The Hiring Process

Step One: The first step in the hiring process is developing a clear job description. A job description should include:

  1. Summary of the job
  2. A list of specific duties and responsibilities ranked in order from highest to lowest priority or percentage of time spent
  3. Qualifications including education, skills, experience, and attributes
  4. Working conditions including physical requirements, location, hours of work

For each job duty, decide if the applicant must have the skill or if it can be learned on the job.

Step Two: The next step is to plan for the interview process by developing questions to assess whether the candidate has the specific skill or experience for each duty required in the job. More emphasis should be placed on questions for any duties that require previous experience or a demonstrated personal characteristic.

For example the specific duties included in a job description for a community support worker might include:

  • provide communication support
  • support weekly activity planning
  • support community participation
  • support life skill development for transit, shopping, laundry, and meal preparation
  • support recreational skill development

Behavioural questions are questions that determine past experience in specific situations of interest.

For example, if a requirement of the job is experience supporting someone who gets agitated under certain conditions a behavioral question might ask: "You are in a crowded store buying art supplies when the person you are supporting starts shouting and knocking things off the shelf-how have you handled a similar situation in the past?"

An example for a requirement to develop a weekly schedule for someone who does not communicate with words might be: "Can you give an example of how you have supported someone who does not communicate verbally to develop a weekly schedule?" (Note: Beware of leading questions--it is important to not give them the clue that the schedule should reflect the choices of the individual they are supporting).

To determine understanding of community inclusion you might ask: "John volunteers weekly at the local food bank-can you give an example of a time in the past where you have supported an individual to interact with other community members in a community activity?"

To determine life skill development experience: "Can you give me an example of a life skill teaching plan you have developed in the past for transit, grocery shopping, or meal preparation?"

If specific experience in a certain area is not a prerequisite you can ask theoretical questions that help determine a candidate's suitability. For example, by asking how they might approach a situation where someone is becoming agitated and in a crowded mall, you can determine valuable information about their attitude and understanding of positive behavioral support.

For specific skills that relate to operation of a piece of equipment for example, you should ask questions designed to test their knowledge.

Open ended questions can help gain information about personality as they increase the conversational flow. Some examples of these types of questions are: "How do you handle stressful situations?" or "What do you do to reduce stress?"

Step Three: The next step is to evaluate candidates through the interview process:

Prepare your list of questions ahead of time. Preparing a table with the factors you are looking for in each area of the job description, along with a point system, is a good way to objectively keep track of the candidates you have interviewed. For example, under personal characteristics you might list 5 qualities and then score points according to how well they demonstrate these qualities in the interview and when you check references.

For other categories such as skills, experience and qualification you can list 5 factors that demonstrate the minimum requirement for each section and assign points for each factor demonstrated in the interview or through the reference check.

Take notes during the interview and be sure to clarify any responses that are unclear. Avoid dominating the interview by talking too much and keep the tone conversational and fluid to gather as much information as possible.

Step Four: Checking References

Ask candidates for a list of references and be sure to get their permission before contacting references. Seek to confirm employment information such as length of employment and nature of the work. Ensure that it matches the work as described on their resume. Ask about work habits and attitude, strengths and areas requiring improvement, whether the job the candidate is applying for seems like a good fit based on the reference's knowledge of the candidate, and if they would consider hiring the candidate again. Listen carefully and avoid leading the reference into telling you what you want to hear.

Step Five: Criminal Record and Vulnerable Sector Search

Have your prospective candidate go to the local police authority in their neighbourhood to complete a criminal record and vulnerable sector search (see Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search on this website for more information).

Step Six: Letter of Offer

Once you have confirmed your selection through references and criminal record search, and have made an offer over the phone, prepare a letter of offer outlining the terms of employment such as start date, rate of pay, probation period, vacation, benefits, and attach the job description.

Important Human Rights Considerations in the Hiring Process:

It is important to not advertise or ask questions that violate the Human Rights Code (For more information on discrimination in employment see: BC Laws at under the Human Rights Code).

Discrimination in Employment Advertisements

A person must not publish or cause to be published an advertisement in connection with employment or prospective employment that expresses a limitation, specification or preference as to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age unless the limitation, specification or preference is based on a bona fide occupational requirement.

Discrimination in Employment

  1. A person must not
    1. refuse to employ or refuse to continue to employ a person, or
    2. discriminate against a person regarding employment or any term or condition of employment because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age of that person or because that person has been convicted of a criminal or summary conviction offence that is unrelated to the employment or to the intended employment of that person.
  2. An employment agency must not refuse to refer a person for employment for any reason mentioned in subsection (1).
  3. Subsections (1) and (2) do not apply with respect to a refusal, limitation, specification or preference based on a bona fide occupational requirement.

What is a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement?

For more information on bona fide occupational requirements see the Canadian Human Rights Commission at under preventing discrimination.

A bona fide occupational requirement (or BFOR, for short) is a standard or rule that is integral to carrying out the functions of a specific position. For a standard to be considered a BFOR, an employer has to establish that any accommodation or changes to the standard would create an undue hardship.

For example, an airline pilot must have very good eyesight. This standard is integral to carrying out the duties of a pilot's job.

When a standard is a BFOR, an employer is not expected to change it to accommodate an employee. However, to be as inclusive as possible, an employer should still explore whether some form of accommodation is possible.

Step one: Establish a rational connection

Was the rule adopted for a purpose rationally connected to the performance of the job?

Step two: Establish good faith

Did the employer adopt the rule in an honest and good faith belief that it was necessary to the fulfillment of a legitimate work-related purpose?

Step three: Establish reasonable necessity

Is the rule reasonably necessary to the accomplishment of that legitimate work-related purpose?

Here are some questions to ask in considering whether the standard is reasonably necessary.

  • Were alternatives to the standard or rule considered?
  • If so, why weren't they adopted?
  • Must all employees meet a single standard, or could different standards be adopted?
  • Does the standard treat some more harshly than others?
  • If so, was the standard designed to minimize this differential treatment?
  • What steps were taken to find accommodations?
  • Is there evidence of undue hardship if accommodations were provided?
Project funded by logo for Community Living BC Community Living BC
Project piloted by logo for Family Support Institute Family Support Institute