Hiring Happenings

Following release of volleyball coach, the Puma Press investigates hiring practices


Photo: Abby Headstrom

Image of University Prep’s Hiring Process

On October 14, the University Prep varsity volleyball coach was fired after athletes raised concerns regarding content linked to his Twitter account, according to an email sent to volleyball players and families from the school.
The school did not make a public statement on the matter.
“UPrep does not comment on HR matters, which includes the recent firing of the volleyball coach,” Director of Marketing and Communications Mary Beth Lambert said.
Director of Hiring E-chieh Lin reported that the athletic department hires its coaches separately from the rest of the school.
UPrep’s faculty and staff hiring practices, however, still remain largely unknown to students, so the Puma Press investigated what they are. According to Lin, candidates go through a multi-level hiring process before they are hired.
First, a team composed of the division director, the head of the department that is hiring and a faculty member review the resumes of interested candidates. The search committee then individually ranks their top preferences and decides together who to offer phone interviews to.”

“Everyone comes to the [search committee] meeting with their top 8-10 choices and puts it up on Post-it notes,” Lin said. “The reason we started using posted notes is because we didn’t want power dynamics to affect people’s choices.”
After the phone interviews, the hiring committee chooses up to three candidates to come in person to UPrep and teach a mock class. This is where the committee will pick their top candidate to hire.
While the candidate is at UPrep, they also complete an interview with the Head of School, who ultimately has final veto power over any decision the hiring committee makes.
“The head of school meets with the candidate and has the right to say yes or no,” Lin said. “If they say no, then it’s a definite no, it doesn’t matter what the search committee decided.”
According to Lin, once a candidate is offered a position and accepts, the business office begins the background checking process.
“It’s a background check with our police and FBI. Those look for if they have a criminal, any misdemeanors, felonies, so they have to do fingerprinting,” Lin said.
According to Lin, UPrep does not include a social media review as part of their background checks.
“It [a social media review] depends on who the hiring managers are and how much they want to do,” Lin said. “It is not a part of our process right now to do that.”
Lin noted that there are challenges to implementing a social media review for all candidates.
“I need to look more around the legal processes behind it to understand what that may mean or look like for people who are applying to the school,” Lin said.
Lin also believes there are other factors, like social media literacy, that can influence a candidate’s social media presence.
“If we look at who gets that type of training and who doesn’t, it is mostly low-income people of color who would not,” Lin said. “
Lin hopes that careful consideration will be taken into account when it comes to creating guidelines for social media usage for staff.
“There is a lot to think through to decide how we are going to write our protocols for doing that,” Lin said. “We need to make sure we don’t have implicit or unconscious bias when we are looking at someone through their social media.”