Monday, November 16, 2009

How not to Introduce Yourself to a Recruiter

I received an email today from a candidate for a Business Systems Analyst.  The first line read:
I am a devoted Christian who believes in hardwork, honesty and transparency,because i believe we will all die one day and give accounts of our stewardship to God.
I'm not really sure what to do with that.

When interviewing candidates, I often have people who begin telling me about their family life, their medical history or their faith - all things about which I am not allowed legally to ask.  It is only in the rarest of circumstances that it would be appropriate for a recruiter to ask about these things.  Correspondingly, I am often quite uncomfortable when people bring these subjects up, especially the matters of faith and health.

Here's why:  In Canada, it is (or should be) fairly common knowledge that potential employers are not allowed to ask these questions, nor are they allowed to hire people on the basis of the answers.  Bringing up your faith demonstrates that you have no regard for the situation I am in, and no regard for the predicament that you are causing for me.  Such blissful ignorance will not serve you well should you find yourself employed and expected to function as part of a time.

Further, it is thoroughly unprofessional.  One's faith has little or nothing to do with the job at hand - doing enterprise scale .NET development.  If you can't keep focus during a 20 minute interview (or an email written in about 30 seconds), what 'faith' should I have that you will be able to remain focused through the course of your work day?

I would certainly never hire someone for reasons based on their family life, health or religious beliefs, but if you decide to bring them into the hiring calculus, don't be surprised if that decision turns out to be a mark against you.

By the way, the guy who emailed me was unqualified and lives in another country, so I couldn't present him to my client anyway.  This could mean that the error was a cultural issue.  Nonetheless, I have encountered this phenomenon with many people born and raised in Canada, so I stand by the intent of this post (and how do I know that they were born and raised in Canada...).

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