Preferential and limited hiring

Policy HR6110, “Preferential or limited hiring,” provides for the use of preferential and limited hiring to foster equity and diversity. Preferential and limited hiring assists the university to achieve diverse and equitable representation in the workplace, and to recruit employees whose identities enrich the ways in which we accomplish the academic mission and serve our community.

Hiring at UVic is governed by various collective agreements, each of which has its own procedures and requirements. Preferential and limited hiring is possible under all of these policies; however, they may require permission before proceeding since use of this policy restricts the pool of applicants, and thus are an exception to typical Collective Agreement hiring processes.

The updated policy is found on the University Secretary’s page.

Groups for preferential and limited hiring

UVic currently has approval of its Employment Equity Plan (2015-2020) through the BC Human Rights Tribunal to use preferential or limited hiring for members of the following groups:

  • Indigenous Peoples
  • Women
  • Members of visible minorities
  • Persons with disabilities

FAQs on Preferential and Limited Hiring

Why does UVic use preferential and limited hires?

In spite of efforts to hire fairly, some groups of employees continue to be underrepresented among UVic’s workforce. This underrepresentation is a loss of valuable people and perspectives for our university, and unfair for those people who are denied opportunities because of biases or unintended barriers. Preferential and limited hiring enables us to actively close these gaps in representation and bring in the qualified people we need to grow.

Is it legal to prefer some groups for a hire?

Preferential and limited hiring is one of a number of tools approved by the Office of the BC Human Rights Commissioner as “special measures” that can be used to achieve equity in employment. UVic has approval to use this hiring tool to achieve our employment equity goals. This hiring tool can also be used by the Canada Research Chair Program when we do not meet diversity goals.

What is a “deep and diverse pool” of candidates?

This phrase (Sec. 7.00 a) encourages committees to take active steps to invite a wide range of candidates to apply, recognizing the intersectional and complex identities of all the candidates within any particular group. The words are a reminder that we need to continue to take steps to be equitable, even when reviewing applicants from within a single designated group.

Will there be enough qualified applicants if we do a limited hire?

Committees are often pleased to discover the number of qualified candidates in a particular group once they have made the effort to reach out and invite applications. Your committee can also conduct some preliminary outreach to start to get a sense of the pool before deciding on a limited versus preferential hire.

How long will it to recruit someone using preferential or limited hiring?

It should not take much additional time to do the work for a preferential or limited hire. Additional steps include gathering some information prior to posting the ad, (see “Steps to a preferential and limited hire” on the website) and focused outreach. The unit will also want to ensure that they are well-prepared for creating a welcoming environment during the interviews and post-hire. This is work that is increasingly important for all searches.

If the search is preferential, and a candidate is not found from the self-identified pool, the committee will need to either repost or start reviewing the applicants who did not self-identify. This could add some time to the search.

On the flip side, by definition a preferential or limited hire may get a smaller pool of applicants, and thus the initial long- and short-listing phases are likely to move more quickly.

 

What will the rest of the department think about candidates hired through a preferential or limited hire?

A key part of preparation is ensuring that the department understands the operational need for bringing in a candidate who is a member of one or more of the designated groups, and clearly articulating the value that such candidates will bring to the department.

A second important element is ensuring that skills and knowledge related to these aspects of identity are embedded in criteria and job ad as part of the public record as to why such a hire is sought.

All hires at UVic are expected to meet standards for excellence. Ensuring that the department knows that any candidate hired will be fully qualified and up for the work can be a helpful reminder.

Finally, preparing the way for the incoming new hire with welcoming activities, mentorship, and ways to engage them in the work of the department will all be helpful in dispelling any potential concerns that existing employees may have about the new candidate.

What happens if, in a preferential hire, there end up being only 1 or 2 candidates who self-identify within the preferred group(s) that meet the standard to be interviewed?

The committee then only interviews those candidates. If it finds someone who meets the criteria and is thus suitable to be hired, they can hire the person. However, if none of the final candidates meets the criteria, then they move to the larger pool. Sometimes they will choose to repost the job ad to increase the size of the applicant pool.

When doing a preferential hire, does a committee review all applications at the start, or just those in the preferential pool?

The committee should only see and review those in the preferential pool. They complete a full recruitment process using just these applicants. If they do not successfully hire someone from the preferential pool, then they can go to the larger pool. Keeping the non-self-identified applications out of the committee’s hands helps remove some of the negative impacts of unconscious biases on evaluation of candidates within the preferential pool.

What if a candidate doesn’t self-identify, or doesn’t do this in a clear way that the committee can understand? Or if they don’t self-identify but the committee has reason to believe (based on data from their application or eternal data they have) that the person is a member of the designated group(s) within this hire?

A committee can decide whether it is appropriate to inquire of all candidates, prior to the closing date, whether or not they self-identify if such information is not clearly in their applications. Such an inquiry should be done with either every candidate who doesn’t self-identify, or no candidates. However, once the job ad is closed, the committee will only consider those who have clearly self-identified, regardless of any additional information they may have.

Learn more about preferential and limited hiring

This presentation reviews some common questions about preferential and limited hiring. We recommend that committees review and discuss this as part of their preparation to consider undertaking preferential or limited hiring.

Statements for job ads

If you are using a preferential or limited hire, please select the appropriate statement from below and include it in your job ad.

Preferential hire: In accordance with the university’s equity plan and pursuant to Section 42 of the BC Human Rights code, preference will be given to members of the following designated group(s): [Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, women]. Candidates from [these groups/this group] who wish to qualify for preferential consideration must self-identify in their application.

Limited hire: In accordance with the university's equity plan and pursuant to Section 42 of the BC Human Rights code, the selection will be limited to members of the following designated group(s): [Indigenous Peoples, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities, women.] Candidates from [these groups/this group] must self-identify in their application.

Statements for acknowledgement letters during searches

During a preferential or limited search, applicants may not always indicate in their application if they self-identify as a member of the selected group(s) in that hire.

To ensure that all qualified individuals are included in the selection process, it can be helpful to follow up whenever the applicant does not self-identify with an email containing the following paragraph. If a follow up email is part of the regular process for the search—for example, to confirm receipt of application or to request other missing information—you can include this paragraph in such a letter.

Preferential hire: In accordance with the University of Victoria’s Equity Plan and pursuant to section 42 of the BC Human Rights Code, this is a preferential hire; preference will be given to members of the following groups: [women and/or Indigenous Peoples and/or persons with disabilities and/or members of visible minorities]. If you are a member of [this group/these groups] and wish to qualify for preferential consideration, you are encouraged to self-identify in response to this email.

Limited hire: In accordance with the University of Victoria’s Equity Plan and pursuant to section 42 of the BC Human Rights Code, this is a limited hire; the search will be limited to members of the following groups: [women and/or Indigenous Peoples and/or persons with disabilities and/or members of visible minorities]. If you are a member of [this group/these groups] and wish to qualify for consideration, you are encouraged to self-identify in response to this email.