Search & Selection

As a manager, this information will guide you through the search and selection process, as well as how to hire foreign workers, students and temporary staff.

Hiring a Foreign Worker

Information about hiring a foreign worker. 

Foreign workers are those who do not hold Canadian citizenship or permanent resident status and are required to have a valid work permit in order to work in Canada. A Canadian work permit is issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). The foreign worker must also have a valid SIN card which allows the foreign worker to be paid. UBC gives preference to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.  

Considerations Before Hiring a Foreign Worker

Before hiring a foreign worker candidate, consider the following:

  • How long is the permit valid for?
  • Even if your position is a term position, is it possible that it will be extended? 
  • How long has your candidate already had a Work Permit?
    • New Canadian regulations introduced in April 2011 limit the number of years that someone can be in Canada on a work permit to 4 years. At the end of 4 years they must either have become citizens or permanent residents or leave the country for 4 years before returning.  

The Work Permit must cover the entire time of the appointment i.e. the appointment cannot end later than the end date of the work permit. 

Employees on Work Permits may not be hired as on-going. If the position was posted as on-going, you may hire a foreign worker into a term appointment. Appointments may be extended if the Work Permit is extended. 

Change in Status

If an employee attains Permanent Resident status or becomes a Canadian citizen and the position was originally posted as on-going, they may be moved to on-going status. Please contact your HR representative.

BC Provincial Nominee Program

Often employees or candidates will ask UBC to write a letter for them in support of them attaining Permanent Resident status known as the BC Provincial Nominee Program (BC PNP). Assisting employees in this way is actually much more involved than it first appears. Essentially the candidate or employee is asking you to sponsor them in the process to become a permanent resident. For most positions this is not advisable. This process essentially ties the employee to UBC and can make the employment relationship complicated. For example, consider the situation when a very promising candidate ends up being a poor hire and you are working through the performance management process or even considering termination and yet this employee is still expecting assistance with their application.  

Labour Market Opinion

In the rare circumstance that recruitment has not identified a citizen or permanent resident candidate for a difficult to fill or highly specialized position, it may be possible to consider a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to assist a candidate to obtain a valid work permit. 

An example of a highly specialized position might be a research assistant who has experience working in a particular type of lab but would likely not include CUPE 2950 positions or most M&P positions (although it may be appropriate for some higher level M&P positions).  

The LMIA process is lengthy and time consuming and there is no guarantee that it will be successful. The process includes, but is not limited to:

  • Advertising nationally for the position
  • Providing detailed information for each unsuccessful citizen or permanent resident candidate as to why they did not meet the requirements
  • Obtaining a successful LMIA
    • This can be challenging and responses can change depending on the economic climate. An LMIA that was successful last year may not be this year for the same position due to economic considerations. 

This process generally takes 4-6 months and is not always successful which can mean starting over in the hiring process. 

Please call your department’s HR representative or HR Associate before committing to an LMIA or BC PNP application.

Hiring a Student

Information about hiring student employees.

Student Eligibility

Student appointments are intended for those who are enrolled in at least 18 credits in the winter session and a minimum of 9 credits minimum for summer. Students must be enrolled in classes @ 80% for all terms that they will be working. For example, students working during the summer term must be enrolled in classes over the summer term. Since many programs do not have classes over the summer, many students will not meet this eligibility criteria.  

It is the hiring manager’s responsibility to ensure that the student meets these eligibility qualifications and to confirm student workers maintain a full-time level of studies. If a student drops or withdraws from courses, causing the number of credits to fall below the full-time requirement the department must terminate the student’s employment.  

A student is no longer considered a student after his/her convocation date. However, in practice, we have allowed students to continue working until the end of the term. For example, if a student’s convocation is in May, he/she could continue in her/her student appointment until the end of August. If a student’s convocation is in November, he/she could continue his/her student appointment until the end of December. 

Types of Student Appointments

Information about common types of student appointments, such as Graduate Research Assistants or Teaching Assistants and Undergraduate Academic Assistants or Teaching Assistants, is available on the UBC HR website (scroll to the bottom of the page). The information includes the affiliation, examples of typical duties and when it is appropriate to hire the different types of student appointments.

Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are required for all student positions and should be entered into the position in Workday as payroll requires a position number to complete the hire process. For information on how to create position and enter job descriptions, click here.  

Job descriptions must be clear and complete. This is necessary for two reasons:  

  1. In order for the student employee and manager to have a clear understanding of the work that is expected.
  2. To provide the necessary documentation of the student’s work to ensure that the type of work reserved under various Collective Agreements is not being done by students. If a position essentially performs work typically considered of a bargaining unit, the applicable collective agreement must be observed. The student would become a union member.

While a student position may not be covered by a collective agreement, the provision of applicable employment related legislation including safety, and University policies and handbooks apply. 

International Students

International students studying at UBC who are in possession of a valid student visa are eligible for student work opportunities provided by UBC. They do not require any further permission from the federal government to work on campus. If an international student is studying at another Canadian institution, he/she must have an off-campus work permit in order to work for UBC.  

International Students in the Work Learn program may work no more than 10 hours/week for a total of 150 hours/term in the winter session and 12-20 hours/week for a total of 300 hours in the summer session. Students may only accept one Work Learn position in the Winter Session and one in the Summer Session. For more information visit the Work Study/Work Learn website

SIN Numbers

All students, whether international students or not, must have a SIN before they can be paid by UBC. The SIN is not an employment authorization, it registers the student with Revenue Canada so that statutory deductions will be recorded properly. Click here to find out information on how to apply for a SIN. 

Employment for Spouses of Students 

Spouses of registered students may apply for an Employment Authorization and seek employment in the general labour market in Canada provided that they can provide proof of legal marriage, (i.e. marriage certificate in English) and that their spouse holds a valid Study Permit. The duration of the spouse’s Employment Authorization will be the same as the duration of the student’s Study Permit. For more information on spousal employment click here.  

International Students Employment following Graduation

International students may accept education-related employment for up to a maximum of one year following graduation. In order to obtain a work permit, they must provide evidence of graduation (or successful completion of a degree program) from a Canadian post-secondary institution showing course completed and the offer of employment. Employment must begin within sixty days of graduation and must be consistent with the student’s area of study. 

For graduate students, the date of graduation is defined as the date on which all requirements for the degree have been completed: all marks must have been submitted and, for students on thesis programs, the thesis has been submitted to the Library. Students may obtain a letter indicating that they have completed their degree requirements from the Faculty of Graduate Studies. 

Student Hours of Work

Undergraduate students can work a maximum of 10-12 hours per week in UBC jobs depending on the type of employment. The UBC Central HR website has more information on maximum hours. Graduate students may work a maximum of 12 hours per week in UBC positions.  

A student with more than one UBC student appointment cannot work combined total hours beyond the maximum. 

To avoid any issues over the maximum hours when a student is working more than one position, ensure the Student Appointment form clearly indicates the percentage of the appointment and the number of hours being worked per week.  

Student Employment Programs

There are several funded programs designed to create jobs for students: 

Work Learn

The Work Learn Program supports and subsidizes meaningful work experiences on campus that offer current UBC students the opportunity to develop their professional skills and learn in a work environment. 

Canada Summer Jobs Program

Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) is a new initiative of the Summer Work Experience Program, funded by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). Formerly called the Summer Career Placement Program, it provides wage subsidies to help Canadian employers of not-for-profit, public-sector and smaller private-sector organizations create career-related summer jobs for students. The program is focused on encouraging employers to create jobs that not only meet their needs, but benefit young people who need jobs the most. 

Employers are eligible to receive a subsidy for up to 50 percent of the provincial adult minimum hourly wage. Jobs must be full-time (30-40 hours per week) and six to 16 weeks in duration. The application period is usually in February to submit to Service Canada.  


Co-op student appointments are different from other student appointments due to the formal academic aspect. Students must apply to the Co-op program and meet the program guidelines in order to be accepted into the program. To be eligible for a Co-op student appointment position, a student must be enrolled in a Co-op program from a Canadian institution. 

More information about hiring a Co-op student can be found on the UBC central HR website. For information about hiring students from a specific academic program visit the UBC Co-op website.  

Student Offer Letter

Departments are responsible for creating student offer letters. The letter should indicate:

  • Pay
  • Hours of work
  • Duration of appointment
  • Outline job description 

Complete and forward a Student Appointment form to your department administrator or HR representative, and they will forward to payroll once reviewed.  

Benefits for Students

Students are not entitled to benefits unless they are employed in staff positions in which case eligibility is determined by the applicable collective agreement or handbook

Calculating Benefit Costs for Students

Ensure sufficient funding is available for all student employees including the cost of all associated benefits. The Benefits Cost Calculator determines the costs of benefits and statutory deductions costs for student employees.

Student Statutory Holiday Pay

If a student meets the eligibility requirements under the BC Employment Standards guidelines, he/ she is eligible to receive statutory holiday pay. Essentially, he/ she must have been employed by UBC for 30 days before the statutory holiday and have worked or earned wages on 15 of the 30 days immediately before the statutory holiday. Most students will not meet the second requirement.  

Search Process

As a manager, these are the steps you will need to follow to manage applications.

Prioritizing Applications


Once a posting has closed, the HR Associate prioritizes the list of applicants with numbers 1-4.   

Candidates with a #1 Priority are Duty to Accommodate and must be considered first. If there is a 1 Priority Duty to Accommodate candidate, please contact your HR Associate for more information.

Candidates with a #2 Priority are Placement and Recall candidates and must be considered before other internal or external candidates:

  • Placement candidates are employees who have been given notice that they will be laid off.
  • Recall candidates are employees who have completed their lay-off notice period.

When employees are laid-off from a position, they are given priority rights to all positions within the same classification or benchmark cluster.

An employee who was laid-off from an Admin Support 2 position will have rights over all other internal candidates for all available Admin Support 2 positions.

Since these candidates have done this type of work at this level, they are deemed to be qualified and departments are required to review their applications and invite them to the selection process (interview(s), testing, and reference checks).  

Candidates with a #3 Priority are Internal Candidates and may only be considered after candidates with #1 and #2 priorities. All internal candidates who appear to have the qualifications and skills for the position should be interviewed. Candidates who do not have the qualifications, skills and experience are not required to be shortlisted. Internal candidates often ask for feedback as to why they were not selected for an interview. Please keep notes indicating why an internal candidate was not selected in order to provide feedback when requested. 

Candidates with a #4 Priority are external to UBC and can only be considered after those with priority 1, 2 and 3.  

Declining a Recall/Placement Candidate

Even though recall/placement candidates have done similar work at the same level in the past, occasionally a recall/placement candidate does not have the skills/qualifications to be successful in the position for which you are recruiting. If you have concerns about a recall or placement candidate’s ability to be successful in the role during the selection process, contact your HR representative or HR Associate for guidance.  

Declining a recall or placement candidate requires greater diligence than for other candidates. HR will likely advise to complete the selection process with the candidate, including testing and reference checks. If concerns about the candidate are legitimate, then conducting testing and checking references should help strengthen the case for declining the candidate. Once all steps are complete and the decision is made to decline the candidate, your HR representative or Associate will ask you to write a short justification for the decline which should be sent to HR. HR will review and advise if the case is strong or if you should gather more information or consider hiring the employee.  

Preparing this case is an important step in the decline process as candidates and/or the Union will often request detailed information as to why the candidate was not selected, and may file a grievance if either the employee or the union feels they should have been offered the position.  

Duty to Accommodate

During the hiring process, there may be a candidate with a duty to accommodate request. These candidates are UBC employees who have not been able to continue in their current roles due to their accommodation requirements. They will be prioritized with a #1 priority and must be considered before all other applicants. 

There may also be duty to accommodate requests from current employees. 

If an employee cannot be accommodated in their former position, UBC Central HR, the employee’s Union or Association (as applicable) and the employee work together to identify the skills and abilities of the candidate and prioritize their applications in positions which they are deemed to be qualified and where an appropriate accommodation may be possible. 

Generally, the people are to be accommodated due to physical or mental disabilities, however, they may include any of the 13 areas of discrimination identified in Section 13 of the BC Human Rights Code. Disability is not defined by the courts and is interpreted broadly. Disability includes but is not limited to: underlying physical or mental impairment; functional limitations; socially constructed handicap; temporary or short-term illnesses or injuries.  

Bona Fide Occupational Requirements (BFOR)

Bona fide occupational requirements are those job requirements that the employee must be able to do in order to perform the job adequately without creating an unnecessary risk to self or others. Bona fide occupational requirement must be job-relevant and imposed in an honest and good faith belief that they are reasonably necessary to accomplish their purpose.  

If an employee is unable to meet a bona fide occupational requirement after all viable accommodation efforts have been considered, then the exclusion or discrimination of the employee may take place.  

A job may require the employee to regularly climb ladders. However, if someone’s disability prevents them from climbing ladders, then the employer may have a right to refuse to hire that person. The employer must be able to prove that the requirement is reasonably necessary and cannot be modified without undue hardship to the employer. 

Undue Hardship

The University has a duty to accommodate an employee with disabilities to the point of undue hardship.

The obligation to accommodate is met when the hardship becomes undue or unreasonable. Factors such as the financial cost of the accommodation, the health and safety risks associated with the accommodation and the size and flexibility of the workplace are used when accessing hardship. Due to the size and resources available to the University, meeting the undue hardship threshold can be difficult. 

The University is not required to create a new position or accept unproductive work. 

Accommodations will be specific to the needs of the person seeking the accommodation but may include:

  • Modification of hours
  • Modification of duties
  • Specialized technology or equipment
  • Worksite modifications  

The University’s Equipment Accommodation Fund may be able to assist with the cost of equipment-related accommodations.

Selection Process

As a manager, these are the steps you will need to follow to select a new staff member.

The selection process generally includes 3 steps:

  1. Interviewing
  2. Testing
  3. Checking references


Though the interview process may take time, it is important not to rush it in order to fill the position. You may end up with a result that both you and the candidate are unhappy with. 

The first step in the interview process is to establish the selection committee.  

  • Ideally a committee consists of 2-3 people, but larger panel interviews may be used for higher level positions.
  • The selection committee will shortlist candidates to be interviewed. 

Prepare interview questions relevant to the position, ensuring the questions will provide the information necessary to make an informed decision.  

UBC recommends using Behavioural Interview Questions (PDF). These types of questions focus on what a candidate has done in past situations and is preferred over posing hypothetical questions of what someone would ideally do. Past behavior is a great indicator of future behaviour. 

An interview is important for you to get to know the candidate and also for the candidate to get information about the position and your organization. It is recommended to share information about the position, including the type of person you are looking to fill it. However, this information should only be shared after the questions for the candidate have been completed. You will want to elicit honest information from the candidate about their past experiences, but by telling them up front the type of person that you are looking for they may tailor their answers accordingly.  

Interview notes, testing and references (essentially anything that has information about your selection process) must be kept in a file for one year from the date the position was filled. All candidates have up to one year to request access to these items under the Freedom of Information Act. After one year the file should disposed of in confidential shredding. 

Interview tips:

  • Interviews should generally last 45-60 minutes.
  • Candidates may be requested to come in for a second (and sometimes third) interview.
  • Begin the interview by asking the candidate to “tell me about yourself” or a similar type question. The idea is to help the candidate relax and not jump directly into the questioning.
  • At the beginning of the interview let the candidate know the structure of the interview to help put them at ease. For example, “We have some questions for you and will provide you an opportunity to ask us any questions you might have afterwards”.
  • When inviting a candidate to an interview, be sure to advise them of the size and members of the selection committee, including the name and title of the interviewers. This will allow the candidate to prepare/research for the interview and not to be surprised by larger committees.
  • Also advise the candidate if there will be any testing.  

Article 9.1.4

Under the AAPS agreement, Article 9.1.4 Search for Alternatives (PDF) a UBC HR Advisor will work with an employee who is terminated from the University without cause to find suitable employment alternatives for 3 months. HR may contact you regarding an employee who is exercising their rights under this article that states “an employee who is terminated from the University without cause who has the qualifications for subsequent vacant positions will be ensured of an interview for those positions. 

The manager’s obligation is to interview. However, there is no obligation to hire. You may be asked for reasons as to why you did not hire. 


While candidate testing is not required, it can be a very helpful tool. In-basket testing can be very useful to help evaluate the specific skills and qualifications of candidates. 

Candidate testing is most often associated with CUPE 2950 roles but may also be used for M&P roles as appropriate. An example of when testing may be appropriate for an M&P role is when written communication is a key component of the role, the candidate may be asked to complete a writing sample. 

Testing should be relevant to the position and simulate the actual task required without requiring the candidate to have specific departmental knowledge. Managers must be considerate of the candidate’s time and ensure that testing lasts no more than 1 hour. Testing should be done in a quiet environment where the candidate will not be interrupted. Candidates must be informed ahead of time that there will be testing and provided with the general topics of the testing, such as typing, Word, Excel, communications etc… 

UBC Hiring Solutions also offers candidate testing

Checking References

1. UBC recommends that hiring managers check 3 direct report references. 

2. Ask open ended questions as much as possible and allow the reference to speak freely. 

The UBC Telephone Reference Check form (PDF) provides some general questions. Also add questions regarding the specific position the candidate is being considered for. For example, if your position requires advanced Excel skills or excellent writing skills, be sure to ask the reference about the candidate’s skills and abilities in these areas. 

3. You must obtain the candidate’s consent to contact references outside of UBC. 

Within UBC we are considered one employer and you may contact previous/current managers for a reference. However, best practice is to also get the employee’s consent before contacting the internal references. It is also important to check with the candidate before calling their current manager to ensure that they have informed their manager they are looking for other employment – you do not want to be the one who advises their manager that an employee is thinking of leaving their current position. 

Some employees may be uncomfortable providing current references until they have a job offer. If you encounter this, inform the candidate that they are your preferred candidate but that you are unable to offer the position prior to speaking with their current supervisor. It will be up to them if they then want to provide the contact information for their current supervisor, but generally it is not recommended to proceed with hiring without the current reference being conducted.  

For more information, consult the Checking References section of the UBC HR website. 

Hiring Solutions

How to hire temporary employees through UBC Hiring Solutions.

Hiring Solutions is the UBC internal temp agency. They are able to supply temporary staff to cover vacancies due to illness, vacation, leaves, resignation or while recruiting. Hiring Solutions has a large pool of candidates suitable to most CUPE 2950 and some M&P positions.

Hiring Solutions staff are generally employees of UBC and earn benefits, sick time etc. When you hire a Hiring Solutions employee, they will be paid according to the appropriate classification of the work you are having them do, usually at the minimum of the salary scale (M&P) or step 1 (CUPE 2950). Hiring Solutions charges approximately 38% mark up on the base pay for the position to cover benefits such as vacation, medical coverage and sick time.

Hiring Solutions also offers candidate testing for a fee.