Hiring Process

To provide a safe environment for our community and safeguard our assets, Columbia University conducts background checks on new hires. Template-Based Hires (TBH) is a function within People @ Columbia where new hire and rehire transactions are initiated electronically in the departments and schools through templates.

Reminder Notice

Reminder Notice 

New York's Local Law 67 prohibits employers in New York City from inquiring about or relying on an applicant's salary history during the hiring process. See Presentation: Salary History Inquiries (NYC Local Law 67)


 

Academic & Administrative Hiring

In support of a safe and secure campus community, any applicant for a University position who receives a conditional offer of employment will undergo a background check. Rehires with a break in service of more than six consecutive months will also be required to undergo a background check.

A background check consists of a criminal record search (including the 50-state sex offender registry), education and employment verifications.

Drug Screenings: Some applicants will also be required to undergo drug testing, motor vehicle search or fingerprinting, depending on the nature of the position. Applicants for such positions will be notified of this requirement when an offer of employment is made.

The finalist must be cleared by your HR client manager and given a conditional offer of employment before a background check can be initiated. Applicants are not permitted to begin working until the background check clearance is issued, unless an exception is approved in advance by the VP of Human Resources or his or her designee.

Key Actions

  • The finalist is selected by the school/department and cleared by your HR client manager.
  • A conditional offer of employment is made.
  • The Department initiates the background check (via e-link or manually).
  • CUHR or CUIMC HR reviews the report and notifies the school/department if the selected finalist has cleared the background check or the report revealed a potentially disqualifying alert. In the case of a potentially disqualifying alert, CUHR / CUIMC HR will initiate the adverse action process (see Background Check Guidelines for more information regarding the pre-adverse process).
  • If the finalist is cleared by CUHR or CUMC HR, the school/department can move forward with the hiring process.

See Columbia University Background Check Policy

Note: For more information regarding which positions require drug testing, motor vehicle department search, or finger printing, contact your designated HR Client Manager.

Template-Based Hires (TBH) is a function within People @ Columbia where new hire and rehire transactions are initiated electronically in the departments and schools through templates. A document attachment feature allows you to attach any documents necessary, and the electronic workflow allows for a paperless approval process.

This function also integrates Salary Distributions and Additional Compensation payments known at the time of hire into the templates. This functionality ensures that monies are charged to the correct funding arrangement and not to suspense.

Access to Template-Based Hires is provided to employees at Columbia University who initiate and approve hiring transactions. The Human Resources Processing Center (HRPC) completes the hire/rehire transactions and creates the PAC record.

There is a campus specific template to use depending on the type of employee you are hiring or rehiring:

  • Hire-Academic: to hire academic officers (Morningside campus).
  • Rehire-Academic: to rehire academic officers (Morningside campus).
  • Hire-Clinical: to hire academic officers (CUIMC campus). Used for academic officers who hold a clinical appointment and also for those who do not.
  • Rehire-Clinical: to rehire academic officers (CUIMC campus). Used for academic officers who hold a clinical appointment and also for those who do not.
  • Administrative Hire: to hire all types of administrative staff (Morningside and CUIMC campuses).
  • Administrative Rehire: to rehire all types of administrative staff (CUIMC and Morningside campuses).

How to complete the template-based hire transactions:

Encryption software should be installed to ensure the security of Personally Identifiable Information (PII):

Visit the Course Catalog for detailed information on processing hire transactions.

Employment instances where TBH is not used:

  • Students who are Teaching Assistants (TAs), Departmental Research Assistants (DRAs) or Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) who receive a stipend and have a Bursar/Financial Aid record in the Student Information Services (SIS) system. These students receive a PAC identity via the SIS feed which does not allow the TBH entry to be completed.
  • Students who are active in the Work Study system. These students receive a PAC identity via the Work Study feed which does not allow the TBH entry to be completed.
  • Retirees who are active in the system and have a PAC identity which does not allow the TBH entry to be completed.
  • Personnel awaiting a Social Security Number (SSN).
  • People being hired with multiple jobs/appointments or those being hired into an additional job.
  • Academic personnel with stipends (postdoctoral research fellows and postdoctoral clinical fellows).
  • Academic personnel who are reappointed on rosters (as applicable when rosters are used).
  • Academic personnel going on leave immediately upon hire.

For these types of hires, submit a paper New Hire Personnel Action Form (PAF) for Administrative hires or a paper Nomination Form for Academic hires.  Reference the Effective Dates in PAC job aid for information on how effective dates are used.

Paper Process for New Hires

The information entered onto the paper forms is the same information that is entered into the electronic templates in TBH. For a description of the fields, how to complete them, and the list of documents that must be attached, refer to the training materials in the Training Catalog.

Using the Nomination Form/New Hire PAF

  1. Access the Nomination Form / PAF
     
  2. Type information directly on the form. Enter information on the form and use the drop down boxes. Please do not hand-write the information.
     
  3. Verify that the form is complete. Review the entries to verify that the information is correct and that all of the appropriate fields have been completed.
     
  4. Print, sign and route the form. once the form is complete, print it and have it signed by the person in your department with the security access to sign PAFs it then route it to the appropriate office for approval along with the required documents. The Final Approver will forward the complete file to the HRPC.  The list of required documents can be found in the Attaching Documents in TBH Job Aid.

Please refer to the How to Complete a PAF Job Aid for complete information on the fields required.
 

Paper Process for Rehires and Reappointments

A rehire is someone who was previously employed by the University and is returning to work at the University. As the person was previously employed here, he/she is considered a rehire and not a new hire.

A reappointment is a renewal of a term appointment for academic officers. For more information on academic reappointments, please visit the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Programs

Academic personnel, except those with Tenure or Tenure of Title, can be appointment for no more than one year. Academic personnel can be reappointed either by roster or by PAF. Please reference the Faculty Handbook for additional information about academic hires.

Academic personnel on regular term appointments are rehired via the roster process.  A memo with information about processing rosters is provided by the Provost Office and sent directly to Departmental Administrators during the specific Spring, Summer, and Fall terms. 

To rehire an administrative employee or an academic employee not rehired using a roster, follow the steps below.

  1. Generate an Active PAF for the employee from the Employee Personal Information page in the Manager Self-Service section of People @ Columbia. 
     
  2. Enter the action/reason codes and effective date at the top of the PAF (see the chart below)
     
  3. In the appropriate sections of the PAF, draw / type a single line through information that needs to be changed and print / type the new information in the updated fields. Verify that the form is complete, sign it, attach the appropriate documentation and route it to the appropriate office for approval, along with the required supporting paperwork for the transaction

Please refer to the How to Complete a PAF Job Aid for complete information on the fields required.
 

Action/Reason Codes (Academic and Administrative Hires and Academic Re-appointments / Administrative Rehires)

Below are the applicable action / reason codes for an Academic or Administrative Hire and for an academic reappointment / administrative rehire. Enter these on the top of the PAF or Nomination form to indicate the purpose for the submission.

 

Visit Conducting a Staff Search to view offer letter templates for administrative hires.