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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:18 PM
Original message
Has anyone else ever heard this odd job interview question?
"What is your faith?"

"Pardon me?"

"Your faith. What is your faith?"


This happened to me this morning toward the end of a telephone job interview that appeared to be going well, and my jaw practically dropped to the floor. In all my years of job hunting, I'd never been asked such a question, so to have it thrown out in the first contact was a bit of a shocker.

What followed afterward was even more disturbing, though I won't go into that (yet, at least). Despite that, I think the call ended on a good note.

So has anyone else been asked this kind of question in a job interview?
Is such a question appropriate in this situation?
How should I have answered?
How should I feel about the possibility of working for this organization? (This was the owner I was talking to.)

I'd appreciate the thought of other DUers on this. Thanks,
Peter
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hippiechick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
1. Nope. Never. They can't ask that.
Run, don't walk, as far away from that company as you possibly can.


:hippie:
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Safi Donating Member (218 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
2. Illegal
Almost positive this was an illegal question. The problem is, he is the one doing the hiring, and to prove he asked it in an interview would be nearly impossible.
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GOPisEvil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. I believe that is an illegal question.
I would have answered that my faith is irrelevant to my job performance.

Unless I was prepared for an environment that was heavy on religious thoughts that I might not agree with, I'd be hesitant to take a job like this.

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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #3
28. Good advice, no doubt
It's likely that I would not actually be working with these people, but contracted out to work at other locations with other people, but I need to find out more on Friday.

I'm definitely treading very wary here.

--Peter
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BlueEyedSon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
4. "I have faith in myself, and in my ability to do this FREAKIN' job!!!"
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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:24 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. That's a good one
Wish I had used it! :D

But I suspect it won't matter what I answered, because I don't think this will be a good match for me.

--Peter
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ewagner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
5. Run away! Run away!
First that question is illegal as hell.

Second if you got the job you would learn the true meaning of hell. Trust me. Been there, done that!
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elfwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
6. I don't think they can ask you that...
If you offer it up, that is one thing.
I offer the information because I need to let prospective employers know that I will be off on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
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commander bunnypants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
7. Illegal


DDQM
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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:22 PM
Response to Original message
8. How did you answer? eom
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Ruby Romaine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
9. illegal question
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bratcatinok Donating Member (786 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:23 PM
Response to Original message
10. Inappropriate question
The owner must not be aware this is a question you aren't allowed to ask. To do so and then not hire someone could get him in trouble because he could be construed as being discrimanatory about religous beliefs.

Whether you want to work with him is entirely your own decision though.
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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. Yes
Fortunately for him, they seem like they want to hire me (at least he sure talked like it, both before and after that question). I'd never heard of them before this morning, but a mutual friend forwarded my resume to them

The interview was very casual and good-natured so I, caught flat-footed, after some hemming and hawing, pretty much answered it straight up: "I'm agnostic."

I'm scheduled to have a face-to-face meeting with him and another person Friday, so I'll have a chance to further feel this place out.

:shrug:

--Peter


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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:26 PM
Response to Original message
12. There are a number of companies that base themself on the bible
They advertise themselves as Christian Companies. Of course its illegal to base their hiring on your beliefs but they might be asking just so they can let you know what they are. Very touchy and possibly illegal to ask that question.
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prolesunited Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
13. Perhaps he was just trying
to see if you were a Muslim terrorist. Gotta protect the homeland and all. :eyes:

BTW, check your inbox in awhile. Working on it. :hi:
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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
14. I think I would have asked
why they felt the need to ask that question and how it pertained to the job.

or if I was in just the right mood I would have said, NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!

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Nikia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:31 PM
Response to Original message
15. My mother was asked if she was Catholic
It was an administrative position at a Catholic nursing home run by nuns. She said that she wasn't but her best friend and some members of her family were and that she had respect for the Catholic faith. She got the job.
I think that it is an illegal question, but may be allowed in some instances for religious organizations.For a business type business, I don't see how that could be relevant.
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
16. That's illegal
The rules are pretty strict on what you can ask in an interview. I doubt you could ever prove he/she asked it though. If it were me, I would write down your experience, get a witness, and then mail it back to yourself. If ever this employer gets charged with this, then at least you have some record even though this is very shaky.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I know you are looking for work and to have an illegal question thrown at you is so wrong. I just don't see how you can fight it now. So :hug: and another :hug:
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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. Disturbing to hear so many say this is illegal
At least I didn't put much effort into finding this place. But the owner, who I was talking to, is a friend of my best networking contact in town. And it sounds like they're very interested in me, so I feel I should at least put in the time to find out more about this place. As a courtesy to my friend, if nothing else.

I'm going on vacation next week, and wasn't really planning to get serious about the job hunt until the week after that.

Thanks for the kind words, cally. :-)

Peter

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bif Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:34 PM
Response to Original message
17. I don't think I'd go back for a second interview.
Sounds scary as hell.
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denverbill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:36 PM
Response to Original message
18. Submit another job app with even better qualifications.
Then tape the phone call.

This ass-wipe should be fired. And the company that is tolerating him punished. It's impossible to say whether they are discriminating against Jews, Catholics, Muslims, atheists, or Hindu's, but he is definitely discriminating against are least one of those groups.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. DINGDINGDINGDING we have a winnah!
Nail their sorry fundie butt.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
19. That is absolutely not appropriate! (Were you applying to be a minister?)
Isn't that against the law, using religion as a criterion for hiring?
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Jack_Dawson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
21. You can sue!
You're on easy street now. Did you tape the interview? :-)
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DrZhivago Donating Member (234 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:48 PM
Response to Original message
23. What followed afterward?
c'mon, don't leave us hanging
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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #23
27. Well...
Edited on Mon Mar-15-04 04:56 PM by pmbryant
In brief, I answered that I was essentially agnostic, but came from a catholic family, whose members varied from devout to completely lapsed. (I didn't mention it was mostly the latter. ;-) )

Then he started talking about how he'd only met two atheists in his life, and one was really a "secular humanist, not an atheist, but I didn't feel like explaining the difference", and then he mentioned how it was important to ask this question because it had a lot to do with "work ethic" and things like that.

Yes, I warned you that it got worse. :-(

--Peter
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 05:31 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. I guess he means that xstians are less likely
to rebel against authority.

Can't have that.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:49 PM
Response to Original message
24. Worse than that.
I was once asked what I thought of then Cardinal McIntyre of the Diocese of Los Angeles. This was for a magazine that to all appearances didn't have any connections to religion or specifically the Catholic Church. I answered truthfully, that I thought he was an ass and that I didn't consider myself a Catholic anymore once I left home and wasn't forced to go to Mass anymore.

Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I discovered subsequently that the magazine had connections to Gillette Corporation which had big ties to the Catholic Church.
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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 04:51 PM
Response to Original message
26. Yes, once.
I wanted a break from far too many years in healthcare, so a friend who worked for an agency sent me out on a few job interviews. This particular one I sailed through with flying colors. They liked me and wanted to hire me so they asked that I come back for a faith based interview. I asked what that meant, and was told that they wanted to be assured I shared their goals, and didn't have or will not embarass them while being in their employ. That I lived an honest and clean life, etc. I would also have to sign a statement to that fact. I refused. The job was at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale in 1999, working with their Dr. Kennedy. It was an excellent paying job with great benefits, but I have very strong feelings when it comes to my privacy and faith, both are extremely personal, and no one else's business. I'm glad I declined, because I learned later that they monitor their employees personal lives. I ended up staying in healthcare.

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Orangepeel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
30. A employment lawyer once told me that they SHOULDN'T ask
but that it isn't illegal, per se. That is, there is no fine or other kind of penalty for asking. But, if you sue them for religious discrimination, they will be in trouble because the fact that they asked is an indication that your religion was a factor in their hiring decision.

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pmbryant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 08:45 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. That makes sense
It did seem odd that merely asking a question would be illegal, so this does seem like the right interpretation to me.

--Peter
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
31. It is not illegal to ask the question
It is, however, illegal for most employers to discriminate in hiring based on religion. Note that I said "most" employers - faith-based organizations and those owned by religious organizations can limit their hiring based on religious practice.
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-15-04 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
32. I believe they ask this to see how well you think on your feet.
It's not usually legal*, definitely not ethical, but I've heard similar questions myself.

*They can ask if they are related to some sort of religious group if it might affect your ability to do the job; for instance, (this is on a real limb, but I think it makes the point):

a Christian Scientist applying for work as a nursing assistant.

Definitely has an impact on the job performance.

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