Oregon law requires that all qualified veterans (definition) advance to the first round of interview and receive a preference at each remaining stage of the search and hiring process.  Veterans often face detrimental stereotypes, and may lack experience applying for jobs because of their time in the military.  Search committees and veterans alike may struggle with translating between civilian and military workforce terminology.  Oregon State University has implemented the following procedure to assist search committees to be compliant with Oregon law and OSU policy, and to support veteran applicants.  This procedure does not guarantee employment for veterans.  Please note that this procedure does not contain information about recruitment.  Broad recruitment for veterans and diverse applicant pools in general is an essential component of the search process.  For recruitment information, please refer to Equal Opportunity and Access’s Recruitment Resource Guide.


Human Resources Business Partners will work with the search chair or search committee to identify the minimum qualifications that will be reviewed at the application stage.  Search committees will advance all veterans who meet the minimum qualifications (definition) to the first stage of interviews.  When evaluating minimum qualifications, transferrable skills (definition) and how those skills might help a veteran to meet minimum qualifications must be considered.  Human Resources Business Partners will identify minimally qualified veterans who should be advanced to first stage interviews in the Veterans Preference Worksheet and send it to the search chair.  The search committee will interview all veterans identified by the HR Business Partners, or consult with their HR Business Partners if they disagree about whether a veteran is minimally qualified.  A veteran must be interviewed if the committee and HR Business Partner cannot clearly determine that an MQ is not met.  See “Record Keeping” instructions for information related to completing the Applicant Disposition Workbook.

At each subsequent stage of screening (definition), prior to the final reference checking and the hiring decision stage, the search committee will group the remaining candidates into categories based on an assessment of their qualifications and most current information.  Examples of categories may include highly qualified, well-qualified, minimally qualified, unqualified etc.  Each qualified veteran is advanced one category in order to provide a preference.  The search committee selects the top one or two categories to advance to the next stage (Confused?  Try the FAQ section-Tier Question).


At the point of reference checking, search chairs will ensure that veterans just below the top category are made aware of their status and given the opportunity to advance to reference checking.  Reference checking can cause harm or damage/impair relationship with current employers, thus veterans in this circumstance should make this decision for themselves.  For this reason, please use the following language when contacting the veteran.

  • We appreciated the opportunity to interview and meet with you.  We had very strong candidates and unfortunately, at this point, you are not among the strongest candidates.  However, if you would like, we could call your references to gather additional information that may add to our knowledge about your qualifications.  Would you like us to call your references including your current employer?  If we do not hear from you by __(please provide at least 3 business days)__, we will assume that you prefer that we not contact your references.


If any veteran is interviewed, verbal offers may only be made once HR Business Partners have reviewed the Applicant Disposition Worksheet and Veterans’ Preference Worksheet, and given authorization to make a verbal offer.  Verbal offers cannot be made for classified positions.

Top candidates are evaluated by comparing how well they meet each individual qualification.  Among equally qualified top candidates at the hiring decision stage, the veteran will be selected.  The search chair or hiring manager will offer veterans ranked just below the top candidate(s) the opportunity to provide additional references in order to build their case as being the most qualified applicant.  Please use the following language when contacting the veteran.

We appreciated the opportunity to interview and meet with you.  We had very strong candidates and unfortunately, at this point, you are not among the top candidates.  However, we would like to provide you with the opportunity to supply additional references to build your case in order to demonstrate additional qualifications.  Please send us a list of additional references by __(please provide at least 3 business days)__.  If we do not hear from you by then, we will assume that you prefer that we not contact your references or have no further references to offer.


Human Resources Business Partner Responsibilities

  • HR Business Partners will work with the search chair or search committee to identify which minimum qualifications can be reviewed at the application stage and will upload a list of these qualifications to the action labeled “Qualifications to Consider at Application Review.”
  • In the Applicant Disposition Workbook, prior to application review, HR Business Partners will label the veteran applicants in the Applicant Disposition Worksheet by placing a “Y” for yes in the veteran column.
  • HR Business Partners will enter veteran names into the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet.
  • HR Business Partner Managers will review minimum qualifications of veteran applicants against minimum qualifications for the position and determine which veterans meet minimum qualifications.
  • HR Business Partner Managers will populate the first stage of disposition for veterans, indicating they will be interviewed or not interviewed.
  • HR Business Partners will work with the search chair or support person to identify the search stages the committee plans to use (for example, some searches don’t use phone interviews) and will then edit the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet to reflect the stages.  Further instructions are provided in this sheet and are highlighted in yellow.

Search Committee Responsibilities

  • The search chair or search committee will work with HR Business Partners to identify which minimum qualifications can be reviewed at the application stage.
  • Search committee chairs are responsible for ensuring completion of stage-by-stage records of preference in the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet and completion of the Applicant Disposition Worksheet.  These worksheets are to be updated at each stage of the search process.  More detailed instructions can be found in the workbook.


Search committees must fully consider all applicants who apply prior to the full consideration date and veterans will receive the preference above.  If a committee chooses to consider additional applicants beyond the full consideration date, they must select a date to which they will extend their evaluation.  All who applied between the full consideration date and the extended evaluation date must be considered and any veteran considered will receive a preference.  Search committees will work with their HR Business Partners for the record keeping for those who applied between the full consideration date and the extended evaluation date if applicable.


  1. Is the ADW complete up to the current search stage including both the Applicant Disposition Worksheet and the Veterans Disposition Worksheet? At later stages: Are the applicant statuses and disposition reasons given for veterans consistent with the qualifications listed in the posting?
  2. Were all veterans who met the minimum qualifications that could be evaluated in the application stage advanced to the first stage of interviews?
  3. Is the Veterans Disposition Worksheet clear on how each veteran candidate was advanced to the next stage (top candidate or preference applied) and if not advanced, why? (prior to offer)
  4. Is the information provided in the ADW consistent with HR’s review of the veterans’ qualifications? 
  5. If the answer to any of the above questions is NO, HR will follow up with the search chair for clarification and seek additional guidance from EOA as appropriate.


Minimally qualified – meeting all minimum qualifications that can be evaluated at the application stage and meeting all minimum qualifications that can be known with certainty at a given stage

Stages of screening –

  1. Application Review,
  2. Interviews (phone, Skype, airport, and/or in person),
  3. Reference Checking (written, pre in-person interviews, or post in-person interviews), and
  4. Hiring.

Transferable skill – A skill that a veteran has obtained through military education or experience that substantially relates, directly or indirectly, to the civil service position for which the veteran is applying

Veteran – Search committees can use the veterans report in PeopleAdmin with yes responses indicating U.S. veteran status.  The Oregon Statute provides a preference to all individuals who meet the veteran definition listed in 2015 ORS 408.226

Applicant Disposition WorkbookThe Excel file containing both the Applicant Disposition Worksheet and the Veterans Preference Worksheet

Applicant Disposition WorksheetThe first sheet of the Applicant Disposition Workbook that search committee members use to capture a record of the stage at which each applicant (including veterans) is dispositioned and the reason why they were not advanced

Veteran’s Preference Worksheet (VPW) – The second sheet of the Applicant Disposition Workbook that search committees use to capture a stage by stage record of how the veterans’ preference was applied to each veteran applicant


Foundational Questions

Veterans’ Preference Worksheet

Application Stage Evaluation

Advancing Vets to Interview

Providing a Preference at Post Interview Stages/Advancing a Tier

Hiring Decision

Communicating with Veteran Applicants

What are the reasons behind the Oregon veterans’ preference statute?

The statute requires public employers to provide preferences to qualified veterans in order to mitigate the disadvantage many veterans face in employment.   Military service veterans typically enter the civilian workforce with certain disadvantages:

  1. Their years in military service were often at fairly low rates of pay, and in dangerous conditions, so their national service has created an economic disadvantage for them
  2. They have no experience with the civilian job search process, nor have they practiced the skills of self-promotion that are often valued in civilian searches.  In the military, service people are recommended for jobs or promotions by a commanding officer—they don’t “apply” for these opportunities
  3. The technical language/jargon used in the military is different from the technical language/jargon in the civilian workplace, so employers may fail to recognize that veterans are qualified from their application materials
  4. Veterans report encountering stereotypes, assumptions, and biases in the civilian job market.

Why do we use this process for veterans?

  • Oregon law requires that all qualified veterans advance to initial interview and receive a preference at each following stage of the hiring process.  In compliance with the law, this policy and process clarify how that preference is applied at each stage of the hiring process.

Does having a veteran in the search guarantee their employment?

  • The veterans preference policy helps to support qualified veterans in the search process but it does not guarantee their employment.

What if I have placement goals for the women and people of color but not for veterans – do I still apply the veterans’ preference?

  • Yes.  OSU’s Policy on Veteran Status applies to ALL individuals who identify as qualifying veterans.  The veterans’ preference must be applied regardless of whether a placement goal has been determined for that particular group. 

What do I do if my search stages don’t align with the options available in the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet?

  • Contact your HR support person and work with them to align the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet with your search stages as appropriate.

What is the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet?

  • It is a sheet in the Applicant Disposition Workbook (ADW) excel file which will be sent to you by your HR partnership staff if there is a veteran in the pool.

What qualifications may be evaluated at the application stage?

  • The committee would evaluate:
    • measurable and objective qualifications, and
    • any qualifications you would reasonably expect to find in application materials or responses to supplemental questions.
    • What are measurable and objective qualifications?
      • Measurable qualifications are typically number thresholds such as number of years of experience.
      • Objective Qualifications include specific degrees, certifications etc.
      • When you evaluate measurable and objective qualifications you should only be able to answer yes or no; there is no opportunity for differences of opinion.

If a veteran marginally misses meeting the minimum qualifications that are being evaluated at the application stage, should I contact them to request additional information?

  • If the veteran does not meet the measurable and objective minimum qualifications (e.g. years of experience or degree), they are not entitled to a preference.  Do not contact them for additional information. 
  • If the veteran meets the measurable and objective minimum qualifications but you cannot confirm that they meet the other qualifications that are being evaluated at the application stage, the search committee may contact the veteran for additional information or invite the veteran for an interview and make the determination through the interview process.  In determining whether a veteran meets the non-measurable and objective qualifications, the search committee must consider transferrable skills.

What can be done to increase the likelihood of being able to determine if a Veteran is minimally qualified?

  • First, it is helpful to remove ambiguous words from measurable minimum qualifications.  Rather than 5 years of relevant experience in field x, name types of experiences that would be relevant or name the types of skills a candidate would have demonstrated in their experience that would make it relevant.
  • Secondly, search committees may use supplemental questions to further clarify qualifications. 
  • Finally, search committees can reach out to veterans to clarify whether the veteran meets the minimum qualification.  Be sure to mention that you are asking the question as part of the preference that OSU provides to veterans.
  • Keep in mind that committees should be considering transferrable skills when considering whether a veteran meets minimum qualifications or not. 
  • When in doubt, interview the veteran.

What if I have a qualified pool of 15 candidates and 10 of those qualified are veterans – do I have to interview all the veterans? 

  • Yes.  The law requires that all minimally qualified veterans will be advanced to the first stage of interviews.

If I’m only interviewing the top tier and the qualified veteran falls in another tier, why do I have to interview them? 

  • The law requires that all veterans who are minimally qualified advance at least to the first stage of interview.  This provides an opportunity for the veteran to explain transferrable skills that may not be apparent in their application materials.

Am I required to pay travel expenses for veteran candidates?

  • Search committees should determine how and if travel expenses will be covered for candidates who are invited to campus at the beginning of the search.  This decision will apply to all candidates regardless of status.  A committee may not consider potential travel costs as a factor in selecting a veteran to interview.  The initial decision about whether or not travel costs for site interviews will be covered should be applied consistently to all finalists.

Can you give an example of how to provide a preference by advancing a veteran a tier?

  • A committee reviews a pool of 10 applicants and groups the applicants into tiers.  The applicants fall into 4 categories: highly qualified, well qualified, qualified, and unqualified.  The committee’s review of Virginia the veteran places her in the qualified tier.  There are 3 people in the highly qualified tier, 2 in the well qualified tier, 4 in the qualified tier and, 1 is unqualified.  Because Virginia meets the minimum qualifications, she advances to phone or Skype interview.
  • After phone interviews, the committee re-groups the applicants based on information collected through those interviews.  There are now 2 candidates in the qualified tier (including Virginia), 2 in the well-qualified tier, and 3 in the highly-qualified tier.  Before identifying candidates to invite for on-site interviews, the committee provides a preference by moving Virginia into the group of people in the well-qualified tier.
    • Scenario 1) The committee plans only to interview a small group on site, so invites the 3 people in the top tier—highly qualified.  Virginia is not interviewed because her preference moved her only into the well-qualified tier, which is a group that is not being interviewed.
    • Scenario 2) The committee plans to interview a moderately sized group and extends their interview invitations to the second tier—well qualified.  Virginia is interviewed because her preference has moved her into the well-qualified tier, which is a group that is being interviewed.
    • What if Virginia the veteran was in the unqualified tier?
      • A veteran, and any applicant, must be qualified to advance.  Virginia would not be eligible for a preference if she were unqualified.  She would not be advanced a category.

Wouldn’t a point system be easier to manage?

  • Point systems are deceptive with their ease, requiring that you decide how to ascribe points, weight qualifications, and weight experience/demonstration of a skill.  Using a qualitative system instead of a point system allows us to attend to qualifications, critically evaluate the knowledge, skills, and abilities that candidates bring, and use our best judgment in an equitable and consistent fashion without falling into the trap of numbers.

What if I have a veteran candidate, and a non-veteran candidate, who are essentially equally qualified at the end of the process?

  • The veteran applicant will be hired when the final candidates are equally qualified and one is a veteran.

What if the veteran candidate is only marginally less qualified than the top candidate is at the end of the process? 

  • If a veteran candidate is only marginally less qualified than the top candidate at the end of the hiring process, the veteran candidate is provided a preference by allowing the veteran applicant to provide additional references to demonstrate further qualifications before the hiring decision is completed.

Can I issue a verbal offer if there is a veteran in the pool?

  • No, verbal offers are not permitted prior to HR approval.

How do I respond to a veteran who was advanced to reference check and supplied references but those references were not favorable or did not provide enough information to advance the veteran? The veteran wants to know why they were not advanced.

  • If another finalist was selected, you can explain that once references were checked and the preference was applied, another candidate was still stronger.  If the search was failed, you can let the veteran know that no candidates were advanced and the department has canceled the search.

If a veteran, who was not selected, contacts me, what information should I provide to them?

  • Veterans have a right to know how their veterans’ preference was applied at each stage of the search process.  Additionally, you can respond to questions about what would make them more competitive for similar positions in the future as a generous gesture.  If you do this, focus generally on the qualifications in which the appointee was substantially stronger than the veteran.  Otherwise, you should not share information about other candidates, references, or any other part of the search process.  You may also direct them to the Recruitment Resources for Veterans on the Equal Opportunity & Access website.  If you have questions contact the Affirmative Action Manager or Associate in Equal Opportunity and Access.  Affirmation.Action@oregonstate.edu

Waiver of Search:  If a waiver of search is sought to appoint a veteran into an unclassified position, veteran status will be considered a positive factor in the waiver review.

Responding to Requests for Information: Requests for information about the handling of a veteran’s application and any questions about this procedure should be directed to the Affirmative Action Manager in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access (541-737-4381).