Case Study

How the Department of National Defence Increased the Representation of Visible Minorities Within the Executive Cadre


Federal Departments & Agencies

Annual applicant volume


Knockri helped the Department of National Defence (DND) make fundamental and long-lasting change in support of increasing representation and Diversity and Inclusion (D&I)

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Following the delivery of a number of presentations as well as the sharing of raw and vulnerable stories, leaders heard profoundly that not all Defence Team members felt welcome, safe nor were treated with the same level of human dignity and respect as their Defence Team colleagues. In addition to the persistent manifestations of racist thoughts and behaviours, micro – and macro-aggressions, there were related impacts on both mental health and wellbeing as well as systemic barriers for opportunities and promotion.

The July 27th discussion, precipitated a number of recommendations to address racial and systemic barriers within Defence. In a joint message to the Defence Team, the Deputy Minister and the Chief of Defence Staff affirmed their commitment to taking bold, decisive action to root out racial discrimination and hateful conduct all while promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Visible minorities were screened out more often than their counterparts

The representation of Black candidates decreased

Black individuals made up 10% of job applicants yet only 6.6% of those hired

The time has come for us to make major advances, not minor improvements. We have had several discussions and I know that you all share in this commitment which the Government and Canadians expect us to accomplish.

– I. Shugart Clerk of the Privy Council

The Knockri Solution

The primary objective of the EX-01 Visible Minority Recruitment Campaign was to increase the representation of visible minorities with high-calibre candidates. With the support of the Fairness and Transparency Panel and the Assessment Board, as well as support from third-party vendors and hiring managers, innovative assessment platforms were piloted to prioritize, without bias, top-tier candidates to fill immediate as well as future EX-01 opportunities.

The Knockri platform itself leveraged behavioural-based interviews which is a widely recognized selection methodology and one of the strongest predictors of future job performance. Several factors contributed towards a positive experience including the efficient assessment of over 400 candidates in less than seven days.

The platform also provided an opportunity for candidate feedback which generated an average rating of 4.4/5 for experience, thereby increasing the likelihood that qualified candidates would continue in the selection process.

It is both intolerable and insensitive if we simply wait and hope that the barriers will disappear with time. Equality in employment will not happen unless we make it happen.

– Royal Commission Report

The Outcome

The reverse-engineered process facilitated the achievement of key outcomes by facilitating an objective and fair assessment of candidates while removing biases and barriers at the various stages. By inviting ALL applicants to complete Knockri’s KLC assessment, inclusion and opportunity were maximized by eliminating what is deemed as the most biased and subjective step in the hiring process, the screening of applications.

Women and persons with a disability (close to 20%) were among the candidates with the highest success rates;

When looking at visible minority subgroups, South Asian / East Indian had a significant higher success rate than the average.

The women’s higher success rates can be seen across most of the visible minority subgroups.

PS employees had a success rate that was double the one of non-PS employees. Similar results can be seen across all EE groups and visible minority subgroups

Beyond the above and likely the most important, this recruitment campaign provided for a unique opportunity to become acquainted with the candidates, learn about their journeys, their successes as well as tribulations. This in turn has positioned HR to look at new ways of doing things and sharing our experience and above all to challenge ourselves to think differently. This momentum cannot end as increasing diversity and nurturing deeper and more meaningful inclusion is a commitment and there is more work to do. Ensuring all individuals have an opportunity to realize their full potential is not a privilege, it’s a right.

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