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Job interview questions to be avoided

Human Rights Commission

4 August

Job interview questions to be avoided

Are you going to have kids? Do you have New Zealand experience? Can I get the cops to check you out? What are you going to do for me if I give you the job?

These are questions no one should have to answer in a job interview because they risk breaching the Human Rights Act. So to help both employers and job seekers to know their rights and responsibilities in the hiring process, the Human Rights Commission has launched Getting a job, an A to Z of pre-employment guidelines.

The concise, plain-language guidelines tackle questions commonly fielded by the Commission ─ about 5 per cent of new inquiries and complaints to the Commission’s Infoline are about pre-employment issues such as job advertising, applications, interviews and candidate selection. All the curly issues are covered, from body piercings and credit checks, to sexual harassment and drug testing.

Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Judy McGregor says Getting a job focuses on skills, competencies and experience which allow employers to select staff against objective criteria.
“Things can go wrong when those applying for jobs believe they’ve been discriminated against because, for example, of their gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or disability.”

The Human Rights Act protects people from discrimination in their working lives and it is in everyone’s best interest to get it right from the start ─ staff turnover costs employers who have to re-advertise positions and retrain staff and job applicants need to feel they are being treated fairly.

Employer organisations, unions and employment and recruitment experts have contributed to the guidelines which promote equality and fairness for all applicants.

Professor of work and employment at AUT University, Erling Rasmussen, says the guidelines should “make it easier to tackle the employment situation and also enhance the standard of employment practices”.

Jacqui Barratt, director of Salt recruitment and president of the Recruitment and Consulting Services Organisation (RCSA), says she’ll be keeping a copy of Getting a job on her desk. “What I like about it is the simplicity. It’s not about legal jargon; it’s easy to understand.”

Getting a job available at www.hrc.co.nz from 4 August or call 0800 496 877.


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