Careers - Selection Process
Here is an overview of the conservation officer selection process. While the number and order of these steps may vary, applicants should expect the process to take upwards of 3-4 months.
Submit Your Application
Once you have determined you can satisfy the position’s basic requirements, submit your application for an advertised vacancy using the BC Public Service Job Opportunities website.
You may be required to complete a short questionnaire at the time your application is submitted. The questionnaire records basic information on the nature and extent of your qualifications and is used to assist with the short-listing process.
Be sure your application clearly and concisely identifies how you meet the position’s selection criteria, including:
- Work experience
- Skills and abilities
Once the posting closes, applications are reviewed to identify candidates whose qualifications meet the position’s selection criteria. If a large number of applicants satisfy the position’s minimum requirements, the Conservation Officer Service may create a short-list using preferred qualifications identified in the job posting. Short listed applicants will be invited to an interview.
At this stage applicants will be directed to provide proof of the following documents in order to participate in the interview:
- Valid driver’s license, Class 5 or higher
- Occupational First Aid Level 1 or equivalent
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) Certification
- Completion of the Canadian Firearms Safety Course
- Completion of CORE Hunter Safety or provincial equivalent
Applicants who are invited to an interview will be provided with 2-3 weeks’ notice in order to prepare and make any necessary travel arrangements.
- Applicants’ expenses are not covered unless the applicant is a current employee of the BC Public Service.
Estimated completion time for short listing is 1-2 weeks.
Prior to the start of the interview candidates must agree to meet the terms and conditions outlined in the:
- Conservation Officer Service Willingness Statement (PDF)
- Standards of Personal Deportment Agreement (PDF)
At this stage candidates will submit proof of successful completion of the PARE physical abilities test to the recruit standard of 4:45 minutes
While the invitation package will provide you with some important tips to help you prepare, you can generally expect the following in your interview:
- The panel will be comprised of three to four persons.
- It will run approximately 60 minutes
- It will assess your life skills, experience and abilities
- It will focus on competency-based questions.
While this is a difficult stage for many candidates, the key to success is preparation. This is particularly true with respect to a competency-based assessment, where applicants must describe how they have demonstrated the position’s behavioural competencies. To do so, you may draw on experiences from work, school, volunteering or personal life. As well, while examples should be as recent as possible, a good example from five years ago is better than a weak example from six months ago.
Past Work Performance (Reference) Checks
Past work performance is one of the best predictors of future performance and will be assessed for all top-ranked applicants (i.e. those applicants who may be placed on an eligibility list). At this stage in the process, the assessment of past work performance will involve employment references, one of which must be from your current or most recent supervisor.
A reference check involves seeking factual, job-related evidence from a third party who has observed the applicant at work and then evaluating that information to assess its veracity. Such an assessment can serve several purposes, including:
- Validation of the information provided during the panel interview
- Gathering additional evidence of past achievements to better predict future performance
- Confirmation of employment history, including the dates of previous jobs and the reasons for leaving
- Testing assumptions or clarifying concerns that have arisen during the selection process
Estimated completion time for Past Work Performance checks is 1-2 weeks.
Following reference checks, top ranked applicants will be placed on an eligibility list through which conditional offers of employment will be made. The number of eligible applicants placed on a specific list will depend on the number of anticipated vacancies for the coming year.
Subsequent to the above, the Conservation Officer Service will finalize the list in rank order of merit. The number of employment offers will be limited at this point in time to the number of spaces which have been allocated to the COS for the Western Conservation Law Enforcement Academy (WCLEA).
WCLEA is a joint recruit training initiative of conservation law enforcement agencies from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, the Yukon Territory, and British Columbia.
Recruit officers spend 16 weeks at WCLEA. Currently, the curriculum places heavy emphasis on field skills and legal studies, including classroom and practical instruction in the following areas:
Once a conditional offer of employment is accepted, an applicant must qualify through the following assessments:
- Security Screening
- Medical Assessment
- Psychological Assessment
If found suitable following security screening and a medical and psychological evaluation, the applicant will be able to attend WCLEA.
New Officer Field Training
Upon graduation from WCLEA, new officers spend up to two years under the mentorship of an experienced conservation officer, or “field trainer”, applying and refining the knowledge and skills gained during WCLEA.
Where possible, field training will occur at or near the officer’s first point of assembly. Upon successful completion of the New Officer Field Training Program, most officers will be promoted to the CO24 level.