Updated August 24, 2021
We know the interview process can be stressful. That’s why we’ve developed guidelines to help you counsel applicants as they prepare for their interviews.
Your rights and obligations
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, gender identity, gender expression, 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.
A safe and fair interview process
Everyone who participates in a CaRMS match enters into a match contract that outlines their responsibilities and obligations to ensure equitable processes and mutual accountability. The Match Violations Policy (MVP) is how the obligations set out in these contracts are enforced. There are specific provisions within the MVP that help to ensure a safe and fair interview process and any reported violations will be subject to investigation by the Violations Review Committee. For more information regarding CaRMS’ MVP, please click here.
Please review the guidelines and obligations below to learn how to ensure you are adhering to the policy during your interviews, and that your rights are protected throughout the process. Please note, this list is intended to be illustrative, not exhaustive. Suspected violations brought forward to CaRMS will be investigated, reviewed, and sanctioned in accordance with the MVP policy.
Applicant and program obligations
Keep the following in mind when preparing for your interviews, whether they are in person or virtual:
- 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.
- During the interview, you may not discuss your ranking intentions towards any program, nor can you ask the program about their rank order list plans. Both applicants and participating residency programs may express a high degree of interest in each other but may not make statements implying a commitment.
- You are to act in a professional and ethical manner and adhere to each program’s interview rules and policies. For example, you may not:
- Record any portion of the interview, unless the proper consent has been obtained prior to the recording.
- Share specific interview session information (i.e. interview questions), unless deemed permissible by the program.
- Conflicts of interest are to be disclosed and addressed prior to the start of an interview, and preferably the moment one becomes aware that they have a conflict of interest. Each faculty is to manage and accommodate the situation in accordance with its own policies and processes.
Specific interview processes differ according to the practices at each faculty, but the information below will give you a general idea of what to expect.
- These statuses can be edited throughout the Interview period (see timelines).
- Formal invitations to interviews, as well as other notices from programs, will come directly from the program via email.
- If you decide not to attend a scheduled interview or require an interview to be re-scheduled, you should contact the program in advance to cancel the appointment or request that it be rescheduled. It is at the program’s discretion whether or not an interview can be rescheduled, so it is recommended to provide the reason for your request for their consideration.
- A program may ask for a piece of identification at the start of an interview, for both virtual and in-person interviews, to verify your identity.
The questions you are asked during the interview process must respect your rights as outlined above and in the MVP, 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?