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Avoid unfair discrimination claims from job candidates - Follow these four rules when drafting interview questions

by , 20 January 2015
The Employment Equity Act makes it clear that mustn't ask questions a candidate could see as discriminatory.

If you do and you end up rejecting the candidate, he could claim unfair discrimination at the CCMA. And, as you know, a CCMA dispute is costly.

To avoid unfair discrimination claims from job candidates, follow these four rules when you draft your interview questions.


Don't let interview questions be the reason you land at the CCMA. Stick to these four rules when you draft them
 

1. Ask questions that don't discriminate on these grounds:
 
  • Race;
  • Gender;
  • Sex;
  • Ethnic or social origin;
  • Colour;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Religion;
  • Conscience;
  • Belief;
  • Political opinion;
  • Culture;
  • Language;
  • Marital status; and
  • Family responsibility.
 
2. Make sure your interview questions are job-related.
 
3. Base your interview questions on an inherent requirement of the job.
 
4. Make sure your questions help you to understand the candidates' ability to do the job.
 
Basically, the rule is, if the question has nothing to do with the job, don't ask it.
 
To help you get it right, take a look below at examples of discriminatory questions you should NEVER ask during an interview.

 
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These questions are discriminatory – never ask them during an interview

 
The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management says you mustn't ask:
 
  • Are you disabled?
Only ask this if not having any disability is an inherent requirement of the job.
 
  • Do you have AIDS? Or when last did you do an HIV/Aids test?
You can't discriminate against applicants with HIV/Aids.
 
  • Are you close to retirement?
You can't turn down an applicant because of his age, unless there's a legal minimum age for the position.
 
  • What's the origin of your last name?
You can't discriminate against an applicant because of his race, unless you have legal reasons for doing so.
 
  • Do you plan to start a family in the near future?
Only ask questions about family or pregnancy if the inherent requirements of the job require you to do so.
 
You can find the rest of the questions you mustn't during a job interview in the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management. You'll also find the type of questions you CAN ask.
 

Remember, you can't ask a job candidate anything you want to

 
If a job candidate feels a question unfairly discriminates against him, he could take you to the CMMA. And you could end up paying compensation costs.
 
To make sure your interview questions don't land you at the CCMA, always follow the four rules above.
 
PS: Recommended Product: Recruitment: The Complete Guide. With it, you can ensure every step of your recruitment is legal and effective. It gives you practical advice, tools, checklists and samples that cover every single step of recruitment.

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