Confidentiality and Access to Application Materials
Maintaining confidentiality is a fundamental responsibility of all individuals involved in the search process. Understanding the legal and practical reasons and effects of confidentiality are critical.
Minnesota Statute 13.43, Subd.3, provides statutory authority for confidentiality of applicant data. Honoring the confidentiality of applicant information is a legal mandate.
Access to application materials and other information about screening is limited to Search Committee members and hiring officials. Search Committee members are those designated specifically as such and do not include other members of the department/college/unit who were not so designated. Hiring officials include the president, appropriate vice president, dean or administrative unit head, Director of Human Resources, and Director of Affirmative Action. Others may review applicant materials only with express authorization by the chief administrator of the hiring process, e.g., dean for a faculty position, vice president for a dean's position or a staff position in a service unit, president for a vice president's position.
In addition, maintaining confidentiality is a professional courtesy; leaking information to people not involved in the search process may cause the loss of high quality applicants.
The identity of ALL applicants is private except for those who become finalists as defined by law. Only the Search Chair or Dean should communicate with candidates or anyone else not named as a reference. This is particularly true when the selection has been made as to who will be offered the position. Inadvertent communications can complicate the hiring process.
Once a candidate becomes a finalist certain information is public about them including: name, veteran status, relevant test scores, rank on eligible list, job history, education and training and work availability. Not all information on a finalist is public. When releasing information on finalists be sure to redact from resumes information that is not public including: home address, birth date/age information, any ethnicity/race information, and the like.
If a candidate requests to see his/her search documents, refer the individual to Human Resources. Human Resources will respond to the request.
The Search Chair may require that all Search Committee members sign a statement of ethics (see form) and return it to the Search Chair for inclusion with other search documents.
More information in confidentiality in the search process can be gleaned from watching a short video on this topic. To view the video, go to: http://www.hr.mnscu.edu/video/confidentialsearchprocess/confidentiality.html.