Attracting Skill and Talent

Employees come and employees go even in the most successful businesses - that’s a fact of life.

For most employers it’s not easy to find new workers; competition for skill and talent is high.  Looking to non-traditional labour pools will enable you to tap into a larger pool of potential employees and give you the extra advantage in attracting workers. 

Building a workplace that respects and values the different backgrounds and perspectives of all your employees will also help attract new employees. Furthermore building diversity into the organization  will help build and maintain the strength of your workforce.  The strategies and tools you use to help you find workers can help or hinder your efforts to increase diversity in your workforce.  It’s important to establish clear processes and policies that do not inadvertently create barriers to otherwise qualified candidates. The following are some tips and practical guidelines that will help.

Writing the Job Ad

As a starting point, your job posting should be based on an accurate and up-to-date job description.

CLICK HERE to download the job ad template which will help you to draft your job ad. 

When drafting the job ad consider the following:

  • Use simple language and keep “industry speak” to a minimum. English may not be an applicant’s first language.
  • Lay aside preconceptions about what it takes to do a job and who you are looking for. 
  • Be careful not to inflate job requirements.  For example asking for a Master’s degree when a Bachelor's is all that is required. 
  • Use culturally neutral qualifications.  For example asking for the “ability to plan a project and complete it to required timelines”, rather than asking for a specific project management credentials. 
  • Consider transferable skills.  A person’s experience in an unpaid volunteer position may have given them the skills they need to do the job.
  • Be clear about which qualifications are ‘must haves’ and which ones are a bonus but not required.
  • Prior experience should be considered regardless of where it was obtained – limiting candidates to only those with “Canadian experience” can eliminate great candidates.
  • Specifying desired personality traits can screen out or discourage candidates.          
  • Let people know that you are looking for applications from people in diverse groups. 
  • Highlight what’s interesting about the job.
  • Let people apply using a variety of formats including email, fax, in person, and standard mail.
  • Include a values statement that includes the principles of diversity in your organization.  See the Commitment Pillar for support in writing a values statement.

CLICK HERE to go to the NS HR Toolkit to find more “do’s” and “do not’s” for writing job ads.

Advertising the Job

Job vacancies should be widely circulated so that they can readily come to the attention of all persons.  But remember, many of the people who have the skills and qualifications you are looking for may not check the places that you usually advertise.  Job ads and postings that clearly describe the position and qualifications should be widely circulated so that they can readily come to the attention of all persons.

These are the traditional channels for recruiting new employees:

  • Career websites such as the JobBank, Career Beacon, and Monster
  • The company website 
  • Local and regional newspapers and flyers
  • Trade journals
  • Personal networks: family, friends and colleagues. Referrals from employees
  • Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn
  • Job fairs
Here are some strategies for reaching potential employees:
  • Organizations that promote diversity such Immigration Settlement organizations and Newcomer networks
  • Organizations that specialize in placing workers from under-represented labour groups
  • Sector councils and membership organizations
  • Bulletin boards in community facilities and stores
  • Co-op education centres at local universities
  • International student associations at local universities
  • Notices sent out by community groups
  • Recruitment agencies 
Finally don’t forget to leverage the diverse thinking of your team.  They may be a source of all sorts of practical ideas and advice for reaching diverse groups. Ask for their opinions and involve them.  See the NS HR Toolkit Finding Workers pages for more information on traditional and non-traditional methods for recruiting employees.

Your organization’s culture can be your greatest asset

As in any community word travels fast about a good thing.  Building your reputation as an employer that values different backgrounds and talents and that respects and recognizes the different perspectives of all their employees will establish your organization as an employer of choice.  

If your workforce is multilingual or multicultural, diverse workers will likely feel more comfortable about applying. Writing a values statement that includes the principles of diversity, and highlighting it in all your recruitment strategies, will help you get noticed and attract more applicants.  See the Leadership Pillar for help in writing your Diversity Values Statement.

Let people inside and outside of your organization know about your workplace diversity strategy or about your diversity-friendly workplace culture.  Ideas for doing this can be found in the Communication page



Understand Bias

Attracting Skill and Talent

Screening Resumes


Reference Checks