Religion in Recruiting

By Vira Trevino-Garcia

Bias in hiring is inevitable. We are all susceptible to unconscious biases, and religious bias is no exception. The United States is one of the most diverse multi-faith melting pots in the world. But, as we know too well, where there is difference there can be division. Although there are many employment laws in place to protect against these discriminations, religious biases in recruitment can be subtle and harder to identify. While it is unlawful for anyone in the hiring process to ask a candidate questions about their religious affiliation, that answer can be presumed in other ways such as their name, nationality or clothing. Candidates may feel they must compartmentalize their faith as much as possible and not openly express it with their clothing or jewelry in the interview process to not put the interview at risk. If a company stands for diversity and inclusion, they must not limit external expression of diversity’s forgotten child – religion and faith.

Here are a few ways to deter religious biases in the interview process and encourage religious expression:

  • Consider a blind hiring platform. Removing names and pictures from resumes can limit inherent biases, and keep the focus on the candidate’s skills and experience.
  • Strive to be a “faith friendly” organization where employees feel their faith is supported and respected and have no fear of being marginalized for expressing it.
  • Make reasonable efforts to accommodate the religious beliefs of all employees. This can include opportunities for prayer and respecting holidays.

Freedom for religious expression in the workplace recognizes the importance of faith to many employees and will contribute to employees feeling comfortable showing up as their authentic selves and belonging.