Canadian Job Interviews: 6 Questions You Shouldn’t Answer

You will most likely give countless Canadian job interviews before securing a job, and it’s vital to know what kinds of questions you may be asked. What’s equally important, though, is knowing when NOT to answer questions — especially questions that may lead to discrimination in the hiring process.

Newcomers and locals alike struggle with this, and so we have compiled a list of Canadian interview questions that are off-limits. These are questions that should be gracefully dodged — so along with the list, we’ll provide tips on how to respond. (Because saying “That’s illegal and you cannot ask me that” could definitely change the tone of the interview.)


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1. Questions About Age

In Canada, it’s illegal for employers to ask questions related to your age or date of birth. These questions can potentially lead to age discrimination in the hiring process. If an interviewer phrases a question as “How old are you?” or “What is your birth date?” you can politely steer the conversation back to your qualifications and experience.

What to Say:Let’s just say I’ve gained a wealth of experience. I’m focused on discussing how my skills and experience align with the requirements of the role.

2. Marital or Family Status

Questions about marital status, family plans, or childcare arrangements are off-limits during interviews in Canada. An inquiry such as “How many kids do you have?” could potentially influence employment decisions, and is thus illegal. If faced with such a question, you can respond by emphasizing your commitment to your career and your ability to fulfill job responsibilities effectively.

What to Say: “My complete focus is geared towards demonstrating how I can contribute to the team and meet the demands of the role.”

3. Health and Disability

Employers are prohibited from asking questions about your health, disabilities, or medical history during job interviews. These inquiries are considered discriminatory under Canadian law. If asked about your health, you can assert your qualifications for the job and reassure the interviewer of your ability to perform the required duties.

What to Say: “I’m confident in my ability to excel in this role and fulfill all job responsibilities.”

4. Religion and Beliefs

Questions about religion, beliefs, or religious practices are not permissible during job interviews in Canada. Your religious affiliation or beliefs should not influence hiring decisions. If faced with such a question, you can gracefully redirect the conversation by emphasizing your qualifications, work ethic, and commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

What to Say: “I’m passionate about contributing to a diverse and inclusive work environment.”

5. Nationality or Ethnicity

Employers are prohibited from asking questions about your nationality, ethnicity, or place of origin during interviews. These inquiries can lead to discrimination based on race or ethnicity. If asked about your nationality or ethnicity, focus on discussing your skills, experiences, and contributions to previous roles.

What to Say: “I’m excited about the opportunity to leverage my experience and skills to contribute to the success of your team.”

6. Salary History

In many Canadian provinces, including Ontario and Quebec, it’s illegal for employers to ask about your salary history during job interviews. Your previous earnings should not determine your future salary. If asked about your salary history, you can politely decline to answer and instead express your interest in discussing the salary range for the position based on market standards and your qualifications.

What to Say: “I prefer to focus on the value I can bring to the role and discuss salary expectations based on the responsibilities and market standards.”

As you prepare for job interviews in Canada, understanding which questions are off-limits can empower you to navigate the process confidently. Remember that you have the right to politely decline to answer any inappropriate questions and redirect the conversation towards your qualifications, skills, and professional achievements. By staying informed about Canadian employment laws and employing tactful redirection strategies, you can showcase your suitability for the role while ensuring a fair and respectful interview experience. Good luck!



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