Ethical Recruitment

Ethical Recruitment

Watching the England v Columbia game at the recent World Cup made me think about ethical recruitment.

Whereas the England team tried to keep within the laws of the game and kept pretty calm in the face of adversity; the Columbian team regularly fouled, frequently surrounded the referee and tried to influence his decision making, and even scuffed up the penalty spot before Harry Kane took his kick.

What’s this got to do with recruitment?

In a word: professionalism. I founded U&P on customer service and we will always act professionally. I insist my team follow this ethos – luckily it is natural for them to do so. With the recent introduction of GDPR, it is even more important to be ethical and to meet standards.

Unfortunately, some of our competitors (like the Columbian football team) are less ethical, and don’t follow the letter of the law as set out by the government or the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC). To briefly explain the process, when a vacancy goes out to recruitment agencies, REC recommends agencies speak to a potential candidate, describe the vacancy to them, then, if they’re suitable for the role, ask for their permission to submit their CV to the customer. U&P will always follow this process.

I’m aware that some agencies receive the briefs, and then simply submit CVs of potential candidates without speaking to them first. This is simply not ethical and, as outlined above, is against REC recommendations.

"...a professional, ethical approach will win you respect from customers and candidates."

Being unethical puts the candidate in an awkward position

Sometimes customers send the brief to more than one agency; and sometimes a candidate will be registered with one or more of these agencies.

As unethical agencies send their candidate’s CVs across quicker (without the permission of the candidate), the customer is more likely to deal with them as it’s first come, first served. Where this becomes an issue is that in the meanwhile an ethical agency like U&P may have already taken the time to speak to the candidate and they may have confirmed they’re happy to be put forward. The unethical agency doesn’t care, as, being first to submit, they’re likely to be the agency that receives the offer of an interview for the candidate and so are more likely to represent them.

This situation is difficult for the candidate as they want the job but understand the ethics, and have to make a tough decision on who they want to represent them. The customer may also want to know why the same CV has been submitted by two different agencies. Therefore, the ethical recruiter will have to explain the situation to them; outlining that they have followed due process and have profiled against the vacancy, but the competitor may not have done.

In most cases, the candidate will decide to be represented by the unethical agency – after all, they have an interview lined up for them. At U&P we always respect the candidates’ decision, but do wish that all agencies followed the REC recommendations.

Ethics can win the day


Fortunately, in the World Cup, the ethical team, England, won the match. Hopefully, this example will encourage those in recruitment that being professional and ethical will win you respect from both customers and candidates.

View the REC Code of Professional Practice.
For more Thought Leadership on recruitment, connect with Tim on LinkedIn.

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