Federal Public Service Inclusive Appointment Lens
Inclusive appointment processes designed for a diverse workforce
“Canada will […] continue to gain from a public service that strives for excellence, that is representative of Canada’s diversity and that is able to serve the public with integrity and in their official language of choice”
“[t]he public service, whose members are drawn from across the country, reflects a myriad of backgrounds, skills and professions that are a unique resource for Canada”
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The Federal Public Service Inclusive Appointment Lens aims to build diversity, accessibility and inclusion into appointment decisions.
If you’re a hiring manager, or involved in an appointment process, the lens provides some key questions and areas for reflections for you to consider at each stage of the staffing process.
- Is an employment equity group underrepresented or is there a forecasted gap in your department or agency, in the public service, or in the occupational group and level of the vacant position?
- Is there a need to target an employment equity subgroup in your department or agency to support diversity and inclusion objectives (for example, the Black community, persons with autism spectrum disorder)?
- Which staffing options will help you address gaps and achieve a diverse workforce?
- Have you considered restricting or expanding your area of selection to a specific employment equity group?
- Have you identified an organizational need to support a broader goal of diversity and inclusion?
- Would a non-advertised process be the best way to address a specific gap?
- Have you determined objectively the official language skills and proficiency required for the work to be performed? Do second language requirements need to be met at the time of hire?
- For more details on determining the linguistic profile of a position, consult the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Qualification Standards in Relation to Official Languages and the web-based tool: Determining the Linguistic Profile of Bilingual Positions.
- If you’re considering staffing the position on a non-imperative basis, refer to the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Directive on Official Languages for People Management.
- Have you considered different ways the work can be successfully completed, including alternative work arrangements (for example, remote or part-time work, or flexible hours)?
- These work arrangements could attract people who might not otherwise apply, for example, persons with disabilities, single parents and persons in remote regions.
- Have you considered consulting with members of employment equity groups and other diverse groups for planning purposes and to learn about best practices or barriers in past hiring experiences?
- What personal biases could affect your decisions in running an appointment process, and how can you challenge these assumptions to minimize their potential impact?
- For example, some cultures value humility, and their members may be less likely to promote themselves. Others may choose to highlight team efforts, rather than individual contributions.
- Have you made assumptions about your ideal candidate?
- Would you favour a person with a similar background to yours?
- Would you favour a candidate who went to the same university or graduated from the same program as you?
- Are you open to considering a range of experience?
- Would you make a selection decision based on a candidate who is most like you?
- Are the qualifications written in plain and neutral language (free of cultural references, government or technical jargon, acronyms and idioms)? Can the concepts and language be understood by candidates from diverse backgrounds?
- For more details on how to write in a neutral way, consult the Translation Bureau’s guidance on gender-inclusive writing.
- Do the qualifications reflect the job requirements?
- Are all the essential qualifications required to do the work?
- Are you thinking about your candidate pool?
- Are you asking for experience that would only be possible through acting appointments?
- Are the qualifications inflated beyond the job requirements (for example, asking for a Bachelor’s degree when a secondary school diploma is the qualification standard)?
- Have you considered linking the merit criteria to the job in order to attract a specific group of candidates (for example, knowledge of an Indigenous language and culture)?
- Can you focus on abilities rather than on knowledge, and experience that can be learned on the job?
- Are you asking for experience that can only be gained in Canada or through federal government work (experience with GCdocs, or briefing ministers)?
Did you know?
- Using specific or quantified requirements (for example, “recent experience” or “experience in the past 3 years”) may be a barrier to some candidates.
- Is your advertisement designed to reach diverse groups of people (for example, employment equity groups and subgroups, veterans, students and members of the LGBTQ2+ community)?
- What communications strategy will you use to attract a diverse workforce (for example, sending the information to community organizations)?
- Is the job advertisement written concisely and clearly? Is the language appropriate, and gender- and diversity-sensitive?
- Are you using commitments-to-equity statements effectively, in a way that is meaningful and applies a wide lens in defining diversity? Very general statements (for example, that the department or agency supports applications from underrepresented members) do not fully convey the inclusiveness of the work environment.
- Is the description of the job written to help interested individuals understand the nature of the work?
Did you know?
- Job advertisements must include a point of contact for accommodation requests.
- Is the assessment board diverse (for example, does it include members of employment equity groups)?
- Have the board members received training to understand the importance of supporting diversity and inclusion (for example, training on understanding unconscious bias)?
- Have the board members reflected on their own assumptions and biases (based on age, accent, disability, body language, race or affinities with similar educational and employment backgrounds) and how they may impact their perception of candidates?
- Have you considered an information session for candidates to help them navigate the process? Is the documentation accessible to all candidates?
- Have you structured the interview to consider demographic and cultural factors (customizing your welcoming process to the candidate)?
- Have you planned to use complementary assessment methods to control for bias in the sources of information?
- Have you proactively offered assessment accommodation measures before assessing candidates? How will the information on assessment tools be communicated, to ensure that applicants are aware of their right to accommodation? What measures are in place to ensure that applicants are accommodated?
- If a candidate would like to be accommodated for Public Service Commission second language evaluation and other standardised tests, the hiring manager should contact the Personnel Psychology Centre.
- For other assessment methods, consider consulting with an assessment accommodation specialist.
- How will you ensure the assessment material effectively evaluates the qualifications without barriers to inclusiveness?
- Could the assessment tools (for example, assessment questions in interviews, written exams and simulations) favour or disadvantage specific groups of candidates, for example based on their socio-cultural background?
- Were the tools developed with an inclusive lens in mind and are they available in accessible formats if required?
- How will board members evaluate time out of the workplace or a gap period in the candidate’s résumé? The gap may be due to disability, family obligation or any number of factors that are completely unrelated to the applicant’s ability to do the job.
- How will the assessment board proactively mitigate its potential biases before making a selection decision? This could include:
- ensuring that candidates are assessed against criteria rather than against each other (contrast effect)
- watching for the assessment of a criterion that could disproportionately influence the assessment of one of the other merit criteria (halo effect)
- Have you consulted with subject-matter experts (for example, on accommodation needs)?
Did you know?
- Assessment tools that are inclusive in their design may reduce the need for assessment accommodation.
- How will you ensure that selection decisions are bias-free (for example, ensuring that the appointment is not tainted by selecting someone because they are similar to you)?
- How can your selection decisions create teams that are diverse and inclusive, and that could bring a range of skills, competencies, strengths and approaches to work?
- While ensuring the integrity of assessment materials, how can you provide helpful feedback to candidates on their assessment performance? How will you document your selection decision in a way that a third party would understand why the person was selected for appointment?
- How can you learn from this feedback experience in order to make the process more inclusive in the future?
Did you know?
- Employment equity as an organizational need can be applied at any phase of the appointment process, including the selection phase.
Have you considered taking training on unconscious bias and on diversity and inclusion? The Canada School of Public Service offers a variety of courses on the subject.
Have you considered consulting the following Public Service Commission products?
- Fairness Review Checklist
- How to think inclusion by design
- Questions and answers - Staffing options to support employment equity, and diversity and inclusion, under the Public Service Employment Act
Diversity and inclusion statistics are available on the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s website to support departments and agencies in their planning.
For more information, please talk to your human resources advisor.
Some of the information in this document was inspired by the Ontario Public Service Recruitment Inclusion Lens.
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