/ Asked by Angela
Why am I being asked if I am Hispanic? If I am, is this a good or a bad thing? How does it affect my chances of being invited for an interview?
Answered by Tom, Hiring Expert at VF Corporation, on Friday, June 15, 2018
Employers in the U.S. are allowed to ask under certain conditions which are generally governed by the federal civil rights act of 1964 and subsequent rulings.  In simplest terms, specific to employment, the act says that employers can't discriminate based on one's race/ethnicity, color, religion, sex, or national origin.  Having stated that, US employers are allowed to ask you to volunteer such information for affirmative action purposes...U.S. employers are required to track gender and race information of job applicants and employees, but the key word is volunteer.  You are not required by law to provide an answer.  Even if you do provide this information, the employer is prohibited from using the information on its own to decide whether or not to interview you or hire you.

So, if we assume positive intent, you may just be being asked because of this general compliance requirement.  Additionally, there is a ton of research out there that proves teams/companies that are more diverse, perform better, so many employers are eager to hire diverse talent.  In this case, your chances of being invited to an interview are improved.

Alternatively and acknowledging that I am one that will always do my best to assume positive intent, there could be negative intent here.  Your potential employer could have a bias and is asking you the question to intentionally discriminate against you.  If this is the case you have legal rights as mentioned above to prevent that.  I am not an attorney and am not offering you any legal advice, just stating the facts as I know them and hoping to provide a little context for you.  Encourage you to do additional research and/or seek appropriate counsel as you see fit.
Answered by Wendy, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Employers ask about race on job applications for affirmative action purposes. However, based on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, it is illegal for an employer to use race in evaluating job applicants except when race is a necessary factor of employment. Private employers may also track such data to ensure their screening practices encourage applicants regardless of race.  If you are qualified you should be invited for an interview, race should legally never play a role.
Answered by Eddie, Hiring Expert at Quest Diagnostics, on Friday, August 10, 2018
If you're referring to the question that appears on the average job application, it's normally for a couple of reasons. One, many employers want to increase the diversity in their organization to drive innovation, make the business more dynamic and/or to serve a diverse customer base more effectively. For example, there are quite a few companies that need bilingual employees to serve their Spanish-speaking customers. Second, there are companies and organizations that have government contracts, and they are required to report on their diversity and inclusion practices. This is an accountability measure to ensure that employers are not excluding candidates on the basis of ethnicity, nationality, ability, religion, gender, etc. If hear that question in an interview, however, that is a bit stickier. The interview should be focused on your skills, experience and ability to do the work, even if the interviewer is innocently curious. Please note that while employers want to increase diversity, they still need candidates who have the appropriate skills, credentials, and/or experience for their positions. I hope this helps!
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