Overview

We are committed to providing broad access to Ontario Public Service employment opportunities so that diverse job seekers can apply to positions across Ontario. We also want to ensure that our workforce represents the diverse communities we serve. In addition, we have targeted outreach and advertisements of job opportunities to various communities and specific professional streams across Ontario.

Our recruitment process reflects our mission to serve the public interest and uphold the public’s trust. It demonstrates our commitment to our values of:

  • trust
  • fairness
  • diversity
  • excellence
  • creativity
  • collaboration
  • efficiency
  • responsiveness

Recruitment decisions are based on valid, practical and measurable approaches that ensure hiring is done on the basis of merit. This means we hire the candidate whose qualifications best meet the requirements to do the job.

Eligibility requirements

To work anywhere in Canada including the Ontario Public Service (OPS), you must:

Applying from outside Canada

If you live outside of Canada and are interested in applying for a position within the OPS, you may apply before being entitled to work in Canada. However, prior to beginning employment with the Ontario Public Service, you must provide documents showing that you are legally allowed to work in Canada.

Information about Canadian immigration rules and processes can be found on the Government of Canada website.

What to expect

Here’s what you can expect as you go through the hiring process.

Step 1: job advertising

Job opportunities available on the Ontario Public Service Careers are posted for a minimum of 10 working days. In addition, some of the job opportunities may be advertised on external websites. Applications are collected for a job advertisement until 11:59 p.m. EST on the closing date.

Step 2: application screening

All applications received on or before the closing date are screened and rated against the qualifications outlined in the job ad. Applicants whose resume and cover letter best demonstrate how they meet the qualifications to do the job will be invited to continue in the hiring process.

Step 3: evaluation

Applicants, whose resumes are selected, will be invited to show us how they best meet the qualifications outlined in the job ad, through assessments designed to demonstrate the candidates ability to deliver (for example, presentations, a written assignment, tests and usually an oral interview).

Step 4: selection of successful candidate

Candidates are assessed and evaluated through the process in Step 3, and the top candidate(s) are selected to fill the position.

Step 5: offer to the successful candidate

Successful candidates will be contacted with a verbal offer of employment. If the offer is accepted a written offer letter will be sent, which includes detailed information such as start date, position classification, starting salary, and, if relevant, bargaining unit and name and address of the applicable bargaining agent.

To check the status of a job competition, refer to the job advertisement page.

How to apply

Search jobs

You may further refine your job search beyond region by defining some or all of the following:

  • Region — Choose the region you are interested in to begin your job search.
  • City — Choose a city within the region. Note: Only cities with active job postings are available to choose from.
    • Job type — Select one or more of the careers streams you are interested in.
  • Designated Bilingual Position job opportunities — Positions that require a level of French-language proficiency, which is the ability to communicate in French orally and/or in writing. The candidate will be expected to be proficient in both English and French.
  • Salary minimum — By a minimum salary if a salary range is provided in the job ad.
  • Job ID number — By the number assigned as a unique identifier for the job competition.

Open-targeted jobs

Some job advertisements are targeted to attract specific, qualified applicants from designated professional groups through external job boards and may not appear in the general list of opportunities . These advertisements are referred to as “open-targeted” and are often used to attract unique or hard-to-fill skill sets. Anyone can still can apply to these advertisements, however only those who possess the specialized skills or knowledge will move through the selection process.

Understand the job ad

Be sure to check out the ‘Job Specification’ found under the job advertisement to find out more about the position you are interested in. 

Bilingual job postings

Job advertisements for positions that are designated as English/French bilingual will be provided in both English and French on the website.

Positions that are not designated as English/French bilingual are displayed in English only on both the English and French versions of the website.

If the job posting you are interested in indicates a level of French-Language Service (or other language) proficiency, and you are selected to continue in the hiring process, your ability to communicate and/or write in French or another second language will be assessed and rated against (in decreasing order of proficiency) superior, advanced-plus, advanced, or advanced-minus standards.

Proficiency in both English and French is mandatory for designated French Language Services roles.

Employment security screening check

Where an employment security screening check is noted as a requirement on the job ad, applicants will be required to obtain a successful Ontario Public Service employment security clearance prior to commencing employment. The process will be explained in more detail to candidates that move through the selection process and includes the following:

  • verification of identity and personal information (name, address, date of birth) with photo ID
  • police record check
  • other non-police record checks (for example, Driving History Search), if applicable
  • background check with previous employers (last five years) and given references, if applicable

Your job application

Customizing your cover letter and resume to the qualifications outlined in the job ad can help your application stand out. Your cover letter and resume combined should not exceed five (5) pages. For tips and tools on how to write a concise cover letter and resume review the OPS Cover Letter and Resume Writing Guide.

Apply to the competition following the instructions in the ‘How to Apply’ section of the job advertisement. Each advertisement will specify the accepted method of application for the competition. Be sure to indicate the Job ID# in your application.

Apply online

The majority of competitions require that you apply online. Look for the ‘apply online’ icon and follow the instructions to attach your cover letter and resume as one PDF (.pdf), WORD (.doc, .docx), plain text (.txt) or rich-text file (.rtf) Be sure to enter your e-mail address where indicated on the Apply Online page to receive a confirmation e-mail once you have submitted your application.

Apply by e-mail or digital application form

Applying by e-mail or digital application form is available to specific competitions only. Please pay close attention to the contact information on the job advertisement to determine if these methods of applying can be accepted.

Applications received via e-mail/application form (where available) may not receive confirmation.

Disclosure of prior OPS employment and active restrictions

In accordance with the Ontario Pubic Service Employment Policy, all external candidates (including former Ontario Public Service employees) applying to a competition in a ministry or a Commission Public Body must identify (either in the cover letter or resume) prior Ontario Public Service employment.

This information must include:

  • the positions held
  • dates of employment
  • any active restrictions on being re-employed in the OPS, if applicable

The circumstances of your exit will be considered prior to an offer of employment.

Active restrictions can include time and/or ministry-specific restrictions. For example, an active restriction may preclude a former employee from being offered a position with the Ontario Public Service for a pre-determined time period (for example one year after release from employment), or from being offered a position with a particular ministry (either for a specific time period or indefinitely).

Check your application status

There are two ways to check the competition status.

  1. When you apply online and provide an e-mail address at the time of application, you will receive an acknowledgement e-mail. This email contains a link that allows you access, at your convenience to view where we are in the hiring process for that competition.
  2. If you did not enter an email address or you have deleted your acknowledgement email, you can enter Job ID number into the ‘Search’ field on the main OPS Careers page and be directed to a copy of the advertisement and the competition status. If the competition status is not available, (for example you only see a copy of the job ad) the competition has yet to move forward to the screening stage.

Applications are screened against predetermined selection criteria and those candidates whose application meet the criteria are selected to participate further in the evaluation process. Only those candidates invited to continue in the recruitment process will be contacted.

After you apply

If you are invited to participate in our evaluation process, this is your chance to show us how you are the best person for the job. You can expect multiple types of assessments. Most common is an interview, and depending on the skills and knowledge needed to perform the job, could include written tests, presentations, etc.

Additional information about the evaluation process specific to the competition will be shared with you if you are selected to move forward in the process.

The invitation

If you are selected to continue through the process, you will be contacted by phone or email and provided with details on the location and estimated length of time for the interview and/or other assessment methods, if applicable such as a written test or exercise. Note that in some instances, the assessment process might take place virtually. 

On some occasions, you will be asked to develop and deliver a presentation and deliver it during the interview and you may be given the topic in the invitation so that you have time to prepare your material.

In our commitment as an inclusive employer, when you receive the invitation you will also be asked if you have any accommodation needs in order to allow you to participate equally in the hiring process to your full potential as per  Ontario's Human Rights Code.

Note: If there is a large number of applicants that meet the initial screening criteria of a posted position, the first contact you receive may be a screening test or telephone interview to shortlist qualified candidates to continue in the process.

Interview and other assessment methods

You may be invited to a selection process that could include other assessment methods before, during, or after the interview to further demonstrate your skills and knowledge for a position. These could include:

  • a writing test
  • a technical test
  • a work sample
  • a presentation
  • a role-play
  • an in-box exercise

For example, to assess budgeting skills, you may be given financial data and asked to forecast a budget in Microsoft Excel. To assess written communication skills you may be given summary information and instructed to write a briefing note based on that information. To assess oral communication, and/or analytical and problem-solving skills, you may be asked to complete a presentation or act out a common work situation (role-play) within the interview.

The selection panel

A panel interview is the typical format used in Ontario Public Service interviews to help ensure fairness to all candidates through multiple raters and averaged scores. A selection panel has between two and four evaluators, including the manager of the position. Other members of the selection panel may be representatives from human resources, other managers, technical experts, or even clients who may have an interest in a successful hiring outcome.

The interview

The chair of the interview panel (generally the hiring manager) will begin the interview by explaining how the interview will be conducted, followed by a brief description of the job and how it fits in the organization.

Interview panelists do their best to ensure that candidates are not kept waiting, but they are often interviewing a number of candidates one after the other, so from time to time the panel may get behind schedule.

Most interview questions encourage you to provide a detailed response, meaning that they require more than a standard yes or no response in order learn more about you and how your previous experience, knowledge and skills make you the ideal candidate for the role.

Normally, the panel members will take turns asking you the questions and will write down or type your responses so that they are able to refer to them later to evaluate, so they may not be able to maintain eye contact while you are talking.

The chair will then wrap up the interview by asking you if you have any questions. They will also tell you about the next step in the process, which may include further assessment methods and when you can expect to hear back about a decision.

Interview scoring

Ontario Public Service interviews reflect the values of fairness and consistency in the treatment of employees. As such, each interview question is assigned a pre-determined weight on a rating scale according to the importance of particular skills, knowledge or experience to the position. The interview panel will compare your responses to established expected responses to determine the score you receive for each question.

Each candidate is asked the same set of questions, and scored using the same rating system. The more detailed and articulate you are in describing how you meet the position’s qualifications, the higher your chances are of being among the top candidates . This helps to ensure fairness to all candidates and is a key component of Ontario Pubic Service interviews which may not be the same as other organizations.

Reference checks and employee security screening checks

Reference checks are a part of the Ontario Public Service selection process. References are a way for employers to confirm what you have told them in an interview and to find out additional information about you, from people that have worked with you, including previous supervisors or managers.

All candidates are expected to provide the names of current and former supervisors and other individuals who are able to provide valuable information regarding work performance. It is courteous to ask permission from your references before providing their names, and ensure that you have updated contact information for them, in case they are contacted. 

Some positions require employment security screening checks to be conducted, and the candidate is required to confirm “clearance” prior to an offer of employment being made. In some instances, candidates are given a conditional offer of employment, on the condition they produce the required security clearance. The evaluation panel will explain this process to candidates in more detail and it may include the following:

  • verification of identity and personal information (name, address, date of birth) with photo ID
  • police record checks
  • other non-police record checks (for example, Driving History Search), if applicable
  • background check with previous employers (last five years) and given references, if applicable

Job offer

If you are a successful candidate, the hiring manager will provide you with a job offer. The hiring manager may also provide you with more details about the job, and answer any remaining questions. You and the hiring manager will discuss your 'start date' and determine out when you can start.

Interview feedback

If you don’t receive a job offer, you may request feedback from the hiring manager to help you strengthen your interviewing skills.

Accessibility

During the recruitment process, you have the right to request accommodation. If you have an injury, illness or disability, you are not required to disclose this in your application or discuss this during the evaluation process. If you have a injury, illness or disability that affects your ability to apply online, please contact us to provide your information and we will contact you within 48 hours.

Applicants invited to participate in an assessment process (such as an interview or testing) and who require accommodation, should discuss this with the contact person. For instance, someone with a disability may require alternate formats for written materials, or physical adjustments to a computer set-up.

Everyone is different, so we will take into account individual accessibility needs. Other types of accommodation requests include rescheduling of an interview or testing date because of a religious holiday.

Search job openings

Find out what exciting OPS career opportunities are posted right now.

Search current jobs

Cover letter, resume and interview tips

Find tips and information about how to create the type of cover letter and resume we are looking for.

Find more information on resume tips.

Preparing for the interview

Know about government priorities

You may be expected to know about government priorities in your next interview. For example, read the most recent Ontario Budget and Speech from the Throne.

Explore the ministry

Do some research by visiting the ministry's website and news releases. You may be expected to be familiar with what the ministry's mission, goals and initiatives are in relation to government priorities.

Expect a panel of interviewers

There are usually between two and three people who conduct the job interview. Don't be thrown off by the fact they are writing or typing as you are speaking. In order for panelists to document your answer, you may want to speak slowly. Interviewers reflect on these notes when evaluating your responses and making their decisions.

Think about why you are the best person for the job

Think about how your experience, strengths and competencies/skills "fit" this job. Look carefully at the job ad, the list of qualifications and the job specification. The interview questions will be based on these materials.

Bring references with you

References are a way for the interview panel to confirm what you have told them and to ask for additional relevant information about you. Use the names of current and former supervisors and other individuals who are able to provide qualitative information about your employment history. Ensure that you ask each individual for permission to use them as a reference.

During the interview

Recognize your individual efforts

The interview panel is interested in your individual performance so try to use the word "I", as opposed to "we". If what you did was part of a team effort, explain what your role was on the team.

Describe past experiences in terms of what you accomplished, not just what you did

When referring to job experiences talk about and be specific concerning the outcomes you achieved and how your own learning and development were enhanced. Try to quantify your experiences when applicable by using numerical examples.

Structure your answers for maximum impact

Keep your responses concise, structured and based on the questions. Be prepared to answer behavioural-based questions where you are asked how you would handle certain situations or how you met certain challenges. A common technique for answering these types of questions is called PAR where you can describe your experience in terms of the:

  • Problem that you faced
  • Action you took
  • Result(s) you achieved

Addressing interview questions

This will show your interest and reveal that you have researched and prepared for the interview. Don't be shy to ask for clarification or jot down your own thoughts. Make sure that you understand the question in order to demonstrate how you are the best person for the job. If you are struggling to formulate a response to a question, you may ask to come back to it at the end.

Think outside the box

Don't forget about your experiences that aren't directly job-related. You may have volunteer experience, been elected to a council or board, participated in a professional association, coached a team or contributed to your community in some other way. What did those experiences teach you and how did they shape you as a person.

Type of questionDescriptionExamples and how to prepare
GeneralQuestions aimed at asking information about your work history, skills or knowledge, as they relate to the job. This tends to be an opening question in OPS interviews. Your answer to this question will be assessed and scored based on how well you organize your facts to show that you understand the position and how qualified you are. Be concise, and focus on how you ‘fit’ into the position.

“Briefly describe why you are interested in this position and what skills and experience you possess that make you an ideal candidate.”

To prepare for this type of question, read the job ad and job description and develop four or five points that link your work-related strengths, background and experience to qualifications of the position. Remember that the panel has read your résumé already, so try not to just repeat what is in it.

Technical or job-specific knowledgeQuestions aimed to assess your ability to understand specific programs, policies, or procedures that are related to the work of the position. In most cases, you should have prior knowledge or experience that will contribute to a good response.

“Please describe the Premier’s top priorities for the ministry and how you would develop a press release outlining these priorities.”

If you know that the position will primarily work with a specific process and you don’t have prior knowledge, be sure to research the ministry and provincial government internet sites for relevant policies and directives to increase your knowledge in that topic prior to the interview.

Situational or scenario - basedQuestions aimed at presenting you with a hypothetical situation that you may be faced with on the job and ask you to suggest a solution. These questions tend to assess analytical and problem solving skills and the ability to handle daily tasks effectively. It is important to think effectively on your feet and to formulate your responses in an organized manner.

“You are working on a project that has to be completed by tomorrow a.m. Your manager comes to your desk and gives you an assignment to be completed by noon tomorrow. You know you can’t meet both’ deadlines. What would you do?

Take a minute in the interview before responding, so that you can think about the process you would go through to address such an issue, who you would consult with, and what results you would anticipate obtaining.

BehaviouralQuestions aimed at drawing on your experience and behaviours to provide examples of how you demonstrated specific skills in previous situations. These kinds of questions are also sometimes referred to as “competency-based”. They are specific, and challenge the candidate to provide concrete examples of their achievements in different types of situations. These are the most commonly used questions in OPS interviews and they look for how you do your work, not just what you do.

“Conflict is inevitable when working with others. Please describe a recent conflict you had with a co-worker and how you dealt with the situation. Also describe what you learned to help you work with that individual in the future.” OR “Tell me about a time when you had to design a solution to a key problem facing your work unit. What did you do, and what was the result?”

To prepare for this type of question, think of job ad qualifications and develop responses including: what you have actually accomplished in the past, what your involvement was, what the scope of your assignment was, what you did, and what the outcome was.

After the interview

Ask for feedback

Whether you were successful or not, your interview should be a learning experience. You can ask for feedback from the hiring manager on specific details on your strengths and weaknesses; so you will know where you can improve.

Write down the questions you were asked

Before your next interview, develop detailed responses to these questions so you will be prepared for these or similar questions.

Reflect on and learn for your next interview

If you were unsuccessful try not to be discouraged or take it personally. Reflect on and learn from your experience.

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Contact us

If you have any general questions, or more specific about the following:

  • job advertisement
  • status of a competition
  • help with an application (e.g. disability accommodation)

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