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How to Hire Ethically: Five Best Practices

We’re all trying to live more ethically these days. Whether it’s buying more ethical foodstuffs that adequately compensate the producers or trying to help the environment by driving less often, ethical considerations have become deeply woven into our day-to-day existence. But why stop with our personal lives?

Making our workplaces fairer places starts with ethical hiring—an approach that favors fairness, transparency, and respect throughout the recruitment process. But what does that look like in practice?

In this blog, we’ll dive deep into ethical hiring, exploring why it’s important and revealing some crucial steps to pave the way for responsible talent acquisition.

What is ethical hiring?

Let’s first make sure we’re on the same page. We could describe ethical hiring as a commitment to integrity and social responsibility and call it a day. But ethical hiring is more than a string of buzzwords, a box to tick while filling vacant positions.

In the first instance, it’s about ensuring anyone who applies is judged on their merits and not disregarded based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other protected characteristics.

It also means simply being open with candidates, whether in terms of communication, providing clear job descriptions, or setting realistic expectations about the role. That’s not to say that everything should be open—ethical hiring also means respecting and maintaining the confidentiality of candidate information and using it solely for recruitment purposes.

Don’t think ethical hiring is only good for the individual. It benefits companies, too, by creating a positive, forward-thinking industry reputation. What’s more, research has shown that diverse teams lead to better business outcomes. A study by McKinsey found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile. Good, right?

Ethical recruitment practices, done right, lead to a virtuous cycle whereby organizations can access more diverse, innovative talent and a better society in the process.

Five steps towards Ethical Hiring Nirvana

But that’s enough lofty language. Let’s look at some concrete steps businesses can take to make ethical hiring a reality.

1. Make Job Descriptions Inclusive

We’ll start with an easy one. Businesses should craft job descriptions to focus on skills, qualifications, and responsibilities, as free from biased requirements as possible. Emphasize the organization’s commitment to diversity and equal opportunity and, ideally, mention the salary on offer!

2. Unbiased Screening and Interviewing

No one is free of bias. You might think the answer would be to rely on AI instead, but it turns out that AIs are just as riddled with it as the rest of us. Instead, interviews need to be based on standardized assessment criteria, and hiring teams need to be trained to focus on candidates’ capabilities, experiences, and potential

3. Focus on Transparent Communication

Open and honest communication with candidates should be maintained throughout the process. Clearly outlining job expectations, compensation, benefits, and the stage they are at in the hiring process provides candidates with the information they need to make informed decisions.

4. Ensure Privacy and Data Protection

Candidate information must be handled responsibly and ethically by hiring teams trained in the proper procedures. Explicit consent for background checks should be obtained, and candidates should be informed about how their data is being used and how it complies with regulations.

5. Feedback and closure

“Ghosting” is all too common in the modern hiring marketplace. Don’t leave candidates hanging—offer constructive feedback to candidates who were not selected, highlighting areas for improvement to respect their time and effort.

Let’s get ethical: Why are ethical recruitment practices necessary?

Look, we all want to work in a fair professional environment, allowing us to succeed based on our skills rather than bias. Ethical recruitment is just the first piece of the puzzle to achieve that vision, helping to break down barriers to entry and ensure equal opportunity. But it’s not only employees that benefit. Let’s break down a few of the reasons why ethical hiring is a win-win.

Attract higher-calibre talent

The hiring process is the first impression a company makes on a potential employee—which is why businesses need to put their best foot forward if they hope to attract top talent. Younger generations, in particular, place a greater emphasis on working for organizations that positively impact the world. Candidates seeking more ethical, progressive workplaces will appreciate a commitment to fairness and inclusivity during recruitment.

Get a head start on company culture

By being transparent and even-handed, the relationship between employer and employee can begin as one of trust. The mutual respect engendered by respecting employees from the word “go” bolsters employee morale and engagement, hopefully leading to increased productivity and decreased turnover rates.

Boost compliance

Of course, in most jurisdictions, ethical hiring practices are also a safeguard against legal risks and the financial and reputational damage that might ensue. Unbiased selection processes shield organizations from discrimination lawsuits and public backlash, while responsible handling of candidate data ensures compliance with data protection regulations.

Recover the human touch

Finally, with AI increasingly used to screen applications, it’s worth mentioning that ethical recruitment has likely never been more critical. A 2021 study revealed that 99% of Fortune 500 companies use such technology. Unfortunately, the reckless use of such tools is leading to the rejection of millions of viable job candidates before their application is even noticed by a human being—and there’s nothing ethical about that!

Ethically Recruit a Global Workforce

While we’re not claiming following these five steps will make all hiring decisions ethical, it’s an excellent place to start! If you’re wondering why we care so much about the subject, it’s because ethical recruitment is the perfect complement to our mission to make global employment easy.

It’s all well and good to identify diverse global talent, but how do you hire them? That’s where we come in. Multiplier is a global employer of record helping businesses hire and pay the hottest talent out there in the big wild world—without getting bogged down in logistical nightmares. Talk to our experts today!

Binita Gajjar
Binita Gajjar

Content Marketing Lead

Binita is a Content Marketing Lead at Multiplier

Employ the best person for job, regardless of location

Employ the best person for job, regardless of location

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