Will They Really Care? Honesty in Interviewing
“Mitchell,” a baal teshuvah, had become observant in Israel. Back in Vancouver, Canada, one of his biggest challenges was wearing a kippah in public. With time it became easier, and he wore it fairly consistently. One of the exceptions was
when he interviewed for summer internships with Vancouver law firms. He landed a job but soon discovered that not wearing the kippah had its own problems – precisely because there was nothing to identify him as a Jew. His very first day on the job, co-workers took him out to lunch at a strictly treif shellfish restaurant. As Jews, we are obligated to be honest and truthful. However, does this mean that we are also required to volunteer information that may work against our own best interests? In particular, how much must we disclose when interviewing for a job? In a competitive market, will an employer be willing to hire a worker whose schedule includes Shabbos, Yom Tov and davening times? Or will he simply find it easier to hire one of the many other prospective employees who do not have such needs? If we get the job we will obviously have to speak up at some point. In terms of honesty, must it be at the interview, or can it wait until we have been offered a job or signed a contract? This sensitive question is directly related to the prohibition against geneivas daas (literally “stealing another’s mind”) – misrepresenting ourselves or the facts even passively, without any active deception.