Cancel Culture In Hiring: Yes, it's a thing. It shouldn't be.

Now, you might be asking yourself: how is it even possible to have “cancel culture” in a hiring situation?

Quite simple, actually.

When you have someone in HR who completely shuts you down because you politely say something in response to something that they ask, that’s within your rights to say but that they don’t like to hear, that’s a form of cancel culture.

And I say “in HR” because that’s where it happens most often. It’s generally not a hiring manager yet - it’s someone who went to college for human resource management and got a degree, then joined a company where they created a “culture” that presents an echo chamber.

This all shouldn’t happen. But it’s happening. It’s unfortunate. Let me give you some examples.

You should know your rights when you go to apply for a job. An employer cannot discriminate against you because of your race, religion, sexual orientation, origin, etc. Let’s say that you are a Buddhist.

As you know, almost all of the employers these days are quite happy to subject you to psychoanalysis robots that ask you questions, allegedly in an attempt to determine “cultural fit”.

Suppose that one of these questions asks you about harming animals and you truthfully, as a Buddhist, indicate that you’d “Never” do such a thing.

You get denied for the role.

Turns out, you “failed” this automated tool because it made an arbitrary “do not interview” decision that the HR rep didn’t question, because they had already programmed it to prefer certain answers.

Here’s where I spoil the ‘secret” of the automated personality tests.

In the example of harming animals (but it applies to basically every question), it’s a trap question.

If you answer “Never”, they will assume you’re a liar, because if you ever ate meat, it was harm to an animal, if you’re vegetarian you took food from animals.

If you answer “Always” (or its equivalent) they will assume you’re heartless/insensitive.

If you answer “Neutral” they will assume you’re evasive or noncommittal.

That’s right - the test isn’t designed to get in your mind like they told you. At all.

It’s designed to use the answer to make an assumption about you that’s likely not true and has no basis in truth. That HR won’t question the results is an indication that they just want an echo chamber; in this case, they probably want an iffy answer like “probably not” which they can’t make an assumption on except that you were “thoughtful”.

Now suppose you’re talking to HR for a job at a slaughterhouse and they happen to ask if you have any moral objections to what’s happening. As a Buddhist, one of your core beliefs is, or should be, “avoid work that causes suffering to others”. Many people are sensitive to the harming of animals, so if you tell that rep honestly that you do have religious concerns about it, they can’t discriminate against you over it. They have to try to make some sort of reasonable accommodation, and you have to offer something that will alleviate the concern. You might be perfectly fine working in the backoffice because you’re not witnessing the event, or you may need to withdraw yourself. But they can’t just shut you down and refuse to try and work with you because of a religious core belief.

Another example - and this is relevant now especially - is with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This also affords you religious protections under the law, but many companies are ignoring these rights improperly. If your religious beliefs result in a company completely cutting you off, they’re violating your rights, and you may be able to pursue legal action to fix the issue.

But I would also recommend reconsidering working for that company, because that’s essentially cancel culture: they are not welcoming of whatever is causing your concern, and don’t want to welcome you for your talents.

On a side note, I absolutely support suing them dry for money, because companies should be held accountable when they do these things. But I wouldn’t suggest accepting a job offer from them as ‘settlement’. It’s not a place you’d want to work, because it’s obvious that they would not be welcoming of you regardless. Take the money, send the message and go elsewhere.

As more and more violations of your rights take place (and trust me, it’s getting worse before it gets better), learn to recognize when it’s basically a cancel culture situation: the activities of social media are spilling over where they never should go, which is the workplace, and they’re basically silencing and blocking you out because of things said that they don’t want to hear. It’s not an ideal situation, but learning to recognize it when it happens will at least allow you to take proper actions and go your own way.