Clear and inclusive job descriptions are always important, but they are even more so when recruiting immigrant talent. They will help to ensure that good applicants aren’t inadvertently screened out, and make it more likely that the best person for the job can be identified.
Need to figure out your absolute must-haves and would-be-nice-to-haves for job descriptions? It’s important for job descriptions to be appropriately worded. Many often include many non-essential requirements for a role that could inadvertently screen out suitable candidates. For example, did you know that men, when determining whether to apply for a job, will apply when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, whereas women will apply only if they meet 100 percent1?
When considering immigrant candidates, remain open to any additional skills and experiences that they may offer. Experience with international markets, additional languages, and connections to growing segments of the local market are all value-added qualities. Take time and make efforts to consider how their skills and experiences could benefit your organizational goals.
This worksheet will help you define essential versus non-essential job duties. Developed by the Human Resource Management Association (now Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia & Yukon), this tool can help you create a more precise job description and rank each candidate’s skills and experience based on their résumé. This will allow you to screen résumés objectively — without bias — and identify the best candidates to interview.
This printable template scorecard may also be of use.
1A Hewlett Packard internal report as cited in “Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified,” Harvard Business Review, August 2014.
Looking for suggestions on how to write more inclusive job descriptions? Check out these tips:
|City of Oshawa’s Inclusive Language Manual||The City of Oshawa has developed an Inclusive Language Manual to help you use language that makes everyone feel welcome and included. The guide also offers suggestions on what words to avoid, words you can use instead and provides opportunities to expand understanding through self-led activities.||www.oshawa.ca/en/DEI_Inclusive-Language-Manual-FINAL-Update-September-2019.pdf|
|Women's Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham (WMRCC)'s Challenge Racism App||Explore this app that addresses barriers to employment for women, racialized, ethnocultural, religious, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQI+ and equity-seeking groups.||wmrcc.org/challenge-racism/challenge-racism-app|
Need to assess language competencies for prospective hires? The Centre for Canadian Language Benchmarks (CCLB) can help you assess the language proficiency of immigrants using national standards for both official languages. Consider using CCLB levels in job descriptions to ensure that the right candidates apply for the job.
Language proficiency and communication skills are often a concern when evaluating immigrant candidates. Consider recommending language programs to international students and immigrant candidates.
|Durham District School Board||Adult English as a Second Language||www.dce.ca/en/programs/english-learning.aspx#|
|Durham Catholic District School Board||Adult English as a Second Language||www.con-ed.ca/en/english-language-classes/adult-english-as-a-second-language-.aspx|
|Achēv||Language assessment is required for enrolling in ESL and LINC language training programs. Achev language assessment services provides assessments and referrals to eligible immigrants seeking language training in Durham region.||achev.ca/services/language|
|Ontario Tech University English Language Centre||English programs for students.||elc.ontariotechu.ca/programs/index.php|
Gone are the days of want ads in the newspapers. And go-to job search websites such as Indeed or the Canada Job Bank don’t always effectively reach immigrant talent. Discover how organizations can recruit in creative new ways.
Are you looking to reach immigrant talent beyond traditional job search engines such as Indeed or the Canada Job Bank? Using these websites is often time-consuming, especially for small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) with limited human resources personnel. And for immigrant job seekers, these sites don’t always allow their qualities and skills to be highlighted. Achieving a more diverse workforce begins with creating a more diverse candidate pool. Consider posting your job ad with the following:
Developing relationships with these organizations is a great way to attract immigrant talent, as many of them offer job-readiness programs for immigrants and prepare them for jobs in in-demand sectors. Another effective strategy is to encourage your current immigrant employees to make referrals. This also lets your staff know that you are committed to expanding your immigrant talent pool.
And when advertising a role, be sure to include relevant health and safety policies so as not to deter potential applicants. Workplace safety is a top priority for most job seekers.
|Durham Region Association of Black Professionals & Entrepreneurs (DRABPE)||Durham region is home to diverse Black communities. DRABPE seeks to provide connections and support to such businesses by giving them access to its network of businesses and professionals.||www.drabpe.org
Tel: (406) 555-0120
Email: [email protected]
|Canada Job Bank Ukraine Portal||This webpage has outlined federal and provincial resources that connect employers to Ukrainian job seekers.||www.jobbank.gc.ca/findajob/resources/jobsforukraine?utm_source=canada.ca&utm_medium=Referral&utm_campaign=IndustryForUkrainePage&utm_content=May11_EN|
|Durham Region Unemployed Help Centre (DRUHC)||DRUHC is an Employment Ontario Service Provider and lead agency of the Pickering Welcome Centre. DRUHC offers a number of pre-employment programs for immigrant professionals who are seeking to reconnect with their field of work in Canada. The Hiring Immigrant Professional Talent program provides a forum for employers to meet with newcomer job seekers during sector-specific networking events.||druhc.ca/programs|
|ByBlacks.com||Ranked the #1 Black Canadian online magazine, ByBlacks.com hosts a dedicated job postings section.||byblacks.com/jobpostings|
Have you ever considered job fairs or networking events as a way to attract immigrant talent? In person or online, many employers find job fairs one of the most successful ways to recruit newcomers who are seeking employment. These events provide opportunities to connect directly with local agencies and share job openings. And, if your company is large enough, consider hosting your own event. Be sure to advertise the event on your company’s Facebook page as well as other relevant social media in the region.
If you have trouble hiring the right person from domestic candidates, then recruiting from overseas may be an option. The Government of Ontario and embassies have the resources to facilitate Canadian employers’ tapping into talent pools worldwide. If you seek help from a recruitment agency, make sure you work with licensed professionals who can navigate paperwork and procedures, as immigration consultancy is regulated in Canada.
|The Employers Roadmap to Hiring and Retaining Internationally Trained Workers||A handbook of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) that showcases the rationales and best practices for international recruitment.||www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/corporate/publications-manuals/employer-roadmap-hiring-retaining-internationally-trained-workers.html|
|GO Talent Program||ICTC's GO Talent Program has an e-Talent job portal that helps employers connect with Internationally Educated Professionals (IETs) with backgrounds in IT. Candidates can be recruited before they arrive in Canada as permanent residents, reducing screening time.||www.etalentcanada.ca/employment-programs/go-talent|
|Cultural Interpretation Services for Our Communities (CISOC)||CISOC is a Social Enterprise dedicated to providing the highest quality cultural language services.||www.cisoc.net/en|
Sometimes we need help being objective when screening résumés. Learn how to screen out bias while screening in immigrant applicants.
Do you need help with your résumé screening process to ensure you’re not inadvertently screening out otherwise suitable immigrant candidates? For example, a recent Canadian study showed that the name on a résumé affects the candidate’s chance of receiving an interview. Despite having identical education and experience, applicants with Asian-sounding names were far less likely to receive an interview than those with Anglo-sounding names.
Read this downloadable PDF to learn how to screen out bias while screening in immigrant candidates.
It can be challenging to determine if an applicant has the required credentials for a job, particularly if the individual holds international credentials. Sometimes professional help is needed.
Does your HR Department need help understanding the academic qualifications of job candidates educated abroad? A credential evaluation may help. Credential evaluation services, such as those provided by World Education Services (WES), can authenticate and evaluate international degrees and diplomas to determine their authenticity and Canadian equivalencies to mitigate hiring risk and streamline the hiring process.
Everyone has unconscious bias. The goal is to be aware of biases and take steps to mitigate them.
Did you know that most of us have unconscious biases? And that our experiences often influence our perceptions of an immigrant candidate? For example, studies show that if there’s only one visible minority or woman in an applicant pool, it makes the person stand out as different and activates an unconscious bias against them. But we can counteract this and support racial and gender equity by including multiple candidates of colour or women. This is called the “two in the pool” effect.
To help you recognize unintended personal biases and move beyond cultural differences during the interview process, download this self-assessment tool.
|DRUHC’s Confronting Racism in Durham||DRUHC’s Confronting Racism in Durham project is funded by the Government of Canada, and seeks to raise awareness of the impact of overt, unconscious, and systemic racial discrimination in employment and career advancement opportunities within Durham. Click here to sign up for the project’s monthly newsletter.||confrontingracism.ca/crd-about|
|Challenge Racism: What-to-do Steps||The project aims to address barriers to employment for the members of the equity deserving groups, racialized, ethnocultural, religious and 2SLGBTQI+ groups in Durham Region.||wmrcc.org/challenge-racism|
When interviewing newcomers to Canada, there may be some cultural differences to take into consideration.
Need help formulating interview questions so they elicit the information needed to assess a candidate’s skills? When interviewing immigrant candidates, we must ensure that the questions are not inadvertently setting the candidate up to fail.
Consult this downloadable PDF on interviewing immigrant candidates.
With the rise of remote-first workplaces, virtual interviews are more common. This downloadable PDF on cross-cultural interviewing in a virtual environment offers useful insights.
It’s always important to welcome newcomers to a new workplace. However, there are specific considerations when those newcomers are also new to the country.
The successful retention of new employees begins at the onboarding phase. It’s important they feel welcome and effectively onboarded into the workplace. This is especially true for immigrant employees, who may need more guidance with expectations around work systems, culture, and the rules of the organization — both written and unwritten. This is easy to overlook when the workforce is made up primarily of individuals who share a cultural background. For example, expectations could include the etiquette of shared spaces, such as refilling the coffee pot when it’s empty, taking breaks on the honour system, what “open-door policy” means, or how best to contribute ideas.
Refer to this downloadable PDF on how to create a welcoming environment for new hires.
Onboarding new employees remotely can be a challenge to the forming of relationships built on trust. Communication is even more important in a remote environment, so be sure to share the ways your team communicates. For example, perhaps email is used for more formal requests, whereas instant messaging is used for more informal, discussion-based communication.
Here are some other ways to build employee relationships remotely:
During the orientation process, consider the “Three Ps”—people, performance, and paperwork:
Adapted from the Immigrant Employment Council of British Columbia’s, Onboarding Newcomers: A Toolkit for BC Employers.
New immigrant hires need regular check-ins to clarify misconceptions, avoid future misunderstandings, and improve the orientation process. Consider asking new hires these questions:
|Yes or No Questions||Open-Ended Questions|
|Do you understand?||What other information can I give you?|
|Does that make sense?||What do you think?|
|Is that clear?||How do you think we should start?|
|Do you have any questions?||What other questions do you have?|
|Durham Immigration Portal||Relocating to a new place takes procedural preparation that demands more assistance than what an employer likely could offer. Recommend this web portal to immigrant new hires that showcases services available to help them settle in Durham region. The Durham Immigration Portal includes a map of settlement services, including Welcome Centre Immigrant Services, public libraries, ESL/LINC classes, Employment Ontario Offices, and Ontario Works social assistance.||www.durhamimmigration.ca|
To help newcomers settle in more easily at work, some organizations make use of the buddy system.
Connections in the workplace often form naturally, but sometimes, particularly with newcomers, they are slow to form. Providing a peer or onboarding buddy can help. Although it depends on the organization, peer buddy programs work best for SMEs and for new hires who are located in remote areas. It’s also important for employers to be intentional when considering a peer buddy, to take the immigrant employee’s needs and perspectives into consideration.
For information on how to create a peer buddy program at your workplace, review this downloadable PDF.
Mentoring has proved to be a cost-effective approach to help integrate newcomers as well as build cross-cultural understanding.
address both, depending on the needs of your employees. As a bonus, mentors and employers often acquire a greater understanding of both the talents of many immigrants and the challenges they face.
Internal mentorship is a cost-effective measure that supports the integration of immigrant hires, as well as cross-cultural understanding among existing staff. Research shows that when mentors are actively engaged with the people they mentor, the new hires form stronger emotional bonds with the workplace, report higher job satisfaction, and perceive greater support from the organization.
For new immigrant employees, mentoring also:
However, employers need to be intentional about internal mentoring. Connections need to be meaningful and determined on a case-by-case basis due to cultural differences. Sometimes it’s best to let connections happen organically.
In addition, internal mentorships may not be feasible for most SMEs. These programs often work best with larger organizations, although it depends on the nature of the industry and the type of work.
If you want to learn how to create an internal mentorship program, this downloadable PDF offers useful guidance.
External Mentorship Programs
If the timing isn’t right for your organization to develop its own internal mentorship program, or if you don’t have the resources necessary, there are outside programs you may be able to make use of.
Joining an established mentorship program helps you:
Consider these regional mentorship programs:
|TRIEC Mentoring Partnership Program – Durham Welcome Centres||Employers can participate in the program as a Mentor andr stay connected as a means to access talent and provide newcomers with guidance, insights, and assistance to expand their network within their field in Pickering and the Durham region.||welcomecentre.ca/job-employment-support|
Inclusive workplaces start with inclusive leadership.
The key to transforming an organization into a welcoming and inclusive work environment is leadership. For insights into how to create inclusive workplaces, refer to this downloadable PDF.
|WMRCC's Challenge Racism Project Booklet||This booklet, created alongside WMRCC's app as part of a 2-year project to address barriers to employment for racialized groups in Durham, recommends key practices for employers in retaining members of ethnocultural, racialized, 2SLGBTQIA+, and BIPOC groups.||wmrcc.org/challenge-racism-project-what-to-do-steps-booklet|
|Durham Local Immigration Partnership (DLIP) Council Immigration and Inclusion Community Plan 2020-2024||Review this resource to understand the work being done by multiple community partners and service providers to best serve newcomers to Durham region and build inclusive communities.||www.durhamimmigration.ca/en/who-we-are/resources/Durham-Immigration-and-Inclusion-Community-Plan-2020-2024-FINAL.pdf|
Want to retain your immigrant talent and also provide immigrant professionals the tools they need to lead? Consider partnering with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) for its free program: Career Advancement for Immigrant Professionals.
Looking for more?
|Durham Workforce Authority||The leading source of labour market intelligence for Durham Region.||durhamworkforceauthority.ca/|
|Durham Local Immigration Partnership (DLIP)||DLIP welcomes regional employers to join its network of over 100 community partners. Email [email protected] for information on joining.||www.durhamimmigration.ca/en/who-we-are/working-groups-and-recruitment.aspx#Community-Partners-in-Diversity|
Studies show that meaningful employment is cited as the No. 1 consideration in employee retention. Employees also look for professional development and career growth.
|Ontario Tech Univeristy - Continuous Learning||Ontario Tech University's Continuous Learning department is the hub for Professional programming at the university. Working closely with all faculties across campus, Continuous Learning develops and offers certificate programs and learning opportunities that support lifelong learning. Continuous Learning also works in partnership with employers and community organizations to provide custom training to employees.||ontariotechu.ca/continuouslearning/|
|Canada-Ontario Job Grant||The Canada-Ontario Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium-size, and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees.||www.tcu.gov.on.ca/eng/eopg/cojg|
WES wishes to thank our partners for their collaboration on this initiative