Outside of pandemic years, the OFAH staffing grows a lot every summer, with often more than two dozen students, interns, or seasonal staff hired for our programs like the Invading Species Awareness Program (ISAP), Tackleshare, Get Outdoors summer camps, and the OFAH|Mario Cortelucci Hunting and Fishing Heritage Centre.
ISAP actually hires many students hosted by partner organizations who do their own hiring, but some work out of our head office and are hired by us. Permanent and contract positions here are available less frequently, but they do pop up. Even in 2020 we hired our regular spring/summer OFAH/BrokerLink Fish and Wildlife Conservation Intern, two ISAP contract positions and an OOD Assistant Digital Editor.
As a not-for-profit non-government organization with interests in conservation and representing the fishing and hunting community, we are particular in what we look for in candidates and we often see applicants who could have been successful at getting an interview, or interviewees who could have been successful at the interview but weren’t. A couple of us who frequently hire for the Fish and Wildlife Department have put together this short guide to help applicants better understand some of the things the OFAH is looking for – and, for what it’s worth, most of this advice will also help with any job application in the conservation and environmental fields.
First – and this is important – all the basic cover letter and resume writing, interviewing advice, and training you’ve gotten still applies. We aren’t going to repeat that in detail here, but remember:
- Look professional, check for typos and poor grammar, be on time, make sure you use the correct title of the position you’re applying for and know the name of the staff person you’re sending your application to.
- We aren’t looking to get in a discussion about the position when the job posting is open – we’ll make the necessary accommodations to those who require them for accessibility, but we aren’t going to discuss whether we think you’re a suitable candidate, or whether we can change X, Y, or Z about the job to make it better for you.
- Read the job ad carefully, listen to the interview questions carefully.
- In your cover letter, resume and interview, make connections between your education and experience and the requirements and duties of the position. Show us, don’t just tell us, you’re a good candidate by using detailed examples, numbers, and outcomes.
Now, based on our collective history of hundreds of interviews, here are some specific things to think about before an interview:
- Even if you’ve been a lifelong member of the OFAH, make sure you know the OFAH. Our communications staff put in a lot of effort into our website and social media accounts, and they die a little inside when we ask about the OFAH’s fish and wildlife policy activities and the answer back is “the OFAH has been around since 1928 and is the voice of anglers and hunters”. There’s a lot of content available, please use it.
- Developing that thought further, please also learn about the specific department or program(s) the job is part of. Check out some of our most recent burning issues or program-specific social media.
- Don’t confuse us with MNRF. We don’t issue licences, we don’t assess Ontario’s deer population (we assess the assessment), and we don’t enforce regulations.
- We want passionate people to work for us, people with a great love for Ontario’s natural heritage. But we also need people who can do the job according to the duties and requirements we’ve listed. So don’t build all of your answers around telling us about your passion for the conservation field. You can tell us once, then let us hear about your passion through your descriptions of how you best meet the needs of the position and your education and experience. Relating a time where you safely worked through poor weather to complete a critical assessment tells us plenty about your passion.
- We don’t necessarily require staff to be active anglers and hunters, it usually depends upon the job, but we do expect staff to understand conservation and the role of anglers and hunters in it.
All the best in your applications and interviews – if you’re interested in work at the OFAH, please follow along on social media and look at our jobs page regularly, but in particular through March/April (summer jobs and internship) and October (winter internship).