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Conducting job interviews

Employers use interviews to determine the best person for the job. Focus your questions on the applicant's ability, and avoid asking about irrelevant personal characteristics such as:

Such questions may be discriminatory under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (SA) unless they are genuinely related to the person's ability to do the job.

When interviewing applicants for a job:

  • use an interview panel of diverse people who are aware of equal opportunity requirements
  • you could include another member of staff or union member on the panel
  • prepare questions that relate to the job skills and abilities
  • ask each applicant the same questions, to make sure the process is fair and consistent
  • record questions and tests, relevant responses, and reasons for choosing the best applicant
  • score them against the requirements of the job
  • give them information about pay rates, hours, probationary period and any special conditions
  • check their referees.

You should not:

  • assume a certain type of person would be best for the job
  • assume a person would not have certain skill and abilities
  • ask questions that could be discriminatory, for example:
    • Do you intend to have children?
    • Are you married?
    • How old are you?
    • Where do you come from?
    • Do you have to wear that headscarf?
    • Have you had a WorkCover claim?
  • make promises or offers unless you are absolutely sure they are the person you want.


Trevor injured his back ten years ago while working as a builder. He lodged a WorkCover claim and after rehabilitation was able to return to work. Trevor later applied for a new job in a warehouse. When asked if he had any previous WorkCover claims Trevor told the employer about his claim from ten years ago. When he didn't get the job, he was told "since you've injured your back before we don't think you should be doing any lifting". Trevor could claim he was discriminated against because of a perceived disability.

Rather than asking about previous WorkCover claims, you can ask applicants if they have had an injury that could affect their ability to do the job.

If you are concerned about the ability of an applicant with children to work certain hours, ask about their availability to work the hours rather than making assumptions.

Keep records of interviews and your reasons for short-listing and making final choices.

Related information

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