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When The Pre-Employment Interview Process Enters “Forbidden Territory," Part 1

Hi Theresa!

As you know, I have been talking to a group of people, many of whom attended our November 2016 seminar, who want to learn how to properly implement spiritual and other screening tools, so as to avoid the potential for ADA-related discriminatory problems.

The Mission: Spiritual Screening

We are now working on a number of excellent measures, which are getting at spiritual fitness, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal competencies. I am trying to do something potentially difficult in that I am trying to help them think and create reporting formats. This requires us to gather data and try to draw conclusions based on trends.

Incorporated in this data will be the general information form and a candidate’s testimony. You and I have blogged before about information forms, and I don’t want to go there. What I am thinking about is shown in the following scenario:

The Scenario: Complicated Information

John is a 24-year old man who is applying for a technical support discipleship coordinator position. You read through his questionnaire and nothing pops out. His scores on the other tools are positive. Then you turn to his testimony. In it, he answers the question “tell us about your journey to faith. What brought you to your decision point for Christ?” (or something like that).

John responds something like this: “I grew up in a non-Christian home, with a father who was abusive to me, especially after I reached Middle School. Most of his abuse was emotional, but on occasion it was physical, especially after he was drinking. Since I never was good enough at football, those seasons were especially stressful. In high school I started attending church when one of my friends invited me. One of the other guy’s dad was a helper, and I really bonded to him. We spent a lot of time together. We became so close that I confided a lot in him. One night he made a pass at me, and while I avoided anything physical, I was shocked at my feelings of attraction . . . I hated myself for that. I became pretty depressed and considered suicide on a couple of occasions. I never did try to commit suicide, and while I was in college I was discipled by an older group of men in our campus group, and I really grew in my faith and my understanding of who I am.”

Ok. There is a lot there that might be construed as clinical or make us want to pursue clinical measures. But this is still pre-employment. I am feeling like I can’t raise these issues, but I think they need to be explored.

Part of me hates to just drop this on you, but I think these and similar issues are where we who do assessments struggle.

How would you help a Member Care person navigate through this information?

Featured Image: ”Employment” by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: not official legal or psychological advice or opinion
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