Selection and Hiring

Selection is the “heart” of the recruitment process.  It is in the selection stage that critical information is collected on candidates’ knowledge and abilities to determine their potential for filling the requirements of the job.  Selection methods should incorporate a high degree of validity and reliability while being legally defensible.  Links to various government websites can be found on the Resource Links page of this website.


Steps in Selection

Background Review

We are using the term Background Review to describe the three most commonly used methods of learning about a candidate’s background – application forms, résumés and reference checks.

Application Forms

Why is an application form better than a résumé?   Résumés are commonly accepted for many types of positions.  However, they are not always tailored to the job and usually only cover the candidates name, address, education and employment background.  A well-designed application gathers relevant job-related information in a standardized format.  It allows you to quickly find the information you are looking for and compare all applicants based on the same hiring standards.

A good application form is important for three reasons:

  1. A customized application form lets you determine what legally allowed information you want to obtain from applicants.  A résumé will only reveal what the applicant wants to tell you.
  2. An application, when properly completed, can be used to assess whether an applicant meets your hiring standards and to identify gaps in the applicant’s employment history.
  3. The information in the application can be verified during the interview stage, and again at the reference stage.  Any inconsistencies should be explored further.


 A résumé is a description of an applicant’s work experiences, education and other information relevant for the job.

Screening Applicants

You need a way to sort applications so you can identify those you want to pursue further.  The objective is to reduce a large pool of applications to a short list of qualified applicants who will move ahead in the selection process.  When screening applications pay close attention to detail.   Effective applicant screening is important for three reasons:

  1. It allows you to eliminate applicants who do not meet your hiring standards.  Only those applicants who meet or exceed your hiring standards should move to the next step.
  2. It can identify areas that may need clarification or verification during the interview stage, and again when checking references.  Proper screening of applications may identify issues or areas of concern (red flags) that need to be explored further.
  3. It will save you money – both now and later: now by only moving forward those applicants who meet your hiring standards; and later, by highlighting potential issues or concerns before you hire.


Hiring and keeping good workers begins with the job interview. If you can ask the right questions, you're more likely to select a candidate who's right for the job. Without good interviewing skills, however, you could extend an offer to someone who's ultimately not the right fit for your company.

There will always be competition for skilled and talented workers. Hiring qualified employees is an art but also requires certain skills. You have to be a good listener; you need to know how to redirect a conversation; and you must be able to make a distinction between those who simply want the job and the perfect candidate who can get the job done.

Even with the ups and downs of the current market, knowing how to conduct a successful interview can help you land the best employees. Download some "Interview Tips" from the Resource Manager to help you with the screening process.

Don't forget that the candidate is also interviewing you. In addition to being skilled at asking appropriate questions, ones that will elicit a candidate's strengths and talents, you must be conscious of the impressions you are making as well. Just as the interviewee is selling him- or herself to you and your company, you are basically trying to achieve the same result. Make sure, for example, that you know as much as possible about your company; the interviewee will be looking to you to provide that information.

Types of Topics in Questions

  1. Behaviours - about what a person has done or is doing
  2. Opinions/values - about what a person thinks about a topic
  3. Feelings - note that respondents sometimes respond with "I think ..." so be careful to note that you're looking for feelings
  4. Knowledge - to get facts about a topic
  5. Sensory - about what people have seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled
  6. Background/demographics - standard background questions, such as work history, education, etc.

Wording of Questions

  1. Wording should be open-ended. Respondents should be able to choose their own terms when answering questions.
  2. Questions should be as neutral as possible. Avoid wording that might influence answers, e.g., evocative, judgmental wording.
  3. Questions should be asked one at a time.
  4. Questions should be worded clearly. This includes knowing any terms particular to the program or the respondents' culture.
  5. Be careful asking "why" questions. This type of question infers a cause-effect relationship that may not truly exist. These questions may also cause respondents to feel defensive, e.g., that they have to justify their response, which may inhibit their responses to this and future questions.

Resource Manager includes tools relating to the Interview process.


Conducting a thorough reference check on a candidate is one of the most important steps an employer can take in the recruitment process.  Many companies are now hiring professional background search firms to conduct background checks, but you can conduct many of these checks on your own.  Reference Checks follow a recommended 5-step process:

Step 1: Collect the employee's application, references and consent form for the background search.

Step 2: You will need to call the past employers and references listed on the application. If the employee does not want you to call a past employer ask for further clarification. Any lapses of employment also require further explanation.

Step 3: You will also need to verify any education listed. Most schools will release the graduation date, major and degree(s) earned. Another way to verify a degree is to have the candidate request an original transcript from the school. This should be mailed directly to Human Resources or the business owner.

Step 4: Although you should remain objective pay careful attention to the responses by former employers and references. Make sure to note any inconsistencies. You can then politely discuss this with the candidate.

Step 5: You need to conduct the background search in an objective manner. You should not be asking personal questions regarding the candidate. Your goal should be to verify the information on the application as it applies to the position.

Elements of an Effective Application Form

Your application form should include these key elements, at a minimum:

  • Applicant’s name and contact information
  • Educational background, work experience, and references
  • A release clause allowing you to verify the information provided
  • The applicant’s signature and date

Additional information must be included if you are a cross-border company

  • Name and address of the company
  • Address history for the past three years
  • Employment history for the past 10 years
  • Class of licence
  • Licence number and issuing state or province
  • Licence expiration date

Design your application form so you can quickly assess whether an applicant meets your hiring standards.  Hiring standards vary widely from company to company.  Some examples of minimum acceptable hiring standards include:

  • Valid Class of licence held
  • Clean abstract with no moving violations and no demerit points within the last three years
  • Able to cross the border (FAST approved)
  • Minimum of 21 years of age

Sample Release Clause

This certifies that I completed this application myself, and that all entries on it and information in it are true and completed to the best of my knowledge. In the event of employment, I understand that false or misleading information given in my application or interview(s) may result in discharge.

I authorize the Company and/or its agents to make such investigations and inquiries as may be necessary to arrive at an employment decision. This includes my personal history, employment history, credit history, driving record, criminal record, drug and alcohol test results from previous employers (or their consortium) and other related matters. Generally, inquiries regarding medical history will be made only if required, and after a conditional offer of employment has been extended. I hereby release employers, schools, health care providers and other persons from all liability in responding to inquiries and releasing information in connection with my application.

If hired or contracted, this authorization shall remain on file and shall serve as ongoing authorization to recheck or report as deemed necessary at any time throughout my employment or contract period. Furthermore, I understand that the Company and/or its agents may keep information on file (including work performance) as related to my employment, and make it available to any second party with my written consent.

Motor Carrier Passenger Council of Canada (MCPCC),
Business number: BN# 877577427 RT0001