How Ethical Is Your Hiring Process?

It’s pretty safe to say that you have an ethical hiring process as a business owner. After all, organisations are obliged to comply with numerous laws and regulations in the talent acquisition process. They also help prevent discrimination in the workplace by ensuring that fairness is ensured throughout the process. But do they go far enough to ensure an ethical and fair playing field? The answer likely is no.

A wide range of federal laws prohibit employment discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, and others are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Even though most businesses comply with hiring regulations, many are not required to elevate their talent acquisition system beyond what is mandated. Keeping the rules isn’t enough when it comes to hiring ethically. In addition, it means treating job candidates with respect and implementing a hiring process that reflects well on your company.

In what ways are businesses failing to hire ethically?

Over the last 20 years, talent acquisition has evolved dramatically. A growing talent shortage, skills gaps, and an often unenthusiastic workforce are posing increasing challenges to businesses. Job candidates, on the other hand, are feeling pressure from a deteriorating labour market characterised by mass layoffs and changes to remote working options. In short, employers and job seekers often have an oppositional dynamic that hinders their success.   

There is a certain amount of responsibility that lies with the talent pool in such a scenario, but businesses and owners must ensure that their hiring processes not only meet regulatory requirements but are also welcoming, transparent, and respectful of top talent. Which, let’s face it, isn’t always easy.

Why might your hiring process be ethically questionable and what could taint its success? Following are some challenges in ethics and fairness that go beyond compliance with regulations:

Ethical Hiring Mistake 1: Inaccurate or Vague Job Postings

The goal of every business is to make their open positions sound as attractive to potential candidates as possible. However, including unrealistic pay ranges or omitting key compensation structures in a job description is off-putting and leaves candidates with more questions than answers. Aiming to attract talent with unrealistic expectations of wages and career paths is unethical. 

Be as specific and forthcoming as possible in your job postings.

Ethical Hiring Mistake 2: Lack of Communication

Most job applicants cite a lack of communication regarding their candidacy as one of their biggest frustrations – especially after they have been through multiple interviews and are left waiting weeks or even months for a final decision. The lack of transparency and communication alienates top talent, is disrespectful, and devalues your business in the eyes of potential employees. It will likely result in you losing out on top candidates due to your lack of candour.

It is ethical to be forthcoming with your job candidates on where they stand in the hiring process. Don’t leave them guessing. Communicate even with unqualified job seekers or those applying for positions you have already filled. Thank them for their interest in your company and urge them to consider future opportunities within your organisation when appropriate.

Ethical Hiring Mistake 3: Misrepresenting Your Company Culture

Labeling your employees as a “work-hard, play-hard collaborative team” is fine, as long as it’s true. The idealised picture you paint of your company culture and work environment might attract top talent, but it can also result in dramatic employee turnover once they realise it doesn’t match their experience. 

It is unethical to oversell your company culture as something it is not. Be honest in the way you describe your culture in job postings and throughout the hiring process. Ask current employees for their perspectives on their work environment and what they like about their jobs, then leverage that information to attract the employees who best align with your unique culture.

Since the employment market remains unpredictable, it is essential that your hiring process meets high ethical standards and is thus positioned to provide your business with the best possible talent acquisition results. 

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board