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Ethical Dimensions in Recruitment and Selection: Upholding Business Values and Principles

May 22, 2023 | 0 comments

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May 22, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments

The process selecting and recruiting new employees in any organization is one that is governed by ethics. Human resource managers have a lot to consider and have to take many principles into account before settling on a particular employee. Ignoring the ethical standards required in the recruitment process is a probable way of inviting legal problems to the organization. Ethics in business such as integrity, trust, respect and equality are enhanced by the right employees. The recruitment process must therefore reflect the business values and principles of the organization in order to correctly uphold the strategy and business goals and policies.


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Ethical dimensions in recruitment and selection

Respect: respect for individuals as equal human beings is not only necessary it is required in the recruitment process. Cooper et al. (2003) states that respect means holding in esteem and great value fellow individuals. Whether it is during the selection process, the interview process or the final stages of recruitment, use of derogatory language, treating applicants with disrespect and other issues that may be considered disrespectful are greatly frowned upon.

Discrimination: perhaps, the biggest issue today in the recruitment and selection process of human resource is discrimination. Selection is to be based simply on skills and ability to perform a particular task. Race, gender and social class should not feature in the process of recruitment. Billsberry (2007) defines discriminatory practices as actions undertaken by the organization or people in authority acting on behalf of the organization to limit the success of individuals based on their nature and not abilities. Offering a particular candidate for example a higher salary based on gender as opposed to others is an act of discrimination prohibited by the law. In the process of recruitment, the company must strive to ensure that all candidates receive equal treatment as well as equal consideration for employment. Considering background should only be done in an attempt to gauge the skills of the candidates. Information that is not related to the tasks that the candidate will be performing can be construed as discrimination especially when such information is used to rate the candidate and elect to recruit them and the terms of recruitment thereof.

Compensation: during the recruitment process much is discussed but most important is the compensation that employees will receive upon completion of their tasks. According to Roberts (2005) in the past, employees often played a small role if any in determining their own compensation. The company determined how much to pay particular employees and in doing so left the employee little if any choice. It was therefore possible to find employees in the same job level, with the same skills and performing similar tasks being paid varied amounts of money. However, as he continues to show today the issues have been turned around. Employees now have a right to rate themselves and determine the value of their skills. Compensation has therefore become a sticky matter for organizations. On the one hand, employees have a right to negotiate their own salaries but on the other hand all employees need to be compensated equally for the tasks they are performing. Compensation should be determined based on skills, talent and ability with allowances being negotiated on performance ratings. The indicators of performance should however be easy to see and understand and also equal to all employees. In this way employees maintain independence in compensation and the organization treats all employees equally.

Fairness: (Wood and Payne 1998) states that despite efforts by a company to employ ethics in recruitment there are some selection processes that are based on unfairness or increasing difficulty to the employee. This is especially so in organizations where applications and candidates are too many. An example of unfairness in an organization is keeping candidates waiting for months before making the final selection. Cases that have become legal matters often cite that the candidate’s life is kept on hold as they await a decision from the company which may or may not be in their favor. Such unfairness is considered unethical. In the same way, during the interview process tests on task performance maybe administered but where such tasks can only be learnt by having worked within the organization, this is considered unfair as there is no way the candidate can perform well or even satisfactorily.

Honesty: during the process of recruitment and selection, it is common for the company to expect honesty from the candidate. The candidate is expected to base his resume on true facts and accuracy; answers in the interview are expected to be honest. Should any dishonesty be found, it is possible and indeed quite probable that the company will terminate any sort of relationship with the candidate. In the same way, the company is required to base the recruitment process in honesty. The candidate should be made aware of exactly what to expect from the job, the company and the culture of the organization. Terms of employments, tasks that will be required and duties that the candidate will participate in are to be clearly stated and based on truth and accuracy.


Human resources deals directly with people who are not shareholders or even customers but rather assets of the company. This therefore provides various ethical challenges and pitfalls which can be detrimental to an organization’s goals and reputation. Organizations that have a good reputation in terms of ethical human resource tend to attract the best talent and the top employees. In addition employees who are ethically treated are most loyal to the company, often taking extra time and going an extra mile to ensure the company’s success. It is however important to note that a good ethical foundation in human resource requires planning and strategizing for success.


Billsberry, J. (2007). Experiencing recruitment and selection. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.

Cooper, D., Robertson, I. T., Tinline, G., & Cooper, D. (2003). Recruitment and selection: A framework for success. Australia: Thomson.

Roberts, G., & Institute of Personnel and Development. (2005). Recruitment and selection. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.

Wood, R., & Payne, T. (1998). Competency-based recruitment and selection. Chichester: Wiley.

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