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Government looking to hire ‘wizards’

Magic may be required to keep a straight face.

The Treasury Board of Canada is looking to hire “wizards.”

It sounds like a joke, but a job posting for “Various Administrative Wizardry Positions,” has been posted on the on the GC Jobs site for the past few months.

I can’t imagine what the Treasury Board needs wizards for, unless it’s to magic the budget into balancing itself.

The posting goes on to ask, “Are you a Gryffindor (brave, loyal, courageous and adventurous), a Ravenclaw (wise, creative, clever and knowledgeable), a Hufflepuff (hardworking, dedicated, fair, patient) or a Slytherin (resourceful, ambitious, determined and crave leadership)?”

The wizards the government wants are not modern-day spiritual healers or spell casters. The actual experience they’re looking for is mostly administrative support services with a minimum of one-year experience – so what seems like a fantastically fun position is likely a lot of entry-level paper pushing.

While the description implies that they are open to all types of candidates, the reference is lost on those who are not Harry Potter fans. It goes on:

“We are looking for strong and motivated candidates that are interested in making an impact on Canadian citizens. With our Talent Management Program, we will help you grow, learn and further develop your magical career within the Public Service. Come and let TBS become your home away from home!”

“No matter what ‘house’ you belong to, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) has various teams that we would love to use our ‘sorting hat’ to place you into.”

The first-round selection of applicants was advertised as taking place April 8. It seems the idea is to funnel applicants through an interesting posting and hope that enough qualified people apply to fill actual vacant positions with the treasury board.

It’s a tactic we’ve seen used in the past, by companies like Mail Chimp (spoofing Napoleon Dynamite) and digital and technology strategy firm RapidValue Solutions when they advertised they were looking to hire superheroes. But what works well in digital media or tech falls incredibly flat on a templated federal government job website.

In fact, when my husband first stumbled across the ad, we were both convinced it was some sort of joke.

The main problem is the advertised job title and accompanying description really doesn’t align with the actual expected work and just because applicants might be young doesn’t mean they won’t see right through that. We probably wouldn’t blink if Microsoft advertised for “wizards.” But on a federal government website it’s incredibly jarring.

The Treasury Board did not respond to requests for comment about the postings or the position, but the jobs are advertised as permanent, acting and temporary with an annual salary of $57,430 to $61,877.

Not bad – so long as you can muster up a little magic.

Ada Slivinski is the Founder & Principal of Jam PR, a boutique agency focused on helping small businesses get big exposure. You can reach her at [email protected]