This page is supplementary reading material to assist New Arrivals to Canada from Ireland.
Though each person is different and will have a unique experience settling into their new home, many people will go through four common stages of adapting to life in a new culture, often referred to as “culture shock.” Take a look at the following four stages and determine which stage best represents your current position. Understanding where you are on this spectrum is important in terms of managing your employment search. If you find that you are in stage 2, recognize that these symptoms are normal for any person settling into a new country. Your challenge is to decide the best way for you to manage these symptoms.
Just before or shortly after arriving in Canada you may:
During the first six months you may:
During this stage of adjustment, you may:
During this stage of you will likely:
The following is a listing of selection criteria that influence an employer’s decision to either hire you, or not hire you:
The following represent a number of basic interviewing errors to be avoided by recruiters:
Interviewer talks too much. You should be listening for approximately 75% of the interview. Talking for 25% of the time will allow you to provide information and lead the discussion, not dominate it.
Interviewer talks too little. Candidates should leave the interview with a basic understanding of the company and the position. Even in the first interview, part of your role is to sell the candidate on ABC Company and the position available. Allow the candidate to ask questions at the end of the interview.
Interviewer jumps to conclusions. Try not to let one piece of information dominate your thinking, whether positively or negatively.
Interviewer is influenced by personal biases. In this case, the interviewer allows personal biases to influence his/her perception of what is needed for the job. A potential data entry clerk may come across as too quiet and a potential sales representative as too assertive for your personal liking, but these attributes may fit the job requirements.
Interviewer suggests the “right” answers. This can happen when you ask leading questions of the candidate. Try not to let the candidate know what you want to hear i.e. “This job requires someone with good people skills. So, do you like working with the public?”
Human Rights legislation prohibits discrimination in hiring on the following grounds: age, race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, creed, sex, handicap, marital/family status, ethnic origin, sexual orientation and record of offenses. Any interview question that will elicit an answer revealing any information about these matters is illegal.
What if you feel you need certain prohibited information in order to determine whether the candidate can do the job? The question to ask yourself is: “Is this information relevant to the candidate’s ability to perform the essential duties of the job?” Your answer must be based on the job-related candidate specifications that you have developed. Your past experience and/or personal beliefs are not valid. Example: “Women cannot do that job – the last one was a disaster” or “Those employees will not want to be managed by someone of that nationality”.
There are some exceptions to this legislation i.e. bona fide occupational requirements (“BFOC”). These are essential components of the job. Additional information is required in order to correctly assess if a candidate can do the job. Such requirements must be genuine and reasonable.
Example: For a driver or sales representative, a valid driver’s licence and good driving record are a BFOQ. Therefore, you are permitted to question the candidate about his/her record of offenses related to his/her driver’s licence. Another example is warehouse staff where the ability to lift items of a certain weight may be a BFOQ. You are permitted to question the candidate about any handicap that would prevent him/her from lifting such weights. You are also permitted to test this lifting ability in an employment medical.
Cases that are less clear are those where a prohibited ground may prevent a candidate from fulfilling a BFOQ. For example, in a position that requires 60% travel, marital/family status may prevent a candidate from meeting this requirement. However, unlike the earlier
examples where having a good driving record or healthy lifting ability is a yes/no situation (you either have it or you do not) – being a single parent with six children may or may not prevent a candidate from meeting the 60% travel requirement. In such cases, ask the candidate about his/her ability to meet the job requirement itself, rather than the prohibited grounds:
YES – This job requires 60% travel. Can you do this?
NO – Do you have children that would stop you travelling?
YES – Can you relocate to Vancouver in six months?
NO – How would your spouse feel about relocating?
Do not use indirect questions or make comments designed to obtain answers without breaking the rules. “You look too young to have such an important job” is no different than asking “How old are you?” “That is an interesting last name – is it Canadian?” corresponds to asking “What ethnic origin are you?”
Candidates often use prohibited information on their resumes or volunteer it in interviews. Following up on this information by asking additional questions is still a violation of human rights legislation. Try to steer the interview away from the personal and concentrate on jobrelated qualifications.
Try to accomplish the following matters in your interviews:
Set the stage. Ensure that your office is quiet and your phone is on call forward. If you are in a noisy or hectic area, use a conference room. Map out an appropriate time-frame for the interview and avoid scheduling your interviews too closely together. If you are worrying about time, your interviewing skills will suffer.
Let the candidate know what to expect. Take the time at the beginning of the interview to advise the candidate on what is to follow. You may want to set a time-frame for the interview, advise who he/she will be meeting next and what the next step after this is.
Take notes during or after. You may find that taking notes distracts you during the interview. If you do not take notes during the interview, set aside time immediately afterward to record all relevant information and thoughts.
Keep the interview on track. Try not to be thrown off by unexpected questions or candidates who ramble. Advise candidates at the start of the interview that you will answer any questions they may have at the end of the interview. Be prepared to curtail rambling, off-topic answers by a phrase such as “That’s very interesting. However, perhaps you can tell me about……. ”
Draft an outline. Doing this before the interview will ensure that key questions are asked and that you finish the interview equipped with relevant information about the candidate and his/her experience and skills. You can also use the same outline with all candidates, thereby ensuring consistency.
You should try to use a variety of questioning techniques. There are three basis areas of information that you are attempting to discover: facts and data about past history; opinions and beliefs about job-related issues; and examples of past behaviour. The following types of questions will assist you in eliciting this information.
Fact-Finding Questions. These questions provide you with facts and data about a candidate’s current situation or past experiences. Basic fact-finding questions are closeended (answered with a yes or no).
Example: “Are you still employed at this job?”
Other fact-finding questions can be structured to elicit a more detailed response by using an open-ended format:
Example: “What are your major responsibilities?”
Try to balance your use of close-ended and open-ended fact-finding questions. The danger in using too many close-ended questions is that the interview may turn into a verbal “tennis match” with short questions and answers being fired back and forth!
Probing Questions. Probing questions provide you with information about a candidate’s feelings and beliefs, by asking opinions about certain items, or how he/she feels about completing certain activities.
Example: “How do you feel about having to reprimand your staff?”
“What do you think about this type of management style?”
Probing questions cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. They can also be used to follow-up on a candidate’s statements by repeating or reflecting their statements/feelings back to them. This will encourage them to elaborate on certain points
Example: “You mentioned disagreeing with your boss on that point. Can you tell me more about this?”
Behavioural Questions. Past behaviour is usually a predictor of future behaviour. By questioning candidates about their behaviour in past situations, you can gain a good idea of how they will perform in future situations and how this will fit with your job needs.
Example: “Tell me how you handled that situation.”
You can also determine future behaviour by using “what if” questions. You may be interviewing a first-time manager who has never had staff before. Questions asking how they would deal with a particular situation should be good predictors of their actual on-thejob behaviour.
Example: What would youdo if…………happened?”
Gerry O’ Connor, Toronto’s 2020 Irish Person of the Year, was born in Dublin, educated at Blackrock College and University College Dublin, and emigrated to Toronto in 1971.
Gerry arrived in Canada with $100, two suitcases and no job or friends. His plan was to gain two years of Canadian business experience and move back to Ireland – that was 49 years ago, and he is still here!
During his successful Canadian business career, Gerry held several senior corporate positions. Gerry is a past member of the Board of Directors, The Toronto Region Board of Trade, one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America, with more than 13,500 members. He is also a Director, Volunteer Toronto and serves as a member, Investment
Advisory Board, Spiritan TransCanada Province.
Gerry has been active in the Toronto Irish community for many years, including a four-year term as Chief Apostle, Apostles of Ireland, an organization providing Irish professionals with executive networking, cultural and social opportunities and events within the Toronto Region Irish Community. In his years since retirement, Gerry has devoted his time to volunteering and mentoring, applying the business experience gained during his business professional life to educate and mentor those who can most benefit.
In 2012, under the leadership of Eamon O’ Loghlin and Ambassador Ray Bassett, and with funding from the Government of Ireland, the Eamon O Loghlin Irish Canadian Immigration Center was launched in Toronto to provide a broad range of services to the Irish community in Canada. Working with Cathy Murphy, Executive Director, and drawing upon his personal experience as a new arrival in Canada, Gerry designed and facilitated a new weekly Employment Workshop for New Arrivals in Toronto. This program has provided orientation, education, support and mentoring in employment matters, including cultural adaptation,resume preparation, interview skills and coaching, networking and taxation matters to new arrivals in their quest to find employment and establish themselves in Canada. Since inception, more than 2,000 new arrivals from Ireland have attended, drawn from multiple functional disciplines, including law, finance and accounting, engineering, healthcare professionals, academic, business, technology, social sciences, and skilled and non-skilled tradespeople. This program has provided attendees with Canadian employment knowledge, insights and confidence, leading to many excellent career opportunities and successes. In 2016, Gerry was recognized with a Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award for his work at ICAN.
Since 2004, Gerry has completed more than 40 international volunteer assignments with CESO (“Canadian Executive Service Organization”) in Russia, Siberia, Republic of Georgia, Serbia and the Philippines designed to strengthen sustainable economic and social growth, funded by Global Affairs Canada. Gerry volunteers his time free. Within the Philippines, Gerry has completed 30 assignments which included teaching Business in six universities in addition to working with the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry to provide mentoring services and business expertise to develop small and emerging businesses and community cooperatives.
Gerry was recently awarded the Governor General of Canada Sovereign Medal for Volunteers, designed to recognize exceptional actions or deeds that benefit Canada, arising from his volunteer work in the Philippines. He is included as a member of the Canadian Honours System. A formal government conferring ceremony is planned in 2020.