How Do We Hire?

February 10, 2016
By: Tyler Lively, David Walker, and Carolyn Thompson

This year we wanted to do things a little differently and as part of our commitment to an open AMS, we wanted to provide a detailed overview of the Executive Team hiring process.

This year saw a record number of applicants for Executive Team positions thanks to the tireless efforts of Mackenzie Jackson, the Human Resources Officer, and Eva Kapnoudhis, the Talent Acquisition Manager. Not only was there a deep pool of applicants, we saw students from nearly all of the different AMS member societies with varying ranges of AMS experiences.

During our campaign, we committed to an equity hiring review. It’s a promise we have made good on by going above and beyond AMS policy to make our hiring as fair as possible. We now have a skilled team of individuals who will help us deliver tangible results for students and ultimately renew the Queen’s Experience.

Pre-Hiring and Applications Statistics

We met with Heidi Penning, an Equity Advisor in the Queen’s Equity Office; Jan Hill, Director of the Four Directions Aboriginal Student Centre; and Stephanie Simpson the Associate Director of the Queen’s Human Rights Office. These are some concrete steps we have taken and will build on going forward:

  • We discussed the merits of applicants only after all interviews for that position were completed, to prevent benchmarking of applicants
  • We will be doing direct targeting of indigenous students through Four Directions
  • We will be working with the Director of Human Resources to conduct a more comprehensive review of our hiring and recruitment practices throughout the year, consulting with the Equity Office on best practices.

In total, we received 64 applications for Executive Team positions.

  • One application was from a graduate student.
  • Three applicants withdrew from the process before being interviewed, two of three citing they would be pursuing other opportunities next year.
  • Three applicants submitted full applications for more than one position.

Interview Process

This year’s interview process consisted of two rounds of interviews. In the first, all applicants were invited in for a 20-minute interview with a hiring panel consisting of the three members of the Executive-elect and one to two permanent staff members. After the first round of interviews we invited back twenty applicants for further consideration. The second round interview was an interactive group interview where applicants were put into groups of five, given a situation to discuss, and asked to give a five minute presentation.

Due to unforeseen circumstances the makeup of the hiring panel had to be altered for interviews. After much deliberation it was decided that it would be appropriate for Lyn Parry, the General Manager, to sit on the interview panel due to the immediacy of the hiring timeline and the number of interviews to be conducted. This aligns with the spirit of hiring policy, where the permanent staff are used to advise the Executive-elect and to ensure fairness and consistency throughout the hiring process.

As is consistent with Sections 9.03 and 10.03 of the AMS Hiring and Appointment Policy and Procedures Manual, members of the Executive-elect declared conflicts of interest where appropriate prior to the commencement of interviews. To remedy these issues, those members of the hiring panel that declared a conflict of interest recused themselves from the interview or spoke last during the deliberations depending on the nature of the relationship between the member of the hiring panel and the applicant.

Deliberations and Decisions

Based on the recommendation from the Equity Office, deliberations regarding the merits of applicants did not begin until all applicants for a given position had been interviewed. The hiring panel reviewed the pre-determined criteria for the position and interview notes, then discussed interview responses and the contents of applications.

After conducting this process we have hired an Executive Team that represents a diverse number of faculties and varying ranges of prior AMS experience. The breakdown of our Executive Team by Faculty/School is as follows:

  • Arts & Science – 6
  • Commerce – 1
  • Computing – 2
  • Concurrent Education – 2
  • Engineering – 1
  • Physical Education and Kinesiology – 1

Two of the applicants hired were those for whom conflicts of interest were stated by members of the hiring panel in advance of the interview. In one case, a member of the hiring panel recused themselves and did not speak to the applicant’s suitability for the position during deliberations. For the other, the member of the hiring panel waited until the end of the deliberations to give input as is standard practice for AMS interviews.

During our campaign, we committed to bringing diverse perspectives to the AMS. We were fortunate enough to see this diversity throughout the hiring process and to be presented with a high calibre applicant pool. We want to thank each and every applicant for their commitment to student life on campus.


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