Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ethical Issues in Hiring

This image really made me think about the challenge which organizations face today in ascertaining the work experience and educational qualifications of employees. I keep hearing lot of stories about the way recruitment happens in some of high attrition industries like call centre and support functions. The lack of skilled talent and high pressure to recruit people often means recruiting people who may not be the best suited for the job.

In the past we have debated the validity and predictability of the interview process and selection tests for entry or mid level jobs but typically in a high attrition industry quality checks and rigid processes means high turnaround time and low offer acceptance.

Given the market situation today, one if often tempted to put inaccurate details or outrightly falsify. Some are smart or rather lucky to get through and make merry on the job. We often come across situations when an employee who has claimed some particular experience may not be able to demonstrate the competency and skills as per the profile. Backgrounds checks are often re initiated in such cases as it becomes a daunting task if one has to be asked to leave due to unsatisfactory performance on job.

Its actually sad when one has to be separated on account of falsification and on account background check reports. Since these checks have been made very stringent in recent times it difficult to estimate the number of such cases from different organisations.

Business week recently had a story on the ethical job hunter.

In recent years, the ethics of running a business has garnered plenty of attention in the B-school classroom. But until now, MBA students rarely got a lesson on the rights and wrongs they themselves might commit while on the hunt for jobs.Patrick E. Murphy, the Smith co-director of the Institute for Ethical Business Worldwide and professor of marketing at University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business helped create a manual, at, for students and recruiters that answers some of their questions about how to face certain dilemmas when looking for a job. Murphy encourages other schools and organizations to adapt the document to create their own set of guidelines.

Among the ethical proscriptions for job hunters, the manual lists:

•Misrepresenting background and skills (in a job interview or embellishing a résumé)
•Misrepresenting job-seeking status (e.g., number of offers)
•Accepting on-site interviews when not seriously considering the prospective employer

As for recruiters, the manual warns against:

•Using exploding job offers (failing to allow applicants to participate in the entire recruiting season, or giving applicants less than two weeks to decide at other times)
•Tying signing bonus to exploding job offer
•Using high-pressure interviewing tactics on campus or during firm visits
Murphy says students should consult lists of employers that magazines and newspapers put out to gain insight into companies and their culture (see, 9/18/06, "The Best Places to Launch a Career").

He also suggests talking to those who already work at the company and taking the time to do some assessment of your own character. "You'll come out ahead in the whole process if you're more transparent and honest,”.

The fact that we rarely talk about ethical means of searching jobs in our classroom is a point worth considering. We really can’t expect our job seekers to live in a different /perfect world where truth is always rewarded. Also it’s worth question the ethical practices of organizations today, an organization may claim to be practicing ethical values but then not all of them follow the ethical practices when it comes to the hiring philosophy, especially when it comes to hire people for positions which are critical and talent is in short supply.Talent poaching is also a catalyst as it often allows people to get away with unethical practices.


Astha said...

Love the cartoon.

And couldn't agree with you more.

Here's a related post from Recruitment Views Blog:
I quoted it in a rant against the "Product You" culture a while back (!BB0155A45B1604C7!607.entry).

Ravi Ranjan said...

I agree with you completely but I believe that the hiring process of the organizations are also to be blamed for this and the lack of expertise on the interviewer side leads to such hiring.

Here is my post on the common mistakes that interviewers commit and some methods to overcome them