Advertising an appointment process

Overview  

The staffing environment has changed significantly over the past few years, and hiring practices continue to evolve. Social media and modern recruitment methods are increasing the variety of options for marketing job opportunities, recruiting skilled workers and staffing specific jobs.

For example, in addition to using the federal government’s recruitment system (GC Jobs) to advertise an appointment process, hiring managers are using it to raise awareness of the type of work their organization has to offer and their future need for skills.  Managers are also using GC Jobs to target people who have qualified in appointment processes run by other departments.

This shifting landscape is raising questions about what constitutes an advertised process and how the Appointment Framework applies in different scenarios. This document sets out some key points to consider when deciding whether to advertise, drawing on some practical examples.

What to consider

A decision to advertise an appointment process prompts specific legislative and policy requirements that must be respected. Here are some of those requirements:

The Public Service Employment Act and the Appointment Policy do not provide a definition of an advertised process. Generally, an advertisement can be described as a communication that reflects a hiring manager’s intent to staff a specific job or jobs and that provides information about this job (for example: merit criteria, occupational group and level) and how to apply.

Advertising requirements are not intended to substitute for a definition of an advertised process. A non-advertised appointment is not a remedy for an advertisement that does not comply with the policy requirements. 

Beyond policy requirements, hiring managers should consider the intent of the process and how it will be perceived:

The response to these questions can guide a hiring manager in determining if a process is advertised. 

For more information

Hiring managers can contact their human resources unit to discuss how specific issues are handled in their organization.

The Public Service Commission of Canada provides support through staffing support advisors assigned to each organization.

Learn more about whether or not an appointment that results from a process is advertised or non-advertised in  Hiring from Pools.


Scenarios

The following scenarios illustrate key considerations discussed above. Each scenario suggests whether the posting reflects a decision to advertise an appointment process, and what it is communicating if not an appointment process. Note that each situation is unique, and when staffing, there could be other circumstances and considerations that would lead to a different result. 

Scenario 1: Speed staffing

An organization posts information on the University of Toronto’s website about a speed staffing event. The posting lists several federal organizations that will be attending, as well as a variety of specific jobs they are looking to staff. No merit criteria are included.

What to consider

  • Though the posting relates to an event, it also conveys a general intent to attract students and graduates interested in specific job opportunities. 
  • The posting does not include merit criteria, but it does indicate specific positions.
  • Without a related advertisement on GC Jobs, this posting would not provide access to veterans who meet the conditions for preference.

Is this an advertised process?

Yes, this could reflect a decision to advertise appointment processes, given the intent to seek candidates for specific jobs. Unless there is a related posting on GC Jobs with established merit criteria, area of selection and a point of contact for accommodation requests, the advertising requirements are not met.

There are various reasons related to the duty to accommodate that may prevent a person from attending this specific event. 

Combining the speed staffing event with advertising in a way that respects the advertising requirements would be policy compliant and would provide access to a broader candidate pool, including veterans.

Scenario 2: Marketing

A posting on GC Jobs solicits general interest from people wishing to become an employee of a particular organization. It is open to public servants across Canada. The posting lists a broad range of classifications and includes a link to the Treasury Board Qualification Standards. Information about merit criteria is not included.

What to consider

  • The posting is soliciting general interest rather than identifying specific jobs or processes for how positions will be staffed.
  • The intent of the posting may be unclear to candidates. While it includes some information about groups and levels and a link to the Treasury Board Qualification Standards, it does not include job-specific information or merit criteria.
  • Although this posting is visible to Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans, it does not provide a sense of the specific opportunities, and may fail to generate interest.

Is this an advertised process?

No, this does not reflect a decision to advertise an appointment process. There is no job-specific information and no merit criteria aside from the link to the qualification standards. This reflects a decision to market the organization generally. It provides general information about the types of jobs that could be staffed, and the purpose is to build interest in the labour market for specific opportunities when they arise. 

The lack of information in this posting may restrict interest from Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans and persons with a priority entitlement.

Scenario 3: Hackathon

There is a posting on GC Jobs for CS-2 and CS-3 jobs. The process is external, with a national area of selection; those interested need to register for and attend a hackathon (an assessment method) that will be held at a specific time and place and that may result in appointments. Merit criteria are included.

What to consider

  • The posting conveys the hiring manager’s intent to staff CS-2 and CS-3 jobs from this process.
  • The posting includes job-specific information and merit criteria.
  • This posting provides access to veterans who meet the conditions for preference.

Is this an advertised process?

Yes, this reflects a decision to advertise an appointment process. The hiring manager’s intent is clear, and the posting includes job-specific information. The advertising requirements are met because the posting is on GC Jobs, establishes an area of selection and includes merit criteria.

The hackathon is an assessment method which could be an efficient way to identify candidates for further consideration. The use of a fixed date and location for the event could, however, have an impact on access and accommodation.  

Scenario 4: Recruitment – Situation A

A posting on GC Jobs for policy and planning (AS) work, no level specified, is open to public servants across Canada. Merit criteria are included.

What to consider

  • This posting conveys an intent to staff jobs in the AS occupational group.
  • The posting includes some job-specific information (AS work) and merit criteria.
  • This posting provides access to Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility.

Is this an advertised process?

Yes, this reflects a decision to advertise an appointment process. The posting reflects the hiring manager’s intent and includes job-specific information. The advertising requirements are met because the posting is on GC Jobs, establishes an area of selection and includes merit criteria.

More specific information about the manager’s intent and the level(s) of the position(s) to be staffed could help to avoid uncertainty or misaligned expectations for potential candidates.

Scenario 5: Recruitment – Situation B

A posting on GC Jobs solicits interest from people who have qualified in EC-6 appointment processes conducted by other organizations for consideration for EC-6 jobs. It is open to public servants in the National Capital Region. There is no mention of merit criteria.

What to consider

  • The posting conveys an intent to consider candidates for EC-6 jobs but does not indicate how the results will be used.
  • The posting may be unclear to candidates as it references a group and level to be staffed, however, there is no other information such as merit criteria.  
  • This posting is visible to Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility. However, those who did not participate in other EC-6 processes may not have the opportunity to be considered. This may not be consistent with the intent of the mobility provision.

Is this an advertised process?

No, this does not reflect a decision to advertise an appointment process. While the posting includes an intent to consider people for EC-6 jobs, there is no job-specific information beyond group and level and no merit criteria. This announcement is designed to identify people who have been assessed and found qualified for EC-6 jobs in other organizations. 

Being found qualified in an EC-6 process does not mean a person is qualified for all EC-6 jobs. Merit criteria needs to be established and met for the job to be staffed.

The Public Service Employment Act and the Appointment Framework clearly set out expectations that merit criteria will be established for each appointment based on the work to be performed. 

Although the posting includes statements that resemble an area of selection, having “qualified in EC-6 appointment processes conducted by other organizations” is not one of the criteria that can be used to define an area of selection as per subsection 34(1) of the Act.

Scenario 6: Communicating an opportunity – Situation A

As a result of an unexpected departure, a hiring manager sends an email to employees in the work unit to gauge interest in a short-term acting opportunity. No merit criteria are included, and no assessment is planned at this stage. The level of interest in the opportunity will help the hiring manager decide how to staff the position. 

What to consider

  • The email conveys the hiring manager’s intent to gauge interest to fill a short-term vacancy.
  • While the email includes information about the temporary duration of the opportunity, it provides little job-specific information and no merit criteria.
  • This posting does not provide access to Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility.

Is this an advertised process?

No, this does not reflect a decision to advertise an appointment process. The hiring manager is exploring interest and availability among employees in the work unit to determine next steps, an approach that can be effective when the need is urgent.

This type of approach helps the hiring manager determine the staffing mechanism and type of process that would be most effective in the circumstances. For example, a non-advertised process could be used if one or more employees within the work unit express interest, or the opportunity could be advertised as a next step. 

Scenario 7: Communicating an opportunity – Situation B

An email communicates an opportunity at the EC-5 level within the organization. No area of selection is specified; however, the email is sent to a particular work unit in the organization and invites recipients to express their interest in being considered. Merit criteria are included.

What to consider

  • The email conveys the hiring manager’s intent to staff a job at the EC-5 group and level.
  • The communication includes job-specific information and merit criteria.  
  • This communication does not provide access to Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans who meet the conditions for mobility.

Is this an advertised process?

Yes, this reflects a decision to advertise an appointment process to staff temporary or permanent opportunities. The advertising requirements are not met because the posting is not posted on GC Jobs. Also, the email is sent to a particular work unit, which effectively limits the opportunity to be considered to people in that work unit, and for this reason identifies an area of selection.   

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