Pathways to decent work

Decent recruitment and hiring 

Pathway three

Decent recruitment and hiring

Hiring practices that are rooted in decent work shape workers’ experience of your organization. Many nonprofits are consistently seeking to align their hiring practices with their organizational values. Through the information below, we want to demonstrate that hiring, onboarding, and recruitment processes can align with your organization’s commitment to decent work and the advancement of equity. We also want to invite nonprofits to think about transparency within these processes, and connect the dots between transparency and equity to showcase a culture of transparency within HR practices.

In this section on decent recruitment and hiring, we have provided some questions and areas to consider. We recognize that every organization is going to have their own culture around hiring processes

Reflection questions for designing a role

  • Is the role itself inclusive? Are we designing a role specifically for one type of person, have we considered cultural, racial, gender, faith-based or religious barriers the role might create, etc.
  • Are we clear on expectations within the role? What does success look like?
  • How sustainable is the role? Are three people’s roles jammed into one?
Decent job descriptions
Writing job descriptions Job descriptions should formally communicate the organization-wide commitment to advancing decent work, and commitments to equity and reconciliation. Job descriptions offer a key opportunity to showcase organizational culture, and working conditions. This can be vital to engaging and attracting potential candidates.
Include the salary Posting a role without a salary can push ideal candidates away (who wants to go through the recruitment process only to find out the salary isn’t in line with their expectations?). One of the top three issues that surfaced when engaging Black, Indigenous and/or racialized workers in the nonprofit sector was lack of pay transparency.
Consider accessibility in the application process and define it The Employment Standard under the AODA states that employers must make the hiring process accessible to applicants and candidates with disabilities. You can make your online job postings accessible for people who use computers by ensuring that your website complies with WCAG 2.0 web accessibility standards for layout and content.
Other practices to support decent work and accessibility include offering video or audio submissions in lieu of cover letters and resumes as alternate forms of communication. It’s important to consider how biases may play out when reviewing video and audio submissions – as the goal is to make the application process more accessible.

Decent Interviewing
Compensation for interviews

It can be challenging to know when to compensate candidates for interview processes. There is no standard on the amount to compensate, however the general rate is around $75*.

The premise of compensation for interviews is rooted in the recognition that candidates who are being interviewed have to spend hours preparing, including navigating responsibilities such as childcare.

Every nonprofit is going to follow different practices when it comes to compensation for the interview process. Here are some considerations:

  • How much time are you requesting for interview processes?
  • How many rounds of interviews?
  • What are the exercises you are asking them to participate in to demonstrate qualifications? It’s important that interview processes don’t extract information from candidates for the organization’s purposes without proper compensation.
Rethinking diversity of interview panels Composition of interview panels should have representation from all levels of the organization, including board, staff and volunteers. While it’s impossible to have every identity represented within an interview panel, composition of diversity of experiences, and identities should be considered.
Send the interview questions ahead of time In our decent work recruitment session at Nonprofit Driven, Tanya Sinclair from Black HR Professionals shared that sending interview questions prior to meeting the candidates is an important way to improve accessibility, and support neurodivergent candidates. It should be a standard practice. While there is no consensus around timing, it seems that most organizations that engage with this practice allow for 24 hours between sending the questions and the interview process.
Using the correct pronouns In recent years, society has become more aware that gender is not binary (i.e., men, women). In fact, people identify in a multitude of ways, and those must be respected. In job descriptions, one simple method to do so is avoiding binary personal pronouns, such as ‘he’ or ‘she,’ and sticking to those that are gender neutral, such as ‘they,’ or even just writing “the candidate.” For example, instead of “He/she will need to be comfortable using Microsoft Office.” write: “The candidate will need to be comfortable using Microsoft Office.”

Resource: Check out this resource from Egale Canada that highlights pronoun usage – Pronoun Usage Guide – Egale

Consider skill-based interviews

Skill or competency-based interviews request a case study or performance piece from the candidate so that they can display the practical skills they will perform in the role. For example, if an employer is holding interviews for a data analyst position, they may present the candidate with raw data and ask them to analyze aspects of the data with relevant software in a timed exercise.

This type of assessment not only highlights the interviewee’s competency with the technology, it tests problem-solving, adaptability, stress, and time management, as well as their process of working, and presentation skills. This type of interview delivers more valuable insights into the candidate’s capabilities of performing the role than having them give a rehearsed answer about their strengths.

This method is particularly beneficial to create equity for neurodiverse candidates and candidates who possess the technical knowledge but lack the English language skills to articulate high-level concepts. Creating more inclusive interview practices helps meet the skills gap many industries are facing.

Decent communication – Setting up the interviews

Balance the consistency and structured approach above with attending to the needs of individual candidates that require accommodation in order to be able to participate in the interviews.

The person making arrangements for interviews should provide candidates with an estimate of expected duration, schedule and components of the interview, and ask all candidates if they require any accommodations. It is also important to consider language access i.e. if the candidate is fluent in the language they are being interviewed in, if that is what is required for the role, etc.

Assessment Tool- Toronto Neighbourhood Centres BIPOC Checklist Print Tool Printer icon


Create processes that are open for the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of Black, Indigenous and/or racialized workers

If possible, job descriptions should be reviewed by an in-house expert in equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging or a decent work committee.

Ensure that job postings include clear, flexible criteria and assessment and include only the skills and qualifications necessary for the job.

Ensure a diverse hiring committee, ideally including an in-house or external expert on equity and belonging, anti-racism ( where possible)

Ensure the hiring committee has undergone equity in HR training. The Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada has a certificate program for Inclusive hiring strategies, which includes a certificate of completion.
Note: Black Human Resources Professionals of Canada (BlackHRPC) is a not-for-profit network for the advancement and representation of Black HR professionals across Canada in the workplace. Using a lens of member collaboration, lived experience and support to confront anti-Black racism, BlackHRPC provides a wide variety of services for Black HR Professionals. Disrupting industry, workplace, and leadership status quo!

Ensure that the method of assessing candidates is equitable, for example how does your organization examine like-me biases that show up during the interview process.

Include representation and lived experience as a scoring component on rating sheets.

Be intentional about investing in the promotion of job openings/postings in diverse channels so you reach people you don’t typically reach.


Decent Onboarding Tool: Employer Playbook Strategies for Immigrant Inclusion in Canadian Workplaces: This resource was created by a coalition of im/migrant employment councils across Canada to provide employers with a comprehensive toolkit aimed at fostering inclusive strategies at the primary stages of the employment cycle, from recruitment to integration, as well as recognizing racial bias and prejudice that can arise throughout that cycle

Decent Hiring Tool: Hiring Across All Spectrums: A Report on Broadening Opportunities for LGBTQ2+ Jobseekers. Pride at Work Canada is an Ontario based not-for-profit confronting LGBTQ2+ inclusion in Canadian workplaces. Through dialogue, education and leadership, we empower organizations to foster a workplace culture that recognizes LGBTQ2+ employees as an important part of a diverse workforce.

Hiring Rubric Starter Kit (Template & Samples)

Holding Ourselves Accountable

ONN’s internal decent work hiring practices

At ONN it is important that as we champion decent work in the nonprofit sector that we practice transparency and hold ourselves accountable to decent work recruitment and hiring practices, below are some examples of our internal practices;


Job descriptions and job postings: Academic experience or specific years of work experience often do not acknowledge lived experience. We’ve updated our job descriptions to take out academic requirements, e.g. minimum degree or certificate and we speak to experience more broadly.


Pay transparency: ONN always posts the salary and benefits information; and we share as much as possible including number of vacation days, pension plan details, etc.


Accommodation: We always ask if accommodations are needed, and respond accordingly, and ensure interviews accommodate different learning styles. For example, in a Zoom interview, we post the interview questions in the chat, and encourage folks to take time to think/make notes. If it is an in-person interview, ONN provides written copies of the interview questions for their reference. Consider sharing interview questions in advance of the interview if your process and timeline allows (we’re still working on improving in this area!)


Selection process: Have different “teams” of people at different states of the vetting process. For example, two people review resumes, one or two different people sit in on the first interview, and at least two new people sit in on the second interview. In a small team, interviewers can be community partners, members, board members, volunteers, as well as staff.


No all-white or all-male interview panels: This is non-negotiable for ONN. If needed, we recruit from our community, partners, board and volunteers.


Equitable scoring: Use a criteria list or score sheet that includes skills required but also behaviors, additional experiences, limiting academic or specific years of full time work experience.


Process Transparency: We strive to share as much as possible about who is making decisions, when, what the process looks like, what additional information would be needed, what the timelines are. We do this to be respectful of the candidate’s time and resources.

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