Entrepreneur

I Run A Business, Here's Why I Will Never Hire Anyone Religious

Editor’s Note: We’ve published a follow up with our stance on this issue. Find out more here

Political correctness deems it a crime to hire people based on criteria like race or religion.

I completely disagree.

When I hire, my priorities are simple—work efficiency and the right fit for our company culture.

My company is constantly on the lookout for talent, so I review up to 20 applications a week. Out of these, perhaps about a third look suitable on paper.

So how do I filter them down, aside from the obvious basic qualifications and skills?

I look at religion, or to be clearer, religiousness. I’ll admit, if there is a person in a tudung, that’s a minus for me. It makes me think twice.

My immediate concerns are: Does this mean that she will be difficult to handle when it comes to group activities? Do I have to take into consideration that she doesn’t drink alcohol or eat pork? Will her sensibilities be affected by the drinking outings and occasional swearing my team sporadically indulges in?

Give me 2 fresh grads who have similar qualifications on paper, with the only difference being level of apparent religiosity, the choice is obvious.

I would feel the same way for a very religious practicing Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Sikh.

But let’s take a step back. It’s not purely because of one’s religion, it’s about that person’s lifestyle.

Say there was a strict vegan applying, I would also consider what the implications are.

How would he react to other meat eaters around him? Would he be uncomfortable with others eating what he doesn’t? Will he require special treatment or arrangements on company and business trips? What if he needs to wine and dine with important clients?

Or perhaps it’s a candidate who strictly doesn’t work on weekends and doesn’t like to work at night. If he “religiously” turns off his work mode once the clock hits 9 pm, or doesn’t respond to any work related messages on Saturday, that would be a huge red flag.

It will boil down to one question—is it worth it hiring that candidate?

I know this is a very unpopular thing to say. One word that gets thrown around in discussions about this topic is respect.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have plenty of respect—that’s your lifestyle or religious choice. But I don’t have to hire you, if I can help it.

It’s a logical decision.

The bigger picture is this. It’s not just about qualification and skills. Companies nowadays hire as a fit to company culture, and like it or not, interactions with others and social events are a necessary part of it.

Put it another way. I wouldn’t hire an extreme introvert who can’t even speak up for a high energy sales job that requires meeting lots of people. However, he might be great at a desk or admin job.

At the end of the day, does that person’s beliefs and personality fit into my company’s work culture? Am I happy taking care of him? If it’s going to be a pain, it just won’t be worth my time or money.

Away from political correctness, it’s a business decision.

What can this person bring to the company? If I have to make sacrifices to hire him, I need to make sure that his welfare and happiness are taken care of as he too puts in 150% into his work. Is he worth the monetary and emotional investment that my team and I will have to put in?

If I hire a bad fit, that person will likely be an outcast, and that would be unhealthy for my team’s culture and morale.

So the next time you get rejected as a job applicant, it might not be due to your expected remuneration, or your skills and qualifications. Maybe it’s because the company doesn’t want to handle an employee who has certain lifestyle choices that would make it difficult for them in the future.

Look, it’s not personal, I’m just making the hard decision. Because someone has to.

UPDATE: So what do you think after reading this? Find our reply here

This article is written and contributed by a Vulcan Post reader and business owner. The author acknowledges that this article touches a sensitive topic, but feels that job applicants should be made aware of the factors that have a role to play in getting hired.

Also read: A Sneak Peek Into The Secret Diary Of A Startup Founder

Feature Image Credit: atpress.ne.jp