13 July 2006

Bias in hiring: good or bad?

As I mentioned yesterday, I am looking at a lot of CVs right now. It's pretty well-known that as a prospective employer, you shouldn't ask about age, maritial status, children, religion, etc.

So, "How old were you when your daughter had her bat miztvah?" is right out.

But a lot of applicants will put that info on their CV. It shows that they're willing to talk about these forbidden topics, and helps humanize the CV and make it more memorable.

Today I spoke with a guy who put prominently on his CV that he was an "Active Member of the LDS church."

I thought that was interesting and a little gutsy. Mormons (or LDS, as I guess is preferred now) are a religious minority that . . . don't always get good press. I've heard many of the less than positive rumours about their faith. I am utterly personally uninformed about their religion on a factual basis, though, and will say right up front that I am completely unqualified to form an opinion about the LDS church or Mormons in general.

Except that I have known a lot of Mormons. And if I were to attempt to draw a conclusion from the n=8 that I have personally known, some very well, it would be that they are the nicest, most friendly and caring, open and honest people I have ever known. Without exception. I can't reconcile the really nice LDS people I have known with the dark rumblings I have heard about their church, so I don't even try.

So it's interesting that if the knowledge that this applicant is LDS were to evoke any bias in me, it would be a positive one. It's neither here nor there, though, since what I need is not a cleric, but an ER doctor who can move the meat, and he seems to be a stellar candidate. If his references check out, I srongly expect to hire him.


  1. I found this post very interesting for two reasons. The first is that my CV will start making the rounds shortly. The second is that I am an atheist. Anecdotaly, atheists seem to fall into two categories: the deeply hurt and the deeply logical. And while I feel that my moral choices are very much a part of who I am an inform my life daily, I cannot begin to dream of a time when it would be safe for me to be open and honest about my atheism without sacrificing something professionally. And I wonder what you think about that.

  2. From waht I've been able to decipher, Mormons = Ned Flanders.

  3. As a former member of at least 2 oganizations who would have given you pause if they showed up on a CV, please don't believe that you know any more about the individual than you would have had you not known about his religious affiliation.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.