Interview Sensitivity

A young man sit across the table from another person

In this section, we’ll talk about 3 areas of potential concern for some interviewees.

The Employment Standards Act covers many people working in Ontario. This law addresses many specifics around work, such as work hours, pay, leaves from work, holidays, vacation, and termination. To see if you are covered under this Act and to learn more, check out Your guide to the Employment Standards Act.

On Disclosure

Disclosure refers to letting a potential or current employer know some sensitive information about you, such as self-identification with an equity seeking group (e.g., BIPOC, 2SLGBTQIAA, person with a disability, etc.). Decisions about disclosure are very personal and can be an area of concern when you are engaging in career development activities like interviewing. Many people are unsure what to disclose, when to disclose it, or whether to disclose anything at all.

Related to this is the notion of accommodation: “A workplace accommodation is where an employer makes adjustments to the workplace for a person or group of people with unique requirements as a result of a characteristic protected under human rights law.”  [1]

The requirement for Canadian workplaces to offer accommodation applies not just to employees who have already been hired, but to candidates during the recruitment and selection process as well. For some great information and considerations for disclosure and accommodation, check out this Disclosure & Accommodation tip sheet from Queen’s University.

On Salary

Be prepared in case your interviewer asks about your salary expectations. Research the market rate for similar work in the area. Keep in mind that salary is affected by your skill level and qualifications, the local cost of living, labour market demand, as well as the mix of total compensation offered by the employer, such as through employee benefits.

You can consult Canada’s Job Bank for wage information on your target occupation and your local labour market so that you can be prepared and have a pay range in mind: consider what your lowest acceptable range of pay would be, as well as specific examples of your accomplishments in case you are in a position to negotiate a higher wage. Additionally, websites like Glassdoor will allow you to validate your pay range.

On Illegal Questions

Employers cannot ask a candidate questions that could reveal information about the candidate’s race, religion, gender, marital status, politics, health, or other protected characteristics. Even if such questions are sometimes asked accidentally, they can contribute to discrimination and therefore should not be raised as part of a job interview.

Do you know that an employer legally can and cannot ask you in an interview? Let’s find out

If you’d like to learn more, you can check out the Steps to Justice resource we used to craft the quiz above.

There are a number of options available if you are asked an illegal interview question:

  •  You can answer the question if you are comfortable doing do.
    E.g. “Yes, I do have a driver’s license.”
  • You can explain your reason for not answering the question.
    E.g. “l never talk politics at work because I know it’s a sensitive topic.”
  • You can ask why the question is being asked.
    E.g. “l’m not quite sure I understand. Could you please explain how the issue is relevant to the
    position?”
  • You can refuse to answer the question.
    E.g. “That question makes me uncomfortable. I’d prefer to move on to the next question.”

Every job searcher is unique: some will have to contend with aspects of the interview process that others will not, such as topics related to personal information. As always, the best way to have a positive interview experience is to be prepared.

Media Attributions

  • two men talking photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions via Unslpash

  1. https://www.sterlingbackcheck.ca/blog/2017/12/what-are-workplace-accommodations/

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