There are many questions that interviewers can ask candidates as they work to determine who is right for a particular job.Tell me about yourself? What was your greatest accomplishment in your last position? What’s your greatest weakness? Those are all fine. On the other hand, asking something like, When did you graduate high school? or Do you plan on starting a family? can lead to legal hot water.
In the United States, The Civil Rights Act established the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to weed out potential discrimination – based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and age – in how companies go about hiring employees (as well as in promoting, firing, setting wages, etc.). In Canada, The Canadian Human Rights Act established similar laws. Interview questions related to a candidate’s age, ethnicity, gender, religion, marital or family status or pregnancy must be avoided.
Here’s a rundown of questions to avoid the next time you conduct an interview.
|Topic||Illegal Questions||Legal Alternatives|
|Nationality & Citizenship||
Are you a Canadian (or, U.S.) citizen?
Where were you born?
Is English your first language?
|Are you authorized to work in Canada?|
How old are you?
When did you graduate?
What’s your birth date?
|Are you between the ages of 18 and 64?|
What’s your marital status?
Who do you live with?
Do you plan to have a family? If so, when?
How many kids do you have?
What are your child-care arrangements?
Would you be willing to relocate if necessary?
Would you be able and willing to travel as needed by the job?
Would you be able and willing to work overtime as necessary?
(These questions are okay as long as they are asked of all applicants).
How tall are you?
How much do you weigh?
Do you drink socially?
Are you able to lift a 30kg weight and carry it 100 metres, as that is part of the job?
Do you have any disabilities?
Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations?
What was the date of your last physical exam?
How’s your family’s health
When did you lose your eyesight? How?
Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job? (This question is okay if the interviewer has thoroughly described the job.)
Can you demonstrate how you would perform the following job-related functions?
Have you ever been arrested?
Have you ever been convicted of __________?
(The crime named should be reasonably related to the performance of the job in question.)