“Policies are many, principles are few,” the American pastor and author John C. Maxwell once said. “Policies will change, principles never do.”
The Municipality of Crowsnest Pass’s hiring policy has been updated to reflect changes in the principle of best practice. Council approved the recommendations during its July 5 regular meeting.
The two main changes to the policy deal with how job applications are handled.
The first change deals with the municipality’s applicant tracking system. All job postings for the municipality are now applied for via an online system, allowing for faster processing by office staff and faster response times to applicants. Applications received outside of the online system are no longer considered.
The other change allows managers to opt out of interviewing casual and temporary staff who are applying for an available permanent position of the job they are currently working.
Current employees applying to another department or another role will still require an interview.
Though understanding that skipping an interview would streamline the process when a single employee applied, Coun. Vicki Kubik wondered if the policy change could increase hiring bias.
“What if you have two different casual employees, working in the same department, hired at the same time, they’re both doing the same job — without an interview, how do you progress towards hiring one in the permanent position?” she asked.
“If you have two or more casual employees or temporary employees applying for the same job, then bias might play a role and I think that [the policy change] precludes the ability then of that particular employee to go through an interview process and further prove themselves.”
Coun. Lisa Sygutek said she was fine with the wording of the policy since she trusted managers to hold interviews if more than one casual employee applied for a permanent position.
“We have to have faith in our administrative staff that if there’s two people applying for the same job that they’re going to interview,” she said, “but that’s again up to them to make that call. We have to have some sort of good faith that they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
“We’re on the borderline here of crossing from council — governance and policy — to administrative duties,” added Coun. Dean Ward. “If we don’t have the confidence in our manager that’s going to take those two people and pick the right one for the job, then we have the wrong manager.”
CAO Patrick Thomas said the change in policy skips only the actual interview and the components of the overall hiring process still remain to ensure managers hire the best candidate, determined by their qualifications and not a manager’s biased preference.
“If I already know everything about an employee’s answers, just to go through that process again to ask the same questions — they’re not very efficient interviews for anyone,” CAO Thomas added.
The new policy is now in full force.
Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shootin' the Breeze