Business Development Bank of Canada Values International Experience

A recent Canadian survey ranks jobs in finance in the top ten per cent of hard-to-fill positions. Yet the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) continues to hire qualified people into their commercial banking departments.

How does BDC secure candidates for roles that require both experience and specific skills? BDC recognizes international academic credentials and professional experience during the hiring process.

When human resource professionals and hiring managers at BDC review resumes, they don’t seek Canadian experience exclusively. They scan the resume for competencies and skills essential for the job.

Finding the Right Organizational Fit

One way candidates demonstrate their competence for the job is by writing a financial test as part of the interview process. This test assesses their credit and finance proficiency. BDC hiring staff wants to know if you understand financial statements. If you do, it does not matter where you acquired those skills.

Cécile Cournoyer, Director of Talent Management, explains skilled immigrants are often hired at BDC because the organization values their overseas experience. “Finding the right cultural fit for our organization means hiring someone with relevant previous experience, regardless of where it was obtained.”

References and experience from abroad are verified the same way as Canadian credentials: Everyone is reference checked. Phone calls are made to prior employers and educational institutions, whether international or Canadian.

Retaining Talent

BDC is serious about retaining their skilled immigrant talent. They conduct internal information sessions to help staff interpret cultural differences. These “awareness sessions” explain how workplace behaviours and expectations can differ from culture to culture. Typical workplace scenarios like meeting discussions are addressed. Staff gains an understanding of cultural preferences, like having a prompt start and agenda directed discussion, versus prioritizing greetings and placing importance on relationships over tasks.

The importance of maintaining a diverse workforce is also built into management development. Diversity is a part of leaders’ competencies and BDC Core Values, and both are integrated into performance management. Leaders are also provided with a guide to help them integrate diversity to maintain an inclusive work environment and maximize their team’s effectiveness. The guide includes specific Diversity Performance Indicators (Click here to view a list of these indicators).

BDC clearly values their skilled immigrant employees. The synergy created from having a diverse workforce has strengthened relationships with the clients they serve.

Tips for Employers

  • Have candidates prove their proficiency by writing a test during the interview.
  • Strengthen leadership by developing clear Diversity Performance Indicators.

The Business Development Bank of Canada is a federal Crown corporation that provides financing and business consulting services to small and medium-sized businesses. BDC, which has about 1,700 employees and is based in Montreal, was recognized as one of the Best Employers for New Canadians in both 2008 and 2009.

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