A-Z Pre-employment Guidelines

A-Z Pre-employment Guidelines

Getting a good job is a life-affirming experience. Meaningful work allows us to maximise our potential as human beings, provides us with financial security and is a powerful element in building a cohesive New Zealand.

Employers in New Zealand are facing acute skills and labour shortages that impact on productivity and competitiveness. Employers want to employ the best person for the job to enhance performance in both the private and public sectors. Equally, employees want to maximise their talents and potential in employment throughout their lives.

Work is a strategic entry point to a society free of discrimination. A key objective of the Human Rights Act 1993 is to protect people eligible to work in New Zealand from being discriminated against in their working lives.

A large number of enquiries and complaints to the Human Rights Commission concern pre-employment issues such as job advertising, job applications and interviews and job-selection processes.

Pre-employment processes generally go well when employers focus on the skills, experience and competencies required for the job. Employers can then attract and select the best person for the job against objective criteria. They can go wrong when applicants perceive they have been treated differently because of, for example, their sex, race, ethnic background, age, disability or sexual orientation.

The A to Z for employers and employees about getting a job is a set of guidelines aimed at ensuring equality and fairness for all job applicants regardless of characteristics such as gender, ethnicity, age, disability and religion.

Section 17(d) of the Human Rights Act 1993 authorises the Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner to develop guidelines to promote best practice in equal employment opportunities, including codes that identify related rights and obligations in legislation.

The A to Z has been compiled with reference to the questions asked most frequently of the Human Rights Commission. The guidelines have been informed by comment from employers’ groups such as Business New Zealand, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and from trade unions through the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.

The EEO Trust, the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association Ltd, the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand, employment experts such as Human Value and disability groups also made suggestions on earlier drafts. We are grateful for their help and advice.

I especially thank Robert Hallowell, the Human Rights Commission’s Legal Counsel for his work on the A to Z.

Judy McGregor
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner
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