Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Real Problem Covering the Face in an interview

Readers of this blog know that the author does interview people from all over the world. It is important to be culturally competent. The question of face covering and testimony is mentioned on Front Page Magazine.

The situation did happen at work. I was prepared to interview as the facts in the case did not require tight scrutiny as the couple had two children. A supervisor stopped and had a female verify the identity while I departed the room.

The point raised is that observers are reading facial expressions and this becomes impossible with a face covering. I do appreciate the need to show respect for different cultures, but the judge has a point in this case. In general hats are not allowed unless they have a religious significance. I do ask Jewish applicants if the mind testifying with a yarmulke and it has never been an issue.

In some cases I have the luxury of asking an interpreter about local customs, cultural context or regional variations in documents. Mostly, it as simple as asking if a certain group lives on both sides of a border. Sometimes it is questioning if a person's accent is from the area they claim to be from or conducting small talk with the spouse to make 100% sure they are bilingual.

No comments: