Hiring and Search Committee Policies

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Indigeneity and Accessibility

In setting up and organizing search committees for new positions, the Department of Psychiatry is incorporating best practices to address potential bias at each step of the hiring process (forming the search committee, sourcing candidates, screening and assessing applications, interviewing and deliberations).

EDI Advisor Role

In all formal searches, the Department of Psychiatry employs an EDI Advisor/ monitor who plays the role as a neutral non-voting search committee member who can advise, assess, and intervene if required to address potential bias or discrimination. The overall aim of the EDI advisor is to assist the search committee to maintain equitable processes during the evaluation of applicants.

See the full role description for the EDI Advisor here.

When forming the Search Committee

When forming the search committee, we intentionally invite faculty to form a diverse search committee to maximize the benefits of having multiple perspectives and ideas. Diverse search committees also serve as a visible reminder that excellence comes in more than one gender, race, background, or level of physical ability1. In addition, we aim to form search committees that include clinical and non-clinical faculty members, PhD representation, and faculty members from different divisions, academic hospital sites, and academic ranks.

All search committee members are required to have completed Unconscious Bias training.

1Best Practices Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC)

During sourcing of candidates

During sourcing of candidates, we ask the Committee to consider what potential barriers may exist in a sourcing strategy that could diminish the ability of some groups or individuals to participate effectively in the recruitment process, and whether these barriers can be mitigated. We also consider multiple outreach methods to encourage potential candidates.

During screening, assessing, interviewing and the deliberation stages

During screening, assessing, interviewing, and the deliberation stages, we ask our Search Committee Chairs and members to consider the following:

  • What systemic biases exist and how can you minimize their potential effect when assessing candidates to ensure a fair process?
  • What are the specific skill sets required for the role? How can job requirements reflect skills that complement existing skill sets and build diversity?

Our Search Committees follow these practices2:

  • Preparing all candidates for the interview equally
  • Identifying specific selection criteria relevant for the position, with weights for ranking prior to screening applications and interviews.
  • Anchoring questions to the position requirements; asking questions which offer insight into how the candidate meets the criteria
  • Focusing interview questions on the established selection criteria for the position
  • Being sensitive to the professional realities of applicants (e.g. make allowances for life events, periods of leave, etc.)
  • Accounting for differences in communication and presentation styles
  • Ensuring that the assessment of criteria is equitable, and that the need for accommodation is not considered as a negative
  • Considering unconscious bias and avoiding making assumptions about any candidates
  • Avoiding using a candidate’s perceived “fit” as a means to discriminate or allow for personal bias
  • Being aware that reference letters may hold unconscious biases
  • Allocating sufficient time for the review of applicants
  • Considering strategic selection or hiring (e.g. to address specific diversity gap); considering outreach to candidates with required expertise from diverse backgrounds
  • Remembering the responsibility and requirement to consider diversity as excellence among applicants
  • Discussing each qualified candidate and documenting reasons for elimination

2 A Guide to Inclusive Recruitment Ref: EDI-Recruitment - Suzanne Charles Watson, Equity Diversity and Inclusion. The Faculty Development and Diversity Office, The Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning, The Hospital for Sick Children