Agent Hiring Procedure
Employment Procedures and Sample Letters for Hiring County Extension Support Staff
Race-Ethnicity Form
Guidelines for Interviewing Perspective Employees
Limits of Inquiry: Legal and Illegal Questions
Suggested Keyboarding Test for Extension Support Staff
Interview Questions for EFNEP Assistant Applicants
Reference Form
Screening Form
Hiring Report for County Staff 


Employment Procedures and Sample Letters for Hiring County Extension Support Staff

  • Before beginning the hiring process for county support staff, contact your District Director for approval.
  • Only one person can be hired for each position posted. Counties needing to hire 2 individuals will need to have the position posted twice (ie: a county with approval to hire 2 EFNEP assistants will post 2 EFNEP positions).
  • All regular full-time and part-time support staff positions will be filled using the UK online employment system (OES). Temporary positions (positions with a duration of less than 12 months) will also be posted through OES but they do not have the same requirements. For directions on filling a temporary position, click here.
  • The District Director Staff Assistant will enter the position on the UK OES. Counties will work with the staff assistant to customize the position description.
  • Counties will use the newspaper ad format provided later in this section to advertise their position locally.
  • Applicants will use the online application system (OES) to complete an application during the posting period. All applications will be submitted online. No paper applications will be accepted.
  • At least one person in the county office should be familiar enough with the OES website that they can answer calls from prospective applicants. This person may want to complete an online application to fully understand the system. An online tutorial is available for assistance.
  • Applications cannot be viewed until after the deadline.
  • A National Pre-employment Background Check (PNBC) must be completed on all new UK employees. Employment offers are made contingent on the background check results being satisfactory.
  • Counties will follow steps 1 through 15 below to fill a position.
  • A file will be kept in the county office which includes a copy of the advertisement with a list of where the position was posted, the correspondence to applicants, the offer letter, and a copy of the hiring report. This is the Affirmative Action Position File.
  • Affirmative Action employment procedures must be followed as outlined in steps below.

The following steps should be followed when employing an hourly county extension employee: 

Step 1 - Position Description

If the county is refilling a position, review the position description to see if revisions are needed.  For new positions, a position description must be developed and approved by the District Director.  The template for new position descriptions and examples can be found on the District Website at

Step 2 - Developing a Position Announcement

A position announcement will be developed when the position is posted on the OES. The District Director's Staff Assistant will send counties a copy of a general position announcement to use as a guide. Counties may customize the position announcement somewhat, and then let the staff assistant know of the changes or additions. The position announcement must be to the District Director Staff Assistant at least 3 days prior to the date it is to be posted.

Step 3 - Announcing the Position

Positions must be announced or advertised in the following three ways.

a. On the Web

The position will be posted on the UK website by your District Director's Staff Assistant, and will remain online for at least 2 weeks.

b. In the Newspaper

In addition to being placed on the UK website, you must announce the position in your local newspaper at least once. Each job is assigned a unique requisition number (the "AG" number in the example below) by the online system. Make sure that the requisition number assigned to the job is included in the newspaper posting. This makes finding the job online easier for the applicant.

Here's how the sample ad should look in the paper.

Display ad: Because a display ad occupies the width of two newspaper columns, it's visually prominent, and more likely to be noticed quickly. However, it's also more expensive to place a display ad.

Display Ad

Line ad: Occupying only the width of a single newspaper column, a line ad is a little less eye-catching, but a lot less expensive.

Line Ad

UK logo

Here is a link to the UK logo.

The wording of this notice is brief and to-the-point, as expanded qualifications and job responsibilities will be available on the UK website, and in any copies of the announcement that you distribute locally. Again, be sure any changes you make are first approved by your District Director.

Copy and paste the following text and change the wording (in red) to fit your job posting.

Extension Program Assistant

Fayette County Extension Office


The University of Kentucky is accepting applications for the position of Expanded Foods and Nutrition Assistant for Fayette County. The position involves providing nutritional education to low income families. HS diploma or GED required. The salary range is $7.44 to $8.56 per hour. To apply for AG407766 a UK Online Application must be submitted to  The qualifications and job responsibilities may also be viewed on the website. Application deadline is July 1, 2005. For more information or assistance call (county office telephone number).

The University of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from minorities and women.

c. Other Local Outlets

In addition to being placed on the web and in the newspaper, the announcement should be distributed to other news publications, manpower services, and other local locations.

To insure diversity in the employment applicant pool, the announcement should be sent to minority newspapers, minority churches and minority radio stations and placed in locations that serve minorities.

Like the online posting, these postings will be more specific and more detailed than the version sent to the newspapers.  Use the content of the position description and the position announcement to make a one-page or half-page job announcement flyer. 

Step 4 - Initial Screening of all Applicants

When the application deadline has passed, the county contact agent will be able to go to the website to view and print all applications. Applications are accepted by the system until midnight of the posted deadline.

The contact agent and one or two other agents should review the qualifications of each applicant. Only University employees who have reviewed these hiring procedures and interview strategies may participate in the screening and interview process.  The applications should be screened to determine the applicants who best fit the job qualifications. Some applicants will not need to be interviewed because they do not meet the job qualifications or there are better qualified individuals applying. Applicants who will not be interviewed should be notified by letter.

Copies of all correspondence between applicants and agents must be maintained in the Affirmative Action Position File.

Sample letter sent to applicants not interviewed

Dear (applicant's name):

Our office has reviewed all applications for the position of (position title) in the (county name) County Extension Office. Based on the review of the applications, you were not selected to interview for this position at this time.

Thank you for your interest in the Cooperative Extension Service.

Step 5 - Initial Interviews of Applicants

Initial interviews should be done by the agents in the county. Those applicants who qualify for the initial interview may be notified by letter or telephone about the interview.

Sample letter for initial interviews

Dear (applicant's name) :

Thank you for applying for the (position title) position. After reviewing your application, we would like to schedule an interview with you on (date), in the (county name) County Extension Office. Your interview will be at ---(time). If you cannot meet with us at that time, please call (office number.)

Step 6 - Preparing for Interview Process

As part of the first interview, a keyboarding test and computer applications test can be given for support staff positions to demonstrate skills. A suggested keyboarding test is included in this section. For other positions, special situations can be established to determine skills such as plant identifications for horticulture technicians.

When interviewing the applicants, a Screening Form (found in this section) should be used to take notes related to the interview and the applicant's qualifications. The Screening Forms should be filed in the Affirmative Action Position File with notes that include the status of the applicant at the close of the interview and the interviewer's comments.

Refer to the "Guidelines for Interviewing Perspective" and "Limits of Inquiry: Legal and Illegal Questions" (found in this section) as guides to interviewing applicants. Other questions can be designed that are specific to the vacant position. EFNEP has developed "Interview Questions for EFNEP Assistant Applicants" found in this section for agents to use when hiring EFNEP assistants.

Step 7 - Notifying Applicants Regarding Second Interviews

Once the initial interviews are completed, there may be a need to schedule a second interview for the top finalist. Those applicants not chosen for second interviews need to be notified by letter.

Sample letter notifying applicants not selected for second interviews

Dear (applicant's name) :

You have not been selected to continue in the interview process for the (position title) in the (county name) County Extension Office. We appreciate the time you spent in the application process and wish you the best in finding another position which meets your needs and interest.

Applicants who are chosen for the second interview need to be notified by letter or telephone.

Sample letter second interviews

Dear (applicant's name):

You have been chosen to proceed in the interview process for the position of (position title) at the (county name) County Extension Office. Second interviews will be held on (date) at the (county name) County Extension Office. Your interview will be at (time). If you cannot meet at this time, please contact the county extension office.

Step 8 - Preparing for Second Interview

Second interviews need to include all county extension agents. The District Director may or may not be included. The District Director can assist in this process, especially if the agents have not hired employees and if there is a potential problem.  During this interview, additional situations can be established to determine skills of the applicant. For example, when hiring an assistant who will be teaching, provide a lesson plan prior to interviews and ask applicants to present a five (5) minute presentation.

Step 9 - Reference Form

References should be checked for all final applicants.  This can be done by phone or mail.  If checking references by phone, a consistent list of questions should be asked and notes should be made to document responses.  A Reference Form is located in this section that can be mailed, faxed, emailed, or used to develop phone questions.  

Sample letter reference form

Dear (reference's name):

(applicant's name) is being considered for the position of (position title). It will be very helpful to us if you will please complete the form attached, indicating your appraisal of the applicant. Your reply will be regarded as confidential.

Please return the form to our office within five (5) days in the enclosed envelope which requires no postage.

Step 10 - Final Selection Process (before a job offer is made)

When selecting the individual for the position, consideration must be given to the individual who is best qualified to perform the duties of the job. When a final decision has been made and before a job offer is made to an applicant, the District Director must be notified regarding the candidate and their qualifications. After it has been determined that Affirmative Action Guidelines have been followed, a job offer can be made to the applicant.

Step 11 - Ordering the Pre-employment National Background Check

When the candidate has given a verbal acceptance of the offer, contact the District Director’s Staff Assistant to order the Pre-employment National Background Check. All job offers must be made contingent upon the results of the background check being satisfactory.  The new employee may not start work until the background check is completed.

Step 12 - Notifying the Finalist in the Selection Process

When a final decision is made, the applicant can be notified by telephone. However, a letter also must be sent to notify the applicant of the job offer and a copy of the letter shall be filed in the county Affirmative Action Position File.  A start date should be set which allows enough time to complete and return the required paperwork to the District Director.  Although starting at the beginning of a bi-pay period is a good idea, it is not required unless the employee is transferring from another UK position.

Sample letter notifying the finalist

Dear (applicant's name),

We are pleased to be able to offer you the position of (position title) . As we discussed, the position is for (number of hours) per week and the salary is (dollar amount) per hour.

As you may be aware from the application process, your employment for this position is contingent upon your undergoing a routine national criminal background check screening process. Should a national criminal background check reveal an adverse event, as determined by University of Kentucky Human Resources, your employment offer may be withdrawn.

Should you falsify your application by neglecting to disclose a criminal conviction or providing incorrect employment, licensure/certification or education information, you may be disqualified from employment for any position at UK permanently.

We will order the national criminal background check after we have your verbal acceptance of this position. You can expect to be contacted by phone by the UK Screening Service Center to obtain the additional information they will need to run the check. We will call you as soon as the record check is complete (hopefully 3-4 days) to let you know the results.

If we are able to employ you, your first day of employment will be (date). If you accept this position, please write a letter stating your acceptance. Include in this letter your salary and start date.

The University has a three month initial orientation period. An employee counseling session will take place at the end of the orientation period for a mutual assessment of your performance and job satisfaction.

We are looking forward to your joining our staff in the (county) County Extension Office.

Step 13 - Accepting the Job

The applicant hired must present a letter of acceptance to the office. The letter offering the position and the letter of acceptance from the new employee must be kept in the county Affirmative Action Position File.

Sample acceptance letter from new hire

Dear (hiring officer's name),

I am very pleased to accept the offer of County Extension (position title) in the (county name) County Extension Office. I understand that my first day of work will be (date), and my hours will be (hour the work day begins) to (hour the work day ends) for a total of (number) hours per week at an hourly wage of $(dollar amount). I am looking forward to working with you.

Step 14 - Notifying Applicants not Hired

After the job offer has been made and accepted, all other applicants who were interviewed need to be notified by letter regarding the status of employment. Copies of the letters should be kept in the county Affirmative Action Position File.

Sample letter notifying applicants not hired

Dear (applicant's name),

The position of (position title) for (county name) County has been filled. . We appreciate your interest in seeking employment with the Cooperative Extension Service and the time you invested in the application process.

Best wishes in finding another position which meets your needs and interests.

Step 15 - Final Step: Placing County Support on Payroll

At the time a new employee accepts the offer of employment and at least two weeks prior to the first day of work, the District Director should have the following information and completed forms: (These forms are on the internal college web site.) The Staff Support Coordinator should be sure these forms are completed and included in the information sent to the District Director. As soon as the position is filled, an Orientation packet should be ordered from UK HR (if the workplace is more than 40 miles from Lexington)  In addition, the coordinator will complete the orientation check sheet (#14) and return it to the District Director during the new employee's first week.

  1. Hiring Report Form. This form includes a list of all the applicants for the position: who was interviewed, who was hired, and the reason why those not hired were not chosen.
  2. The signed original application of the person hired.
  3. A copy of the newspaper ad.
  4. Race-Ethnicity Form. This form allows UK to collect demographic information on new hires that fulfills state and federal reporting requirements.
  5. Employment Eligibility Verification (I-9 Form). The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires identification of all new employees as life long U.S. residents or legal aliens. There is one agent designated in each county (except for Fayette and surrounding counties) that can sign the I-9 Form. District Directors are also authorized to sign I-9's. The new employee must provide two documents of identification verification (drivers license, social security card, or birth certificate are the most commonly used) or a passport. The authorized employee views the documents then completes, signs, and dates Section 2 of this form. The new employee completes, signs and dates section 1. New employees in Fayette and surrounding counties must go to Human Resources in Scovell Hall to complete the form.
  6. Federal Withholding Allowance Certification (Form W-4). This form allows the employee to specify the number of exemptions for withholding of federal taxes.
  7. Kentucky Withholding Exemption Certificate (K-4). This form allows the employee to specify the number of exemptions for withholding of state taxes.Please note: When printing the K-4 form, the Payroll department will not accept large print (the form may be no larger than 3.5 X 8 inches.) When you select print, in your printer box uncheck the "auto-rotate and center" box.
  8. University of Kentucky Local/City Tax Form. This form is to be completed when hiring a new employee or on a change of address, if the change affects the employee's local/city tax status.
  9. Drug-Free Workplace Policy Notification Form and Certification. The Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that all employees receive a copy of the University's statement which certifies that UK is a drug-free workplace. Have the new employee sign the form and keep a copy to signify an understanding of the University's commitment to providing a drug-free workplace.
  10. Motor Vehicle Record Release and Information Form. University policy requires a driving record check be completed on any new employee who will be reimbursed for mileage.
  11. Acceptance letter, stating the exact date employment begins, and rate of salary.
  12. Extension Support Staff Work Credit Form - Experience & Education Calculator
  13. Authorization Agreement for Direct Deposit Form (Direct Deposit Mandatory)
  14. UK Benefits Booklet and Employee Benefits Enrollment form
  15. Employee Orientation Check Sheet. Within the first 3 days of employment, the Support Staff Coordinator will discuss the items on this form, check them off, sign and return the check sheet to the District Director.
  16. Accidental Death and Dismemberment Plan Enrollment Form. This is an optional plan available to regular full-time employees. It is designed to protect the employee and family members if major accidents occur.
  17. Health Insurance and Dental Plan Enrollment Form. Refer to the Benefits Booklet for information on Health Insurance and Dental Plans. The employee should refer to the list of counties served by each insurance carrier to see which plans are available to him/her. Support staff has 30 days from the date of employment to select a plan. If the employee does not enroll at that time, he/she will have to wait for the open enrollment period usually held once each year (April-May). The employee share of the premiums (if applicable) is payroll deducted on a tax sheltered basis. If your employment date is the first day of the month and your enrollment papers have been turned in, your coverage will start immediately.  If your start date is other than the first day of the month, your coverage will start on the first of the following month.  Exception:  If you have been employed as a UK temporary employee your coverage will start the first day you are a regular employee.
  18. Flexible Spending Plan Enrollment Form. This optional benefit allows you to put pre-tax money into an account and use it to reimburse yourself for payment of related bills.  This money avoids federal income tax, Social Security taxes, as well as Kentucky state income taxes.  The program offers employees these options:
    1. Health Care Reimbursement Account
    2. Dependent Care Reimbursement Account
  19. Retirement Benefits Form (Refer to UK Benefits Booklet). The employee contributes 5% of their salary and the university contributes an additional 10% of his/her salary to a retirement fund. Retirement Plans are mandatory for new employees who are 30 year of age and older.. Employees 30 years of age and older must sign-up for retirement within 30 days of employment or they will be terminated.. *Retirement Plans are optional for employees under the age of 30 years. Two forms are needed, one that comes to UK that specifies which of the carriers (TIAA/CREF, or FIDELITY) to send the money to and another form that goes directly to the carrier that specifies in which funds to invest.
  20. ADA Accommodation Request. (Also referred to as the Request for Reasonable Accommodation.)  The new hire does not have to complete this form. This is used only if the individual wants to disclose a disability after he/she is hired.


Guidelines for Interviewing of Perspective Employees

Preparation for the interview needs to begin long before the candidate arrives. A thorough review of the application, resume, references and transcripts will provide good material for the questions you will want to ask. In addition, thinking ahead about the steps below will allow the interviewer to get as much information as possible from the interview session.

  • Build Rapport. The more comfortable the candidate is the more they will tell us. Think about where you sit and avoid gestures that suggest dominance. Plan comments or questions that will help put them at ease like talking about the weather or their trip to the interview. Ask if they want coffee or water. This should last no more than two (2) minutes.
  • You will probably want to take notes during the interview so you may want to tell them this. If you wish to give other explanation about the position this would be a good time. Let them relax.
  • Clarify information on the application such as work history or education. Gain more information about their previous job responsibilities.
  • Ask behavioral-based questions to gain examples of desired skills.
  • Keep control of the interview. If the candidate gets off track, politely redirect them.
  • Allow time for their questions.
  • Explain the next steps.

Following are some sample questions to ask when interviewing support staff candidates. Select the questions that pertain to the skills needed for the position.

Performance Skill: Commitment to Task

  1. Tell me about a time when your work was very hectic. What did you do to keep it under control? How many extra hours did you work? For how long?
  2. When have you been particularly proud of your performance on a job? Explain the situation and your role.
  3. Describe a major task that has been your responsibility. Tell me the steps you followed to accomplish the task and what problems you may have encountered.

Performance Skill: Spoken Communications

Able to clearly present information through the spoken word: Influence or persuade others through oral presentation in positive or negative circumstances.

  1. Describe the toughest communication situation in which you have had to deal. What happened?
  2. Tell me about the best presentation you have given. What made you feel so good about it?
  3. Tell me about a time when you tried to persuade a group (co-workers, classmates, club members) to see your point of view. What was your approach? What were the results?

Performance Skill: Interaction and Team Building

Able to interact with others in a warm and helpful manner while simultaneously building credibility and rapport.

  1. Describe a time in your last job that you felt you went out of your way to help a co-worker.
  2. Tell me about a time when you had to build a relationship with someone outside of your department or workgroup in order to accomplish your goals. What was the situation? What were the results?
  3. Describe a situation in which you worked as a team member.

Performance Skill: Organization and Planning

Able to organize or schedule people or tasks; able to develop realistic action plans while being sensitive to time constraints and resource availability.

  1. Sometimes it is desirable to lead other persons by setting a positive example for them to follow. Describe a work situation when you served as a model for another person.
  2. Tell me about a time you were able to change another person's behavior.
  3. Describe a situation in which you had to influence a co-worker to cooperate with you. What did you say? What was the outcome?
  4. What would be an example of something you have been in charge of organizing and planning?

Performance Skill: Decision Making and Problem Solving

Able to take action in solving problems while exhibiting judgment and a realistic understanding of issues; able to use reason, even when dealing with emotional topics.

  1. What has been the toughest decision you have had to make in the past year? What made it so tough? What factors did you consider when deciding? How might you handle this type of decision differently in the future?
  2. Occasionally, most of us have to make quick decisions. Tell me about a recent decision you had to make quickly. How did you decide what to do? What was the result of your decision?


Limits of Inquiry: Legal and Illegal Questions

Federal and State laws, as well as Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, govern employment practices and affect the hiring process. Inquiries that either directly or indirectly results in discrimination on the basis of race, color, age, gender, religion, disability or national origin are prohibited. While some questions may not be technically illegal, they may lead to liability for discrimination and should be avoided. For the hiring process to be effective, everyone involved must be aware of the legal limitations and of the need to limit questions to those related to the performance of the job. The following guide provides parameters concerning which information is fair game, which is not, and how to avoid unnecessary liability.

Reference information that includes legislation and UK Human Resources policy and procedures.  The Do's, Don'ts, and Whys of Interview Questions 


Suggested Typing Test For Secretarial Position

This is a suggested test; it may vary from county to county. It is suggested that applicants take the test on the office computer to determine speed and computer skill competencies.

Please set up the following in the form of a letter, using correct punctuation and capital letters.

fairfield county extension office 1084 beasley road fairfield kentucky 41113 September 18 2_____ dear friend there will be a meeting at stoneys restaurant at 830 am Friday October 2 2_____ to discuss the possibilities for a heifer sale in fairfield county there are several ways to go about conducting a sale with high quality cattle and your input is needed to develop a plan there are several breeds and excellent commercial herds that would benefit from the sale any questions concerns or comments should be brought to the meeting thanks for your interest sincerely mitchell wadsworth county extension agent for agriculture


Interview Questions for EFNEP Assistant Applicants

Required Information

  • Are you able to attend occasional overnight training?
  • Are you able to work flexible hours?
  • Do you drive?
  • Do you have a valid Kentucky driver's license?
  • Do you have a dependable, running car?
  • Is your car insured?

Food Preparation

  • Describe two meals that you planned and prepared over the past two weeks.
  • Suggested activity: Put several item/ingredients out on a table. Tell the interviewee that: she/he just got in the door from work and these items were in the kitchen. Using any combination of these items, what would they prepare for dinner?

Nutrition Knowledge

  • Tell what you know about the food guide pyramid.
  • Tell what you know about the food label.

Food Faddism

  • Describe a sensible or balance diet.
  • Have you made changes in your diet over the past year? If yes, please describe.

Food Preservation

  • Describe your experience with canning food.
  • Describe your experience with freezing food.

Food Buying/Budgeting

  • Describe ways that you stay within a food budget.

Food Safety

  • Do you use left-overs in your meals? If yes, how do you store and use them?
  • How would you thaw a frozen meat, poultry or fish item?
  • What do you see as food safety concerns?

Community Services

  • What agencies are you familiar with that provide family assistance?


  • Describe your ideas or views about volunteering.
  • How would you go about recruiting volunteers (and where would you get these volunteers)?


  • Tell me about your past job experiences.
  • Have you ever had experience with Extension? If yes, describe.
  • Why do you want to be an EFNEP Assistant?
  • What makes you the best person for this job?

The University of Kentucky is an Equal Opportunity Employer