Grand Prints icon


Ethics in Hiring

In the People Decisions Practice at SDF Consulting, we emphasize on Principals working on all Candidate Assessments and even before that being experts (certified) in the Assessment Tools. To us, assessment tools and the expertise in using them is critical to be able to identify the ‘right fit’ i.e internal and external leaders in an organization.

Now what seems logical (and most natural) to us led us to responding to conversations in HR corridors on Ethics in Hiring. And the issues are many

The first issue that came up was “The No Poach from Clients”. Now, even the large and established search firms see this being diluted – very few search firms take this seriously and since the trade off is with signing-up new clients, its anybody’s guess on what’s the call there – simply put, look the other way.

The second issue is being confused between retainership and contingency recruitment. Contingency placement firms source and refer; whereas, retained search firms assess and recommend. Now,  if a search firm is actually sourcing and referring when it actually was signed up for a ‘Retained Search’ it may not seem unethical but it just doesn't hold true to what the client signed up for. The whole objective of retainership, in our view, is to be able to see beyond ‘force fit’ and focus on ’right fit’ through objective and creditable assessments mapped to the ‘Success factors’ or Competencies for the role.

And then there are the different ways in Search firms treat their Clients and Candidates. Most executives, including the CXOs have at some point of time been out there transitioning to a new organization. Now the search firms would have only a given number of current searches and hence these individuals’ details would not be relevant at a given time. However, nothing justifies a ‘no response’. While the compensation for Retained Search comes from the client, the candidate is investing her career through the search firms’ expert advise. Reason enough?

And have you been a victim of Parallel Processing of Candidates : There are instances when a Search firm gives the same candidate to two competing firms. Inherently, the individual couldn’t be ‘right fit’ in both positions because each organization is unique and so is their context, culture and so on.

Presenting “Contrasts” along with ‘right fit’ candidates – Most search firms would be guilty of this These "Ringers" may be great candidates per se, but not for the role and the CEOs would know. Search firms need to demonstrate courage in presenting ‘right fit’ candidate even and lets just say that it is harder to find 5 ‘right fit’ candidates than one.

References : Eroding Ethics of Executive Search by William Guy

Stay in the know. Sign up for our newsletter.