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Official Post Of Getting A Job With The Government

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Jun 7, 2006
215 posts
8 upvotes

Official Post Of Getting A Job With The Government

Thanks everyone for your great input (Canabiz, DAAC, CB27, and others I did not mention). Time to UPDATE!
We all know that getting a permanent job with the government means smooth sailing and minimal work for easy money!

Now I want to start an "official" thread on techniques and methods on how to land the best government job. I will update it and make sure that the main post has all the tips n tricks on landing that nice government job.

Here are some questions to discuss:

1. What are some good websites for finding that government job?
http://www.jobs.gc.ca
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca.
http://www.resumecourier.ca/EmploymentD ... Ottawa.asp
http://www.credentials.gc.ca/faq/index.asp
http://canadaonline.about.com/od/govern ... ncorps.htm

.... ANY MORE WEBSITES THAT CAN BE ADDED WOULD BE GREATELY APPRECIATE (PM or post them plz)

2. What is the best methods or mediums to go through to get good jobs?
- SO far no CONCRETE answers. People have landed jobs through CO-OP, FESWEP, jobs.gc.ca, friends/family, and hiring agencies. So your best bet is to try all of these!

3. What government industry is currently hiring the most? - Still unanswered. Maybe it should be rephrased (DONE)

4. What industry currently has the best value (growth and salary wise)?
- I'd really love to know!

5. Security clearance, whats that all about?
There are 3 different levels, Enhanced Reliability, Secret and Top Secret. Generally speaking all government employees have a minimum Enhanced Reliability which is generally a financial and criminal check. Secret/Top Secret can involve interviews with friends/neighbors/family members, finger prints taken, often it takes many, many months to be cleared.

Below is a link for security clearance.
[url]http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/tbsf-fsct/330-60_e.asp

6. What does that french stuff mean? CCC/BBB?
The letters following "Bilingual Imperative" or "Bilingual Non-Imperative" on a notice represent the level of language skills required in each official language, as a second language. The first three letters represent the level of English language qualifications while the second three represent those for French. The first letter in each group refers to Reading, the second to Writing, and the third to Oral Interaction.

Letters C, B, A indicate a skill level as follows:
C - Superior
B - Intermediate
A - Minimum(-) No requirement

7. What kind of vacation/sick days do government employees get?

1-8 years = 3 weeks of vacation + 3 weeks of sick leave.
9-17 years = 4 weeks of vacation + 4 weeks of sick leave.
18-30 years (I think) = 5 weeks of vacation = 5 weeks of sick leave.

This does not include 2 days of personal leave, 5 days of family obligation leave, and every type of leave that is available.

Here are some tips that are insightful and always good to know (thanks Canabiz)

- Make sure you read the job description/statement of qualifications from top to bottom, leave no stone unturned. If they are looking for particular skills and if you possess those skills, make sure those keywords are in the resume, it's a no-brainer but worth repeating. HR will scan for those keywords and that could really make it or break it

- Make sure you highlight the *little things* that more often than not apply to government positions, again provided they are applicable of course: bilingualism, security clearance, previous government experience, visible minorities/women/aboriginals etc

- put your cell phone on the resume, if applicable. You don't want to miss that all important first phone call. As you know, there is always more people applying than jobs available when it comes to the government, you certainly don't want to miss any opportunities

- there is a lot of behavioural questions during my interviews, what would you do in this situation and in that scenario, make sure you Google/brush up on those so that you don't panic during interviews

- when it comes times for testings/evaluations, time is a premium (same with other places I reckon), if you don't get a question, skip to the next one and come back to the one you have trouble with later. Remember there's no penalty for guessing, answer all questions to the best of your knowledge. Practice and go over those sample questions that they provide again and again.




Lets make this as detailed and lively as possible to get the maximum amount of info. I know most of the RFDERS here are good at getting inside scoops and all information will be of great help! I am located in Ottawa so I am assuming that most of the government jobs will be here in Ottawa but feel free to add your input even if your somewhere else!
298 replies
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 10, 2006
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Hi there, my husband just finished 2 1/2 years at CRA on CONTRACT. He may not be walking away with the pension etc, and he did WORK for his per diem rate, BUT, he also made 3x what FT employees make a day! :D
His area of expertise is data warehousing, which CRA and Border Services are integrating.

Contracting isn't for everyone, but it's lucrative in the GOA.
See this button :confused: :confused: Learn how to use it PLEASE ;)
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Apr 16, 2006
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Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm

Here are some questions to discuss:

1. Is it good to go through an HR agency? (excel HR, etc)

2. Does jobs.gc.ca actually work?

3. What is the best methods or mediums to go through to get good jobs?

4. What type of government jobs pay well?


Ali
After being with the federal government for the past 1 1/2 years, I'll do my best to offer some insight...

I know of exactly 3 people I work with (out of about 30) who got in through jobs.gc.ca. I myself have applied for 10 jobs on there in the past 3 months alone and I have made it through the first screening on all jobs but 1. I have yet to even get an email back from anyone asking me for more information...much less an interview. As far as I am concerned, jobs.gc.ca is a crock and frankly...a waste of time.

*Slightly* more people I know were first hired through an agency such as Excel, Canada Job 1, Dynamic Personnel (stay away...very far away), etc. If they worked out well enough, the department would hire them on Casual employment and then term...after being on term I think 4 times you are automatically in permanent and you no longer need to worry about your livelihood. Like I said, more people get hired this way rather than jobs.gc.ca

The number 1 way that I'm aware of that seems to work (myself included) is if your name gets pulled in the student lottery that is FSWEP (Federal Student Work Experience Program). If you get pulled, you work in 3 month blocks indefinitely until your graduate (assuming your boss likes you of course...if not they can just choose not to renew you at the next 3 month block). Once you graduate you can get "bridged in" to a permanent position with no competition...no nothing. You're permanent right there if they have a position open for you that you can do. Starting pay is usually around 45-50k/year for entry level positions...similar to what you were doing as a student...but with a bit more responsibilities.

The MAJOR downside to FSWEP is that it is a lottery. There are 90,000 students on the service...and there's only about 7,000 jobs available during the summer/year. Your name may never get pulled. Mine did though...twice.

EDIT: Also, under FSWEP...after being there for 6 months you start contributing to the government pension AND you get the health/dental benefits too (which are VERY good...and dirt cheap too!)
Deal Fanatic
Feb 1, 2006
9099 posts
216 upvotes
Taxpayers money hard at work, eh? This is why people vote for parties that promise to shrink the size of government, we all know that so many government jobs are filled with slackers wasting our money. This post is just proof of that.

You guys go get your cushy creampuff jobs, but don't be crying when taxpayers get tired of it again and vote in another Mike Harris. :lol:
Deal Addict
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Nov 28, 2004
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Bullseye wrote:
Jul 4th, 2007 8:15 am
Taxpayers money hard at work, eh? This is why people vote for parties that promise to shrink the size of government, we all know that so many government jobs are filled with slackers wasting our money. This post is just proof of that.

You guys go get your cushy creampuff jobs, but don't be crying when taxpayers get tired of it again and vote in another Mike Harris. :lol:
It's not much different than stockholders relying on companies to turn a profit and hear of executives padding their own pockets or inappropriately using company money.

I've definitely encountered some deadbeat gov workers. I've also encountered what seem to be very hard working, intelligent people (rare).
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Bullseye wrote:
Jul 4th, 2007 8:15 am
Taxpayers money hard at work, eh? This is why people vote for parties that promise to shrink the size of government, we all know that so many government jobs are filled with slackers wasting our money. This post is just proof of that.

You guys go get your cushy creampuff jobs, but don't be crying when taxpayers get tired of it again and vote in another Mike Harris. :lol:
That's precisely why dh contracts for them. We all know the independent contractors get all the work done, while the employees waste taxpayers money and only whine about their next sabbatical!
See this button :confused: :confused: Learn how to use it PLEASE ;)
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Feb 1, 2006
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alkaseltzer01 wrote:
Jul 4th, 2007 8:32 am
It's not much different than stockholders relying on companies to turn a profit and hear of executives padding their own pockets or inappropriately using company money.
Actually, it's totally different. As a stockholder, I am free to sell my shares if I see what I feel is wasteful behaviour and overcompensation. I can invest my money elsewhere. With the government, I have no such choice, I can't stop paying taxes. I can only vote for smaller government and more privatization.
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Nov 28, 2004
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Bullseye wrote:
Jul 4th, 2007 8:39 am
Actually, it's totally different. As a stockholder, I am free to sell my shares if I see what I feel is wasteful behaviour and overcompensation. I can invest my money elsewhere. With the government, I have no such choice, I can't stop paying taxes. I can only vote for smaller government and more privatization.
Or move to another country. :)
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Jan 9, 2007
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I started with the Feds in November 2006... i got my job through workopoliscampus.com.

FSWEP is a crapshoot, as an earlier poster said... I got nothing from it. The only advice I got when applying on there was to be "creative" with your interests and skills - make sure you are putting down ones that will match you to a job.

Unlike what some others say on here, I'm one of the hard-working government employees... so take your comments and shove em! haha
Deal Addict
Apr 6, 2005
3302 posts
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Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm

Here are some questions to discuss:

1. Is it good to go through an HR agency? (excel HR, etc)

2. Does jobs.gc.ca actually work?

3. What is the best methods or mediums to go through to get good jobs?

4. What type of government jobs pay well?

5. Security clearance, whats that all about?

6. Who does these security clearance?
I worked 4 months at the GTAA as a co-op (Greater Toronto Airport Authority.. oversees Pearson International Airport). I know they are no longer goverment, but they are still very much a goverment mindset.

1. I went through my University's co-op (UW).

2. Don't know.

3. Don't know.

4. Everyone there was getting paid a fair bit, though the Unionized workers were getting the most with the least work. Ridiculous.

5. Depends on the branch of goverment. I had to get a Transport Canada security clerance. Had to give 6 years of history, where I lived, etc. Where my parents lived, what they did, etc. Tons of headache.

It also took more then 4 months for the clearance to actually come through. IE: I finished the co-op job before it came through and did not return, so I have no clue how long it actually took.

6. Transport Canada, for airport related stuff.

As for my perceptions of the job... I would never want to work for the goverment. I was bored out of my mind during the majority of that work term, my supervisor was in meetings 80% of each day. If you wanted to get anything done you had to go through four kilometers of beurocratic red tape, then have meetings for a month with four different departments where they all contributed their ideas and opinions, then couldn't decide on what to do.

My main project for the 4 month term ended up being ~2 weeks of actual work time in the first 3.5 months, followed by throwing **** together to get something out in the last 2 weeks. And that only happened because I pushed hard enough for a meeting with the department we were actually doing it for to finalize what they wanted without the other departments adding in useless crap.

So yes, if you like doing nearly nothing all day but trying to look busy and going to lots of pointless meetings, a goverment job is for you.
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Feb 1, 2006
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mself084 wrote:
Jul 4th, 2007 9:18 am
Unlike what some others say on here, I'm one of the hard-working government employees... so take your comments and shove em! haha
Of course, there are certain government jobs that are anything but cushy and overpaid, but they are the minority, it seems. Nurses, for example. But no one goes into nursing for the 'minimal work and easy money', of that I'm sure.
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Jul 4, 2004
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Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm
We all know that getting a permanent job with the government means smooth sailing and minimal work for easy money! Nothing beats a government job and nothing beats being overpaid and underworked! lol

...

Here are some questions to discuss:

1. Is it good to go through an HR agency? (excel HR, etc)

2. Does jobs.gc.ca actually work?

3. What is the best methods or mediums to go through to get good jobs?

4. What type of government jobs pay well?

5. Security clearance, whats that all about?

6. Who does these security clearance?


...
Sincerely
Ali
You gotta to be careful with comments like that ... you never know if it will come back to haunt you (I wouldn't be surprised if any government employees that reads this thread is more hesitant about hiring anybody named Ali for a while ...)

As far as getting a job, I think the easiest way by far is through connections (family, friends, etc) - I suspect that a large portion of positions are filled this way (it's not just favoritism here, as a employer, it's much easier to hire someone if you get a personal recommendation). After that, getting hired as a student and / or right out of school is that way to go then I think temp agencies is probably the easiest way. Jobs.gc.ca does work but you have to realize that for every position you apply for, they probably get several hundred applications for it as well (law of averages says that you need to apply to several hundred positions before you'll get chosen).

As far as the pay, you can just look it up; it's all available on their website. In my opinion, some of the positions pay quite well (probably much better than the employees would be able to get for a similar job elsewhere) but others aren't as good. Personally, I'm in IT and if I were to leave my current position with the private industry to join the government, I'd probably have to take a $15-20k/year cut. Senior management / director salaries are the same, while you can probably make a good $150k/year with the government, the same candidate, could possibly make $300k+/year with a private company. Legal counsels are in the same boat; I think with the government, they can probably make $120-$150k, in private practice they could make 2 or 3 times than that (or even much more) if they are successful. As you mentioned, one of the great pluses of government jobs is the benefits, pension and probably most importantly, job security (once you're in, you are pretty much in for life). Contract rates are generally good and can be great but it really depends on the contract - some of crap.

Security is done by the companies that hold it (e.g. private company, temp agency, government agency, etc) and depends on the level. How long you go back and who else in your family has to do it depends on the level. You can't just do it yourself.
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Nov 8, 2002
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Octavius wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 11:24 pm
The number 1 way that I'm aware of that seems to work (myself included) is if your name gets pulled in the student lottery that is FSWEP (Federal Student Work Experience Program). If you get pulled, you work in 3 month blocks indefinitely until your graduate (assuming your boss likes you of course...if not they can just choose not to renew you at the next 3 month block). Once you graduate you can get "bridged in" to a permanent position with no competition...no nothing. You're permanent right there if they have a position open for you that you can do. Starting pay is usually around 45-50k/year for entry level positions...similar to what you were doing as a student...but with a bit more responsibilities.

The MAJOR downside to FSWEP is that it is a lottery. There are 90,000 students on the service...and there's only about 7,000 jobs available during the summer/year. Your name may never get pulled. Mine did though...twice.

EDIT: Also, under FSWEP...after being there for 6 months you start contributing to the government pension AND you get the health/dental benefits too (which are VERY good...and dirt cheap too!)
I am working a job right now I got through FSWEP, and if your boss(es) like you, you are eligible to get renewed. My bosses must like me because they're talking about having me back part time while I'm in school. And I think FSWEP is in 4 month blocks.

In terms of getting the job, I was offered 4 interviews (Agriculture Canada, Statistics Canada, Office of the Secretary of the GG, Department of National Defence), and ended up going to two interviews (I got offers for two interviews right after I accepted the job I took anyway). The pay for FSWEP is lower than what I was getting in private industry for a comparable job. I think FSWEP pay ranges from $11 to $18 for undergrads (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpub ... .asp#appA). I am in a good pay grade though for my experience and education (relative to FSWEP pay).

I think the starting pay for FSWEP to full-time (after graduation) depends on the position. You can tell if you're FSWEP what you'd get paid by looking at what area and pay grade your co-workers are, and you can see what the pay scale is for that.

http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/hrpub ... taux_e.asp

From what I've heard, if you worked for Federal Government before or other levels of government (or for contractors of the government) and have had a background check resulting in a clearance level (classified, secret, top secret, etc) and/or an ERC (enhanced reliability check), it's a bit easier to get a job. Basically it shows that you've been pre-screened (education, past jobs, background, etc). Keep in mind that ERC lasts for 10 years after you get it, and clearance levels last for 5-10 years depending on what level you are cleared for. My current clearance went through about 1.5 weeks after I submitted my application.

Generally for security check, they as for intermediate relatives, past employment and housing situation for the last 5-10 years, education, references, criminal charges, and I heard for the higher levels they contact your neighbours. A lot of the time, you don't even need the security clearance you get for your job, it's moreso a "just-in-case" you see something you shouldn't precaution. So for example if you're in IT, you probably would need Secret or higher as you may help a high level employee with their computer and have access to their data. Keep in mind that just because you're cleared for Secret doesn't mean you are allowed to see ALL Secret level information, just the stuff you're listed to see.

As for what jobs require a security clearance, all the jobs I received call backs for required at minimum an ERC done, some required a clearance level.
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Dec 22, 2005
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Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm

Here are some questions to discuss:

1. Is it good to go through an HR agency? (excel HR, etc)
I got mine through bugging the hell out of the HR manager.. :)
Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm
2. Does jobs.gc.ca actually work?
Don't know a single person in my area that got one through there.
Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm
3. What is the best methods or mediums to go through to get good jobs?
I watched the gov't web sites almost religiously. When I saw something I was qualified for, I was very aggressive in getting my interview. I called and called (politely of course) and basically asked what I had to do in order to be considered.
Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm
4. What type of government jobs pay well?
My job in IT probably pays about 10% less than what I'd get elsewhere. That's more than made up by the benefits and pensions. OMERS is a great pension fund. I'm going to retire making a lot of money.. :)
Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm
5. Security clearance, whats that all about?

6. Who does these security clearance?
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No idea. I signed a paper for them to check me out. Apparently I passed.
Lebstyle wrote:
Jul 3rd, 2007 10:30 pm
Lets make this as detailed and lively as possible to get the maximum amount of info. I know most of the RFDERS here are good at getting inside scoops and all information will be of great help! I am located in Ottawa so I am assuming that most of the government jobs will be here in Ottawa but feel free to add your input even if your somewhere else!

Sincerely
Ali
I love my job and work hard at it. If it wasn't for me and my cow-orkers there would be a lot of extremely unhappy officials stumbling about even worse than usual trying to do their jobs.

As for the soft and cushy comment, please FO. Thank you for your cooperation.

ETA: Oh yes forgot I'm provincial, not federal.
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