Professional and staff-level job seekers form their first impressions about your company based on their experience with the recruiting function of your human resources department. These potential applicants are the human equivalent of an industry-facing advertisement for your company’s brand. If you want to cultivate a reputation for your company as an ethical, efficiently-run shop, and you want the best of the best to covet positions with your practice or business, the process necessarily begins with ethical, competence-based hiring policies.
- If You Use an Outside Agency to Assist in Recruiting for Your Company, Do Your Research
Make sure you understand the outsourced firm’s policies and procedures for locating applicants. In recent years, recruiting agencies, rightly or wrongly, have gotten a reputation for engaging in unethical practices, such as posting jobs that do not exist, to draw in the kind of candidates the recruiters know they can easily sell to employers. Some recruiters working on a commission have steered applicants not to the job that is the best fit for the applicant and/or the company, but to the job that will pay the recruiter the highest commission. Ask any recruiting agencies you are considering using what stop-gap measures they have in place to prevent the kind of practices identified above.
- Follow the Law
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Americans With Disabilities Act, hiring biases based on an applicant’s race, age, sex, nationality, religion, and disability are not only unethical, but they are also illegal. Check with your legal department to be sure you are maintaining the appropriate documents and records, such as hiring statistics and applicant data, according to federal regulations. The best protection against bias is a hiring-process built and administered by well-trained, human resources professionals that understand your company’s brand and that will adhere to your company’s ethical principles.
Job openings should be posted in media that promotes a diverse applicant pool. Recruiters should attend hiring fairs at colleges that have diverse student populations. Furthermore, recruiters should assure that any required job-testing does not create barriers for the disabled applicant population.
The company should also put a committee in place to immediately address complaints of discrimination in a consistent, efficient, and meaningful way. Keep appropriate records so managers can spot bias problems early on and address issues.
Build a hiring process that starts with a competence-based evaluation and spread the hiring decision between and among HR, the hiring manager, and company professionals with expertise in the subject-matter and the qualifications necessary to perform the open position.
- Create a Competence-based Hiring Process and Assure That You Follow the Procedures Established
A focus on competence-based hiring (CBH), as noted above, helps to keep bias and prejudice out of the hiring and recruiting process. It should go without saying that an ethical hiring decision should be based on getting the most qualified person for the job using a transparent process that makes sense on paper every step of the way. You might be shocked to learn that the most qualified person doesn’t always get the job which results in lower company productivity and high turnover rates. These collateral costs make ethical behavior not only the right thing to do, but the most productive and profitable course of action to take when your business is recruiting.
A CBH process starts with detailed, accurate job descriptions and a meaningful assessment of the qualifications necessary to perform the tasks and duties identified. Job descriptions should be updated at least annually at employee review-time if duties and tasks have been added or changed over the review period. Some of these qualifications may be necessary and some may be preferred; however, consistently screening for applicants that have the required credentials and experience should always be step one.
Honest job-descriptions protect the employee and the company. The company doesn’t want to hire someone overqualified for a position and lose them a year later because they are bored and not challenged by their work. And, the applicant needs to understand the job-duties so that he or she can evaluate personal fit and interest in the position.
Follow these suggestions, and your company will be off and running on the path to hiring a competent, happy work-force consistent with the ethical reputation and brand you want to cultivate in your industry. Good luck!
Wells Law, LLC is here to assist you in the development of cost-efficient, compliant policies and procedures for your professional practice or business. Click on the hyperlink to contact us or to learn more about the services we can provide for you and your business.