Inspired to Hire

Get Set for Success

This is it! You’ve decided it’s time to hire!

The time and effort you spend during the hiring process is an investment in the future of your business. It’s important to create a hiring process that will work for you. It’ll help you find and get more qualified youth candidates, and hire and keep the best.

An Opportunity to Stay Up-To-Date

If you plan on hiring, take advantage of this time to review your existing policies and procedures. Look to see if there are simple, low-cost ways that you can make your organization more appealing to youth.

Also, take this time to look for and remove any biases from your recruitment processes. You don’t want to risk losing great candidates by not being inclusive to the youth you interview.

  • Do you have documented standards for hiring?
  • Is your application process simple and easy?
  • Do you use common, clear language throughout the process?
  • Did you share your recruitment and assessment process with each candidate?
  • Is your screening process based on the job description?
  • Do the people involved in the screening process know how to avoid bias?
  • Could you include younger employees on the interview panel?

To assess biases within your organization, use the Eliminating Bias Worksheet provided in the Diversify section of the Resources tab.

Youth Hiring Resources

Take the time to look for resources and programs that can help you find and employ youth. There are federal, provincial, regional, and sector resources and programs that may help.

Federal Youth Employment Resources

Check the Government of Canada’s website for current youth employment programs, grants and contributions. One such program is Canada Summer Jobs.

Canada Summer Jobs provides funding to help employers create summer job opportunities for students. Funding is available to not-for-profit organizations, public-sector employers, and small businesses with 50 or fewer employees.

Provincial Youth Employment Resources

The Government of Nova Scotia, Department of Labour and Advanced Education provides several options for employers looking to hire youth.

About the Program

Graduate to Opportunity is helping to build a stronger workforce and retain well-educated young people in Nova Scotia with a salary incentive that makes it easier to hire recent graduates. Employers receive 25% of the first year’s salary – 35% if the new grad is a member of designated diversity group – and 12.5% of the second year’s salary.

GTO is available to:

  • Small businesses of fewer than 100 employees.
  • Start-up companies incorporated within two years of the application date.
  • Social enterprises, not-for-profit organizations and registered charities with recognized standing.

To be eligible for the program, employers must create a new, permanent, full-time position that’s based in Nova Scotia and pays at least $30,000 a year. The new hire cannot begin work until final approval is confirmed through the program.

Eligible graduates have successfully completed a post-secondary program within a year of the date the employer application is received. (Please see for a list of the post-secondary institutions this program recognizes.)

Apprentices in registered trades are not eligible for Graduate to Opportunity.

About the Program

The Co-op Education Incentive provides wage assistance to private sector, government-funded and non-profit organizations offering career-related work experiences for university and community college co-operative students.

Employers pay students a minimum of $15.00 per hour plus 4% vacation pay. CO-OP will reimburse $7.50 per hour to a maximum of 40 hours per week. Employers participating in IRAP and SR&ED are eligible for an “R&D Incentive” and may receive up to $10.00 per hour.


Private sector, government-funded and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply and are required to provide at least one of the following:

  • Registry of Joint Stocks number
  • CRA Charities number
  • A copy of legal documentation/Act of Legislature that identifies how assets will be distributed upon dissolution of the organization.

Students considered for hiring must be enrolled in a co-operative education program at a Nova Scotia university or college. Their field of study should relate to the job.

Deadlines and Important Dates

You’ll want to check the website for when applications are available, deadlines for submission, and program dates for the winter, summer, and fall terms.

About the Program

The Student Summer Skills Incentive offers wage assistance to non-profit organizations that provide quality, career-related summer jobs to students going into university or community college in the fall.


Non-profit organizations and registered charities are eligible to apply.

Applicants are required to provide one of the following:

  • An active Society's Act number
  • Canada Revenue Agency's Registered Charity number
  • Official documentation. This document must clearly demonstrate the organization's assets would not be distributed to members upon dissolution.

Once approved, the student(s) considered for hiring must be:

  • Registered at a post-secondary institution and returning to the same institution for the fall of the current year.
  • Registered at a post-secondary institution and transferring to another in the fall of the current year.
  • A graduating grade-12 student who is enrolled full-time in a university or college program in the coming fall term.
Deadlines and Important Dates

Applications are open once a year, from mid-December to January.

To apply for funding with the province, you’ll need to register your organization in the Labour Market Programs Support System (LaMPSS). It’s a one-time process, completed the first time you apply for funding. Once you’re registered, your information is stored and shared by departments managing labour market funding agreements within LaMPSS. LaMPSS provides you with the ability to:

  • Submit applications for funding online
  • Submit activity and financial reports online
  • View current and past funding agreements and payment history
  • Update your own organization’s information
  • Identify your government contact person for information on your agreement(s)
  • Receive ongoing user/technical support
About the Resource

Nova Scotia Works employment services centres help Nova Scotians understand, prepare for, and fill the needs of the province’s job market. Nova Scotia Works also helps businesses recruit, manage and develop the talent they need to be more productive here at home and around the world.

Visit to view the network of Nova Scotia Works centres across the province.

Further information about these resources can be found in the Tools section of this page.

Look to Your Sector Councils

Many sector associations and councils can provide support in promoting and attracting young recruits. They do significant work in making youth aware of the sector and requirements, and are likely to have partnerships with educational institutions at all levels.

Look Regionally

Many regional organizations offer economic development and small business grants in support of various local initiatives. While these programs may not be for hiring directly, you are in a better position to hire when you achieve business growth.

Alex Henderson

Canada Games Centre Society

"The Co-op Education incentive plays a huge role I think in terms of gaining real-life experience instead of just taking classroom knowledge. I get to put my classroom knowledge into play and see how different departments work, different jobs are taken forward and gain that real-life experience."

Amanda Mullen

AGADA Biosciences Inc.

"I use the university Co-op programs to help find and hire youth. The students do a great job, and we're able to take advantage of the funding programs, like the NSERC and the Strategic Co-operative Education Incentive program. The government websites are useful, they always have whatever programs are running, like funding available for students. The university websites are also great."

Brian Aird

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network

"Often students aren't attracted to a not-for-profit. It’s a bit of a challenge to attract excellent quality students to a very small organization. We require a lot of resources when we're seeking a new student or a new person to work here. Being a small organization, we have limited resources. We have an excellent network. Our resources are our partners, the universities, and community partners who have had other co-op students in the provincial government as well. They're a very, very strong resource for us."

Karen Mutyabule

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network

"The Co-op experience gives you a real-life taste of what you learn in the classroom. So, as opposed to having the theory, you have a place where you can put into practice whatever you're learning in the classroom and get really plugged into what you're gonna potentially be doing in the future."

Tips for Successful Interviews

After reaching out to youth through job boards, social media, and your networks, you’ll begin to interview and choose candidates. If your recruitment efforts are bias-free, you increase your chances of finding some great candidates. You may want to consider bringing in a current younger worker to help conduct the interview.

When arranging the interview, let the candidate know:

  • What the interview process will be
  • Who will be interviewing them
  • Whether to bring anything with them
  • Where they will be going, along with details about parking and building access if required

Youth don’t come with a lot of experience, so look for the transferrable skills and attitudes that will help them succeed in the role.

Ask questions that allow youth to shine. This includes asking questions that let them:

  • Demonstrate work they’ve done at school, as volunteers, or on teams
  • Explain how they responded to a difficult situation
  • Identify their interests
  • Describe how they prefer to receive feedback
  • Describe their ideal workplace and day
  • Define what they want to accomplish with the job

Get Off to a Great Start

Give some thought to “onboarding:” the things you do to welcome and orient your new employee. Top employers have seen the benefit of engaging onboarding in retention, engagement, employee performance and even improved brand image.

Before the First Day

Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to:

  • Make sure that you’ve prepared any staff who are responsible for onboarding and training, laying out your expectations.
  • Create an orientation guidebook.
  • Send a reminder email to the hiring and training managers. Outline what should be covered in the orientation.
  • Let other staff know that a new employee is starting.
  • Make sure work materials such as uniforms, safety equipment, IT, and software are ready for the first day.

Send an email to the new hire to outline basic information that will make their first day more comfortable like start time, who will greet them, location (if different from the interview site), parking information, whether there is a kitchen and fridge or local restaurants, and dress code.

On the First Day

  • Walk through the work facilities. Show them their work station or site, common areas, safety equipment, break and washroom facilities, office supplies, and anything else that is important for their work.
  • Have managers introduce themselves on the first day.
  • Introduce the new hire to their coach and peers. Ideally partner them with one peer who can help answer any questions.
  • If you are orienting several people, consider creating competitive and team-building games; like a scavenger hunt to discover more about the company.
  • Share team and individual goals, priorities, and success criteria with them.
  • Review important policies with them: HR information, workplace safety and security, breaks and lunch hours, use of personal cell phones and iPods, and social media.
  • Streamline and limit any administrative work.
  • Provide preliminary training for the job and review the training plan with them.
  • Provide them with a copy of the orientation guidebook.
  • Provide a safe mechanism for new hires to ask questions without being put on the spot.

It will take youth a while to feel comfortable, so plan on having regular check points with them for the first while.