Interviewing :

Interviewing and Hiring Guidelines

Interviewing is an important part of the hiring process. Rushing through an interview to fill a position can be costly to an organization. It is important to find the right fit (employee attitude) that aligns with your company and the people who work there and to ensure that the candidate has the right skills and qualifications to do the job  you are hiring them for. To hire the most qualified candidates, human resource professionals and hiring managers should research how to conduct interviews effectively. Failure to properly prepare for an interview can lead to legal issues. Employers need to be aware of Employment Standards for their province (Canadian) or of federal and state prohibitions on asking certain types of questions during employment interviews. 

Click here to try our handy Interview Question Tool!

Recommendations for Hiring Practices

( These are general recommendations for guidance only. Please consult your local provincial or state laws)

1. Preparing a Job Description

If one does not exist, it is important to prepare a written job description. The job description should focus on the actual work performed and the necessary skills required to do the job. In noting the qualifications, avoid referring directly to grounds under the Human Rights Code or Employment Equity Laws that may prevent or discourage people from applying for the job.
Example: Job descriptions that indicate a preference for a nurse with Canadian experience may limit applications from new Canadians, and could be perceived as discrimination based on race, place of origin or ethnic origin.

2. Posting the job

A job posting should be prepared based on the qualifications of the job and advertised within the organization or posted externally. This ensures a fair and open competition and prevents others from being excluded.

3. Job Qualifications

When conisdering the job qualifications, ensure that they are a requirement of the job or necessary to accomplish the work being performed.

Avoid listing preferences such as “mature candiates only” as this can be perceived as discrimination based on age.

4. Resume / Candidate Screening

When screening for resumes it is helpful to have a checklist based on the job description. Do not base your selection directly or indirectly, on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.

5. Interviewing

Prepare in advance a list of interview questions that are based on the requirements of the job. It is helpful to ask all candiate the same set of questions to ensure consistency. Be aware that Employers have an obligation to accomodate candidates during the interview or testing process. If an applicant discloses a disability to you in the interview process avoid questions relating to the disability or to the diagnosis. The employer does have the right to make inquiries about the accomodation needs but not to the disability itself. Interview questions should be limited to the candiates ability to perform the essential duties of the job.

5. Selecting Your Candidate

When it time to conduct references for your candidate ensure that your questions are directly related to the ability to do the job. If a candidate will not be able to perform all or part of an essential job requirement(s) because of a personal characteristic listed in the Code, the employer has a duty to accommodate. It is only when the applicant cannot do the essential tasks of the job, once a reasonable accommodation has been provided, that the employer may refuse to hire on this basis. An accommodation must be made unless it would cause undue hardship.

Guide to Human Rights Hiring

The following list is an example of inappropriate questions or remarks based on prohibited grounds of the Human Rights Code.

1. Race / colour / ancestry / place of origin / ethnic origin / citizenship

Questions about or relating to physical characteristics such as colour of eyes, hair, skin, height or weight.
Questions about mother tongue.
Questions about or relating to birth-place, nationality of ancestors, spouse and other relatives or Canadian citizenship.
Offensive remarks of a racist nature and remarks about the race, ancestry or parents’ origin.
What country do you come from?
What is your nationality?
Where are your parents/grandparents from?
Why don’t you have an accent?

2. Creed/ Religion

Questions about creed or religion, unless they are asked by a special interest organization such as a church.
What is your religion?
Are you of religion x? I’m not.
Would you have concerns working with people not of religion x?

3. Sex

Remarks of a sexual nature or sexist comments.
Note: Questions about gender if gender is a reasonable and genuine requirement for a particular job, such as employment in a shelter for women escaping violence, may be appropriate. Other questions concerning the applicant’s sex, including questions about pregnancy or child-bearing plans, are inappropriate.Do you plan to have children?
When do you plan to have children and how many?
Are you pregnant?
Will you be taking maternity leave in the next 5 years?

4. Sexual Orientation

All questions about or relating to sexual orientation.

What is your sexual orientation?

5. Gender Identity or Gender Expression

All questions about or relating to gender identity or gender expression

6. Record of Offences

Questions about record of offence are inappropriate, except those to determine whether the applicant has been convicted of a criminal offence for which a pardon has not been granted (those questions are allowed).

7. Disability

Questions directly related to the applicant’s ability to perform the essential duties of the job are allowed, but all other questions concerning the applicant’s disability are inappropriate.
How come you are using a wheelchair?
Have you been blind all your life?
What is your medical condition?

8. Age

Questions about age are inappropriate unless age is a reasonable and genuine requirement to qualify for the position. (Age is defined as 18 years and older in the employment context in the Code)
Won’t you be retiring soon?
You dont seem old enough to be a manager?

9. Marital Status

Questions about marital status are inappropriate unless marital status is a reasonable and genuine requirement for employment. For example, questions about or relating to marital status if the employer has a nepotism or an anti-nepotism policy to grant or withhold employment or advancement in employment to a person who is a spouse of the employer or an employee may be appropriate.

Are you single or married?
How will you balance having kids, a husband and a job?

10. Family Status

Questions about family status are not appropriate unless the employer has a nepotism or an anti-nepotism policy to grant or withhold employment or advancement in employment to a person who is a child or parent of the employer or an employee. In those cases, such questions may be appropriate.

Are you married?
Do you have children?

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