05
May 2016

Horrible (potential) bosses

Written by Natalie

Sometimes the interviewee needs to become the interviewer. Job interviews are just as much about you interviewing the firm as they are interviewing you.

 

We are so desperate to get some form of experience to put on our resume to set us apart from the thousand other law students applying for the same graduate job. So desperate that we forget that the job interview is not just about us fitting the firm’s culture but the firm fitting ours. So desperate we sometimes forget about our rights.

Last year in an interview I was asked a number of discriminatory questions such as: 

  • How old are you?
  • Are you a good catholic girl?
  • What school did you go to?
  • Where do you live? Who do you live with?
  • Where are you from? (as I am not of Caucasian complexion)
  • What do your parents do for work?
  • How is your health? Because I’m not looking to hire someone that is going to take two weeks sick leave
  • Can you handle working in a stressful environment? Because most girls your age can't
  • I see you have a lot of extra-curricular activities, we don’t have time for that here

I will admit for a moment I considered taking the position as I was so desperate to get my foot in the door but at the end of the day I would have to be working with that person everyday and I was not prepared to do that.

Bit it's important to remember that if you ever feel uncomfortable with the questions asked you don’t have to answer them. 

So what CAN’T they ask?

Anything related to your

  • Age
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Political opinion

Essentially they cannot ask anything that is not related to the position you are applying for and, if they do you have the right to refuse to answer them. 

Don’t be afraid to refuse answer the question, just a simple ‘sorry I don’t see how that is relevant to the position.’

If you are ever in doubt have a look at the Fair Work Australia website or even give them a call, they are super helpful!

At the end of the day you have to ask yourself if is it really worth taking the job where you would be working with that person every day? The answer should always be no. 

Generally in an interview you are meant to be on your best behaviour in order to make a good impression. If the interviewer begins the interview with discriminatory questions, imagine what it would be like working for the firm!

Turning down the job will leave room in you schedule for an better job in another firm … and in the mean time maybe get involved in with some community legal centres.

 

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