New feature in WaterlooWorks allows employers to ask pre-screening questions
In an effort to simplify the hiring process, employers can now add up to five pre-screening questions to job postings in WaterlooWorks.
What this means for employers
- It's easier for you to post jobs that the right candidates will apply to.
- Filter through résumés faster by quickly seeing which candidates have the knowledge and skills required for your job.
- Don't waste time interviewing applicants who don't meet the basic job requirements.
How do pre-screening questions work?
Add pre-screening questions to your job posting
- Think about the job you're posting. Are there are some things that are required in order for you to even consider an applicant? If yes, you're a good candidate to have pre-screening questions activated
- Follow the usual process: Create job posting > Add employment details > Reserve space for your interview. However, you'll notice a new box called "Add pre-screening questions"
- Click this box:
Create your pre-screening questions
- “Question 1” is already loaded and ready for editing. You can click on either “Question 1” or the pencil icon to edit the question
- To add more questions, click “Add Question”
- To edit a question, click on the pencil icon
Enter a question
- You can choose between multi-choice or single answer
- Enter the text for each question and the answer.
Note: Please don’t use the “Other” option for now. It's still a work in progress.
Editing a pre-screening question
- If you save the job but realize you need to edit one of your questions, you can go back by clicking on Posting Options >Edit Pre-Screening Questions.
Note: You must edit these questions before the job is approved. If you need to edit them once the job has been approved, contact your Account Coordinator.
Reviewing answers to pre-screening questions
- Once your job status is "Applications Available" you will be able to filter in WaterlooWorks for the answers to the pre-screening questions.
There are two ways to view the answers to the pre-screening questions.
- To obtain a list of applications and their answers:
- Use the filter function: click on Applications Options tab > View Applications
- Click on Filter
- Scroll down to Additional Filters, Pre-screening. Click on the answer(s) you want for each question
- Click on Apply Filter and a list of students who meet the selected criteria will be generated by WaterlooWorks
2. Review individual responses
To see individual responses, click on "Pre Screening" beside the student name. A page of questions and answers are also appended to each student
There are clear human rights guidelines for employment interview questions. These pre-screening questions are no exception. Legally, you can't ask discriminatory questions.
Best Practices Guidelines for Co-operative Education Interviews: Being Aware of Questions that May be Discriminatory
Appropriate and Inappropriate Questions
There are clear human rights guidelines for employment interview questions. The Ontario Human Rights Code (“Code”) protects interviewees against interview questions that are discriminatory. The Code prohibits discrimination on the grounds of:
- Ancestry, colour, race
- Ethnic origin
- Place of origin
- Family status
- Marital status (including single status)
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Receipt of public assisstance (in housing only)
- Record of offences (in employment only)
- Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation
Except in limited circumstances that are not typically applicable to a co-op position interview, you may not ask for information related to the prohibited grounds listed above. You must focus on gathering information relevant to deciding if an applicant can perform the functions of a position. You can violate the Code regardless of whether your discriminatory questioning was intentional or not.
You may not always be aware that your questions are discriminatory. The following are examples of questions and comments that seem innocent, but may infringe on a prohibited ground of discrimination covered by the Code:
Age: “Do you think you can handle this job?”, “Your generation is too entitled.”
Comments on an applicant’s age, appearance, and/or health may indicate discrimination on the basis of age, and are inappropriate. Age discrimination in the context of co-op employment is more likely to be an issue for older/mature job applicants.
Citizenship: “Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada?”
Questions about citizenship or PR status may be discriminatory, and this information does not have to be disclosed in an interview. However, you can ask if an applicant is legally entitled to work in Canada.
Race, race-related grounds, sex, sexual orientation: “What is your background?”, “Where are you from?”, “How long have you/has your family been in Canada?”, “Did you attend the Pride parade this year?”
Questions about place of origin, ethnic origin, race, sex, and sexual orientation may be discriminatory, and this information does not have to be disclosed by an applicant in an interview.
Creed/Religion: “What is your religion?”, “Are you a practicing Christian/Catholic/Muslim, etc.?”
If an applicant chooses to talk about accommodation of religious needs in the workplace during or prior to the interview, then you may enquire further into the nature of the accommodation requested. Otherwise, you should only discuss accommodation of religious needs in the workplace after making a conditional offer of employment. Any other questions about religious beliefs and practices may be discriminatory.
Disability: “How did you become disabled?”, “Is your disability permanent?”
Unless an applicant chooses to talk about their disability during an interview, questions about the disability and its nature and extent may be discriminatory. However, if an applicant’s disability becomes an issue during the interview, then you are expected to enquire about any needs for accommodation. In addition, if an applicant chooses to disclose information about their disability, then you may also ask about accommodation needs and the applicant’s ability to perform the essential duties of the job with accommodation.
Family and Marital Status: “Do you have any children or plan to have children?”, “Are you married/do you plan to get married?”
With limited exceptions involving jobs where frequent travel is a necessity, questions about an applicant’s caregiving responsibilities or plans to start a family may be discriminatory. Further, when deciding whether to offer someone a job, you should not let the fact that an applicant will not be able to start work on an anticipated start date due to a maternity, parental, or disability leave play a role in your decision. However, if your company has a clear and consistent anti-nepotism policy may grant or withhold employment to a person who is a spouse or close relative of the co-op employer or employee.
Record of Offences: “Do you have any Criminal Code convictions?”
You are allowed to ask about and consider unpardoned Criminal Code convictions when hiring, but it may be discriminatory to ask about pardoned convictions.
Handling inappropriate questions
Applicants are not obligated to answer any questions that are clearly inappropriate or make them feel uncomfortable. If they feel that they should not answer the question, they may state, “I do not feel obligated to answer that” or “That question is inappropriate.” This response will ideally signal to you that your question may be discriminatory, and then you may retract it and move on to the next question.