How to hire ethically

Some tips for making your hiring process more ethical.

Woman interviewing a man on a laptop.

In simple terms, ethical hiring is the process of assessing candidates without discrimination. While every company has its own idea of what this means, it’s critical to maintain a consistent, well-organized hiring process that promotes diversity and improves your reputation within the industry. An ethical, streamlined recruiting system can also help attract quality candidates who become satisfied new hires. The more time you focus on implementing ethical hiring procedures, the more you’ll realize the power of these benefits among others.

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How to make your recruitment process more ethical

1. Anonymize all applications

The more you know about a candidate, the more likely it is for bias to come into play. A name alone can impact your decision to move a candidate to the next step in the hiring process. Rather than let unconscious bias sneak into the hiring process, anonymize all applications. Remove identifying details—such as candidates’ names and school information, including attendance dates—to reduce the likelihood of assumptions or preferential treatment based on this information.

2. Implement a scoring criteria system

Candidate scoring allows you to identify the skills, experiences, and traits that a person needs to succeed in a role and determine which criteria are most relevant at the various stages of the recruiting process. You can assign values to each item you add to the scorecard to weigh how each candidate performs.

This system is beneficial because it allows you to objectively rank and compare candidates based on their performance. Since every candidate will have their pros and cons, being able to see how everyone scores will create a more transparent, ethical hiring process. You’ll also be able to collect and analyze data to further refine your recruiting approach over time.

3. Use the same interview structure for each candidate

A structured interview ensures you’re using the same questions in the same order for each candidate. This may not sound like a big deal, but slight variations in phrasing or sequence can impact a candidate’s answers and how you assess them. 

4. Use an interview panel

Even at a small company, it’s always best to have an interview panel. Bias is much more likely to impact hiring with a single interviewer when they assess a conversation and relay information to the rest of the recruiting team. A diverse interview panel allows multiple individuals to work together to score candidates and make a final decision. Since there are many different points of view involved, the team is less likely to encounter bias in their decisions.

Common ethical dilemmas 

When recruiting candidates and hiring new employees, you can expect ethical dilemmas to emerge. Some of the most common situations that affect hiring choices inlude:

  • Unethical use of social media: Using social media to uncover protected-status information and using it to make a hiring decision. Social media can be an effective screening tool, but you don’t want to cross the line into unethical territory. 
  • Unethical referral practices: Employee referral programs are a great way to source talent. Unfortunately, these programs can lead to unethical hiring practices, such as favoritism and the exchanging of favors. 
  • Misrepresenting a position’s requirements: Maintain transparency with all candidates regarding requirements and job responsibilities. Overpromising associated duties could lead to a frustrated employee who would be better qualified for a different role. 
  • Advertising positions that don’t exist: This tactic can be used as a way of researching the current talent pool or getting the most out of a paid slot on a job board, but it can lead to job seekers not trusting your company.

The ability to pinpoint ethical dilemmas allows you to take steps to keep them out of the hiring process.

Are you hiring ethically?

Regardless of what you’ve done in the past, there’s always room for improvement in the future. Studying the ethical underpinnings of your recruitment process allows you to make the proper adjustments. Here are some questions to help you determine whether you’re hiring ethically:

  • How diverse is your workforce?
  • Have you received any complaints from candidates or employees about unethical hiring practices?
  • Does your company have a good industry reputation for ethical and diverse hiring?
  • Do you maintain a consistent structure to guide every interview?
  • What steps do you take if ethical dilemmas move to the forefront during the interview process? 

Even if you’ve failed to meet these criteria in the past, you don’t have to continue down the same path. 

Improve your hiring practices with Oyster

With all this information about ethical hiring practices, it’s time to review your approach and make changes for the better. 

Oyster can help with this in many ways, such as with tools for finding and hiring refugee talent. With Oyster for Refugees, you can find refugee talent, onboard them to your team compliantly—at no or discounted costs—and build a brilliant, diverse team.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

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