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TIP SHEET: Creating a Job Posting
by Diane Davy - Executive Director, WorkInCulture

  1. Get Clarity on the Role — Resist the urge to use the job posting as the place where you define the role for the first time. Before you start writing your posting, take time to think about what the organization needs from this role and what skills are truly necessary for success. Even if this is not a new position, take the opportunity to review the existing description and consider the need for any changes. And don’t forget to consult with team members that will be working with the new hire, as they can have valuable insight into what skills are real priorities for the job.
  2. Be Specific With Needs — While it may be tempting to label your entire wish-list for your new hire as “Requirements,” it can actually be more beneficial to separate the Need-To-Haves (absolutely required skills and experience) and the Nice-To-Haves (skills and experience that would be helpful to the role and the team, but that aren’t crucial). By limiting your “Requirements” to only skills and experience that are absolutely necessary, you will get a more targeted narrowing of the available talent pool. Remember—some applicants will still apply even if they don’t have every single requirement, so be upfront about which are the absolutely necessary ones that will increase your chances for a better match.
  3. Be Direct and Detailed — Remember that your applicants aren’t already a part of your work culture. You need to craft the job posting from the point of view of someone who does not know your organization or the work you do. You want your job posting to give a good overview of the organization, what part the role plays in the larger organization, the role’s responsibilities and activities, and the ways in which the role works with other staff (team work, reporting structure, etc.).
  4. Salary — If you do know the approximate salary available for this role, do include a salary range in the job posting. Rarely will an unqualified applicant apply for a job simply because the salary is attractive; being upfront with the salary will narrow your applicants to only those who are actually willing to work with that salary range. It it very common for employers to move several steps into the hiring process with an applicant only to find out that the applicants salary expectations and the available funds simply do not match. Instead, start by narrowing your search to those qualified applicants who will work within your salary range.
  5. Talk About the Perks — In the cultural/creative sector, money can be a challenge, and salaries in this sector might not be as competitive as in other sectors. But the advantages an organization can offer are often overlooked when putting together a job posting. Individuals are increasingly more attracted to jobs for their non-monetary rewards, and organizations in the cultural/creative sector often have a lot to offer in terms of work-life balance and workplace culture. This is a great opportunity to ask your current staff for input on what they consider to be the best parts of working for your organization. Things like flexible work hours, work-from-home options, professional development and mentorship opportunities, and access to arts/culture/heritage events are just some of the types of benefits that often come along with working in this sector. So be sure to mention any of these added “perks” and highlight the ways in which your work culture may be attractive to a potential candidate.

Top 10 Tips: The Interview - Screening for Fit
by Sandy Lee - Director of Human Resources,Toronto International Film Festival Group

  1. The Job Posting — Send your job opening to places that are a fit with what your organization does. Some ideas: arts organizations in your network, professional associations, Work in Culture, Charity Village.
  2. Initial Screen — Conduct an initial screen of candidates based on the qualifications of the job: Make an A B C (or Yes, Maybe, No) pile. Conduct Phone Interviews – find out what the candidate knows about the organization, and get a sense of salary expectations.
  3. Use Behavioural Interview Questions — i.e. changing the yes/no question. Example: Can you describe a situation where you had to deal with an irate or incredibly demanding donor? What was your reaction, and the outcome? (To deterermine conflict resolution skills/customer service approach).
  4. Use Scenario Interview Questions — Provide the candidate with a realistic preview of the organization, as well as to determine how they might behave in a situation. Example: The Director of Development has just called you with a list of 5 names and their telephone numbers after a Campaign volunteer meeting. He has asked you to book all 5 meetings in the next week with these individuals under the advice of our campaign volunteer. You must coordinate the schedules of the volunteer, the DOD and the individual prospects. What would you do next? (To determine ability to multi-task and prioritize).
  5. Hiring Committees — Get other staff’s perspective. Consider inviting staff from other department’s (esp. those who maybe working closely with this position) to join the interview process.
  6. Be Prepared for the Interview! — Review the candidate’s resumes ahead of time-and if you have a committee, encourage the same. This will allow you to focus your energies towards evaluating the candidates’ previous experience and “fit” potential, based on your needs for the job.
  7. Set the stage for the interview — Open the interview by providing an overview of the organization and the job, let the candidate know you’ll be taking notes, and they will have an opportunity at the end to ask questions of you and/or your committee.
  8. End of Interview Questions — Encourage and evaluate questions raised by the candidate at the end of the interview.
  9. Second Interviews — Invite your short-list in for 2nd interviews – these can take a different format from the first, they can be more informal, and can be either one on one, or different staff than the hiring committee. This is also a perfect opportunity to give the candidate a tour of the workplace.
  10. Make sure “fit” doesn’t become “just like me”!


SAMPLE: Telephone Pre-Interview Screening
by Jeanne LeSage - (former) Director of Human Resources,
Toronto International Film Festival Group

Position: We are conducting quick telephone pre-interview sessions. From this group, the Hiring Committee will be choosing the short list for interviews. Do you have time now (10 -15 minutes or so) to chat?

Question 1: Where did you see our posting?
Question 2: If you are chosen by the Hiring Committee for a first Interview, they will be early next week. Are you available?
Question 3: What is your availability, when can you start work?
Question 4: What are your minimum salaray expectations? (Manager’s notes – it’s your discretion if you want to discuss the salary range for the position at this time. You can certainly tell them if the salary falls under their minimum expectations.)
Question 5: This is a (full- or part-time) job, with an expectation of a _____ hour work-week. Benefits begin after _____ months, and there is a probationary period of ____ months. Does this match your availability?
Question 6: Skill sets: (Confirm that they have the skills/qualifications you’ve asked for on the posting)

Question 7: What part of your previous education and training fits in with the job requirements of this position?
Question 8: Are you interested in further professional development? How would this position fit in with your long term goals?
Question 9: Did you provide three names/numbers of references that I can contact? OR: Can I contact the references you listed on your resume?
Question 10: Any questions?

Next Steps: We will be finishing these phone interviews on _____, and our plan is to contact the short list for interviews by _____.


TIP SHEET: Reference Checks
(from Recruiting the Right People)

by Clark Reed & Associates - Netgain Partners Inc.
Cultural Careers Council Ontario & Cultural Human Resources Council, 2003


Checking references is important to measure a candidate’s track record. Here are some tips for conducting reference checks.

  1. If possible, have candidates ask their references to call you; the reference will be much more willing to share information with you if he/she was asked by the candidates and has taken the time to call you.
  2. Keep your questions focused on what you need to know about the candidate’s performance in previous jobs. Keep your questions consistent from reference to reference so you can compare answers.
  3. Some good questions include:
  • How long have you known ______________?
  • What was your reporting relationship to them?
  • How would you describe their contributions to your organization?
  • None of us is perfect – we all have our strengths and weaknesses. How would you describe ______________’s strengths? And skills that they could further develop?
  • How does he/she get along with others, both internally and with external contacts?
  • What motivates them?
  • Would you re-hire them?
  • (For a management position) How would you describe their management style?
  • Is there anything else you’d like to add?