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Legal vs. Illegal Interviewing Questions

Legal Vs. Illegal Interview Questions

Best practices require candidates only be asked questions if they relate to the position for which they are applying and the job’s essential duties, and the capability and availability of the applicant.

Interview Questionnaires prepared in advance will ensure all candidates will be asked the same questions.

Examples of Illegal Vs. Legal Interview Questions

Inquiry Area Illegal Questions Legal Questions
Nationality Origin/
Are you a Canadian citizen?

Where were you/your parents born?

Are you authorized to work in Canada?


  What is your “native tongue”? What language do you read/speak/write fluently?

(This question is acceptable only if the language spoken is relevant to the job.)

Age How old are you?


When did you graduate?


What’s your birth date?

Are you between the ages of 18 and 64?
Marital/Family Status What is your marital status?

Whom do you live with?

Do you plan to have a family? When?

Are you willing to relocate if necessary?


Are you able to and willing to travel as needed by the job?

(This question is acceptable only if asked of all applicants for the job.)

  How many kids do you have?

What are your child-care arrangements?

Are you able to and willing to work overtime as necessary?

(This question is acceptable only if asked of all applicants for the job.)

  What are the names and relationships of persons living with you? (I moved this from SEX category) It is not acceptable to ask this question.
Affiliations What clubs or social organizations do you belong to? List any professional, trade groups or organizations you belong to that you consider relevant to your ability to perform this job.
Personal How tall are you?


How much do you weigh?


(Questions about height and weight are not acceptable unless minimum standards are essential to the safe performance of the job.)

Are you able to lift

30kg weight and carry it 100 metres, as that is part of the job? (This requirement should also be in the job description and posting.)

Disabilities Do you have any disabilities? Please complete the following medical history.

Have you had any recent or past illnesses or operations? (If yes, list them and give dates when these occurred.)

What was the date of your last physical exam?

How’s your family’s health?

When did you lose your eyesight? How?

Do you need an accommodation to perform the job? (This question can only be asked after a job offer has been made.)

Are you able to perform the essential functions of this job?

(This question is acceptable if the interviewer has thoroughly described the job.)


Can you demonstrate how you would perform the following job-related functions?


As part of the hiring process, after a job offer is made, you will be required to undergo a Medical exam.

(Exam results must be kept strictly confidential, except medical/safety personnel may be informed if emergency medical treatment is required, and supervisors may be informed about necessary job accommodations, based on exam results.)

Arrest Record Have you ever been arrested? Have you ever been convicted of a crime for which a pardon has not been granted?

Refer to the Ontario Human Rights Commission site for more information.


You can ask if the applicant is bondable only if this is a bona fide requirement of the job.

Sex Are you male or female? It is not acceptable to ask any questions based on sex.
Race/Colour What is your race? What colour is your hair, eyes, or skin? It is not acceptable to ask any questions based on race/colour.
Religion What is your religious affiliation or denomination?


What church do you belong to?


What is the name of your pastor, minister, or rabbi?


What religious holidays do you observe?

It is not acceptable to ask any questions based on religion.


(If you must know the specific availability of the applicant, ask: “Are you available to work on Saturdays and Sundays if needed?” for example. You must ask this question to all applicants.)


Remember to keep records of all candidate applications, the interview questions, including applicant answers and your completed scoring sheets. In the event of a dispute, you will have records to refer to, including the objective scoring upon which your hiring decision was based.

Legal Hiring

HR Proactive Inc. offers our Legal Hiring program for individuals responsible for the recruitment of employees to ensure a fair and equitable hiring process is in place so your organization is in compliance with provincial and federal laws. This training program will show you how to apply the laws regarding accessibility and inclusion into your hiring process. It will also assist you with creating a job posting that uses non-discriminatory and neutral language and does not refer directly or indirectly to any prohibited grounds of discrimination. Our training materials also include how to develop interview questions that focus on the core duties of the position, avoiding questions that could lead

Visit our :  Ten Best Interview Questions
Download our:  Sample Application Form  
(adapted from the OHRC template).

HR Proactive Inc. has been helping clients meet regulatory compliance for over 25 years.

Call us for information about the products and services we provide related to Legal Hiring.

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