Beyond the Bottom Line: The Importance of Ethical Recruitment for Businesses

Published by:
Joe Caccavale
March 9, 2023
min read

Recruitment is an unavoidable process, unless you’re planning for your business to remain a one-man show - and the people who make it through your recruitment process (ethical or otherwise) will play at least some part in shaping the direction, culture, and success of your company. 

Keeping your employees sweet right from the beginning, then, is sure to have a domino-style positive impact on your business. So, have you ever stopped to consider whether your recruitment process is ethical? 

Ethical recruitment is about treating job candidates fairly, respectfully, and without bias. It's not just a moral imperative, but a business imperative. When companies conduct ethical recruitment practices, they not only attract the best talent, but they also create a diverse and inclusive workplace, which is (and will continue to be) a key driver of business success.

Naturally, updating a full-scale recruitment process to account for ethical recruitment best practices can be daunting, meaning a lot of companies are still operating with more traditional, less inclusive hiring models. Unethical recruitment practices can lead to negative consequences such as lawsuits, reputational damage, high staff turnover, and low employee morale. Making sure you’re in-the-know when it comes to ethical recruitment is therefore something to prioritise sooner rather than later. 

With that in mind, in this blog post, we'll dive into the importance of ethical recruitment, the impact of unethical recruitment practices, and how to look beyond your bottom line and ensure ethical recruitment practices are being followed. 

We'll also provide some tips to help you implement ethical recruitment practices in your own recruitment process. So, let's get started!

What is ethical recruitment, and why is it important?

First, a quick overview of some key points around why ethical recruitment is vital for businesses:

  • Ethical recruitment practices are essential for ensuring that all job candidates are treated with fairness and respect, regardless of their background. 
  • Ensuring a level playing field for all candidates can help to improve a company's workplace culture and promote a positive image of the company within its industry.
  • Ethical recruitment practices can also help companies reduce the risk of legal damage, and mitigate reputational risks by promoting a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

  • These practices also tend to lead to better quality hires. By focusing on the skills and abilities of job candidates rather than their demographic characteristics, companies can ensure they are hiring the most qualified candidates for the role. This can go on to improve employee performance and productivity and reduce employee turnover.

The potential impact of unethical recruitment practices

‘But wait - what’s so wrong with traditional recruitment practices?’ we hear you ask. Well, aside from being biassed - and in many cases, more time-consuming than more modern solutions - unethical processes can have a detrimental impact on both job candidates and the company itself. 

Unethical recruitment can lead to:

  • A lack of diversity in the workplace, leading to low employee morale, limited creativity and innovation, and an unwelcoming work environment.
  • Overlooked talented candidates, with companies potentially rejecting qualified candidates based on factors that are not relevant to their ability to perform the job.
  • Reputational damage for the company, leading to a loss of customers, clients, and employees - or even legal action.

It goes without saying then, that companies prioritising ethical recruitment practices can not only create a more diverse and productive workplace, but also access the very best talent and maintain a positive brand image - it’s win after win!

5 steps to ensure ethical recruitment best practices are being followed

Now, you’re probably wondering how you can quickly and cost-effectively ensure these positive practices are being followed across your business. So below, we outline a few steps that should help you on your way to becoming a company with a fair, unbiased hiring process.

  1. Create an ethical recruitment policy
    Companies should create an ethical recruitment policy that outlines the commitment to diversity, inclusion, and fair hiring practices. The policy should be clear, concise, and easy to understand for all employees involved in the recruitment process.
  1. Train employees
    Companies should offer quality ethics-focussed training to those involved in the recruitment process. The training should cover topics such as unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion, and fair hiring practices.
  1. Remove bias from job descriptions
    Companies should avoid using gendered language, cultural stereotypes, and other biases in their job descriptions. This approach can help to attract a more diverse pool of candidates and reduce the risk of unconscious bias in the recruitment process.
  1. Conduct blind/anonymous resume reviews
    Companies can reduce the risk of unconscious bias in the recruitment process by reviewing applications anonymously. This approach involves removing demographic information from resumes, such as name and address, to reduce the impact of unconscious bias in the hiring decision.
  1. Use behavioural science-backed recruitment software
    Smart software, backed by behavioural science, is readily available to help companies reduce bias, improve the quality of hire, and increase diversity. You’ll quickly identify the most qualified candidates and reduce the impact of unconscious bias in the hiring process.

3 common mistakes to avoid in the recruitment process

Naturally, there are several common mistakes that companies make when it comes to developing a new recruitment process. Check out the below examples to ensure you avoid them when putting your ethical hiring practice in place:

  1. Rushing the recruitment process
    Companies looking to fill a position quickly might be inclined to want to speed things up, but this will only have a negative impact long-term. Rushing the process can lead to hiring the wrong candidate, which can result in a high turnover rate, lost productivity, and additional hiring costs.
  1. Relying too heavily on referrals
    While employee referrals can be a valuable source of new hires, relying on them can eventually lead to a lack of diversity in the workplace and can result in missed opportunities to hire highly-qualified candidates who may not be connected to the company through personal networks. With smart recruitment software, you’ll have unbiased access to everyone suitable for your job!
  1. Failing to provide feedback to job candidates
    Even candidates who are not selected for the position deserve to hear why. Providing feedback can help candidates understand how they can improve and create a positive candidate experience, which can benefit the company's reputation in the long term.

Ethical recruitment best practices: Applied’s examples

Here at Applied, we believe recruitment should always be predictive, fair and unbiased. We’ve developed our software to encompass all of the below best practices for an ethical recruitment process.

  • Ensuring every job description is inclusive and non-gendered
  • Removing any unconscious bias triggers (names, addresses etc) from applications
  • Providing reasonable accommodations for job candidates with disabilities
  • Conducting structured interviews
  • Offering structured skills-based assessments
  • Providing tangible feedback to every candidate 
  • Ensuring compliance with employment laws

A fair and streamlined hiring process is a huge pull for job seekers. You’ll likely have a larger pool of qualified candidates to select from in the first place, and once you’ve chosen the ideal fit, retention rates will likely increase, too.

Book a demo and try our unbiased recruitment software

Ethical recruitment practices are clearly crucial for creating a fair and inclusive workplace culture, reducing legal and reputational risks, and improving the quality of hires. Companies looking beyond their bottom line and prioritising ethics and candidate experience will be sure to see the rewards long-term - deservingly so!

As a provider of ethical recruitment software, we understand the importance of conducting recruitment practices with integrity, fairness, and respect for all job candidates. Ethical recruitment goes beyond legal compliance and aims to create a level playing field for all candidates, regardless of their background, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. It is the responsibility of every company to ensure that their recruitment practices are ethical, unbiased, and inclusive.

So, if you’re ready to attract and retain the best talent, create a diverse and inclusive workplace, and promote a positive corporate image, implementing ethical recruitment practices via smart, behavioural science-backed software is the way to go.

Applied is the all-in-one platform for fairer hiring - purpose-built to reduce bias and reliably predict the best talent.

Start transforming your hiring now: book in a demo.