Part 4: When the Pre-Employment Interview Process Enters “Forbidden Territory"

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Hi Brent,

Screening Out Applicants

I agree with you that option one, screening people out based on their emotional or spiritual characteristics, should not be chosen lightly. However, it is sometimes going to be necessary, depending on their levels of spiritual and emotional maturity as demonstrated by their references and the results of the screening that you recommend that get at spiritual maturity and resilience. One other point—how will the organization know what degree of resilience or spiritual maturity is required for certain roles? This is where spiritually-oriented job descriptions are important for religious organizations.

The Balance for Healthy Interpersonal Relationships

As to option two, we both agree that ignoring significant problems isn’t a great way to move forward in any type of management capacity. Most interpersonal problems continue to grow in the dark. Notice that I say “significant problems.” Most people have some small, annoying traits, and those who have healthy relationships are usually good at overlooking these small, annoying things. For example, I have several people in my life who interrupt me all the time. When I say “all the time,” I mean constantly. I dislike being interrupted, but they are basically caring and good people who just have “jumpy” brains. They don’t fundamentally disrespect me, and about 90% of the time I just ignore it, since it’s not going to lead to harmony to squabble about it.

Organizations can do a lot of work around spiritual formation, and can deal with many personal and interpersonal problems in this way. This isn’t my area, except to say that focusing on this type of growth isn’t going to be a legal problem.

A Way Forward on the Clinical Option, If Necessary

Your question goes back to psychological screening and ADA implications. We’ve discussed this at length before, but in a nutshell, any psychological testing should be post-offer. If you’re doing these post-offer evaluations, they should be routine for all candidates for a given job category. If a decision is made based on psychological testing, it is going to have to be defensible under the ADA. Or you can test later if an individual is having trouble, at which point it must be job-related and consistent with business necessity (the Fitness for Duty evaluation). Our white paper explaining these screening issues in more detail can be found here.

Back to you for the other comments you referenced . . .

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