back to article Should you lose your religion on your CV?

Your CV should tell prospective employers who you are - but should that include details of your religious faith? I headhunt science grads for banks, and recently received a CV with the applicant's religion right at the top. We’ve always told people not to do this for purely pragmatic reasons. Whatever your religion, there are …

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Anonymous Coward

Keep it quiet

Keep your religion off your CV. I really don't understand what you're trying to say by putting it there. It makes it look as though it's of something of high importance to you, when all I care about is your ability to do the job.

On a side note, does this article qualify for the "most irritating El Reg writer ever" award? Self-fulfilling argument: only money is important therefore only people who study things that make money are important therefore everyone else is a waste of space. Would I rather read this article again or a decent translation of "Memoirs of a Madman"? Hmmm, tricky.

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So

So don't go studying science then. The individual scientist's work will make bugger all money, unless you happen to working directly within R&D at a drug's company, and then only if you're department happens to working in an area that the head office wants to peruse.

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Big Brother

In my experience

outside the banking industry, is that employers still love and recruit stereotypes in this country.

I would also say that when I've been interviewing, my objective is getting in someone who is personable, a quick learner, and can wipe their arse unaided.

So to answer your question, I think you should leave your religion OFF your CV unless you are applying to be an Imam / Rabbi / Priest / Bishop.

It means that the racist HR office clerk doesn't get to screen you out on the first shuffle of CV's.

AC for bloody obvious reasons

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Silver badge

Even then...

"So to answer your question, I think you should leave your religion OFF your CV unless you are applying to be an Imam / Rabbi / Priest / Bishop."

Even then, why put it on? It would be stating the obvious, surely. I can't foresee many Catholics applying for jobs as Imams any time soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Why risk it?

I'm not of any religious persuasion, although I was brought up as the typical English CoE. I've never put down my religion: religion isn't important to me.

Given there are many other people like me that don't state their religion, and as far as I know, it's never hindered me in getting a job, those that insist on stating their religion, it might not have any adverse effect, but then it might. Why risk putting it down?

For an application to a religious school in an IT department then it might be worthwhile.

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Anonymous Coward

"What would you say?"

"Would you really want to work for a company that discriminates based on religion, or even worse, on how you spell your name?"

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Anonymous Coward

To ask or not to ask...

In interview for my first ever 'proper' job, the interviewed (a Hindu) asked me about my religious beliefs. I'm sure this was genuinely not in an effort to discriminate, but to find out more about my personality and establish whether I would be a good fit for the (small) company.

I answered truthfully that i have very few such beliefs, and never felt that I was disadvantaged by it (got the job and several promotions before moving on). Equally I worked at that employer with a number of devout people of different faiths, all of whom, I suspect, would say they had the same experience.

Several years later the same interviewer almost ended up at a Tribunal for asking a different candidate that same question (Note: not for any action following an answer, the candidate refused to answer, but simply for asking...). So we know it can be a VERY bad idea to ask, even for the best of reasons...

But volunteering that information changes that and potentially opens up some uncomfortable ground.

On balance, I think you should tell your candidate to remove the detail because:

- It may provoke exactly the inverse reaction to that intended - any professed religion or lack of it could be a disadvantage

- If they do apply for a job, and lose it because they have a 'muslim-sounding' name, I think it's unlikely they'd really WANT a job there - an employer who still discriminates on those grounds is propabably going to do so on other grounds too...

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Bronze badge

It's the 21st century!

Personally, when I have looked at CV's or done interviews then Religon has not come into it. I'd prefer not to know as it removes any suggestion that i'm picking someone for a reason other than them being the best person for the job.

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Grenade

The response: sod off

I once interviewed for a job where I was asked to accept a Facebook-friend request so that the company could poke around my private life (my account otherwise being fairly well locked down). It was also inferred that drug testing was expected. Since neither national security nor public safety was at risk, I responded that I would decline both.

"That may harm your chances of the role," I was told.

"If that really is the case," I replied. "Then the company and I are probably not well-aligned. My professional performance is the only aspect on trial here."

In fairness to them, they invited me back to a second interview which I then gloriously flunked! The relevance to this article is simple:

If a company, and particularly one in investment banking, wants the best people then they will be the sort of company to ignore background and concentrate on ability. Those are the companies that succeed, even if it does mean employing <whichever "evil" group you spoke of, I think I can guess>.

If a company will discriminate on a basis other than ability, that business is liable to fail, or at least do worse than competitors - which in investment banking is pretty much the same thing. Console your candidates that the 'best'" places won't; though the downside is that you will probably be working with some nasty characters who have been equally enfranchised. If you don't like that, change your definition of 'best.'

That place for which I interviewed? It was in the City. It isn't any longer. I wonder how many other candidates told them to stick their invasive procedures. I suspect very few.

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Anonymous Coward

I would have

"I wonder how many other candidates told them to stick their invasive procedures. I suspect very few."

It says more about them than it does about you. I would have knocked them back without a second thought.

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Thumb Down

What on earth has religion got to do with it?

Religion has no relevance to employment, unless you're applying to be the local Rector or perhaps the next Pope.

Personally, I won't employ overtly religious people.

Religious types seem to be too gullible.

It sorta goes with the territory.

Vacancy: Sky Faeries need not apply...

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Stop

You're assuming I have a religion to lose...

(If atheism were regarded as a religion - which it ain't - it would be the third largest in the world)

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Proof please?

That dosen't sound right, unless you are counting China where they claim to be atheist because of the dogmatic represive leaders, who insist you do what they say and think what they think without question. Proof please.

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Gates Halo

And because ...

... someone says they are christian, muslim, etc. etc. it means they all actually believe it?

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Well considering that...

Muslims should not be working in the corporate banking sector due to limitations imposed upon them by their religion... i think that this is a moot point.

Unless of course they are applying for a position within a bank which follows guidlines from Sharia law.

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Anonymous Coward

so..

John Doe*

IT Professional

* Terms and Conditions apply

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Troll

candidate

" a candidate belonged to a group of people so evil that right-thinking people would not only kill them but also make sure their bodies didn’t pollute the Earth". So he was a sitting Labour MP, then?

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Anonymous Coward

personally

I'd flag anyone who put it prominently on their CV as a religious nut (whichever one) that i didn't want anything to do with.

But, in this day of employing for diversity, it will probably net you another tick in the box and get you one step closer to the job.

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FAIL

Wonder about the author's criteria and idea of education

Quote: "This is partly driven by these candidates' (on average) better education and reluctance to study dross like Media Studies or French."

While I may agree about "Media Studies" (though it seems to me that a lot of financial goings-on are almost entirely about manipulating perception and the media and nothing to do with reality), every other pundit and employer in the international business world complains that a big disadvantage of English candidates is the almost total ignorance of foreign languages, such as French, German, Spanish, Russian. Meanwhile, candidates from the other side of the Channel are sucked up as they have this in spades, while I have no doubt that many of your "Mohammeds" grew up multi-lingual and have no problem tackling French, if they do not all ready know it.

I imagine the author is a classic case of "the world speaks English, so why should I bother?". Odd, studying a foreign language is traditionally considered part of a good, rigorous education.

By the way, I am a software engineer and former biologist, now working for a bank. My willingness to learn a language has been invaluable, both now and when working for computer companies in the Thames valley..

No wonder British applicants are falling by the wayside. But I do agree, one's religion, skin colour (hence no photographs), sexual preferences or taste in malt whisky have no place on a CV unless directly relevant to the job.

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Missed the point

Why would you have to study French at university in order to be able to speak it? Most other contries in Europe manage to bring their student up to an exelent level of English without them having to study just English.

Besides, there is little use in speaking French, surly Japanse, Chinese would be more useful?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Missed the point

French is an extremely useful language, given the large number of countries which speak it. It's particularly useful if you do a lot of business in North or West Africa.

But your other point stands. Many of the people who get a job which involves speaking French don't have the "French-speaking" as their primary skill. French-speaking IT support (for example) seems to come primarily from IT-trained people who can also speak French.

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Happy

Think YOU missed the point

I never said the ONLY subject should be foreign language, nor that it must be French. I said a foreign language used to be considered PART of a proper education. As for Japanese or Chinese being more useful: as it happens I did, for a wonderful job, learn and work in Cantonese and have used Japanese and, no, in IT or even banking, unless you are a Far East specialist, Mandarin etc. are not more useful than a widely spoken (as opposed to large number of speakers) language such as French, Spanish or German (German is very useful in places like Turkey and much of Eastern Europe, as well as being, probably, the language with the most speakers in the EU, French will get you by in a lot of Africa and various Arab countries and parts of SE Asia and the Pacific, while Spanish and Portuguese will serve you will in S. America (USA too in some areas), parts of N. Africa and so on for other European languages.

Of course, one can learn a language in many ways and I have had to use formal and informal methods myself, the results of the latter showing in my written and painfully (for the listener) spoken variants. However, academic study of any discipline, but especially language (which usually covers more than just the spoken variant, including literature, culture and the discipline of grammar) is a very good intellectual and social training - some of the best IT people I have known have been linguists, two being classicists, other good ones seeming to come from microbiology, biology or chemistry.

So, my point would be: any rigorously studied subject is a good training for most jobs; languages for at least part of one's education have the added benefit of being useful both professionally and privately. Religion is, to my mind a private affair and I would mention it on a CV only if I was really a devout whatever-ist and I wanted to be sure my religious life and the job are compatible or if it is relevant to the job. Otherwise, keep your self-selling to the usual run of sport, hobbies etc. (and be careful, my stepfather, a keen golfer, refused to employ anyone who put Golf on their CV, on the presumption that they would take too much time off to play it. Others I know refuse skiers, footballers and mountaineers because of the likelihood of injury and time off to recover).

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Bronze badge
Stop

Again... Missed point

The article mentioned useless degrees, like media studies and French. Here in the States we class those as "Under water basket weaving". French is a very useful course, or series of courses, but a ruddy useless degree.

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Anonymous Coward

discrimination

Trying to keep things "balanced" = discrimination.

If you NEED to have 70% of person type A and 30% of type B, then you necessarily need to choose more of one type over the other, even if you have more of the other type that is better qualified.

Please tell me it ain't so.

As for religion on your CV, I would say keep it off. If the recruiters notice you're some weird religion that takes half the year off for religious reasons, there's little chance you'll get the job no matter what!

Nice article, btw.

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Ignorance...

Since when was French "dross"? With that kind of ignorant attitude, you've certainly chosen the right career path...

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Open Diversity

Surely, there's a good analogy here with living in a diverse community. Living in a large city (e.g. Manchester where I live) means you're continually exposed to a wide range of cultures and religions; and basically it's fine.

CVs include both qualifications and experience plus something about you as a person. Requiring people to omit their beliefs would be the equivalent of living in a city where people have to fake being white agnostics as a precaution against people taking offence.

That would never work - the best way of dealing with bigotry is open diversity. For example, IMO it's reasonable to put your faith on a CV if you want, though it's probably best to put it at the end, since it's not a direct qualification for your job. To a religious person, requiring an employee to omit it could easily look like the company is repressively anti-religious from the start.

In addition if you find that certain people put their faith at the top of their CV in big, bold 24-point text, then this is probably indicative of their character in some sense. Maybe you want people who are that forthright in your company! Maybe it implies they'd be less diplomatic in all sorts of social situations. Either way, handy.

I'd always advocate open diversity since as you say, even people's names or phraseology can imply to some people something about their ethnic background/beliefs and the only way to get over that ultimately is to bite the bullet and be open about it. Then we discover it's OK; then we can move on.

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Linux

FYR

i⋅ro⋅ny /ˈaɪrəni, ˈaɪər-/ [ahy-ruh-nee, ahy-er-]

–noun, plural -nies. 1. the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning: the irony of her reply, “How nice!” when I said I had to work all weekend.

pi⋅geon /ˈpɪdʒən/ [pij-uhn]

–noun 1. any bird of the family Columbidae, having a compact body and short legs, esp. the larger species with square or rounded tails.

Penguin - Looks a bit like a pigeon but not at all like a pidgeon.

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Pirate

No way

I'm a pagan druid - and very proud about that. But, I'd never even dream of putting it down on my CV. The majority of hiring managers reading it would think I'm a delusional tree-hugging nutjob! ;-)

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WTF?

No place in the work place

Religion, color and sexual preference are all topics that may or may not come up in the canteen among friends, but in reality, they have little to do with profession. If I see religion on a CV, it tells me the candidate will need more time off than other candidates because they take religion so seriously, they don't work on certain holidays or will have to make extra trips for family baptisms and such.

A CV is about qualifications. As a low level systems engineer, I often work with twice as many foreigners than with locals (myself being a foreigner) because educational systems are failing and the only way to gather enough qualified talent is to import it. It's often interesting for me to work with someone new from a country I haven't met people from before, however all that matters is what the guy/girl knows or can learn and if he/she can finish a job they start.

Placing religion on your CV is just plain stupid, in fact, listing "groups I'm a member of" which includes groups that aren't directly related to the job is also a waste of my time. It's like saying on the CV "I'm a <insert team name here> supporter". It shows a lack of seriousness about the job in question.

I of course get annoyed by people who insist on sending "I'm not afraid to tell the world I'm a proud Christian" messages everywhere. It's just a waste of everyone's time.

Save religion for the church. Save the social sex chat for the bars or the lunch times. When it's time to work, it really don't matter who you're banging or which god you're praying to.

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Anonymous Coward

horses for courses

Sometimes religion is relevant, such as a christian publications company i am aware of, or fitting a physical profile, such as modelling - heck if we wanted to we could argue that we're discriminating against intelligence and school dropouts *should* be hired as brain surgeons.... We've gone too PC, I think avoiding discrimination is of great importance in such a diverse culture as exists in the UK, however sometimes (often?) following legislation in these matters is actually detrimental and can lead to positive discrimination. I know we want there to be a panacea of equality and rules that we can follow to make it so, but its the constant conflict and challenging of the status quo that actually allows diverse cultures to live together in harmony(ish)

A CV should be relevant to job/industry/work environment etc. (how many people get hired simply because they got on socially - after all you have to spend every day with these people) and sweeping statements about what should go on a CV are pointless.

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Bronze badge

how about...

A small section on your CV for "favourite foods" in which you can include Bacon Butties.

I always decline the equal opportunities questionnaire on privacy grounds but I do remember many years ago the wife went for an interview as a nursery nurse at a Jewish establishment and made the mistake of making mention of her Christian faith on her CV. That didn't go down too well..

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Greed as religion

I find it amusing that the author tries valiantly to argue that greed is the enemy of bigotry while admitting to being bigoted himself. A definition of bigotry: One who is strongly partial to one's own group and is intolerant of those who differ. The author seems to belong to two groups here; the group of greedy people, and the investment banking group. How great the intersection of these two groups is open to speculation.

People may come from diverse backgrounds or other groups to form another group but that does not mean that this new group is a diverse community. The claim that investment banking is the most diverse community in the world beggars common sense. The evidence given that investment banking is greedy I can readily agree with. Perhaps people wishing to enter investment banking should put greed as their religion on their CV.

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I think

I would be wary of someone so dedicated to their religion they felt it necessary to advertise it on their CV.

Simply because someone with extreme religious views who preaches to fellow workers could very easily stir up tension in the office, something I would rather avoid.

So really, it's a sort of personality test for me. I don't believe you can be held to discriminate against someone because you don't think their personality would clash with the rest of the office.

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Anonymous Coward

Yarmulkes are OK, pony-tails aren't

To be honest if someone puts their religion prominently at the top of their CV I would assume that they are either a religious zealot of whatever persuasion or someone likely to interpret and setback as an assault on their equal opportunities. The CV would therefore be rejected. But other than that religion doesn't matter a jot.

I am, however, a lot more likely to reject candidates sporting pony-tails. On the (surprisingly reliable) assumption that under each pony-tail there is an a**ehole.

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Remove Age

I was told to remove my Age from my CV, but it doesn't take a genius to work it out - given I had dates of A levels, Uni degree, then work details that followed straight on - granted it wasn't accurate but it wouldn't take a genius to work it out.

But at the end of the day, where do you draw the line - do you not include hobbies? what if your hobbie is church groups, etc.? Goes back to the religion thing doesn't it. At the end of the day, a CV should describe you AND your work - and if something is part of your life, don't be scared to hide it.

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agreed

I agree - I put my religion on my CV at the end with other hobbies and interests just to give potential employers an idea about what I'm like as a person.

If they're not interested they don't have to read it!

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Unhappy

Bankers

I've spent 25 years working for various banks and they are scrupilous about hiring an appropriate % of muslims/hindus/Jews. They are also scruplious about never promoting them,

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Alert

slightly OT ...

dunno about religion, but I was caught by a colleague once putting a few cv's through the shredder. When they asked how I had decided against them, I just stated they had spelling and/or grammatical mistakes.

We ended up having a shouted argument ... which did nothing to change my pov. If someone is so lacksidasical as to not even hit "F7" before they submit the most important document in their professional life to a prospective employer, then I don't want them.

It's got nothing to do with their spelling, and everything to do with their attitude ....

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Happy

I'd recommend randomly ditching half of them

That way, you avoid employing unlucky people.

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Happy

Join the club

Yep. If they can't be bothered to put the effort into the CV (or ask for help to do so), they're unlikely to be bothered to put the effort into the job. Category #1 for the round file: typos and poor grammar on the CV.

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Anonymous Coward

Grammer

And what dose that have to do with grammer, or Dyslexics, who have problems with spell checkers (i.e. they will change the word to another, incorrect, word)?

I am Dyslexic, and have had these problems, dispite spellchecking, and asking someone to proof read it for me. The agency came bcak and said they couldent put my CV accross as it was. It ended in a row with the person I asked to help me...

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Headmaster

Oh the irony

Are you quite certain your victims' spelling and grammar were at fault?

I only ask because I counted one error of spelling and four of grammar (I could be kind and say three, one of which you committed twice) in your post which is around a hundred words in length.

Admittedly this is relatively unlikely to have been the most important writing exercise of your life, but given its subject matter it's certainly the one you should have proof-read (or perhaps asked a friend to proof-read) with a fairly high level of diligence. Ken?

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Thumb Down

If an employer cared whether I was a muslim or not

I would not want to work there.

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Alien

Don't put religion on your CV

If I look at a CV that contains religion then my first thought is - idiot.

Mainly because I think religion is a complete waste of time and mostly irrelevant in todays society. The only useful thing I've ever gathered from religion is the whole "do unto others" bit.

The rest is just fluff.

I describe myself (if the subject arises) as apatheist, I don't care if there's some omnipotent being or spaghetti monster out there somewhere, why should I let the fact that some abstract thing does or doesn't exist affect my behaviour?

I just have to add...

Can't we all just get along?

(and then curse myself for sounding like a hippy)

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Anonymous Coward

Read the question!

No one yet has answered the question actually asked: An individual feels that their name is strongly attached to a particular religion. The want to know whether to inform potential employers that they do NOT follow this religion, and a suitable way of doing this.

I have come across people at work calling themselves "Mo". This seems to work for people given the name Mohammed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Read the question!

"I have come across people at work calling themselves "Mo". This seems to work for people given the name Mohammed."

How does that work? Every person I know who is called "Mo", it's short for "Mohammed". What else could it be short for?

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Troll

Other

Moses,..

...

...oops.

What about people called "Islam" and "Christian"?

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Silver badge

Maureen?

I'm sure I could think of more...

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