The A-Z Pre-Employment Guide for employers & employees



Q. Can I be asked at a job interview if I’m married, in a civil union or a de facto relationship, single, divorced or separated?

A. No, you shouldn’t be asked about your marital status.

However, in some situations an employer is entitled to ask whether a husband, wife, or partner works with the employer or elsewhere in the same industry. See the information relating to Partners for an explanation of when this might happen.

Medical: See Health

Men: See Sex


Q. Can I be asked if I have ever experienced mental illness, for example depression?

A. An employer should not ask for general information about your medical/ACC history.

The employer should be establishing whether the applicant is able to do the job. This includes establishing whether an applicant has any medical conditions or disabilities that might mean the work could not be satisfactorily carried out.

A job applicant should first be made aware of the job’s requirements and then asked about any medical conditions or disabilities that might prevent them carrying out the work satisfactorily. The onus is on the employee to disclose any condition that may affect their ability to do the job.

Mental illness is part of the definition of disability, which is one of the grounds of discrimination prohibited by the Act. Appendix 1, which sets out the prohibited grounds of discrimination, includes the full definition of the meaning of disability. Job applicants who have experienced mental illness often do not disclose that fact because they fear discrimination.

See also: Health


Q. What are my rights as a migrant to access work?

A. You have the same rights in relation to pre-employment and employment as others in New Zealand.

Migrants who believe that they have been discriminated against in pre-employment such as shortlisting or in the interview process should contact the Human Rights Commission.

Q. How can employers attract job applications from migrants?

A. Employers wanting to increase staff diversity need to audit their recruitment and selection processes to ensure they're not indirectly filtering out applications from migrants.

For example, how a job is advertised can either encourage or dissuade migrant applications. Important aspects include concentrating on core competencies, placement of the advertisement, the style, tone and tenor of the advertisement and whether it uses Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) statements and shows a commitment to diversity.

Research shows that having minority members on selection panels improves the success rate for migrants. Interviewers who have been trained to avoid “like me” bias also increase the chances of employing migrants. Research shows the more similar migrants are in looks, language and European heritage to New Zealanders the more successful they are in securing employment. EEO training mitigates against this and is important for all members of selection panels.

Moko: See Tattoo

See also: New Zealand Experience