Tenure track hires
Recruitment of tenure-track faculty is one of the most important tasks you will take on as chair. When you have a vacant tenure-track position to fill, or at the first inkling you may have future vacancies, it is essential to think long-range about the future of your department. How is your discipline changing? What area of specialization is needed to move your department forward? Do you have a concentration with critical gaps?
Discuss these things openly with your faculty and try to gain consensus on a direction to move. The discussions may be painful in some cases, but are necessary to sustain and strengthen your department's programs. The easy way out is to simply replace the retiring British lit professor with a new British lit assistant professor. But it might not be what your department needs and you've just forfeited one of your best opportunities to make a lasting, positive impact.
The other conversation you want to have as early as possible is with the dean. Keep the dean up-to-date on impending changes. At least once a year discuss future hiring plans with the dean. If you have vacancies, the dean will request a hiring plan from you in early summer. Be sure to include estimated start-up and space renovation needs in the recruitment plan. The college submits a recruitment plan to the provost around July 1 each year for approval.
Recruitment typically begins in August and September for tenure track hires. You should try your best to start promptly and wrap up the hiring process by mid-spring term or else you run a high risk of a failed search.
The process for recruitment of one-year faculty (instructors, VAPs, postdocs) is the same as for tenure track faculty. However, some of the steps may be streamlined. You may form a smaller committee; you may not advertise in as many venues; the interviews may be telephone-only, etc. The dean's office will work with you on the details.
If you have openings in base-budgeted instructor positions or instructors who must reapply, you will typically begin the search in February or March for the upcoming academic year. It is best to have the searches completed before the end of spring term. Otherwise you may find the best candidates have already taken other positions.
If you think you will need a one-year instructor or VAP to fill in while you do tenure track searches, notify the dean as soon as possible. A vacant tenure track position is no guarantee that you will get a one-year person. Salary from vacant tenure track positions is held at the provost's level and the dean must negotiate for all non-base budgeted hires.