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Selection Tips

Resume Screening

Immigrants often have international credentials that may not be immediately recognizable to a Canadian employer. Recruiters may skim résumés seeking the names of recognized institutions. They may also face challenges in assessments of foreign credentials. Similarly, international experience is often devalued or considered irrelevant in Canada.

An organization that recognizes the transferability of an immigrant's training and education gains a definite competitive advantage. By using Canadian credential assessment services, employers are able to increase their familiarity and comfort level with international credentials.

If it is unclear how international qualifications compare to Canadian credentials, assessments can be based on other criteria. Candidates can:

  • Describe their years of experience in a field or job, or in performing specific tasks
  • Explain their skills or demonstrate them in practical tests
  • Demonstrate their knowledge through written examinations

For regulated occupations, state clearly the licensing or certification required by law. In some circumstances, it may be possible to hire at a lower level of responsibility and help the candidate obtain the required licensing while on the job. If so, this should be stated in job postings.

For non-regulated occupations, consider voluntary certification that may apply. If candidates who have this certification are preferred, this should be stated in job postings.

For more information about foreign credential assessments, visit our “Understanding International Credentials" web page

Source: HR Council Canada

Interview Process

It is important to be aware of how personal bias can negatively impact diversity efforts.
The following suggestions and considerations help reveal and remove bias that may affect who is selected for an interview, how the interview is conducted, and final selection of candidates. Removing bias form the hiring process is not a quick fix. It requires ongoing review of hiring practices - both the process and the outcomes- to uncover systematic barriers.

  • Develop a clear and consistent set of guidelines for everyone involved in the hiring process. Use a consistent and formal application process. Clearly explain the entire process to candidates to shape realistic expectations and reduce misunderstandings
  • Consider having one employee responsible for receiving résumés, this person can block the names of each candidate from those involved in the review and assessment of potential candidates. Recent research shows that many Canadian employers show a bias towards traditional Anglophone names, likely making assumptions about language skills, values and experience. Replacing names with candidate numbers for the résumé review phase removes this name bias
  • Establish a recruitment philosophy specifically focused on skills, regardless of how those skills were developed or where a candidate was trained
  • Focus on the content rather than the style of the résumé, stylistic differences in format and content can easily lead to qualified candidates being screened out at early stages in the process. In many countries, a CV might be ten pages long and provide great detail on each experience, while in Canada, the preference is for very concise CVs
  • Avoid subjective terms in the recruitment process, such as 'best cultural fit.' This can unwittingly exclude qualified candidates without gaining a deeper understanding of their potential contributions to the organization. 

Source: HR Council Canada

Best practices

  • Establish an interview team to reduce individual bias. Include members of diverse communities or staff with a good understanding of cross-cultural issues to provide insight on socio-cultural responses that others on the panel may question
  • Determine if applicants have any accommodation needs when scheduling interviews
  • Ensure the interview site is accessible
  • Be informed of holy days of different religions to avoid scheduling interviews at these times
  • Provide consistent and clear information to all applicants about the selection process
  • Be aware that many disabilities are invisible. Avoid generalizations based in race or ethnicity. Do not assume that a person's appearance defines their nationality or cultural background
  • Ask questions that focus on 'how' an applicant will apply his or her skills, 'how' they would handle a particular situation, etc.
  • Ask all interview candidates the same questions and score responses with a grid. All questions should related relate to the job description
  • Careful use of vocabulary is recommended in order to avoid or re-phrase words that could have different meanings in other cultures or languages
  • Check assumptions around body language and other non-verbal communication. Be aware of culturally influenced behaviours and communication patterns that may impact how a candidate is perceived during the interview process

Source: HR Council Canada

Additional Resources

HR Council Canada has developed several Guides and Checklists for Employers, to help diversify their workforce.

See the HR Toolkit's Recruitment Checklist (DOC 3099KB)

See Employer's Guide to Integrating Immigrants into the Workplace

Follow the HR Roadmap from hireimmigrants.ca:

Hiring Roadmap