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Interview guidelines for applicants

We know the interview process can be stressful. That’s why we’ve developed a few guidelines to help you.

Review the information below for more information.

Your rights

Your rights as an applicant are defined by applicable human rights legislation that is intended to ensure all individuals have equal employment opportunities without regard to: race, colour, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, family or marital status, sex, a pardoned conviction, disability or sexual orientation.

Human rights legislation is not intended to prevent organizations from choosing candidates based on skills that are required for the position. A particular skill or qualification can be specified if the preference is based on a bona fide occupational requirement. Occupational requirements should focus on a person’s actual ability – not assumptions based on a group characteristic. We encourage selection committees to obtain additional information on determining bona fide occupational requirements from the human rights office within their institution or from the human rights commission in their province/territory.

Interview guidelines

Keep the following guidelines in mind when preparing for your interviews:

  • Postgraduate programs are not permitted to ask you questions about your rank intentions and you are able to decline answering such questions.
  • During the interview, neither applicants nor program interviewers must ask the other to make a commitment as to how they intend to rank the other.
  • Invitations to interviews, as well as other notices from programs, will likely come via email.
  • If you decide not to attend a scheduled interview, you should contact the program in advance to cancel the appointment.
  • CaRMS will act as an interlocutor to allow you to make specific complaints about problems encountered during your interviews.

Sample questions

The questions you are asked during the interview process must respect your rights but are left entirely to programs’ discretion. We have provided samples of appropriate and inappropriate questions to help you in prepare for your interviews.

Examples of appropriate questions:

  • How do you deal with problems when they arise?
  • What are you looking for in terms of learning opportunities?
  • What have you found to be your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What has your experience been in working with people in authority?
  • Do you have any ideas about how you learn best?
  • Are you legally entitled to work in Canada?
  • What past experiences have you had that would suit you to undertake this residency program?

Examples of inappropriate questions:

  • Where were you born?
  • How old are you?
  • What is your ethnic background?
  • Are you married/planning marriage?
  • What does your spouse do for a living? Is the job transferable?
  • Do you have children or plan to have children?
  • What is your sexual orientation?
  • What is your religion?
  • What is your first language?
  • Can a photo be attached to your application or sent to the interviewer before the interview? (CaRMS will unmask the photograph in the electronic applicant file after the interviews begin.)
  • Please list your disabilities, limitations or health problems?
  • Do you drink or use drugs?
  • Have you ever received psychiatric care or been hospitalized for emotional problems?
  • Have you ever received worker’s compensation?
  • Are you currently under a physician’s care?
  • What is the name of your family doctor?
  • Are you currently receiving counseling or therapy?
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime?
  • Have you ever been arrested?
  • Do you have a criminal record?
  • What other programs did you apply to?
  • Have you received other interviews?
  • Do you plan to rank our program?
  • Where on your list will you rank our program?