How NOT to run your Recruitment Process!

This article provides some key considerations your business must make during its recruitment process. Please make contact with our Employment Law team for any further advice.


Job advertisements need to be worded carefully. Here is an example of what not to do.

Receptionist Job Vacancy

“Looking for a female who is single and not planning on having any children or getting married in the next 5 years. Fantastic job opportunity with lots of benefits, will involve plenty of overseas travel. Apply now!”

In New Zealand the Human Rights Act 1993 protects individuals from discrimination. Gender is a protected ground under the Act, therefore an employer cannot advertise for someone of a particular gender without a genuine occupational requirement.  It is also illegal to discriminate on the grounds of family status, this advert discriminates against females who are not single and are planning on having children.

Receiving applications

It is important to be mindful of your privacy obligations at every stage of the recruitment process. You should, therefore, avoid any actions which might breach the Privacy Act 1993, including the following:

15 applications for the new receptionist role were received. The HR manager decided to leave all of the applicant’s documents, which included their personal details, on the front desk for anyone passing by to take a look at.  

Under the Privacy Act 1993 your business or organisation must protect the confidentiality and privacy of all applicants, in accordance with the Information Privacy Principles contained in that Act. Disclosing applicant’s details, even by accident, will breach the legislation.


During the interview stage it is important to avoid any discriminatory, or potentially discriminatory, questions. Below is an example of what not to ask.

Interview Question: “So, tell us, do you have any health issues?” 

Under the Human Rights Act 1993 it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against a candidate on the grounds of a disability.  The only health questions an employer should ask (either in an interview or in application documentation) is whether a candidate has any medical issues that would have an impact on performing the role in question. If it is not information that relates to the candidate’s ability to carry out the job effectively, then don’t ask it.


The Human Rights Act 1993 also applies to the selection process. The following is an example of what not to write in interview notes:

“Jesse wasn’t offered the job, because she is a member of a trade unions.”

As of June 2019 it will be unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds of their trade union membership or involvement in union activities. Remember that individuals are entitled to obtain copies of all information relating to their applications (i.e. anything that contains their personal information).

Workplace Law team

If you have any queries in respect of the above, or any other Workplace Law issues, please contact a member of Lane Neave’s Workplace Law team:

Employment: Andrew Shaw, Fiona McMillan, Gwen DrewittMaria Green,  Hannah Martin, Joseph HarropHolly StruckmanAlex Beal, Giuliana Petronelli, Abby Shieh
Immigration: Mark Williams, Rachael Mason, Daniel Kruger, Nicky Robertson, Julia StrickettKen Huang, Mary Zhou, Shi Sheng Cai (Shoosh)Sarah Kirkwood, Janeske SchutteLingbo Yu
ACC: Andrew Shaw
Health and Safety: Andrew ShawFiona McMillan

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