Human Resources

Queen's University
Search Type

Human Resources

Human Resources

site header

Recruitment and Selection Policy


The objectives of Queen's staffing policies and procedures for general staff positions are to:

  • attract new general staff members who possess the attributes which will enable them to perform their work to a high standard of competence and efficiency
  • provide equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination because of citizenship, race, place of origin, ethnic origin, colour, ancestry, disability, age, creed, sex/pregnancy, family status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, receipt of public assistance or record of offence.
  • develop and utilize present human resources to the best advantage of both the university and individual general staff members
  • provide accommodation, upon request, to candidates with disabilities, that takes into account their accessibility needs in relation to the materials and processes that are used during the recruitment, assessment and selection of candidates
  • notify job candidates, when they are individually selected to participate in an assessment or selection process, that accommodations are available upon request in relation to the materials or processes to be used

Staff Planning

The responsibility for selecting the most suitably qualified applicant to fill a vacant position lies with the department head. However, the department head/director may delegate that responsibility to another employee within the department (academic or non-academic). Human Resources staff are available to assist departments with all phases of the recruitment and selection process.

When a continuing or term staff position (general staff) is newly created or becomes vacant, it is important to assess the vacancy as it relates to all of the positions in the department. The department head or director, in consultation with the appropriate dean or vice-principal, evaluates the current and future needs of the department. The following options are possible:

  • Fill the position without any change in the number or level of positions in the department.
  • Modify the qualifications or responsibilities of the position, which may result in salary savings or additional funding requirements.
  • Change the position to part-time, contract or term appointment rather than full-time continuing.
  • Eliminate the vacant position and discontinue the responsibilities performed by the position.
  • Abolish the vacant position by reorganizing a part or parts of the department and distributing the work among the other staff. While this will result in salary savings from the vacant position, it may require additional resources for upgrading the remaining staff.

Human Resources staff are available to help select the course of action which best meets the department's requirements.

Approval form for Non-Academic Staff positions

Completion of an Approval to Fill a Vacancy form, is required to fill a vacancy for temporary (term) and regular (continuing, continuing term) staff appointments. The form must also be completed for any renewal or extension of a term appointment of six months duration or longer.

The form must be approved by the department head or director and dean or vice-principal and then forwarded to Financial Services and Human Resources for final approval. It should be accompanied by a position summary,

Upon receipt of the approved form, the HR Advisor will contact the hiring department, review the recruitment and selection process with the department and determine if the position will be advertised. Because the recruitment and selection process may take a considerable length of time, these procedures should be started as soon as a specific vacancy is identified.

It should be noted that the University's policy to assist in redeploying general staff may pre-empt the normal process for filling a vacancy. This process provides priority status to displaced general staff when filling vacant positions. It also provides the AVP of Human Services with the authority to facilitate the appointment of a displaced employee to a vacant position if there is deemed to be a substantial fit between the department's requirements and the employee's skills.

Position Summary

It is important that the Position Summary accurately reflects the needs of the department, since this will form the basis for determining the appropriate compensation level for the position, assessing whether candidates are qualified for the position, in addition to acting as an aid in the performance review process.

If the duties of the position have significantly changed at the time of a vacancy, the department should first contact Human Resources to verify the position's evaluation status. Once determined, the sections of the Position Summary should be completed, in typewritten form for clarity, and attached to the Employment Requisition. If the position is newly created, the department must contact the Human Resources Department to complete a Position Summary in accordance with general staff compensation policies.

Physical Demands Analysis

Position Summaries are used to determine the skills and qualifications required to do a specific job. A Physical Demands Analysis (PDA) supports the Position Summary by providing specific information on how the essential duties of the job are physically performed. In accordance with employment equity principles, when necessary, the PDA should be used throughout the recruitment and selection process to provide departments with greater insight into the work environment and the physical movements required to do a job. The results of the analysis will assist departments in accommodating individuals with disabilities.

A Physical Demands Analysis will only be required for positions which require above normal physical demands (e.g., lifting, carrying or moving heavy objects/equipment). Assistance in determining the appropriateness of a PDA and in completing the form is available from Human Resources. When completed, the form should be attached to the Employment Requisition, together with the Position Summary.


All continuing positions and term positions of six months duration or longer must be advertised. This does not include those positions which are being filled by promotion or transfer of a general staff member (with internal status) from within the department or through the redeployment process.


In circumstances where the position will be advertised, Human Resources staff will discuss the approved vacancy with the department and will help develop appropriate wording for an advertisement of the position. Human Resources will coordinate the placement of the advertisement on the Careers section of the Human Resources website. However, requisitions for vacant positions which are to be posted must have completed the approval process and been received by Human Resources one week prior to the week in which they will appear in order to meet the publication deadline (i.e., Monday noon, one week prior to advertisement). The advertisement should be simple and clear. All essential minimum qualifications and credentials of the job must be identified as well as physical requirements if necessary. Once posted, applicants have one week to respond to the ad.


If no qualified internal candidates are found, additional advertising on a local, national or international basis can occur at the hiring department's expense. However, external advertisements cannot normally be published until the procedure of interviewing internal candidates has been fully completed. Examples of exceptions include advertising positions in Grades 10 and higher (which are usually simultaneous internal and external advertising) and recruiting to meet specific employment equity objectives. Human Resources staff will assist departments in preparing a professional ad which must include the following employment equity statement: ‘The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Queen’s is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity’. Consistent with Queen's employment equity goals, departments are also encouraged to participate in some form of "outreach recruiting" to attract candidates from equity-seeking groups.

Outreach Recruitment

Additional procedures such as special advertising and networking may be implemented to attract candidates from equity-seeking groups. Human Resources will advise departments of these options in all cases where specific employment equity goals have been established for the vacant position's job category.

Applicant Categories

Internal Applicants

Internal applicants are defined as:

  • general staff members holding continuing appointments (full-time or part-time) who have been employed for 6 continuous months. In order to transfer (lateral transfer or promotion either within department or to another department) within the first six months of employment, the employee must have the consent of both Human Resources and the department in which the incumbent is currently employed
  • general staff members who have been employed on a term basis for 12 continuous months, including 6 months after involuntary termination (if without just cause)
  • general staff members holding contract appointments who have been employed for 12 continuous months, including 6 months after involuntary termination (if without just cause)
  • staff members whose present positions fall within the existing collective bargaining units and who hold continuing appointments may apply for non-union continuing positions in grades 6 and above only
  • Queen's alumni may apply for the following senior positions within the Advancement function: Director of Alumni Affairs and Associate Directors of the Department

External Applicants

External applicants are defined as all individuals not specified under internal applicants.

Terminated Employees

Employees who have been dismissed are ineligible for re-employment at Queen's in any capacity.

Retired Employees

Employees who have retired from the University are ineligible for re-employment at Queen's. Exceptions may be made for short-term temporary work.


Receipt of Applications

Staff members who wish to be considered for a vacancy posted on the Human Resources website must submit a covering letter and résumé to Human Resources within the time limit indicated in the posting. Because Queen's supports career advancement of university employees, only those staff members who are designated as internal candidates are normally eligible to apply at the time the job is posted. Applications from external candidates will not be accepted during the initial posting unless specified. One exception is for positions in Grades 10 and above which may consider internal and external candidates simultaneously.

If no qualified internal candidates are found (see Selection Criteria and Preliminary Evaluation of Candidates below), additional advertising on a local, national or international basis can occur. This advertising is important to ensure that the external applicant pool reflects the target population of the advertised area (i.e., municipality, province or country). External candidates may now be considered.

A separate letter and résumé should be submitted for each position applied for. Letters of reference also may be included. If the staff member wishes the application to be made in strict confidence until the final stages of the selection process, this desire should be stated in the covering letter.

For staff members interested in applying for a specific position, a current position summary for the vacant position can be obtained from Human Resources. The position summary will provide additional information regarding the position and will contribute to the effectiveness of the recruitment and selection process.

Application Processing

All applications will be forwarded by Human Resources to the department in order of priority (i.e., internal then external). Each application will be vetted to ensure adherence to Human Rights Commission guidelines on employment applications.

Selection Criteria and Preliminary Evaluation of Candidates

The selection criteria consist of the skills and qualifications required to do the job. Some examples of criteria which may be used in the screening and interview process are: education, relevant or equivalent work experience, knowledge of the job, technical skills and abilities, financial knowledge and abilities, problem-solving abilities, communications skills, and supervision and delegation experience.

These, and other criteria used, should be based on the requirements of the job as outlined in the position summary. The department must assess the relative importance of each skill and qualification to the position.

This process serves as a tool to choose candidates for an interview and should be conducted in an objective manner from the predetermined selection criteria. Candidates should be individually assessed against those criteria. The Human Resources Department provides departments with job-specific selection criteria and candidate assessment forms. Sample questions are available upon request from Human Resources. Normally, individuals who meet most or all of the selection criteria should be interviewed for the job.

When assessing candidates, departments should apply the process consistently to all applicants and ensure full consideration is given to non-Canadian education and experience where applicable.

The Interview

The job interview further allows the hiring department to assess the selected candidates' job suitability. The interview is comprised of a set of questions, based on the selection criteria, which should be posed to all candidates. This will allow hiring departments to consistently assess all interviewed candidates. Hiring departments should ensure all questions are job-related and be aware of biases which may be attributed to cultural differences.

Human Resources normally arranges interviews between qualified candidates and the department, unless the department requests otherwise. In the event that an individual department wishes to make the arrangements, it should remember to give candidates as much notice as possible, clear instructions on the time, location and the person to contact, that accommodations for disabilities throughout the recruitment, assessment and selection process are available upon request, names of other interviewers, and any further information relating to testing procedures, presentations, etc. The interview schedule should be provided to the appropriate HR Advisor in Human Resources.

It is highly recommended that several individuals participate in any selection process. Three individuals are viewed as the desired minimum with more for higher level positions. There should be a balance of individuals including, where practical to do so, members from equity-seeking groups (i.e., women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity). Information on the interview process, including sample assessment forms, can be obtained through Human Resources.

Staff from Human Resources may participate on selection committees at the invitation of the department to provide advice and guidance on candidate evaluation, interview techniques and relevant legislation. It is particularly advised that a member of the Human Resources Department be invited to participate in selection committees for positions in grades 8 and above.

Normally, qualified applicants will be provided with at least 48 hours’ notice for a job interview. When interviewing external candidates who may be required to travel to the University, the hiring department should consider reimbursement (at its own expense) of reasonable costs associated with travel, accommodation and meals.

Employment Tests

Employment tests are not always required, but they may be appropriate for certain categories of jobs. For example, it is common to test individuals for clerical, secretarial and assistant positions by assessing skills such as mathematics, typing speed, and software capabilities. Human Resources provides testing for individuals on typing speed and accuracy, and a variety of software packages (at the request of the hiring department). These tests are provided for a nominal fee. A skills test is limited to job-related skills and abilities, is not gender or culturally biased, and gives the highest test weightings to the most important job-related skills. Tests may be conducted as part of the interviewing process and can be requested before, during or after the interview. Results of the tests may have a direct impact on selecting a suitable candidate.


It is the responsibility of the hiring department to verify references. The reference provides the hiring department with an opportunity to find out how potential candidates performed in previous jobs. Appropriate references include, but may not be limited to, current and/or previous supervisors. However, checking references must conform with Queen's Policy on the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy. References should normally be checked after completion of the interview process. All questions asked of a referee must be work-related; any information received which is not work-related should be disregarded.

Medical Examinations

Where the job has been determined to have high physical demands, a medical examination may be warranted as a condition of employment for the successful candidate. Physicals related to job duties are arranged by Human Resources at the expense of the hiring department. The information obtained during the medical examination is done in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Human Rights Code.

Offer of Employment

If two or more candidates are assessed to have relatively equal qualifications, skills, and references, and one of the candidates is a member of an equity-seeking group as previously identified, serious consideration will be given to that candidate. Any exception will require discussion with Human Resources and the appropriate dean or vice-principal.

When the final decision on the successful candidate is made, the hiring department should contact the appropriate HR Advisor in Human Resources. Human Resources is responsible for calculating the salary, making a verbal offer to the candidate and confirming all details in the Offer of Employment. After discussion with Human Resources, the hiring department may elect to directly inform the successful candidate. It is important that the terms and conditions of employment be established and understood by both parties. The Offer of Employment will include the following:

  • position title, salary grade and evaluation cluster (if applicable)
  • start date and end date (if applicable)
  • full-time or part-time (with hours per week defined)
  • probationary period (if the employee is new to Queen's) and the associated condition
  • starting salary, including any differentials (e.g. shift premium, supervisory differential)
  • eligibility for benefits and vacations
  • required notice of end of employment, including early cancellation of term appointments
  • Notification of university policies for accommodating employees with disabilities
  • other conditions of employment as applicable (e.g. reduced responsibilities)

In order to signify acceptance of the offer, the successful candidate is requested to sign a copy and return it to the Human Resources Department for inclusion in their file.

If the successful candidate is already employed at the University, Human Resources will facilitate a mutually agreeable date on which the successful candidate will leave the present position and report to the new position, usually in another department. Normally, the transition period will be two weeks, but this may vary depending on the needs of the two departments. If the successful applicant is not employed at the University, Human Resources will confirm a suitable starting date with the new employee and the department. The name of the successful candidate is published in For the Record.

Human Resources maintains the competition file for several years as required by law and therefore requires the resumes, and records of the interview process returned at the completion of the hiring process. The department is also required to provide Human Resources with written feedback on all candidates. In particular, specific job-related information stating which qualifications were lacking in each applicant is required. This documentation will also be maintained in confidence in Human Resources. However, if an unsuccessful candidate wishes direct feedback, Human Resources staff may provide some feedback to the candidate by making reference to the department's comments.

Staff Planning

The accountability for all departmental personnel issues lies with the department head/director. However, it is generally understood that principal investigators, as supervisors, have the delegated responsibility for hiring decisions (as well as other employment related decisions) for research, grant and contract employees.

As with vacant continuing and term positions (general staff), when a research, grant and contract position is created or becomes vacant, it is important for the principal investigator and department head/director to assess the vacancy as it relates to other positions in the department. The most appropriate time to do this is when preparing the proposal to the granting agency. Human Resources staff are available to assist principal investigators in assessing the appropriate employment category of the required position as well as the appropriate level of compensation.