After you apply
What happens to your job application?
Depending on the number of candidates, the number of job openings and the reasons for the process, each job application is reviewed to determine who can, or will, be assessed.
Only eligible candidates can be assessed. Candidates are eligible when they are in the area of selection (the “who can apply” section) stated on the job advertisement, when they submit a complete job application (e.g. have followed the instructions), and when they apply during the job application period stated on the advertisement. There is no standard approach for the next step. Decisions about who will be assessed are made for each process, and sometimes each appointment from a process. One process might start to assess each candidate’s qualifications using the information that was requested in the job application. Another process might invite the Veterans to be assessed ahead of other candidates. A third might focus on a specific employment equity group, or candidates who have a specific type of experience.
If you have questions about the status of your job application, you can use the contact information that was included in the job advertisement to ask for more information.
If your application is accepted, you may be contacted for assessment.
There are a number of different ways to assess candidates. Assessment methods or tools are chosen or developed to gather information about the qualification(s) being assessed. It may be important to understand and have knowledge about the mandate and structure of the department, the work to be performed, and the environment/context in which it is performed to prepare for an assessment. The following two sources may help you get started:
- The organizations website
- The work description for the position and the organizational chart, which you can request from the contact provided on the job advertisement.
Assessment tools are designed to provide information about the extent to which candidates meet the merit criteria identified for the position. The following are some samples of some commonly used assessment tools:
- Interviews – Either in-person, by videoconference, or by telephone. You can expect to answer questions such as how you have you done something, or how you would react to a given situation. The questions may be provided in advance to allow candidates to provide written responses. It helps to come prepared to describe some specifics about your experience as it relates to the qualifications that were listed on the advertisement.
- Role Plays – Activities in which a situation is presented to the candidate and the candidate is asked to react to the situation to demonstrate one or more of the qualifications.
- Presentations – Before or during the interview, candidates may receive background information and a specific amount of time to review it and then prepare a presentation.Interviewers may ask questions about the presentation.
- Skills tests – Designed to assess certain skills or proficiency in the use of any required tools for the position – e.g. use of standard office software.
- Written Tests – These can be in a number of formats – open book, multiple choice, short answer, etc. The Public Service Commission (PSC) has a bank of tests that are commonly used to assess certain qualifications, or the organization may have developed their own test.
- Writing Samples – A person’s cover letter may be used as a writing sample.
- Simulations – Typically based on actual work or generic situations to evaluate how candidates handle problems and activities that resemble those encountered on the job. An example simulation is the “in-basket” exercise which assesses qualifications such as the ability to plan, prioritize, make decisions, and delegate.
- Work Samples – you may be asked to provide samples of your work, e.g., a communications portfolio.
- Reference Checks – Verbal or written references can be used. It is important to provide references who are familiar with your past work experience as it relates to the qualifications.
- Review of Performance Appraisals – If requested, CAF personnel would provide their most recent Personnel Evaluation Report (PER).
Once all assessments are completed, a pool (i.e. group) of qualified candidates is established.
Scheduling your Interview
If there is an option, request or choose an interview during the time of day when you are at your best.
If you have a personal accommodation need, such as a disability, a religious holiday, etc, identify this in your response to the interview invitation or by using the Contact Information on the job advertisement.
Preparing for the interview
As in the military, your appearance matters. Present a professional image, and dress in a way that feels appropriate for the position.
Interviews may begin with or include some version of these questions:
- Describe how your experience relates to this position?
- How is your education and training an asset in this position?
- What is it about this position that interests you?
Preparing your responses to these three questions before you get there, may help you succeed in the interview.
Other questions are typically related to the qualifications identified in the job advertisement, so you can also prepare to give specific details about how your experience and skills are related to each of the qualifications.
Interviewers are typically looking for a clear explanation of a situation, your role, your action(s) taken, and the result(s). Whether the result was success, failure, or a bit of both, it may also be helpful if you can explain your lessons learned from the outcome.
Day of the interview
Arrive at least 10 minutes early to collect yourself and organize your thoughts.
If something happens and you’re going to be late, call the contact and explain your situation. Most interviewers will make allowances when you have a valid reason. It may even be possible to reschedule the interview in some circumstances.
Before you leave for the interview, check that you have brought with you any documents that were requested, such as your university degree, certifications, etc.
Here are some tips to help you during the interview:
- Conduct yourself as you do at meetings, the idea is to show them how you work.
- If you are nervous, tell the interviewers.
- Be conscious of your language – military jargon or acronyms are usually unknown to people without prior service.
- Come prepared.
- If you don’t understand a question, ask them to repeat it or rephrase it. This is far better than answering poorly or missing the point altogether.
- Listen carefully and use their questions and statements as a guide to the response they want.
- Be honest about your experiences; the interviewers are looking for the reasons for decisions you made and their outcomes, not just the decision itself.
- Do not criticize former colleagues or supervisors.
- If you feel that one of your strong points has not come across during the interview; at the end, ask the interviewers if they are interested in hearing about an experience that illustrates this asset.
If you are still-serving and are offered a public service position, you must release from the military before you can start your job with the public service.
Need more information?
The Veterans in the Public Service Unit (VPSU) was created by Veterans Affairs Canada to help Veterans understand and succeed in the application process for public service jobs. If you have any questions or require assistance, please contact the VPSU by sending a message through My VAC Account or by calling the Department at 1-866-522-2122.
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