Staff Search Planning

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)

Types of Hires

Academic Appointments

For all academic hires, please refer to the Faculty Handbook and The Guide to Best Practices in Faculty Search and Hiring.

Officers of Administration – Regular Full-time

Full-time Officers of Administration are University employees who perform exempt-level work and work 35 hours per week.

Officers of Administration – Regular Part-time

Part-time Officers of Administration are University employees who perform exempt-level work. Part-time Officers of Administration earning less than the New York State minimum salary threshold for individuals classified as exempt executives and administrative employees are classified at Columbia University as Hourly Officers. Hourly Officers are paid on the bi-weekly payroll and are required to submit bi-weekly timesheets in accordance with their local department practice for timesheets. They are eligible for overtime if they work in excess of 40 hours in a week. 

Nine, 10 and Eleven-Month Employment Program

The University's Nine, Ten and Eleven-Month Employment Program is designed to promote flexibility within the work environment. An Officer of Administration or the Libraries or Non-Union Support Staff member, in a regular full-time position, may apply for the Nine, Ten or Eleven-Month Employment Program.

Staff in an eleven-month employment program maintain full-time employment status and receive regular full-time benefits, such as health insurance and vacation. They receive 11/12 of their annual salary over a 12-month period.

Staff in a nine or ten-month employment program maintain full-time employment status but certain benefits may be modified. Please refer to the Flexible Work Arrangements Policy for additional benefits information.

Support Staff Employees

  • Non-Union Support Staff (NUSS) are University employees who work in non-exempt (covered by federal and state minimum wage and overtime provisions) and non-union positions.
  • Union Support Staff are University employees who perform non-exempt work and whose employment is governed by a collective bargaining agreement between the University and the designated Union for the position.

Departments may need to hire a temporary employee for more time than a short-term casual or an agency temporary employee is allowed. The main advantage of the temporary University employee category is that it can be used to hire employees for extended periods with certain benefits. Because of this, it makes sense to fill certain positions with temporary University employees, such as:

  • A position where an employee is on an extended leave of absence for more than four months
  • A position for which an extended search is being conducted for a regular replacement, and the search period is expected to exceed four months
  • A special project/initiative is expected to last more than four months

Temporary Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff

All Officers of Administration and Non-Union Support Staff positions should be posted in TalentLink; however, for positions of a duration of 12 months or less or if there is someone internally who has been identified for the position, a waiver may be requested and approved by the HR Client Manager.  Nevertheless, posting requirements and administrative monitoring procedures will apply to positions with a duration of more than 12 months or when a temporary University employee is hired as a regular employee.

See Benefits information

Variable-Hours Officers

Variable-Hours Officers (VHO) are employees on the University payroll who are performing Officer-level work on an irregular and unpredictable schedule. The work hours are undefined and vary from work week to work week depending on the nature of the work or project. Variable-hours Officers are limited to a maximum of 999 hours in a rolling 12-month period and should average less than 20 hours in a week. If in any given week the VHO exceeds 40 hours, he/she must be paid one-and-a-half times his/her regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. Please review the entire Employment of Variable Hours Officers Policy.

Short-Term Casuals

A Short-Term Casual employee is an employee on the Columbia University payroll who is performing non-exempt work for a limited period of time.

Please note: this excludes full-time and half-time Columbia University students (Columbia University, Barnard College and Teachers College, who are excluded from the restrictions listed below).

Casual Employees:

  1. Are limited to 560-hours or four months, whichever comes first in a 12-month period from hire date.
  2. Usually hired for a special project or as a short-term replacement for a regular, non-exempt employee (Union or Non-Union), who is on vacation or a leave. If a short-term casual employee is hired to replace a specific employee on an authorized leave of absence, the employment may continue on the short-term casual payroll until the regular employee returns, but cannot exceed 999 hours in a 12-month period.
  3. Perform non-exempt work, and must fit into one of the six pre-defined job description templates
  4. Can hold only one position at a time

Prior to hiring a casual employee, please review the Employment of Short-Term Casual Employees Policy to determine if the hiring needs for your department fit the criteria and parameters of a casual employee. In addition, you should refer to the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA) for limitations and notice requirements for work that might otherwise be covered by a CBA.

The following individuals are not eligible for casual employment:

  • Students holding an appointment as a Student Officer
  • Individuals who will be appointed as faculty, Officers of Research or Officers of the Libraries
  • Individuals doing research must be appointed as Officers of Research via the Nomination Form

Work Study Students

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is designed to promote part-time employment for students who qualify for help in financing their education. The Federal Work-Study Office provides a wide range of student career opportunities while supporting departmental needs within the University and community.

A department that wishes to hire students through the FWS Program must follow the regulations of this federally funded program and are limited to working no more than 20 hours per week. The policies and procedures are described by the FWS Office on the Federal Work-Study website.

Note: Work-Study student employees should not be confused with Student Officers of Instruction and Research who receive an academic appointment.


University schools and departments may contract for the purchase of professional services to accomplish the objectives of the University when such services are specialized, highly technical and cannot be economically or satisfactorily performed by University employees as part of their normal duties.

An independent contractor is a business firm or an individual that contracts with the University to provide services.

See the Purchasing Department for detailed information on the process.

Note: The use of the services of a former or retired employee as a consultant raises special considerations. Work with your HR Client Manager to determine whether such an arrangement is permissible and/or feasible. In general, current University employees are prohibited from contracting with the University.

For detailed information and steps on how to hire an individual into Columbia University, visit Hiring Process.

Columbia Employment Information Center (CEIC)

The Employment Information Center serves as a source of information and a critical access point to make the Columbia application process more accessible to the local community. CEIC staff can be reached at 212-851-1551 or via email at [email protected].

The Center provides the following services:

  • Enhanced training programs and job search counseling services
  • Partnerships with hiring managers to identify local candidates for a wide range of positions, including full-time, part-time, and temporary job openings
  • Prescreening and interviewing of local qualified candidates for open positions
  • Providing detailed written summaries of viable candidates for hiring managers

CEIC also houses the Columbia Temporary Staffing Office, which provides the following services to the Morningside, Manhattanville, and CUIMC campuses:

  • Assists University schools and departments in filling immediate, short term and temp-to-hire openings by partnering with several Columbia-approved temporary staffing firms in the New York City area
  • Provides payrolling services for temporary candidates identified by hiring managers
  • Partners with the Employment Information Center to place local community residents on temporary assignments

Central HR Recruitment

The CUHR Recruitment Team provides schools and departments with the following consultative support:

  • Recruitment support for executive searches
  • Search committee coordination and facilitation
  • Liaising with search firms
  • Partnering support with hard-to-fill searches and diversity initiatives
  • Internal mobility and career counseling
  • Spouse/partner career support for faculty recruitment
  • Recruiting best practices

Search/Recruitment Firms

Search firms are often used for their expertise in a particular area of specialty or industry, or because of their ability to identify a talented pool of candidates quickly. It is critical to remember, however, that search firms operate under the direction of the hiring manager and must comply with all applicable University recruitment standards. This includes following the stated posting period for the position, complying with outreach and recruitment guidelines and adhering to all other governing University policies.

Search firms are expected to adhere to the same affirmative action reporting standards and documentation as all hiring managers. Specifically, the search firm should offer candidates the opportunity to self-identify their gender, race/ethnicity and veteran status. The hiring manager is required to obtain complete applicant pool data, including reasons for non-selection of qualified candidates from the search firm.

Additionally, search firms must insert relevant information and upload the related documents into TalentLink (to which the firm will have been provided access by the hiring unit). Failure to complete this task shall cause Columbia to withhold final payment to the search firm until the firm has complied with this requirement.

For temporary employment, see Temporary Staffing.

Planning for a Search

Strategic planning on the front end is essential to successful recruitment efforts. When positions become open, managers should consider and address the following prior to filling or posting a job:

  • Have the needs changed?
  • Does the job description need revising?
  • Are there any Affirmative Action placement goals or diversity recruitment needs which should be considered?

Organizational design is an important process that helps align people resources with the strategic goals of a school or department. Managers and local HR representatives can work with their HR Client Managers to define the needs of the unit and make sure that the right talent is identified and in place.

Does the position exist?

If a new position needs to be created, or if an existing position needs to be reclassified, visit the Position Management page for steps on how to create a new position.

Salary Considerations – University Salary Ranges

Hiring managers are responsible for offering and agreeing to salaries for new employees that are aligned with the hiring range for the grade (for Officers and Non-Union Support Staff). Salaries for new Officers and Non-Union Support Staff must fall within the hiring range for the grade. Consult with your HR Client Manager if you have questions regarding the CUHR or CUIMC HR salary-range grids for the Morningside and Medical Center campuses. Any proposed exceptions must be approved by your HR Client Manager before a final offer may be extended.

Internal Equity

It is important that the salary being considered is justifiable/equitable based on the individual’s qualifications and background as compared to the qualifications, performance and experience of current Columbia staff in similar positions or in the same grade.

Internal Mobility

Columbia University's policy is to ensure opportunity for internal mobility is consistent with the University's commitment to equal employment opportunity. Promotions may result from an upward reclassification of an existing position or from an employee applying for, and becoming the successful applicant for, a new/vacant position posted on the TalentLink system. Reference the Managing Transfers and Internal Mobility Policy for additional information.