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The Snowflake Test - Employers Beware!

(Photo: CC0 Public Domain)

Kyle Reyes' Snowflake Test, used to weed out entitled millennial job candidates, caused quite a media stir this week. (The 30 test questions are listed below.) Social media and other responses suggest employers may be lining up to start using the test. But they should tread carefully. It's quite easy to see how the questions could lead to prohibited inquiries and, therefore, end up supporting claims of discriminatory hiring practices against a company using them.

Moreover, media attention surrounding the Snowflake Test provides a cautionary tale of why employers should not seek out the limelight when it comes to their hiring practices (or at least controversial ones). For instance, look at Snowflake Test question #27: "What does America mean to you?" That question, in a vacuum, seems relatively unlikely to lead to legal trouble. But when Mr. Reyes was interviewed, Fox Business News asked what type of answer he was looking for to this question. Mr. Reyes responded: "I want some hardcore Americans, people who are proud to be American." Any halfway decent plaintiff's lawyer will weaponize Mr. Reyes' response when his company might happen to interview -- but not hire -- a protected non-citizen like a green card holder. See 8 U.S.C. 1324b (barring employment discrimination based upon citizenship).

You can see Mr. Reyes' interview on Fox Business here. The Snowflake Test questions, as published on Mr. Reyes' Facebook page, are:

  1. Outside of standard benefits, what benefits should a company offer employees?

  2. What should the national minimum wage be?

  3. How many sick days should be given to employees?

  4. How often should employees get raises?

  5. How do you feel about guns?

  6. What are your feelings about employees or clients carrying guns?

  7. What are your feelings about safe spaces in challenging work environments?

  8. In a creative environment like The Silent Partner Marketing, what do you envision work attire looking like?

  9. Should “trigger warnings” be issued before we release content for clients or the company that might be considered “controversial”?

  10. How do you feel about police?

  11. If you owned the company and were to find out that a client is operating unethically but was a high paying client…how would you handle it?

  12. When was the last time you cried and why?

  13. You arrive at an event for work and there’s a major celebrity you’ve always wanted to meet. What happens next?

  14. What’s your favorite kind of adult beverage?

  15. What’s the best way to communicate with clients?

  16. What’s your favorite thing to do in your free time?

  17. What are your thoughts on the current college environment as it pertains to a future workforce?

  18. What’s your typical breakfast?

  19. What’s your favorite drink when you go to a coffeehouse?

  20. How do you handle bullies?

  21. How do you handle it when your ideas are shot down?

  22. What do you do if a coworker comes to the table with an idea and it sucks?

  23. What does the first amendment mean to you?

  24. What does faith mean to you?

  25. Who is your role model and why?

  26. You're in Starbucks with two friends. Someone runs in and says someone is coming in with a gun in 15 seconds to shoot patrons. They offer you a gun. Do you take it? What do you do next?

  27. What does America mean to you?

  28. You see someone stepping on an American flag. What do you do?

  29. What does “privilege” mean to you?

  30. What’s more important? Book smarts or street smarts? Why?