Guidelines for the Hiring Process (updated 2019)

Revised by the AHA Professional Division and approved by AHA Council, January 56, 2019.

In an effort to better serve members of the AHA, and to promote the highest standards of professional conduct in the hiring process, we provide these guidelines for search committees and job candidates.

General Criteria

  1. Most job discrimination is illegal. Interviewing and hiring should be based solely on professional criteria. Interviewers should not ask questions about a candidate's marital status or family, race or national origin, disability, age, sex, gender, gender expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Candidates may, however, volunteer such information in the course of their own inquiries about the hiring institution, although this sort of discussion is usually more appropriate during an on-campus interview than in the preliminary stages of a candidacy.
  2. All positions for historians should be advertised in the job ads section of Perspectives on History or the online AHA Career Center. If hiring institutions intend to interview at the AHA annual meeting, they should make every effort to advertise in the Perspectives issues for the fall months.
  3. Advertisements for positions should contain specific information regarding qualifications and clear indication as to whether a position has actually been authorized or is contingent upon budgetary or other administrative considerations.
  4. Candidates should seek interviews only for those jobs for which they are qualified, and under no circumstances should they misrepresent their training or their qualifications. To do otherwise is unprofessional and wastes the time and energy of everyone concerned.
  5. Positions should, absent extenuating circumstances, be advertised for a period of at least six weeks.
  6. All applications and inquiries for a position should be acknowledged promptly and courteously (within two weeks of receipt, if possible), and each applicant should be informed as to the initial action on the application or inquiry. No final decision should be made without considering all applications received before the closing date. Advertisements that list closing dates should consider all applications received by that date, and applications for positions should be accepted for at least six weeks after the initial announcement date.
  7. At all stages of a search, affirmative action/equal opportunity guidelines should be respected.
  8. As candidates are eliminated, they should be notified promptly and courteously. Some hiring institutions notify all candidates when their search is completed. Unsuccessful candidates may wish to ask how their chances might have been improved. Hiring institutions often respond helpfully to such inquiries but they are not obliged to disclose the reasoning leading to their ultimate choices.
  9. Hiring committees are encouraged to request reference letters only from those candidates who have passed the initial screening i.e. at the stage requesting additional materials, or before video conference / AHA interviews. Given the current academic job market, having applicants provide letters of recommendation only after the initial screening stage can reduce stress and unnecessary paperwork for candidates, letter-writers, and hiring committees.

Interviews at the AHA Annual Meeting

  1. Search committees that schedule conference interviews beforehand should provide ample notice to applicants. Ideally, applicants should be notified of a conference interview more than 21 days in advance to allow them to take advantage of less expensive air fares and preregistration rates.
  2. All participants in an interview should be prompt, efficient, and courteous. Job candidates should bring a sufficient supply of CVs and writing implements to the meeting.
  3. Interviews should take place on time, and candidates should be allowed enough time in interviews to develop their candidacies in some depth. This means that interviewers have to watch the time carefully, and try to avoid departing from the schedule they have established. It also means that job candidates should not schedule interviews too close together. Appointments often run over the allotted times.
  4. Interviews should proceed in a manner that respects the professional and personal integrity of candidates and interviewers. Whenever possible, interviewing committees should include male and female representation.
  5. Interviews should take place in a professional setting. The AHA strongly urges institutions interviewing at the AHA annual meeting to use the facilities provided through the Job Center.
  6. The AHA considers it unacceptable to record or videotape any employment interview activity that takes place in conjunction with the annual meeting.

Beginning with the 2000 annual meeting in Chicago, the AHA has made special arrangements with institutions conducting interviews outside of designated Job Center facilities. For more details, please see “Privately Arranged Suite Information” on the Job Center web page.

The AHA discourages holding interviews in hotel bedrooms. If an interviewer thinks it is necessary to use a facility outside the Job Center, the Association strongly advises that a parlor—rather than a sleeping—room be used, and that a third person always be present in the room with the candidate. Interviewers using facilities outside the Job Center bear sole responsibility for establishing an appropriate professional atmosphere and should take special care to ensure that all interviews are conducted courteously and in a proper and professional manner.

If for any reason the interviewers choose not to take advantage of the AHA facilities, they should be specific when making other arrangements. Let the candidates know when, where, and with whom they will be meeting. Provide this information to the Job Center staff, who will then make it available to candidates.

The following resources are also available: