Human is the most important resource to an organization. Recruitment or hiring process, is the first step in selecting this important human resource into an organization, and will significantly influence the success of the organization.
Ethics plays a very important role issues during the recruitment of this precious resource. Here, I shall discuss what the ethical issues we should be mindful of in the hiring process.
Law and regulations dictate that we have to be ethical in hiring process. However, ethical hiring practice goes beyond them as well. It has been widely reported that ethical hiring practices actually result in better employees being recruited.
It is therefore important that sound ethical rules are followed when hiring a new employee. We shall discuss six such rules:
1. Candidates are to be Selected Based on Merits
Applicants are to be picked based solely on merits to the firm�s needs. Criteria for merits may be the expertise relevant to the organization�s need, competencies that are useful to the firm, and the aptitude to perform the organization�s responsibilities.
If the firm were to practice any affirmative action, these considerations should be well declared in the company’s recruitment and employment policy statement. �Any favored treatment towards any group should be one that is legally allowed.
While preferential treatments to certain specific group may be allowed, there should be no discrimination to people from any other group due to race, religion, gender, marital or even pregnancy status.
2. Consistency in Recruitment Practice
Consistency in recruitment practice is very important and if there is any change in criteria, they should be stated and explained to order to avoid unnecessary claim of biasness in the recruitment process. We should be objective in our evaluation process. Objective evaluation results in the best employees being recruited while consistency ensures high morale among employees.
3. Disclosure of Information
When recruiting new employees, the candidates should be told the truth about the organization, and under no circumstance they should not be misled. For example, the candidate should be informed of any relevant information, including those not publicly known, that may materially affect the new employee�s future employment with the organization. The case of Phil McConkey highlights the danger of failing to do so. Phil was recruited without being told that the company was being taken over by a new owner. He lost his job one year after joining the new company. He sued and was awarded $10 million.
4. No Misleading Recruitment Advertisement
We should not place misleading job advertisement just to get applications while we actually want to offer a different type of job contracts. For example, imagine the situation where what we really want to engage are independent contractors but not full-time salaried employees. We may choose to engage independent contractors because we do not have to burden ourselves with high wage bills for employees who do not perform well, but we will reward employees according to their performance. In this case we should be upfront with our terms and conditions. We should never get involved in any job scam.
5. Extra Care when Recruiting Employees of Organizations that have Material Dealing with Us
Organizations that have material dealing with us include our suppliers, customers and competitors. We have to be extra careful when we are considering employing one of their employees because we can get into unnecessary ethical entangles that can be very damaging to us.
When we employ somebody from our suppliers, the suppliers may feel that we have unethically poached their good employee. After all, it is through the working relationship we have with the suppliers that we can to know the quality of this employee.
When we employ somebody from our customers we can be accused of returning favor to that person. This rule applies especially when employing a former senior government employee that has an influence on the awards of contracts to an organization like yours. The case of Ms. Darleen Druyun at the Department of Defense and Mr. Michael Sears at Boeing is a good illustration of the importance of such a rule. In this case, employment favor was apparently granted by Boeing in exchange for favorable consideration for the awards of contracts by Department of Defense. Also, be careful not to employ former government employees for the purpose of lobbying for contracts from their previous government departments. At least, do not do so within the first two years of the employee leaving the government service.
It is also not very wise to employ somebody from our competitors because we can be accused of stealing trade secrets from our competitors. If that employee can pass on his previous employer�s secrets unethically, what is there to sop him from passing your trade secrets to others?
Even though it may not be considered as unethical by some employers, as a matter of courtesy and good public relationship we should inform an unsuccessful applicant. In this case, if situations change and the unsuccessful applicants are now suitable, they may be more inclined to respond positively when approached to offer jobs to them.
These six rules, while simple and logically, are not normally followed by many organizations in their recruitment process, leading to poor employee morale and productivity, as well as damaging law suits.