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Hiring Tips & Guidelines

Americans with Disability Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in all employment practices such as:

  • Job application procedures
  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Training
  • Pay
  • Promotion
  • Benefits
  • Leave
  • Any other employment-related activities

An individual with a disability is a person who:

  • Has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,
  • Has a record of such an impairment, or
  • Is regarded as having such an impairment.

It is unlawful to:

  • Discriminate against a qualified applicant with a disability (i.e., one who can perform the essential functions of the job with or without accommodation)
  • Ask if an applicant has a disability or about the severity of a disability
  • Require a medical examination prior to a job offer

Appropriate Interview Questions

  • Can you PERFORM the essential job functions listed on the job announcement and as we have discussed them?
  • Would you DESCRIBE to me how you would perform these functions?
  • Would you DEMONSTRATE to me how you would perform the essential functions of the job?

You may provide information on your attendance requirements and ask if the applicant can meet those requirements.

Focus on Specific Job Functions:

  • Are you able to perform this task with or without accommodations?
  • If the applicant indicates they can perform the function with an accommodation, what accommodation would it take?
  • How would you perform this task? Please demonstrate how you would perform the task.

Inappropriate Interview Questions

The following questions may reveal a disability that could find you liable for discrimination.

  • Do you have any disability or impairments that may affect your performance?
  • Have you had any major illnesses?
  • Have you been hospitalized recently
  • Is there any health-related reason that would prohibit you from performing the job?
  • Do you use any prescription drugs?
  • Have you ever filed for Worker's Compensation?

Other Topics to Avoid Regarding a Disability:

  • The Nature
  • The Severity
  • The Cause
  • Any Prognosis
  • Future Treatment Requirements
  • Need for Special Leave of Absence

The same set of questions should be asked of all applicants. However, if an applicant has a "known" disability that would appear to interfere with or prevent performance of a job-related function, he/she may be asked to describe how this function would be performed even if other applicants do not have to do so.

For additional information:

Completing a New Hire

Submit an eForm (online hiring document) after acceptance of an offer of employment for:

  • Full-time administrative employees
  • Full-time staff employees
  • 3/4-time (28 hour) employees
  • 1/2-time (17.5 hour) employees

Note: The new employee cannot begin work until the authorization to begin work form is sent from Staff and Administrative Employment to the hiring department.

On or before the first day of work, direct the new employee to the BYU Welcome Center for information to:

  • Complete Section 1 of the Form I-9
  • Set up direct deposit and W-4
  • Register vehicle for parking
  • Review the New Employee Handbook and Benefits Handbook

Ecclesiastical Clearances, Background Checks, and References

After the finalist has been chosen for the position, the next step in the hiring process is to obtain an ecclesiastical clearance, background check, and at least two employment references.

For applicants who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, BYU prefers to hire qualified members of the Church in good standing. Interviewing or hiring a non-menber applicant requires vice president approval.

Background checks are conducted by a third-party provider and may take from two days to more than a week. Please plan accordingly.

When the ecclesiastical clearance, background check, and two or more required reference calls are complete, notification will be sent to the area HR consultant to then determine the appropriate wage/salary. General wage/salary calculations based on the pay level for the position, work experience, and education of the applicant. The area HR consultant will contact the department to the discuss wage/salary.

For further questions regarding ecclesiastical clearances and background checks, please contact Staff and Administrative Employment at (801) 422-8327.

YJobs Tip

After selecting the desired candidate to be hired, change the applicant's workflow status in YJobs to "Submit for Clearance Checks." This will generate the appropriate email notifications to begin the clearance check process.

Guidelines for Legal Interviews

Respect for the candidate and his/her personal information should be exercised. The following shows what is considered lawful or unlawful to discuss in an interview.

Topic Lawful Potentially Unlawful
Sex Must be a bona fide job qualification or necessity. Distinctions based on gender are uncommon (e.g. issue attendant in locker room, actor or actress playing a part). Employment decisions should not be based on gender, but on the ability to perform the job.
Marital & Family Status Whether candidate can meet specified work schedules. "Are you married, single, divorced, engaged etc.?" Number and age of children. Any questions or references to pregnancy.
Age Inquiry as to minimum age requirements, by law, to work. Inquiries regarding age, retirement, etc. The law protects individuals over the age of 40 from being discriminated against because of age.
Disability Accommodation This question must be asked of each candidate: "After reviewing the essential job functions, are you able to perform them?" Any pre-employment inquiry about the existence, nature, or severity of a disability.
Citizenship "Are you authorized to work in the U.S.?" This question must be asked of each candidate. "Of what country are you a citizen?" "Do your parents originate from the U.S.?" "I see you were born in…"
Ancestry Languages that the candidate reads and/or speaks fluently, if it is job related. Inquiries into lineage, ancestry, native language, etc. How foreign language was acquired.
Race None. (Race and ethnicity are now obtained via voluntary self-disclosure through Yjobs) Discrimination should not occur on any basis related to the race of the candidate.
Convictions/Arrests Whether the applicant has any actual convictions. (If the candidate answers yes, then contact Employment Services) Any inquiries about arrests.
Credit Rating None. Inquiries about credit rating, charge accounts, etc.
Name "Do you have work or school records under a different name?" Inquiries which would indicate candidate's lineage, national origin, previous name of candidate where it has been changed by court order, marriage, etc.

Interview Tips

Each member of the interviewing panel should review these guidelines as well as the Americans with Disability Act.

Interviewing and Questioning Techniques

In making the transition from small talk to the interview proper, the first question asked should be open and not difficult to answer. For example: "Please tell us about your experience and training as it relates to this position". See sample interview questions for more ideas.

Interviews should flow more like a conversation, not an interrogation. To achieve this, comments and spontaneous conversation about relevant topics are encouraged; however, if the candidate self-discloses information that would have been inappropriate to obtain, further probing or documentation of the information should not occur.

Interview Objectives

David Cherrington in The Management of Human Resources gives 4 purposes of interviews:

  • To obtain information about the applicant.
  • To sell the organization.
  • To provide information about the organization.
  • To establish friendship.

80/20 Rule

The job of the interview committee is to ask questions and listen for predictive information from candidates. Candidates should do approximately 80% of the talking, interviewers 20%.


Interviewers do not need to be overly concerned about silences. Sometimes candidates will fill in a silence with important additional information; however, the situation should not be allowed to turn awkward.

Follow Up Questions

Probing or follow up questions will encourage further conversation. These questions can elicit useful information beyond rehearsed responses. Basic example: "Can you provide more detail on that?" or "Then what did you do?"

Consistency in Questioning

Generally, all candidates should be asked the same series of questions. It is much easier to compare candidates if everyone is measured against the same criteria.

Inviting Questions

Candidates should be invited to ask questions. The committee's answers will assist candidates in evaluating their "fit" for the job. The quality and quantity of questions asked by candidates also provides useful information to the interview committee.

Scheduling Considerations

  • Determine the length of time for each interview.
  • Hold the interviews relatively close together to provide a better comparison of the candidates.
  • The interview room or location should be free from interruptions.

Informing the Candidates

  • Day, time and location of the interview.
  • Directions and parking instructions.
  • Approximate time to allot from arriving on campus to departure.
  • What he or she can expect in the interview.

Setting the Stage

  • Interviews should be free of interruptions (no phone calls, visitors, etc.).
  • Interviewers should not be late to the meeting or act rushed.
  • A warm greeting and suitable introductions should be made.
  • "Small talk" at the beginning of the interview can be made; however, interviewers need to be cautious to avoid small talk that could lead to inappropriate questions.
  • Candidates should be informed as to what will occur in the interview.
  • The position should be explained, including working hours and any special schedules (required to work weekends, swing shift, etc.).

Be Aware of the Candidates

  • Give them a chance to sell themselves.
  • Give yourself a chance to evaluate their qualifications.
  • Stay neutral in the interview.
  • Don't be overly positive or optimistic.
  • Explain how you will handle the selection process.
  • The interview should be ended with a friendly, positive "Thank you."
  • Candidates should not be rejected until the entire process is completed and a candidate has accepted an offer.

Making a Personnel Folder

Personnel folders can help you to organize important employee information for legal reasons and for your own reference. Hire, term, and wage increase forms do not have to be in the folder since they are stored electronically. However, you might want to keep hard copies of the following documents:

  • Print-outs of the Employment Reference form
  • Notes from interviews
  • Authorization to Begin Work
  • Documentation of training or certification received during employment
  • Disciplinary actions taken
  • Information about promotions, demotions, and raises
  • Letters of termination

Making and Accepting the Offer

At the completion of the clearance, references, and pay-level calculation, you will receive notification to offer the job to the finalist at the approved wage/salary.

YJobs Tip
After the finalist accepts the job offer, change the applicant’s workflow state in YJobs to "Offer Accepted."

Physical Examination

Post Offer Physical Examinations are medical tests given to evaluate the overall ability of a person to perform a specific job. These exams include both a physical therapy lift test and a medical exam. Only certain jobs falling under certain classifications require the administration of post offer physicals. If one is required, under no circumstances may an employee begin work until the post offer physical has been completed and evaluated by a representative in Staff and Administrative Employment. BYU Physical Exam procedural steps are as follows:

  1. Requirement of a physical exam for a position will be determined by the classification of a position in regards to the National Council on Compensation Insurance, Inc. Codes assigned by Workers Compensation. Any position assigned NCCI Code 9101 by BYU Workers Compensation department, falling in employment classifications of 3/4 Time (28 Hour) or Staff will require a post offer physical exam. Specific lifting amounts tested for during the physical therapy portion of an exam will be designated by departments and indicated on the position posting. Area HR Consultants will act as liaisons between Risk Management and Safety, and their assigned departments, in addressing any sort of suspect working conditions and monitor the updating of correct NCCI codes to positions.
  2. If you have any question as to whether or not a physical is required, please call 422-2150.
  3. Packets containing instructions and physical examination information will be mailed to the appropriate department as soon as a potential hire has been selected.
  4. Once the department gives the physical exam packet to the applicant, it is his/her responsibility to schedule an appointment for both the physical therapy lift test and the medical exam with BYU Student Health Center at (801) 422-5156, or
  5. The applicant takes the entire physical exam packet with them to the post-offer physical exam at the Student Health Center.
  6. Applicants must bring the completed physical exam packet to Staff and Administrative Employment (D-70 ASB) at the time of hire. It should be in a stamped and sealed envelope.
  7. Whether or not an individual passes a post-offer physical exam, and continues in the hiring process, will be decided by a representative in the Staff and Administrative Employment Office. The representative reviews the confidential information recorded by the doctor on the physical exam and the Health Questionnaire filled out by the prospective employee. Based on this information and the physical requirements of the position indicated by the hiring manager on the ADA Worksheet, the representative determines if the potential employee can proceed to be hired and receive authorization to begin work.
  8. In cases where the abilities of an individual to perform the physical requirements of a position are in question, the University Physical Exam Workforce Committee will evaluate each case specifically.

Preparing for the Interview

Interview Guidelines

BYU recommends interviewing at least three (3) qualified applicants. If fewer than 2 applicants are selected to be interviewed, we suggest the department re-open the job to allow more applicants to apply. Predetermine what you are looking for based on your job description, with adjustments if needed. Design questions that are open-ended and that will give you the answers you need. For example: "What experience do you have using Microsoft Word?" Instead of: "Are you good at using Microsoft Word?" Learn the rules of legal interviewing and play by them.

In general, do not ask questions that cover the following:

  • Age
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth
  • Race
  • Nationality
  • Arrest Record
  • Marital Status
  • Gender
  • Anything About Children and Childcare
  • Height and Weight
  • History of Alcohol or Drug Addiction
  • Hobbies and Sports Activities
  • Disabilities or Physical Limitations
  • How They Feel About Unions

Reference Calls

Reference calls are a great way to gather past behavior and performance information about a potential employee by personally contacting previous employers. At least two reference checks must be completed, by the hiring department, for full-time and 3/4-time hires, who are not currently employed by the department. Letters of recommendation are not considered reference checks.

Reference Call Summaries are submitted through the online form in the Manage Applicants - Staff/Admin section of the Staff Employment Portal. Click on the reference notes icon located on the right side of the applicant's row.

There are two aspects of a reference call: (1) Records Check to verify information about dates of employment, job titles, salary information, licenses, etc. (2) Position Match Check to confirm the applicant's work habits, personality, and personal character. Inquiries may include communication skills, performance, time management, work ethic, and weaknesses.

An employer MAY NOT request any information about the job applicant from:

  • Family members
  • Other sources not supplied by the job applicant.

Calling a Previous Employer

Prior to the conditional offer being made, the employer may inquire about the following from a previous employer:

  • Job functions and tasks performed
  • Quality and quantity of work performed
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Professional behavior
  • Attendance record
  • Weaknesses or problems
  • Other applicable issues which do not relate to disability

If an applicant has a "known disability" and has indicated he or she could perform the job with reasonable accommodation, the previous employer may be asked about accommodations which were made.

Remember, do NOT inquire about:

  • Disabilities
  • Illnesses
  • Worker's Compensation History

Reviewing the Application

Preliminary Screening

Preliminary screening is completed by the hiring manager, the Staff and Administrative Employment screener, the department, and YJobs (, BYU's online employment system. YJobs will automatically screen out applicants who do not meet the minimum job requirements and will rank them according to their scores on supplemental questions.

Review Applications

  • Biographical information regarding work experience and educational/vocational training
  • Supplemental Questions
  • Look for evidence of excellence (awards, achievements, promotions, etc.)
  • For NON-LDS applicants, BYU prefers to hire qualified members of the Church in good standing. Interviewing or hiring a NON-LDS applicant requires Vice President approval.

YJobs Tip
Change the workflow states of non-interviewed applicants (never to be considered) to “Not Hired – Sends Email.” This can be done daily, even with the posting open.

Selecting a Committee

While not a legal requirement, forming an interview committee of several people is a good, professional business practice. The additional interviewers provide the evaluator with an extra set of eyes and ears, help eliminate interviewer bias, and result in a more objective evaluation. Furthermore, the candidates not selected will feel they have been dealt with more fairly if considered by a committee rather than by one person. The following are a few tips to make hiring committees more effective:

  • Limit the number of people on the committee. Include immediate supervisors and others who have a clear and thorough understanding of the vacant position requirements.
  • Assign duties. Establish a committee chair and who will lead the interview. Decide on questions and who will ask them, based on each area of concern. Decide who will make the final hiring decision.
  • Require all members to read each resume and application before interviews.
  • At the beginning of the interview, introduce each person, with title, and how they relate to the position. Nametags or nameplates help the candidate remember names of interviewers.
  • All interviewers should meet with the applicant at the same time. This allows the whole group to see and hear the same information and to have a common basis for comparison.
  • After each interview, each committee member should take notes to help remember each candidate for further discussion.

A good hiring committee can improve the hiring process and result in a better decision.

Selecting a Finalist

After the initial interview process, the committee should consider whether each candidate is 1) definitely a finalist, 2) a good candidate, but not a finalist, or 3) definitely not a finalist. The committee should then narrow down the "definite" group to approximately three finalists.

To help when deciding between candidates, three main questions regarding the candidates should be considered:

  • Can they do the job (do they have the knowledge, technical skills, interpersonal skills, character, work ethic, and abilities to perform the duties)?
  • What motivates them to do a good job, what patterns have they demonstrated in past positions; can they be trained?
  • How will they "fit" with the organization?

As interviewers attempt to answer these questions, they should:

  • Read over the job requirements.
  • Review the candidates' qualifications, education, and work histories.
  • Consider the candidates' potential to learn and eventually to be promoted.
  • Conduct second or third interviews as needed.

YJobs Tip
After the interviews, confirm the workflow states of the interviewed applicants are in "Interview." This is an important step in processing your applicants.

Selecting Applicants for Interviews

Choosing Promising Applicants

While an applicant should not be ruled out based solely on these criteria, the following could be warning flags of potential problems:

  • Job-hopping
  • Typographical errors, deleted text, misspellings, poor penmanship, overall sloppiness
  • Several previous employers cannot be contacted or are "out of business"
  • "Attended" school (but did not graduate?)
  • "Degree received” marked, but with a future graduation date more than six weeks away
  • Termination, left job by mutual agreement, asked to resign, left for "personal reasons"
  • Criminal convictions
  • Missing or uncompleted sections of the application form
  • "See resume" instead of filling in application
  • No explanations for breaks in work history
  • Phrases such as "exposure to," "knowledge of," and "familiar with"
  • Regressive work history (step backward in duties, career, or salary) without good reason
  • Vague answers

Reference Calls

For final 3/4 Time (28 Hour) or Full Time candidates who are not current employees in your division, contact at least two references using the online form. Past supervisors are the best source of information, although personal references are acceptable. The link to the form to submit the Reference Call Summary is found on the home page of

Letters of Recommendation

Letters written for the applicant generally represent biased information and should be viewed skeptically unless they contain negative information. These letters are not considered reference checks, which are personal contacts.

YJobs Tip

Change the workflow states of interviewed applicants to “Interview.” This will need to be completed before changing a final applicant to "Submit for Clearance Checks" (ecclesiastical and backgrounds checks).

The Regretful Phone Call

After the offer has been accepted, a member of the interviewing panel is to promptly notify all of other interviewed candidates who applied for the position. This is a personal contact.

As you converse, remember to:

  • Be honest and to the point
  • Talk in a friendly tone
  • Maintain the dignity of each candidate
  • Do not embellish or misrepresent the facts (e.g., "You were in our top three...")
  • Do not discuss qualifications of other candidates
  • Refer to those you hired as being the best match (or best fit) for the position
  • Do not open the conversation to questions


"As you are aware, we had several applicants, which made the decision extremely difficult. We decided to extend an offer to another applicant, who we saw as the best match for this job. I want to thank you for sharing your time and efforts with us during this process."

YJobs Tip
For interviewed applicants, change their workflow status to "Not Hired-No Email" after you have personally contacted them. For non-interviewed applicants, their workflow status in YJobs should be “Not Hired – Sends Email.” BYU encourages a courtesy contact to each applicant.

What's Next

Research suggests that motivation and performance are set in the first few hours of employment. A thoughtful introduction to the job environment can help a new employee get a fast start in becoming a productive and committed university employee. This checklist is provided to aid supervisors in that process. Please feel free to adapt the checklist to your department and individual needs.


  • Appropriate members of management
  • Department members and others with whom the new employee will have regular contact

Department Information

  • Review of department and university organization
  • Departmental mission, functions, and responsibilities
  • Keys, computers, phones, etc.

Employee's Position

  • Job description
  • Annual Performance Plan
  • Major accountability and performance standards
  • Performance expectations
  • Progress review discussions
  • Development and training


  • New University Personnel Orientation
  • Meetings with supervisor
  • Department meetings
  • Y News
  • Campus and U.S. mail
  • Devotionals and Forums

Policies and Procedures

  • University Policies
  • Department Dress and Grooming Standards
  • University Devotionals
  • Wise use of University funds
  • Use of BYU equipment and facilities
  • Working hours, overtime restriction, attendance, and punctuality
  • Y Time use

Employee Relations/ Equal Employment Opportunity

  • Fair Treatment
  • Third party assistance

Safety, Medical and Security

  • Appropriate/ mandated safety procedures
  • Emergency program and 911
  • Giving appropriate medical assistance
  • Department security practices
  • HazCom training (for employees who use hazardous chemicals)
  • Work injury, medical treatment, worker's compensation
  • Reporting accidents/ hazards

Access to Computers

  • Net ID and password
  • Any necessary BYU access


Attached Documents