It was an opportune moment to raise the question. Deep into a working group discussion, Angela Agostino, Director of Human Resources for Pitney Bowes Canada, turned to TRIEC Executive Director, Elizabeth McIsaac, sitting beside her and whispered: “What if [Pitney Bowes] did that? We could do that.”
What Agostino had in mind was immediately implementing a future-looking topic under consideration – coordinating skilled immigrant pre-screening across a broad network of talent sources – to Pitney Bowes’ next recruitment event, only several weeks away. The result was a two-part strategy: to build skilled immigrant pipelines into its sales talent pool; and to build skills among staff to recruit and assess that talent more effectively
“We partnered with TRIEC to help us coordinate the talent search for pre-screened, skilled immigrant candidates, but we had to go further than that,” said Agostino. “Finding qualified candidates is one thing; it’s quite another to interview them well and understand the role that cultural differences play in assessing that talent. As a result, TRIEC helped organize an Are You Ready? Workshop for our staff to enhance our recruitment skills.”
Kicking off the recruitment strategy, TRIEC worked with Pitney Bowes to identify language in the sales job description that could unintentionally discourage skilled immigrant candidates from applying. Then, the job description was circulated to job developers representing a number of immigrant-serving agencies (including members of the CASIP-TRIEC network) and bridging programs serving immigrants. Pitney Bowes also promoted the employment opportunity through its own networks.
The Humber Centre for Internationally Trained Professionals played a critical role, not only in coordinating outreach to several immigrant-serving agencies, but also ensuring a high standard of candidate pre-screening across all resume sources. Together, TRIEC and Humber forwarded 14 pre-screened candidates to Pitney Bowes, drawn from an even wider range of immigrant-serving organizations and programs. All 14 were invited to participate in the Pitney Bowes Career symposium, a group recruitment event that enabled candidates to learn more about the company, meet senior management, hiring managers and human resource staff, and showcase their sales skills in a mock sales presentation, networking session and group interview process.
“The calibre of the immigrant candidates was impressive, and they performed comparably to traditionally-recruited candidates who have attended past Career Symposiums,” said Karen Dixon, Pitney Bowes’ Manager of Recruitment. “Several are moving on in the recruitment process to one-to-one interviews with sales managers and possibly job shadowing. The event also provided insights on professional development opportunities that can enable our team to assess skilled immigrant candidates better in future hiring rounds.”
Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning also attended the Career Symposium. Sheridan is one of 15 community colleges offering the TRIEC-developed Are You Ready? Workshop and was then able to customize a workshop for Pitney Bowes, based on its recent recruitment experience.
“We’re involved in The Mentoring Partnership, in TRIEC’s IS Awards as a past winner, and we participate with TRIEC in numerous leadership initiatives,” continues Agostino. “Despite that, we know that there’s still a lot of work we can do to build immigrant-readiness among staff. It’s not just about the initiatives that grab people’s attention. It’s also about affecting internal change that truly makes us an employer of choice. Sometimes, it takes some imagination to find the opportunities, but I think we’re on the right track.”