Ethical Recruitment: A Quick Look at the Most Important Aspects

by Dragana Delova

6 min read · Jun 10, 2021

Most recruiters have one goal: to find people that will be good, productive members of the team.

However, there is another type of recruitment process called ethical recruiting that considers not only what's best for the company but also what's best for the candidate. 

And it's called ethical recruitment. 

Acknowledging the subject of ethical recruitment will answer why a company must treat each candidate equally and why the importance of this treatment is a benefit for everyone involved. 

Let's explore the topic in more detail!

What Is Ethical Recruitment?

In short, ethical recruitment is a non-legal way of doing what is right, showing respect and appreciation to each candidate applying for a job. 

On another note, the way we communicate and the regard we show to candidates during the recruiting process is the most transparent picture we give to present the company culture and reputation. 

Recruitment is an important process for any company because it directly affects how a company grows and succeeds in its industry or field of work. It can increase a company's reputation as it involves transparent communication with candidates, transparency in job postings, fair interviews, etc. 

How Is Ethical Recruitment Different? 

In short, recruitment is the process of identifying, attracting, screening, shortlisting, and interviewing suitable candidates for a job. 

This is a simple definition that gives each company the basics of how a process should be run. Putting the word "ethic" next to it is a choice we make.  

Caught up between working in fast-paced environments, seeking for greatness, and filling "that position," professionals often forget about the most essential part: trust. 

Recruiters are responsible for building this trust and acting in the best interest of candidates. 

And the best candidates crave transparency. 

When we want to be ethical during the recruitment process, we must consider a candidate's personality, work ethic, interests, and goals, in addition to their qualifications. 

This means that companies will not only hire people based on what they need right now but also for future needs as well. 

Recruiters should also keep in mind that only by considering all candidates equally can an employer be sure that they are not losing a valuable employee.

Why Should We Care About Ethical Recruitment? 

According to the latest LRN Ethics Study, companies that foster an ethical corporate culture have an increased ability to attract, retain, and ensure productivity in employees. 

The numbers showed that most workers (94%) say it is "critical" or "important" the company they work for is ethical.

Having recruitment as the first step in reaching out to, and communicating with candidates and employees, puts every recruiter and hiring manager as a front liner and direct contributor in presenting the company's reputation, quality, and consistency. 

But being ethical doesn't mean just successful marketing and employee branding. 

It also means care, respect, honesty, and transparency for all candidates because they matter. Speaking truthfully, each candidate is a person spending a good amount of their time talking with recruiters, going through interviews, and being subjected to tests, all in an effort to join a company.

ethical recruitment

The Ethical Recruitment Process: 4 Important Aspects

Now that we looked into the concept of ethical recruitment and discussed why having an ethical culture is crucial, let's dive into the four main aspects of the ethical recruitment process.

1. Transparency

Transparency when presenting job openings is vital in the ethical recruitment process.

Presenting a job opening to a candidate is presenting the company itself. Each candidate is eager to know more about the place where they will work, the culture, their tasks, and company goals. Using employee reviews is an excellent way of promoting and presenting a company's values.

Candidates trust the company’s employees 3x more than the company to provide credible information on what it’s like to work there.

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2. Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are made to outline the main duties and responsibilities involved in a particular job. The candidate must be familiar with their duties and responsibilities when applying for a job. 

Each candidate should be given guidance to help them understand the offer and its associated career implications.

A transparent job description is a must.

But what exactly is a transparent job description?

In short, it's an overview of the skills and future tasks required by the company, written and defined by the expectations. To be truthful and transparent, recruiters must avoid misleading the candidates. 

The best job description is simply the one that lists ALL job requirements clearly and doesn't change the new hire's responsibilities once they join the company.

3. Interviews

Interviewing candidates is a vital part of the recruitment process.

Unfortunately, many candidates will tell you how they have been mistreated and felt unsuitable during an interview. 

Therefore, the recruiter's task is not to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, origin, religion, or political views, and to always review candidates based on their merits. 

What can recruiters do in order for all the candidates to receive the same treatment and same respect? 

They can focus on the questions. 

During interviews, many recruiters just go with the flow and improvise. This can sometimes lead to creating an incomplete profile for a candidate. Having the question flow prepared before the interview means recruiters know exactly what they are looking for in a candidate. All candidates must have the time and opportunity to present themselves properly. 

Speaking about time and opportunity, spending equal time with all candidates during interviews is another ethical piece in the recruitment process. Even if the recruiter has that gut feeling that the candidate is "not the one," the candidate must be given the same amount of time and the same opportunity as the others to present themselves.

4. Salary Transparency

Salary transparency is the most important ingredient while building a relationship of trust with the candidates. 

All recruiters want to make sure that their time is worth spending on numerous interviews, calls, and tests. Sharing the compensation benefits with the candidates is a great way to confirm you're on the same page.

The most common interview question recruiters ask is: "What are your salary expectations?"

A better alternative would be informing the candidate about your budget range for the position and compensation plan for the future.

ethical recruitment basics

Key Takeaways 

To sum up the importance of this article, we need to understand the meaning of ethics in our profession. In other words, to understand the meaning of commitment, consciousness, and competency.

  • Commitment: “The desire to do the right thing regardless of the cost.”
  • Consciousness: “The awareness to act consistently and apply moral convictions to daily behavior.”
  • Competency: “The ability to collect and evaluate information, develop alternatives and foresee potential consequences and risks.”

Q: Why is ethical recruitment important?
Recruitment is an important process for any company because it directly affects how a company grows and succeeds in its industry or field of work. It can increase a company's reputation as it involves transparent communication with candidates, transparency in job postings, fair interviews, etc.  
Q: What is ethical hiring?
It means treating each candidate fairly because it is important to offer equal opportunities for everyone who applies without discrimination or prejudice of any kind.