Veterans in the U.S. have often faced detrimental stereotypes, and some 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 law requires that all qualified veterans of United States military service (definition) who meet the minimum qualifications of the position advance to the first round of interview and receive a preference at each remaining stage of the search and hiring process.  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. 

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.

Steps in the Recruitment Process

Search committees will advance all veterans who meet all minimum qualifications (MQ) (definition) that are able to be assessed at the application stage to first stage interviews. When evaluating minimum qualifications, transferrable skills (definition) and how those skills might help a veteran to meet minimum qualifications must be considered. Search committees will be assisted in identifying applicants who meet minimum qualifications by University Human Resources (UHR) Recruitment team. Qualifying veterans who should be advanced will be identified in the Veterans Preference Worksheet which UHR will send to the search chair.  The search committee will interview all veterans identified by the UHR Recruitment team who meet the minimum qualifications, or consult with the Recruitment Supervisor if they disagree about whether a veteran meets the minimum qualifications. A veteran must be interviewed if the committee and UHR Recruitment team cannot clearly determine that an MQ is not met by the veteran. See “Record Keeping” instructions for information related to completing the Applicant Disposition Workbook.

At each subsequent stage of screening (definition), prior to the hiring decision stage, the search committee will group the remaining candidates into categories based on a revised assessment of their qualifications. Examples of categories may include highly qualified, well-qualified, minimally qualified, unqualified, etc. Each veteran who meets the minimum qualifications at each stage must be advanced one category in order to meet preference requirements. The search committee selects the top one or two categories to advance to the next stage of the interview process. Additionally, if a disabled veteran is not advanced, their application will be reviewed once more by the search committee to determine if there is an opportunity to advance. Please refer to the FAQ section-Tier Question for further clarification.

If any veteran is interviewed, verbal offers may only be made once the Recruitment team has reviewed the Applicant Disposition Worksheet and Veterans’ Preference Worksheet, and provided authorization to make a verbal offer. Verbal offers cannot be made for classified positions.

Among equally qualified top candidates at the hiring decision stage, the veteran will be offered the position. Among equally qualified top veteran candidates at the hiring decision stage, the disabled veteran will be offered the position.

University Human Resources Recruitment Team Responsibilities

Determination of whether minimum qualifications are met

  • A list of “Minimum Qualifications to Consider at Veteran Application Review” will be uploaded to the posting. The search committee will use this document when reviewing applications.
  • In the Applicant Disposition Workbook (ADW), prior to application review, UHR Recruitment team will label the veteran applicants in the Applicant Disposition Worksheet by placing a “Y” for yes in the veteran column.
  • UHR Recruitment team will enter veteran names into the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet and identify any disabled veterans by entering “Yes” in the Disabled Vet column.
  • UHR Recruitment team  will review veteran applicants to determine if they meet the minimum qualifications that can be measured at the application. Recruitment team should limit their review to those qualifications they feel confident in reviewing. Any other qualifications that can be reviewed at the application stage will be reviewed by the committee. The recruitment team  would then determine whether they could support the committee’s position that the veteran was not minimally qualified as justification not to advance the veteran applicant.
  • UHR Recruitment team  will populate the first stage of disposition for veterans, indicating if they will or will not be interviewed. If the veterans will not be interviewed, an explanation as to why must be included.

Other recordkeeping

  • UHR Recruitment team will work with the search chair or support person to identify the search stages the committee plans to use (for example, some searches do not 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.

ADW Review Standards for UHR Service Center

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

Search Committee Chair Responsibilities

  • 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 Applicant Disposition Workbook.

The search committee is required to review all applicants who have applied on or before the full consideration date. Veterans who apply by this date and meet the minimum qualifications will also receive the preference described 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 applicants who applied between the full consideration date and the extended evaluation date must be considered and any veteran considered must receive a preference if they meet the minimum qualifications. A search committee representative will work with their UHR Recruitment team for assistance as required.

Minimally qualified – Meeting all minimum qualifications that can be evaluated at the application stage and meeting all minimum qualifications that can be known at the given stage.

Stages of screening –

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

Disabled Veteran – All individuals who meet the disabled veteran definition listed in ORS 408.225(1)(c).  Search committees can use the veterans report in PeopleAdmin with “yes” responses indicating U.S. veteran status.

Veteran – All individuals who meet the veteran definition listed in ORS 408.225(1)(f). Search committees can use the veterans report in PeopleAdmin with “yes” responses indicating U.S. veteran status. 

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.

Veterans’ Preference Worksheet – 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.

Full Consideration Date – A date by which applications must be received in order for applicants to receive full consideration.  This is used optionally in some searches to allow applications to still be received after the review begins.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

  1. Their employment positions within the military may not directly translate to civilian positions (e.g. hazard pay, specific conditions of employment) and, therefore, create a disadvantage for them when being reviewed for civilian positions
  2. They may not have experience with the civilian job search process, and may not have 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.

Oregon law requires that all minimally qualified veterans advance to initial interview and receive a preference at each subsequent stage of the hiring process.  In compliance with the law, the OSU Veterans’ Preference Policy and this procedure clarify how that preference is applied at each stage of the hiring process.

Yes. OSU’s Veterans Preference Employment Policy applies to ALL individuals who identify as veterans. The veterans’ preference must be applied regardless of whether a placement goal has been determined for another particular group. Placement goals do not provide a preference for an identity group, nor do we make identity-based hiring decisions based on any identity. The Oregon veterans preference is the only exception to this, per state law.

The Veterans’ Preference Worksheet is a sheet in the Applicant Disposition Workbook (ADW) excel file which will be sent to you by your UHR Recruitment team if there is a veteran in the pool.

Contact your UHR Recruitment team and work with them to align the Veterans’ Preference Worksheet with your search stages as appropriate.

The UHR Recruitment team does a preliminary assessment of qualifications that can be assessed at the application stage for all applicants. This includes all measurable and objective qualifications. The UHR Recruitment team then determines which veteran candidates will advance to first stage interviews.  Search committees should still thoroughly review the applications of all veteran candidates to familiarize themselves with applicants.

If there is disagreement between the UHR Recruitment team and the committee about the qualifications of an applicant, use the following guidance:

  • For classified positions, per the collective bargaining agreement, no applicant can be advanced if their application materials do not demonstrate that they meet the minimum qualifications identified in the classification specifications. If you have reason to believe an applicant may meet the classification specifications qualifications, but it is not clearly demonstrated and you are hiring for a classified position, the UHR Recruitment team will remove the applicant from consideration. This can only be reconsidered through conversation with UHR. A UHR Recruitment team decision can be appealed to the Director of Benefits & HR Services.
  • For unclassified positions, if either the committee or the UHR Recruitment team believes a veteran meets the minimum qualifications that can be assessed at the application stage for all applicants, err on the side of inclusion. In this case, the hiring unit serves as the subject matter expert. In order for UHR to approve the final hire, UHR and the hiring unit will need to agree that the proposed appointee meets all minimum qualifications.

The search committee should evaluate:

  • measurable and objective qualifications, and
  • any qualifications that 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, licenses, certifications, etc.
  • When measurable and objective qualifications are evaluated, you should only be able to answer “yes” or “no”; there is no opportunity for differences of opinion.

If the veteran meets the minimum qualifications that can be assessed at the application stage, they must advance to the next stage regardless of what other qualifications are being evaluated at the application stage. A veteran who marginally misses the minimum qualifications is not qualified.

First, it is helpful to remove ambiguous words from measurable minimum qualifications. Rather than 5 years of relevant experience in field x, name the 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. 

Keep in mind that committees should be considering transferrable skills when considering whether a veteran meets minimum qualifications or not. 

When in doubt, the search committee should advance the veteran.

Yes. The law requires that all veterans who meet minimum qualifications be advanced to the first stage of interviews.

The law requires that all veterans who meet minimum qualifications be advanced 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.

Search committees should determine how and if travel expenses will be covered for all 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 determining whether or not to interview a veteran.  The initial decision about whether or not travel costs for site interviews will be covered should be applied consistently to all finalists.

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 a veteran places them 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 the veteran meets the minimum qualifications, they must advance to a phone or video 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 the veteran), 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 the veteran 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. The veteran is not interviewed because their preference moved them 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. The veteran is interviewed because their preference has moved them into the well-qualified tier, which is a group that is being interviewed.

A veteran, and any applicant, must be qualified to advance. The veteran would not be eligible for a preference if they did not meet the minimum qualifications of the position. The veteran would not be advanced a tier/category.

The veteran applicant must be extended an offer when the final candidates are equally qualified and one is a veteran.

No, verbal offers are not permitted prior to UHR approval if there is a veteran in the pool.

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.

Veterans have a right to know how their veterans’ preference was applied at each stage of the search process. You can respond to questions about what would make them more competitive for similar positions in the future if you feel comfortable and are able to offer suggestions. 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.  [email protected]

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.