Hiring, orientation and termination

Throughout the employment life cycle, there are opportunities to protect psychological health and safety while meeting organizational goals and objectives. This includes considering accessibility, inclusion and equity. These tips and strategies can help.

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The impact on the psychological health and safety of employees matters throughout the employment lifecycle, but can be especially critical at times of hiring, orientation and termination. What follows are tips and strategies to protect all those involved in hiring and firing.

Recruitment strategies  

  • Job descriptions that are clear, relevant, and capture the essential skills and abilities necessary to succeed on the job.
  • Job titles and pronouns that are gender neutral, such as “server” rather than “waiter” or “waitress”.
  • An application process that is accessible to all candidates, including those with disabilities, by providing alternative formats or technologies and offering space for candidates to state their accommodation needs.
  • Family-friendly benefits such as flexible scheduling, childcare support, or paid parental leave should be highlighted.
  • Personal information such as names, gender, and age being removed from resumes during the initial screening to reduce unconscious bias.
  • Standardized interview questions, meaning all candidates get asked the same things.
  • Interview questions that centre around behaviours or work samples, rather than opinions or self-assessments.
  • Where relevant, use inclusive employment agencies and resources, such as:

Job interview tips 

Before the interview:

  • Ensure interviewers are aware of how their body language, eye contact, interpersonal skills and interviewing techniques can be optimized to be supportive of all candidates.
  • Before the interview, give each candidate:
    • clear and complete instructions to successfully log in (if the interview is virtual)
    • an idea of how long the interview will be
    • the style of interview:
      • in-person, on the phone, video chat
      • with one interviewer or more
      • on their own or with multiple candidates
      • a single or multiple interview process 
    • how the information they provide might be shared, why and with whom
    • sample questions that will be asked
    • any job-related testing that will be requested
  • The interview location should be comfortable in terms of seating, lighting, ventilation and temperature
  • In both in-person and online settings, minimize distractions and interruptions.

During the interview:

  • Welcome the candidate by name
  • Introduce them to everyone in the room or online
  • Have them introduce themselves
  • Offer a brief overview of the interview process 
  • Ask if they have any questions before you begin
  • When you have concluded your questions, ask if they have any questions for you
  • Give the date by which they can expect a decision from you
  • Thank them for being part of the interview

Hiring decision tips:

  • Use recruiters and hiring managers trained to understand diverse cultures and backgrounds, recognize unconscious bias in hiring decisions or processes, and conduct fair assessments.
  • Conduct regular audits to assess the diversity and inclusivity of the recruitment process and make data-driven improvements.
  • Evaluate only those skills necessary for the job when assessing the candidate’s ability to perform on the job.
  • Consider volunteer and internship experiences along with job history.
  • If checking foreign employment references is tricky, accept local references (for example references from local schools, community organizations, volunteer roles, etc. that have worked with the candidate in this country).

Orientation strategies

Psychologically safe orientation strategies has tips to enhance the orientation process for new employees or current employees taking on new roles. Ideas and strategies that foster connection, provide clear expectations and support each employee’s growth within the organization are included.

Performance management

Performance management has many resources for supporting performance in a psychologically safe way, even when mental health is an issue. These strategies focus on solutions that also support employee well-being.


Terminating employees can be done in a psychologically safer way. Termination of an employee will always include some level of stress for all concerned. Certainly, for the employee who is being let go, but potentially also for the person responsible for letting them know, their leader and their co-workers. Termination and layoff planning has many strategies to help minimize the risks to psychological safety.

Additional resources

These are just a few of the issues that employers and human resources professionals deal with. Many more strategies, tools and resources are available in Organizational strategies which focuses on policies and programs, and People leader approaches which focuses on employee concerns and team building.

Contributors include.articlesLindsay CrawfordMary Ann BayntonWorkplace Strategies team 2022 to present

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