Total Talent Management

Documenting the recruiting and hiring process

Last updated: September 18, 2023.

The hiring process involves the creation, use, and retention of documents that facilitate hiring and help ensure the University is in compliance with federal and state employment laws and regulations. Failure to comply may lead to a loss of federal funding, subject the University to monetary fines, and/or place the University at risk for employment-related litigation. Compliance allows the University to demonstrate its commitment to nondiscrimination in recruitment and hiring, respond to reasonable requests for accommodation in the hiring process, and meet its goal of recruiting, developing, and supporting diverse individuals whose work advances the vision and mission of the University of Washington.

Hiring process records retention guidance is based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ (OFCCP) enforcement of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and UW records retention policy.

Records created and used during the recruiting process

Candidate records

All records related to the process of recruitment and selection of staff, whether hired or considered but not selected, must be retained for a minimum of three (3) years after the conclusion of the recruitment. Records subject to the UW records retention policy include, but are not limited to:

  • A copy of the job description, including basic and additional qualifications, for each position to which the individual applied.
  • A copy of job advertisements and job postings for each position to which the individual applied.
  • All applications, resumes, cover letters, diversity statements, and other expressions of interest that were considered.
  • Requests for reasonable accommodation of applicants.
  • Copies of applicant screening questions, phone screen results, interview questions, interview notes, tests, test results, and all other screening and evaluation tools used to select candidates from each applicant pool.
  • Correspondence, letters of reference, references, and notes from reference checks.
  • Sexual misconduct declaration.
Final hire records

While the records created or used during the hiring process for the final hire should be stored with the recruitment file by departments for three (3) years, certain post-offer records must be sent by departments to UWHR and will be retained by UWHR as part of the employee’s personnel file for a period of 50 years after termination of employment. These records include, but are not limited to:

  • Results of background checks* and education verification*
  • Hire confirmation letter
  • Department hire letter
  • Nonpermanent employment notification

* Stored only in the employee’s personnel file by UWHR

The table below summarizes the records listed above, responsible office(s), and applicable retention periods.

Storing records

It is the responsibility of University employees who facilitate, lead, and participate in the hiring process, including, but not limited to, employment specialists, recruiters, schedulers, hiring managers, and interview team participants to understand the hiring process and to comply with record keeping requirements.

Departments should ensure records are retained in secure locations (such as locked filing cabinets or access controlled shared electronic folders); retrievable by others should hiring team participants leave the University; and destroyed or archived at the end of the retention period. Paper copies of records that are stored electronically should not be retained, with the exception of records that have been marked with notes by participants in the hiring process.

Records created and retained in Workday and UWHIRES should not be duplicated by departments, as they are stored in the system of record.

Records retention management and storage is the responsibility of the record creator. A summary of records for staff hiring by phase and typical associated responsibility is below:

Record Responsibility* Retention system
Position description Campus department
Med Ctrs Recruiting Team
Job advertisements, social media sites, and position-specific job fairs Campus department
Med Ctrs Recruiting Team
Job advertisement tracker
Job posting UWHR Recruiting Teams UWHIRES

Record Responsibility* Retention system
Resume UWHR Recruiting Teams UWHIRES
Application information and profile data UWHR Recruiting Teams UWHIRES
Cover letter and/or other expressions of interest UWHR Recruiting Teams UWHIRES/ Secure location
Phone screen answers Department unless UWHR Recruiting Team conducts phone screen Secure location
Diversity statement Department Secure location
Preemployment inquiry and applicant screening questions UWHR Recruiting Teams UWHIRES
Request for reasonable accommodation Disability Services Office DSO

Record Responsibility* Retention system
Interview questions and notes Department Secure location
Skills test, tests, and test results Department Secure location
Scoring, ranking and selection criteria (e.g., completed candidate evaluation form and matrix) Department Secure location

Reference check
Record Responsibility* Retention system
Reference check questions and results Department unless UWHR Recruiting Team conducts checks Secure location
Signed misconduct declaration UWHR Recruiting Teams Secure location

Background check
Record Responsibility* Retention system
Background check results UWHR Recruiting Teams Secure location
Education verification results UWHR Recruiting Teams Secure location

Record Responsibility* Retention system
Hire confirmation letter Department
Med Ctrs Recruiting Teams
Personnel file

Record Responsibility* Retention system
Department hire letter Department Personnel file
Temporary Employment Notification UWHR Recruiting Teams Workday

*The charts above represents the most typical records retention responsibilities in the hiring process. Some departments may have variations of this depending on whether recruitments involve executive search firms or have specific, unique requirements, such as recruitments for positions in Intercollegiate Athletics or UW Police Department.

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Records for executive heads of major administrative or academic divisions

In addition to the requirements described above, search committees for President, Provost, Dean, Vice President, Vice Provost, or Director level positions must retain records of committee procedures and decisions made during the recruitment for 10 years after the conclusion of the search process. At the end of the retention period, all relevant records must be sent to the University Archives. Records subject to this requirement may include, but are not limited to:

  • A list of committee members
  • Correspondence regarding planning for the search
  • The development of criteria for the selection of a candidate
  • The job/position description

This records retention requirement does not include materials submitted by any applicants.

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Records for student hires

Records created for applicants and final hires to student positions such as applications, resumes, correspondence, letters of reference, evaluations of candidates, notes on employment selection, etc. must be retained by the department for three (3) years from termination or transfer out of the department for those hired, or three (3) years after completion of hiring process for all other applicants.

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Process compliance: Taking notes and documenting the hiring process

Activity dispositioning

Recording the stage in the hiring process an applicant is considered, rejected, and by whom is called “activity dispositioning” and is a requirement of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The OFCCP monitors federal contractors’ compliance in the areas of nondiscrimination in the recruitment and selection process, applicant and employee data, and compensation. As a federal contractor, the University must comply with OFCCP regulations by accurately documenting and recording the search process.

Dispositioning is one of the strongest ways to record the hiring process, demonstrate fair and equitable review of applicants, and should be an ongoing activity during the recruitment process, not simply done at the end. Recording activities in UWHIRES as you go during the review, evaluation, and hire of candidates results in being able to tell the story of how an applicant was hired, why an applicant was not hired, or the overall selection and hiring process.

Details about the activity dispositioning process is outlined on the Activity disposition codes webpage.


Taking notes and documenting answers to interview questions is a good way to refresh your memory of what happened or was said in an interview and in discussions with others who interviewed the same person. They can be used to not only facilitate the candidate selection process, but to document your fair review of candidates. Notes should be factual, nondiscriminatory, and related to the applicant’s qualifications and skills relative to the position. Strive for consistency of quality and quantity when taking notes and documenting scores and interview results. Keep in mind that interview notes and other screening documentation may be examined after the fact (e.g., during an audit, litigation, or public records request) and the meaning of each word may be questioned.

After an interview, notes from an interview team may be consolidated into a single interview summary. If a committee consolidates its interview notes, the summary document must be retained until the end of the retention period and individual notes must be shredded or deleted.

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