Job poster terminology

When seeking employment, it is important to be mindful of terms used in job posters and their meanings. We will briefly describe some key terms to help applicants better understand what they mean.

Anticipatory staffing

Anticipatory staffing occurs when a position is expected to be required in the future although currently there is no confirmed requirement. At the end of the competition process a position: may be filled at that time, in the future or may not be filled. This option reduces the amount of time a position is actually vacant thereby improving efficiencies and allowing the staffing process to continue, even though the vacancy hasn't been confirmed.

Assessment criteria

Once a candidate meets the screening criteria he/she will move on to the assessment stage of the competition. The assessment criteria include technical and behavioural competencies and conditions of employment (i.e. security requirements). Candidates are rated on these criteria based on predetermined answers that are scored by a selection panel. There are many options when assessing candidates including interviews, tests, role-plays, simulations, references, or other recognized method to evaluate candidates. Each competition is different and will use different assessment methods (or combination thereof). It is the results based on the assessment criteria that will determine whether or not a candidate is successful in a competition.


Assets may be indicated in the screening and/or assessment criteria section of a competition poster. An asset is considered as a "bonus" or "nice to have", but is not a minimum requirement for the position. Although candidates who have the asset criteria listed may be given preference in a competition, those who do not have them can still be considered if they meet the other criteria.


An assignment is a temporary move of an internal employee, within NRC, to temporarily perform the duties and responsibilities of a position. At the end of the assignment the employee will normally resume his/her former duties. Assignments may or may not be at a higher classification level. In order for this option to be considered in filling a position, it must be included on the competition poster.

Bilingual bonus

The bilingual bonus is an additional payment made to employees in bilingual positions who meet the language requirements of their position.

Bilingual language requirements

A bilingual position requires the use of both official languages, English and French. The position may be staffed on a bilingual imperative basis, meaning that the candidate must meet the language requirements before being appointed to the position. Alternatively, it may be staffed on a bilingual non-imperative basis, meaning that the candidate may have up to two years of language training in order to meet the language requirements. Candidates may be exempted from language training for medical reasons. They may also choose to be exempt from language training if they are at least 55 years of age, or between 53 and 55 years of age with at least 28 years of pensionable service at the time of appointment.

Language requirements are depicted by three letters (i.e. CBC, BBB, etc…). The first letter refers to the required language competency in Reading, the second to Writing, and the third to Oral Interaction. Letters C, B, and A indicate skill levels as follows:

  • C - Superior
  • B - Intermediate
  • A - Minimum
  • (-) No requirement

The code P could also appear in the linguistic profile. It indicates a requirement for language-related skills normally acquired through specialized training (i.e. shorthand, text editing) or for specialized expert proficiency in one or both official languages (i.e. translation, teaching the language). The placement of the code P in a linguistic profile denotes the language or languages in which these skills or proficiencies are to be assessed.

Additionally, you will notice that the language requirements are normally repeated on the competition poster (i.e. BBB/BBB, CBC/CBC, etc…). This is because we need to indicate the level required in English and in French for the position. In Quebec the first group of levels indicates the French requirements, while those following the backslash indicate the English requirements. In all other provinces the first group of levels indicates the English requirements, while those following the backslash indicate the French requirements. In most cases the requirements in English and French will be identical; however there are some circumstances where different levels are necessary.

Classification level

The classification level takes into consideration the duties, accountability and responsibility of a position. The job description is used to determine the classification level of the position and categorizes positions into different groups (i.e. AD-3, TO-2, IS-4, etc…) based on predetermined standards within the job categories. The classification level determines the salary range for the position. It is important to note that NRC has two duties-based job categories groups: Research Officers (RO) and Research Council Officer (RCO). In these categories where a candidate is placed along the salary scale depends on the level of individual contribution in specific areas such as Contributions to Science and Technology, or Contributions to Clients. In all other classifications (duties-based) a candidate's education and experience will determine where he/she is placed on the salary scale. In all cases relativity with other employees is taken into consideration.

Competition poster

A competition poster is the official advertisement notifying potential applicants that there is a position available. All posters are posted on the Careers section of the NRC website. They provide important details about the position including a description of the duties, the screening and assessment criteria, and information about how to apply. Competitions may be advertised internally only, externally only, or internally and externally simultaneously. Competitions may also be restricted based on geographic location in some circumstances.

Conditions of employment

Conditions of employment are a variety of requirements about a position that are listed on the competition poster. A candidate must meet and maintain these conditions throughout his or her employment while in that specific position. Conditions of Employment are normally agreed to before being appointed into a position. They include things like a security clearance, a valid driver's license, overtime work, or travel requirements.

Eligibility list

An eligibility list may be created when there is more than one successful candidate for a competition. If a similar position becomes available within a specified timeframe, an individual may be appointed from the eligibility list. In order to create an eligibility list, a note must be included on the competition poster.

External candidate

An external candidate is an applicant who applies to a position from outside of NRC. Visiting workers, students, industrial partnership facility tenants, and short-term NRC employees are all considered external candidates.

Internal candidate

An internal candidate is an existing NRC employee in a term or continuing position who applies to another position at NRC. Internal candidates are given preference over external candidates (except when applying to positions within the Management Category (MG)).

Job categories

The job categories are the various types of occupational groups that exist at NRC. There are many job categories including Administrative Support (AD), Technical Officer (TO), and Information Services (IS) to name a few.

Job description

A job description is the "who, what, where, when and why" of the position. It is used to describe the position's role and placement within the organization. It can be useful for applicants because it describes the duties and requirements of the position in greater detail than the competition poster.

Screening criteria

Screening criteria lists what an applicant must possess in order for to be given further consideration in a particular job competition. It usually includes the minimum education, language, and experience requirements for the position. Applicants must clearly demonstrate within the context of their application (résumé and cover letter) that they meet the screening criteria listed in the poster to be given further consideration as candidates. In other words, these are the basic requirements of the job. When an applicant meets these criteria, he/she will be considered for further evaluation at the assessment stage.


A secondment is a temporary situation where an individual is "on loan" to NRC from another external employer (or vice versa) based on a written Secondment Agreement. At the end of a secondment the individual normally returns to his/her former duties. In order for this option to be considered in filling a position, it must be included on the competition poster.

Statement of qualifications

The statement of qualification is a listing of basic requirements of a position, namely education, language, and experience, as well as the rated requirements of a position, which include technical and behavioural competencies. The statement of qualifications forms part of the competition poster.

Terminable allowance

The terminable allowance is an additional payment made to certain classifications as specified in the relevant collective agreement. It does not form part of an employee's salary, except for pension purposes. The main purpose of the terminable allowance is to assist with recruitment and retention of employees.


Underfilling is an option that may be used in a situation where there are no successful candidates for a competition. It can be used when a candidate was assessed as not meeting all of the requirements of the duties and responsibilities to be performed at the full level of a position, but who was assessed as having the potential to meet all of the requirements of the full level of the position if provided with training and development. In this situation, the duties will be reduced and the classification of the position downgraded to permit the selected candidate to be appointed at a lower level. A training plan which includes a target completion date is developed to assist the candidate in meeting all of the necessary competencies. In order for this option to be considered in filling a position, it must be included on the competition poster.