Understanding the Alberta Public Service hiring process

Learn about our hiring process and find job application tips.

Overview

The Government of Alberta uses a competitive process to hire public service employees. Each ministry has a Human Resource office that manages the hiring process and job offers for their ministry. Our goal is to attract and recruit top talent, from within and outside the Alberta Public Service, in order for us to deliver quality programs and services to Albertans.

Staffing principles

Our Staffing Principles form the foundation for our hiring process.

The following 5 principles are in line with the Public Service Act which outlines how we fill positions and select the most suitable applicant, giving preference where possible to internal applicants.

  1. Staffing is a partnership.
    • Managers and human resource professionals work together to identify and address workforce needs, ensuring fairness and integrity of the staffing process.
  2. Staffing addresses the current and future needs of the Government of Alberta.
    • Staffing strategies are aligned with the Government of Alberta’s business objectives and workforce plans, considering labour market trends and the economic environment.
  3. Staffing has appropriate balance of access to employment opportunities.
    • Staffing opportunities balance several important objectives, including access to opportunities by current employees and attracting top talent from outside the organization.
  4. Staffing is efficient, effective and fair.
    • Staffing decisions are impartial and consistent with staffing legislation and the policy framework.
  5. Staffing is conducted in accordance with the Alberta Public Service values.
    • Processes and practices are conducted with respect, accountability, integrity, and excellence.

The hiring process

The Alberta Public Service hiring process involves 6 steps to attract, assess and hire employees. This process is also referred to as the competition process.  You can find out the status of the hiring process for any advertised position through the Competition Status page or, if you have applied online, through your Careers account.

Step 1.  Advertise the opportunity

  • The Alberta Public Service advertises job opportunities on its jobs board. Job opportunities are usually posted daily.
  • Jobs may also be advertised in various other ways, including:
    • social media, such as LinkedIn
    • print media
    • jobs-related websites
    • professional associations
    • educational institutions
  • Each job posting will describe:
    • the position
    • required qualifications including education, experience and relevant competencies
      • technical and behavioural competencies are the knowledge, skills, abilities or other personal characteristics predictive of successful job and organizational performance
      • there may be a statement in the qualifications section indicating that equivalencies will be considered. In that case, related experience and/or education would be considered as alternate equal qualifications.
        • for example, two years of directly related experience can be considered equivalent to a two year diploma in a related field.
  • Job postings may also include a link to a position profile that provides additional information about an advertised job.
  • You can also use the Job Agent Notification Service to receive a weekly email about job opportunities that may interest you.

Step 2. Accept applications

  • Applications must be received before the deadline specified in each job posting.
  • Online applications are preferred. If necessary, you can apply by fax or by mailing an application to the contact specified in the job posting.
  • You must reference the applicable Job ID number in your application.
  • If you want to apply on more than one job posting, you must submit a separate application for each one.
  • When you apply online, you must:
    • provide a valid email address
    • upload your cover letter, resume and any related documents as one file
  • After you submit your application, you will get a confirmation email.  If you don’t get a confirmation email, contact the ministry identified in the job posting to confirm your application has been received.

Step 3. Review applications

  • Once the application deadline passes, your application will be reviewed to determine how it aligns with the advertised qualifications.
  • We often receive applications from many well-qualified candidates competing on one job opportunity.
  • Candidates must meet the minimum education and experience required to be eligible for further consideration.
  • Meeting the minimum education and experience does not automatically mean candidates will proceed further in the selection process.
  • Each job requires unique qualifications that are considered as a whole in determining which applicants most closely match the qualifications required for the role.

Step 4. Assess top candidates

  • Candidates whose qualifications most closely match the job requirements are invited to participate in job related assessments, such as interviews.
  • If you are identified as a top candidate for the available position, you will be asked to further demonstrate your qualifications.
  • This typically includes one or more interviews with representatives from the hiring ministry. It can also include other assessment methods such as writing tests and presentations.

Step 5. Conduct pre-employment checks

  • The assessment process also includes pre-employment checks.
    • This typically includes reference checks.
    • It can also include criminal record checks and post-secondary academic credential checks.

Step 6. Extend a job offer

  • Once all the steps are completed, the most suitable candidate for the position is selected.
  • If you are selected, you will get a job offer from the hiring ministry.
  • Individuals that start working for the Alberta Public Service are required to serve a probationary period.

Job application tips

Before you apply for a job

  • Evaluate the job posting: does the work and what the job offers interest you?
  • Review the qualifications carefully (education, experience and relevant competencies): can you demonstrate the qualifications required for the job?
  • Familiarize yourself with the Alberta Public Service Competency Model (PDF, 357 KB).
  • The Competency Self-Assessment Questionnaire (PDF, 484 KB) is a good resource to help you identify examples of where you’ve demonstrated a competency through your past employment or other experiences.
  • Ensure your application demonstrates evidence of the required education, experience and relevant competencies.
  • Application information can include a cover letter, resume, and/or other requested information, such as answering online questions or completing a questionnaire to demonstrate competencies.

Cover letter and resume

  • Tailor your cover letter and resume to describe how your qualifications match the requirements in the job posting (education, experience and relevant competencies)
    • The ideal cover letter is 1 page, with 3 to 4 paragraphs of text
    • The ideal resume is 2 to 3 pages
  • Provide information in your cover letter that is not included in your resume, such as interview availability, employment history gaps, etc.
  • Ensure your cover letter includes any specific information that may have been requested in the job posting
    • For instance, include an example of how you have demonstrated competency in creative problem solving, OR describe a key accomplishment you are most proud of.
  • Ensure your resume includes any criteria in the job posting that are identified as preferred, assets or equivalent qualifications, providing you have them.
  • List your most recent work experience or education first in your resume, and the remainder in descending date order (month and year). Describe your key duties and demonstrated competencies.
    • This format allows you to best demonstrate that you meet the minimum education and experience requirements and the relevant competencies identified in the job posting.

Interviews

  • Interviews are normally conducted by a selection panel of 2 to 3 people, which typically includes a human resource professional, the supervisor of the position, and an employee with expertise in the field you are applying in.
  • Candidates are assessed on their technical and behavioural competencies and asked to provide specific examples of how they’ve demonstrated the required competencies.
  • If you are chosen for an interview:
    • review the Sample Interview Questions (PDF, 279 KB) for examples of competency based interview questions
    • review the job posting and, if applicable, the position profile
    • anticipate questions you may be asked and prepare responses based on examples from your past experience
    • research the ministry and other relevant information
    • bring a list of job related references with you to the interview

Resources

The Tips for Applying on Alberta Government Jobs (PDF, 1.2 MB) publication is an additional resource to help you prepare your cover letter and resume (PDF, 269 KB), as well as prepare yourself for a potential job interview.

General job search resources are available on the alis: Alberta careers, learning and employment information website.

Requesting feedback

Feedback on your application or your performance during the interview/assessment process can help you better prepare for future job competitions with the Alberta Public Service.

Contact

You can contact us for technical assistance and questions about jobs with the Alberta Public Service. We will make every effort to respond promptly.

If you have already applied on a job posting and have questions about your application, you can contact the ministry or department Human Resources office referenced in the job posting.

Only those inquiries that include an email address will receive a response.

All fields are required unless otherwise indicated.

Topic

The personal information that you provide on this form will be used for the purpose of contacting you to address your inquiry.

Your information is collected under the authority of section 33(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

If you have any questions about the collection of your personal information, you can contact Talent Acquisition, Public Service Commission at JobBoard@gov.ab.ca.