When you hire a new employee, you need to be sure they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job. We also want new staff to bring diverse skills, backgrounds, and experiences to our work units. Finally, they should share the values of the City of Madison (e.g. equity, stewardship) and your agency.

The City uses a standardized civil service hiring process. This process ensures compliance with federal and state laws, City ordinances, personnel rules, and collective bargaining agreements. Hiring is a collaboration between supervisors and the Human Resources Department.

Process Review

Human Resources and the Department of Civil Rights both have the authority to review a hiring process and documentation at any time. These process reviews verify whether each step followed the City’s policies, procedures and hiring goals. A hiring process may be delayed for a reasonable period of time to allow these reviews to take place.

Red-Flag Process

The “Red-Flag” process is part of Madison’s General Ordinances and its Affirmative Action Plan. This process requires balanced interview panels, standardized interviews, and written justification for candidate selections. These are evidence-based practices that can protect hiring and selection processes from bias.

Course: Hiring Foundations for Hiring Managers

This 90-minute webinar is required for all supervisors and hiring managers.

Register for the course.

Hiring process

The following outlines the hiring process and provides a set of standard guidelines and expectations. Though all of the steps are completed in this order, you can shorten the hiring process by working ahead.

  1. Create a file and document the process

    You are expected to maintain records of your hiring and decision-making processes. Human Resources and the Department of Civil Rights may ask to review this documentation at any time.

    • Start a file in a physical or digital location to keep your position description, equitable hiring tool, and all your notes and documents. Your documentation should include who was involved in each part of the process (both internal staff and candidates) and how and why your selection decisions were made.
    • Application materials are stored in NEOGOV and do not need to be printed or stored separately. Using NEOGOV for applicant tracking, interview scheduling, and sending notices can support your record-keeping. The NEOGOV Online Hiring Center User Guide has detailed instructions (network login required).
    • Interview records must be kept for at least three years. This includes notes taken by each panel member.

    Talk to your agency’s record custodian about how and where these files are maintained in your agency.

  2. Use the Equitable Hiring Tool

    Use the Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative’s Equitable Hiring Tool as early as possible in the process. This ensures your team has time to make changes to the position description, minimum qualifications, exam, recruitment tools, etc.

  3. Update the position description

    Update the Position Description for the vacant position. 

  4. Submit an Electronic Requisition

    Permanent and Limited Term Employment (LTE) Vacancies

    Complete an electronic requisition in the NEOGOV Online Hiring Center, the City’s applicant tracking system. 
    Refer to this Job Aid for Creating a Requisition in NEOGOV if you have any questions. 

    Detailed instructions for creating a requisition are in the NEOGOV Online Hiring Center User Guide (requires network login). In some agencies, you might send your attachments to your payroll clerk or NEOGOV liaison to enter the requisition on your behalf.

    Hourly Positions

    For hourly employees, the electronic requisition in NEOGOV only requires one attachment: a position description or prior job posting. The Request to Fill Form is not used for hourly recruitments. You may also choose to reinstate past hourly employees or hire staff through our partnership with the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

    View detailed information about the electronic requisition process.

  5. Share the job posting and market the opportunity

    When the requisition is approved, Human Resources assigns an HR Business Analyst to the recruitment. The HR Business Analyst works with the Hiring Manager to develop a recruitment strategy in accordance with City of Madison Personnel Rules.  Hiring managers can support the recruitment process by marketing the opportunity through their personal and professional networks.

    View detailed information about recruitment.

  6. Screening, civil service examination, and referral to interview

    Once a job posting is closed, the HR Business Analyst will screen applications for minimum qualifications based on the “Training and Experience” and “Knowledge, Skills and Abilities,” listed in the job posting.  You may be asked to support the initial screening for specialized positions, or answer questions about comparable qualifications.

    Once there is a list of candidates meeting the minimum requirements, Human Resources follows civil service examination processes to refer candidates to you for interview.  This exam process can include:

    • Supplemental questions on the job application.
    • Testing
    • Comparative evaluation of training and experience
    • Random selection

    Candidates who pass the civil service examination are placed on an eligibility list in rank order.

    View detailed information about the civil service examination process.

  7. Interview candidates

    Agencies are required to interview all referred candidates, unless the candidate withdraws or is unresponsive to scheduling requests. At the City of Madison, we use standardized interview processes that include behavioral questions.

    Read detailed information about interviewing candidates.

  8. Check references

    You are required to conduct reference checks on your finalists or top candidates. For candidates who are current City employees, you should ask to see the candidate’s personnel file and contact their direct supervisor as part of your reference check. Reach out to your assigned HR Business Analyst with questions about the reference checking process.

    Here's a Reference Check Form for your use. There are additional reference check questions and forms in A Manager's Guide to Interviews and Background Checks as well. 

  9. Select your top candidate(s)

    Exam scores and candidate rankings will not be shared with you before interviews. This is to prevent bias. After interviews are finished though, you can request this information if it will support your decision-making.

    Depending on the position, different aspects of the process (interview, exam, training and experience, technical expertise) might have more or less weight. It is recommended that you decide in advance as part of your equitable hiring discussions which factors are the most important for you and your team.

  10. Contact the Department of Civil Rights (Red-flag positions)

    Some positions are red-flagged for underrepresentation by the Department of Civil Rights. When this happens, you must contact them with information about your interview and selection process.

    Send an email to the Department of Civil Rights after the interview process but before making any employment offer. The email should follow this format:

    • Email Subject Line: Use this format and include the requisition number and position title:
      “Red Flag Hire Request – Requisition #20XX-XXXXX / POSITION TITLE”
    • Email Body must include:
      • Number of positions you are filling.
      • Name of the selected candidate(s)
      • Number of candidates who were referred.
      • Names of the candidates who were interviewed.
      • A brief explanation as to why the selected candidate was chosen and any additional pertinent information that was specific to your hiring process.
  11. Make a conditional offer to your top candidate(s)

    After consulting with the Human Resources Department about the initial offer, you can contact your selected candidate and make a conditional offer. Depending on the position, this conditional offer may be contingent on a criminal background check, driving record check, physical examination, or drug testing.

    If the conditional offer is accepted, you should contact Human Resources for the criminal background and driving record checks, physical examinations, drug testing, or other conditions.

  12. Complete the Hire

    The final steps in the process involves the following:

    • Making a final job offer (may include negotiation, depending on the position)
    • Setting a start date
    • Processing the hire in NEOGOV:
      • Sending notices to candidates who were not selected
      • Sending a final offer to the selected candidate(s)
      • Processing the hire, which generates an electronic Personnel Action Form

    The NEOGOV Online Hiring Center User Guide (network login required) includes instructions for sending notices and processing hires.

    View detailed information about completing the hiring process.

  13. Start onboarding your new employee(s)

    Onboarding is a process that helps new employees connect and contribute to their new workplace. It begins before the employee joins the City and continues until they are able to work independently in their role.

    View detailed information about onboarding.

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