Australian woman asked to perform sit-ups, star jumps in Zoom job interview, sparking heated debate online

Aldi logo inset against photo of woman on Zoom call
Photo credit: Getty Images

An employer who asked a female jobseeker to perform push-ups, sit-ups and star jumps during a Zoom interview as part of the 'recruitment process' has come under heated debate online, with many branding the assessment as "creepy" and "dodgy".   

As per the Daily Mail, the "over-zealous" recruiter requested the woman - who was applying for a role at the discount supermarket chain Aldi in Australia - to perform the exercises as a demonstration of her physical fitness.   

An account of the woman's experience was later made public on the Aldi Fans Australia Facebook page by a relative, prompting outrage from many and accusations of inappropriate workplace behaviour.  

"I'm not bagging Aldi with this question but is there an employee on here who can answer it please? [A] relative recently interviewed for a position in store," the woman's family member wrote.  

"Later that day she was asked to partake in a Zoom meeting in her home, being asked to do push-ups, sit-ups and star jumps to show level of fitness. Is this really part of the interview process or just an over-zealous manager?"   

It didn't take long for several current and former Aldi employees to weigh in with their two cents, noting they had never been subjected to a fitness assessment.  

"I would exit that Zoom call so fast," one said, with a second adding: "Police? Yes. To work at Aldi? No."  

"Ridiculous, who do they think they are?" A third added angrily, while a fourth commented: "What qualifications do the interviewee have to supervise this activity and be able to 'grade' the applicant?? I would be happy to attend a registered organisation for a fitness test but this to me screams dodgy and inappropriate."

However, others waved off the accusations and argued it was standard procedure, with one claiming a friend of theirs had been asked to do the same demonstration "a few weeks ago".

"It must be a new thing," they added, while another argued a fitness assessment was a "prerequisite" for getting a job at Aldi.

"You usually receive instructions on where to set up your computer and that you will need space to be able to demonstrate some exercises etc. and wear something comfy. It's part of the normal recruitment process."

"Fitness requirement or not, this should have been done in a medical centre when the whole physical can be completed, not via Zoom," one declared.  

The signage for Aldi Stores Ltd. food store is seen atop one of the company's stores in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, June 25, 2015.
The signage for Aldi Stores Ltd. food store is seen atop one of the company's stores in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, June 25, 2015. Photo credit: Brendon Thorne / Bloomberg via Getty Images

In a statement to the Daily Mail, a spokesperson for Aldi confirmed a "virtual physical medical assessment" with an "accredited third-party assessor" is a requirement in the supermarket's recruitment process for certain roles due to their physical nature.   

"A physiotherapist conducts the assessment, which includes a variety of light exercises to ensure that the applicant is physically able to safely complete the tasks required in the job position," the spokesperson said.  

"This follows an initial interview and is not the first gateway in the application process. Candidates that reach this stage are informed of the medical assessment in advance, as part of our recruitment process."