6: Application, Recruitment, and Hiring

Swarthmore's goal is to attract and retain a diverse staff of exceptional quality and commitment. We strive to recruit the best possible candidates for our vacant positions and are committed to ensuring that all qualified candidates receive equitable consideration of their applications. We do not discriminate on the basis of non position related factors.

Swarthmore also has a strong commitment to hiring from within, and internal applicants are encouraged to apply for positions that match their interests, qualifications, and experience.

Employment Opportunities at Swarthmore

An updated listing of staff position vacancies is continuously available on at the Human Resources Web site and clicking on Employment Opportunities. The listing provides the title and a brief summary of the jobs currently available, as well as the minimum position requirements.

Applying for a Position

If an individual wishes to apply for employment, he/she should complete an electronic Swarthmore application. The electronic application form can be accessed at the bottom of each employment opportunity listing by clicking on the application box. Completed applications and resumes are submitted directly from the web site. For those individuals without access to the internet, a dedicated computer and individual assistance is available in the Human Resources office, Pearson 110.

An individual becomes an applicant once he or she has submitted an application form (and resume as appropriate) for a specific, currently vacant position. Correspondence that does not indicate interest in a specific position is not acknowledged, retained, or considered as an application. You may apply for more than one vacant position at a time; however, you must complete a separate set of application materials for each position for which you wish to be considered.

If the individual meets both the general position requirements and the specific needs of the hiring department, the application is considered for referral to the hiring department.

Applicants for most positions at Swarthmore are screened and referred to hiring departments by Human Resources. Some executive and administrative staff positions may have search committees that screen applications and interview candidates.

The Department of Human Resources acknowledges applications upon receipt. Beyond that, candidates will be contacted only if the department wishes to request additional information or to schedule an interview.

If information is misrepresented on a resume, or misrepresented or omitted from an application form, or if misrepresentations are made by an applicant in interviews, Swarthmore reserves the right to revoke any offer of employment or to terminate employment whenever discovered.

In most cases vacancies are posted for 5 weekdays before a hiring offer is made. The 5 day period begins when the vacancy is posted by Human Resources.

You are eligible to apply for transfers and/or promotions after you have been in your position for one year.

Promotion Policy

Promotional opportunities are most common when an employee moves from one position to another in a different pay grade. Staff who are interested in a posted position are encouraged to apply through the Human Resources Web site.

Occasionally, opportunities for professional advancement occur that do not require the employee to leave their department for a totally different position. This happens when changes in the needs of the department provide an opportunity for an individual to assume higher level job responsibilities. Situations where a promotion may be warranted include:

  • An individual is designated new responsibilities outside their current job description which require higher level skills and are more complex than the responsibilities in the original position.
  • A departmental reorganization occurs which results in a shift to higher-level responsibilities.
  • Departmental career ladders that allow promotions based on demonstrated proficiency over time leading to an expanded scope of responsibilities.

Promotions depend on significant changes in job duties, rather than changes in an employees' skill set or length of time in position. They reflect departmental needs, not the need to recognize or reward an employee. In those cases, Human Resources will work with supervisors to find an appropriate way to recognize the individual in question.

The promotional process begins with a conversation among the supervisor or department head, the appropriate VP/Dean and the Human Resources department. After agreement is reached that a change in job duties for an individual is warranted, a new position description will be developed and a pay grade will be determined. A move is considered a promotion only if the new responsibilities place the position in a higher pay grade.

Swarthmore Students

Individuals who are Swarthmore students may not normally hold staff positions at the College. Students may, however, be hired into designated student position classifications. There are guidelines for employing students, including limits that generally prohibit undergraduates from working more than 20 hours in any week when school is in session. For more information on hiring students, contact the Student Financial Aid Office or the Student Employment Office.

Qualified Applicants with Disabilities

Applicants are not required to identify themselves as having a disability; self identification is strictly voluntary. The job related skills and experience of all applicants should be evaluated without regard to disability or any accommodations that may be necessary. The ADA defines a person with a disability as "qualified" for a position if he or she is able to perform the essential job functions with or without reasonable accommodations.

Essential job functions are the fundamental tasks of a job, reasonably defined by the employer. Accommodations are changes in facilities or policies that enable an otherwise qualified person to perform the essential job functions. An accommodation is considered reasonable and is required if it effectively allows the person to perform the essential job tasks, while not placing an undue hardship on the employer.

Decisions about accommodations or undue hardship must be made on a case by case basis. Supervisors should contact Human Resources for assistance if questions arise about an applicant with a disability.

Employment of Family Members

Employment of immediate family members in situations where one family member has direct influence over the other's conditions of employment is not permitted. If you are a manager or supervisor, relatives may not be hired in any position within your span of control; i.e., in any department that reports through to you, or in any position reporting to a supervisor who reports through to you. It is recommended that relatives not be hired in any department within the vice-presidential area in which you report.

Immediate family for this purpose is defined as spouse, domestic partner, daughter, son, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, nieces, and nephews, including step-relations.

In some cases, a concern over conflict of interest may arise involving other relatives such as relatives by marriage. In any case where you are unsure about a potential conflict, you should fully disclose the circumstances in writing to your supervisor.

Eligibility for Transfer while on Performance Improvement Counseling/Disciplinary Action

Generally, employees who are engaged in performance improvement counseling are not eligible to seek other positions within the College. This is especially true if the counseling is for misconduct or for skills that are critical to the position being considered.

If the performance problems the staff member is experiencing are due to a mis-match of job requirements and the skills of the employee, it may be to the staff member's and the College's advantage to attempt to identify other opportunities where an individual may be more successful. However, staff members who have demonstrated problems of performance or misconduct in the past must demonstrate they are capable of appropriately resolving the problem before transfer is appropriate. If you are interested in a position that is a better fit, please discuss the matter with the Human Resources office.


Volunteers aren't hired. A volunteer is someone who performs a service for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without the promise, expectation, or receipt of compensation for services rendered.

The definition and use of volunteers is covered by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA protects individuals from manipulation or abuse of minimum wage or overtime requirements that might pressure them to "volunteer" time that otherwise would have to be compensated. Swarthmore employees should never feel pressured to volunteer or work for free. Therefore, to be considered a volunteer, an individual must:

  • offer their services freely, and
  • not be employed by Swarthmore doing the same or similar work

Generally speaking, FLSA guidelines suggest a non exempt employee should never be allowed to volunteer for other duties at Swarthmore.

Departments that recruit and use volunteers should have a signed statement of understanding that documents the volunteer nature of the relationship and ascertains that the volunteer is providing the services freely. Contact Human Resources for assistance.

Volunteers by definition are not compensated. Departments that coordinate the use of volunteers should not enter into any agreements about reimbursement of volunteer's incidental expenses or other exchanges of resources that might be construed as compensation without first consulting with Human Resources.

Conducting Background Checks

Conducting background checks assists in the promotion of a safe environment for Swarthmore students, visitors, faculty and staff, and the College's physical resources. These checks serve as an important part of the employment selection process by providing additional related information that may help determine an applicant's overall employability. The College complies with all federal and state statutes concerning background checks on employees and applicants.

Background checks may include: reference checks, identity checks, criminal background checks, credit checks, verification of prior employment, obtaining copies of transcripts, licenses or certificates required for the specific position, education, prior job performance, information pertaining to the quality and quantity of work performed by the applicant, driving record, and other related checks.

A background check is generally defined as satisfactory when the College is able to verify

  1. the accuracy of the information provided by the applicant,
  2. the absence of a criminal history record which bears a significant relationship to the applicant's suitability to perform the required duties and responsibilities of the position, and
  3. a positive credit rating if such a check is applicable to the position.

For those positions for which a background check is appropriate, the applicant must sign an Applicant Notice and Consent document. Falsification of information submitted in any of this documentation may be grounds for disqualification or termination.

Credit Report Check

The Controller and the Vice President, Human Resources are responsible for determining positions requiring a credit check. This requires the applicant's written consent and follows the guidelines set forth by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The positions that are determined to require a credit check usually involve one or more of the responsibilities listed below or the position is at the Vice-Presidential level.

  • Direct access to or control over cash, checks, and credit card account information
  • Authority to commit financial resources
  • Employees with access to an individual's financial information (includes advancement officers, student financial services, payroll, etc.)

However, there may be other positions deemed appropriate for a credit report based on the particular job responsibilities of the position.

Disputed or Negative Results

If the candidate or employee disputes the accuracy of the information obtained in the background check, they will be provided with the information and the source(s) and allowed five business days to show the inaccuracy of the information provided.

If the results of a credit check are negative, the College will inform the candidate and provide them a Statement of Consumer Rights from the Federal Trade Commission before the employment decision is made. The applicant will be allowed up to five business days to contest the information.