As an employer, it makes sense to want to get to know a few personal details about your job candidates. After all, a job interview should be a comfortable experience for both you and your potential new hire. However, it’s pretty important to keep in mind there are some probing questions which aren’t entirely appropriate during a job interview. Asking a candidate’s opinion on a recent election, for example, is probably something you want to stay from.

Many personal questions are also best left unasked. There are personal details that should not only be respected as private, but be understood as having no bearing on one’s ability to do the job. Whether someone is single, married, divorced or widowed has nothing to do with his or her professional skill set.

While some questions may appear innocent, they actually can have some serious consequences. “My husband works at Suncor, where does your husband work?” or “Does your girlfriend support your professional ambitions?” can actually backfire on you.

Firstly, and most importantly, it’s illegal in Canada to base one’s hiring potential on such a thing as his or her marital situation. You wouldn’t want to give the impression that your question would have any bearing on your decision to either hire or overlook your candidate. It’s considered discrimination and legally, is regarded as being no different than passing judgement on a job candidate based on race or religion.

Section 7 of the Alberta Human Rights Act clearly states that no employer shall refuse to employ or refuse to continue to employ any person because of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status or sexual orientation of that person or of any other person.

Many employers, however, are curious to know about the family lives of their job candidates because of the potential impacts on their ability to adhere to particular work schedules. Perhaps, your question about whether or not a candidate is married or has children is to ascertain whether or not they can work evenings and weekends. That’s innocent enough isn’t it? Well, it all comes down to how you phrase the question.

Instead of directly asking about one’s marital or parental status, ask a question that is directly related to the requirements of the role.

“The job may require travelling for up to two weeks at a time. Are you available to work such hours?” OR

“The job may entail shift work with schedules that have you on for 10 days and off for the next four. Is that feasible for you?”

The phrasing of your questions will go a long way in not only hiring the appropriate person for your organization, but keeping you out of any legal hot water in the process. This is certainly something that Hire Value Inc. can help you with. We are committed to helping business owners develop superior recruitment strategies so that they’re successful in securing the hottest talent out there!

Our solutions are designed to help you attract top talent while ensuring that your hiring processes secure the best fits for your company. Let’s make your recruitment strategies stronger than ever. Call Hire Value Inc. at 403-978-3827 today!