Search Requirements web page) to determine that a non-competitive hire could be considered
  3. Detailed reason(s) for requesting the waiver of search (see waiver criteria above)
  4. Context information/history leading to the request
  5. Other options you considered, and why they were deemed unacceptable
  6. Consequences if you were to conduct search, such as timing, implications for the work, potential applicant pool (qualifications, demographics, interest/qualifications of others within the unit), etc.
  7. Ethnicity, race, and gender of proposed appointee, if available
  8. Other information to help OEI understand the circumstances of your request
  9. If asst/assoc/prof rank is proposed—regardless of status—identify academic home department, describe how faculty support for appointment was assessed, and quantify outcome of that assessment

In addition to the letter, please ALSO include

  • Proposed appointee’s resume or C.V.
  • Any previous correspondence about waiver you may have had with OEI, Academic Affairs, Provost’s Office, etc. (full exchange with dates/authors/text, not just the final message in the thread) 

Why does OEI want so much information?

When appropriately detailed information is attached to the action, OEI can understand, evaluate, and approve/disapprove your request to waive the search in a timely manner.  Having this information documented ensures that the institutional electronic record accurately reflects and supports the rationale for the decision. 

Why does OEI sometimes contact us for even more information?

A call from OEI does not mean there’s something “wrong” with the request—it reflects the seriousness with which we approach these decisions.  To approve a waiver, OEI must be convinced of the need to deny all others the opportunity to be considered for the position.  Sometimes we need a broader understanding in order to make a decision about your request; rather than taking the time to send the waiver back for clarification or disapprove it altogether, we contact the hiring official to seek more info and/or discuss other options. 

A follow-up call from us may cover some of these questions:

  • Why not conduct a search or an accelerated search and invite this person (among others) to apply?
  • Who else in the unit might be interested in this opportunity; how do you know?
  • Who else did you consider for the position, and why did you select this appointee over the other(s)?
  • Did you use an informal process to evaluate potential interest from others inside or outside OSU?  If so, describe that process in detail including copies of any materials you sent and a list of people or organizations who received them.  Provide detailed screening reasons for anyone else not selected.  NOTE: This does not mean it’s okay to conduct an “accelerated search” or a “targeted and focused search” without advance HR approval!
  • Is there some reason why this opportunity would be unlikely to generate much interest (short duration, low FTE, etc.)?

Should I seek advance approval from OEI before submitting a waiver?

Advance approval is optional but may be a good idea if:

  • you are not certain whether or not the circumstances will allow a non-competitive hire to be considered, or
  • the situation is complicated, or
  • the rationale does not clearly fit one or more of the waiver criteria described above, or
  • timing is critical. 

What do I need to put in the action if I already have advance approval from OEI for my waiver?

The action still needs a detailed letter of justification describing your rationale:

  • If you have an email from OEI saying “this email can serve in lieu of a letter of justification,”  you don’t need a letter as well (unless the circumstances have changed).  Remember to include the full email exchange, not just OEI's approval. 
  • If you don’t have an email from OEI to serve “in lieu of a letter,“ attach a regular letter of justification as described above, adding that you already have verbal approval from OEI.

What if my department has Central Administration approval for a Tenured Faculty Diversity Initiative (TFDI) hire?

OEI participates in the TFDI review; if your TFDI proposal for a waiver is approved, we have agreed to the waiver in principle.  Attach a copy of your original TFDI proposal and the approval letter from Academic Affairs to the action so OEI can review and confirm in the electronic record. 

What does OEI approval mean?

OEI approval means that, should you receive all other required approvals to fill the position, you may hire the proposed appointee without an open search.  It does NOT mean that you have received other university approvals, such as funding, rank, tenure, salary, position description, or offer letter.

Whom do I contact for more information or with questions/concerns about requests for waiver of search?

Please call or email

Anne Gillies
Associate Director for Affirmative Action and Advancement

Kerry McQuillin
Compliance and Assessment Associate

Contact Info

Equity and Inclusion 327/330 Snell Hall Corvallis, Oregon 97331 phone: 541-737-3556
fax: 541-737-8232
Email OEI
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