Companies aren’t allowed to discriminate in recruitment services based on religious beliefs, and this is why recruiters and hiring managers typically refrain from asking or telling about religion throughout the process. But in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, which allows employers to drop certain types of healthcare coverage, there’s a legitimate debate to be had about what questions candidates can – and should – ask their prospective employers.
Without going too deeply into its broader implications, I want to shed some light on how the Hobby Lobby ruling affects candidates in the recruiting process. It is important to remember that this ruling does not apply to all companies – rather, it only affects those who have applied for an exception from the Affordable Care Act clause that deals with contraceptives.
While candidates have every right to ask prospective employers about the religious beliefs observed in the company, this can be a slippery slope.
There are many companies, for example – mostly private ones – that close their doors on Sundays, which is their right as private employers. But while this is pertinent information for a prospective employee or franchisee, there isn’t any value in going into the details of why.
After Hobby Lobby: 5 Job Search Tips
If the scheduling issue is relevant – say, because the applicant is looking for a position specifically that’s on weekends – then it behooves them to do their due diligence and confirm hours of operation, but the focus should be on particular employment needs, not on the employer’s beliefs.
So what should a candidate do? Below are five relevant best practices for job hunters.
1. Do your homework
One key thing people can do is research their prospective employers ahead of time. Learn everything you can ahead of time – hours, dress codes, wages, environmental consciousness and more – so that there are no surprises later in the process.
2. Avoid controversy
It’s completely within the candidate’s rights to ask about the beliefs of a company – but owners, managers and job candidates should all try to refrain from explicit conversations that may lead to heated debates. It’s best to remain professional when discussing such company policies.
3. Explore potential benefits
During the recruiting process, job hunters should ask for a summary of the benefits a company has to offer and the other key items that may be relevant to their employment decisions. Whether it comes along early in the process or toward the end, when a decision is made, it’s important for people to know the complete scope of their potential job offers.
4. Define key principles
Everything a company does affects its employer brand. It’s important that businesses spell out their branding messages for job candidates in no uncertain terms, and for their part, the candidates should be sure to ask any necessary clarifying questions so that they know exactly what key principles guide the business.
5. Know your rights
Perhaps the most important thing candidates can do during the job search process is to stay informed. Especially when it comes to touchy subjects like religion, there are plenty of murky gray areas to navigate, and all candidates should know their rights with regard to exactly what details they should and should not share. In this post-Hobby Lobby era, people need to proceed with caution.
Read more from Jayson at the Ceridian Blog
About the Author: Jayson Saba serves as the VP of Strategy and Industry Relations at Ceridian, a global integrated talent management solutions provider. Prior to Ceridian, Jayson was an analyst at Aberdeen Group’s Human Capital Management practice. As the lead analyst for Core HR, Workforce Management, and Outsourcing, Jayson published over 100 research papers and reports about technology and best practices. Jayson is a frequent contributor to industry and trade magazines including HR Executive, PayTech, HROToday, Workforce Management, Talent Management and The Economist. He regularly presents at HR conferences and trade shows.