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  • Writer's pictureStuart Jackson

Ethical Recruiting

Ethical Recruiting : What It Is and How You Can Practice It

The recruitment industry has a reputation for many things and being ethically sound is not necessarily high on the list. At Jackson Sims, we have found that recruiting ethically ourselves and working with ethical recruiters produces the best results. By working within a culture of transparency and integrity, this is what we attract. But what exactly does ethical recruitment involve?

What is Ethical Recruiting?

Ethical recruiting is a process of recruitment which is fair, transparent and as unbiased as possible. It also involves working within company values, ensuring congruence. As a species, humans are inherently biassed and as recruiters it is essential that we take steps to reduce the impact of that bias on hiring as much as possible. Bias can arise around areas such as age, race, disability and socioeconomic background, to name a few.

Being conscious of bias doesn’t mean that every candidate has to tick all the representation boxes - it is essential that the best candidate is put forward for each job. But ethical recruiting seeks to ensure that clients aren’t overlooked and that the whole process is transparent, with candidates being awarded roles based on merit. The recruiting process can be long and involves many different stages, all of which carry risk of bias and provide opportunity to enact ethical recruiting.

Choosing Ethical Partners

This may not seem like a stage in the recruitment process itself but it is in fact the foundation. It is important for both recruiters and businesses to ensure that the partners they choose share their values and vision for ethical recruiting. Be discerning - are they explicit about ethical recruiting in their conversations? Do they have a statement or content on their website which suggests their commitment to ethical recruiting?

Role Advertising

Placing an advert for a role is the first opportunity to set the tone. Use open language, which doesn’t imply age or ask for unjustifiably high levels of experience. Similarly, only insist on qualifications absolutely necessary for the job in hand. Ensure that you are focusing on certifications, skills and ability and not excluding candidates with unnecessary requirements. Express that you are committed to equal opportunity and make clear that adjustments will be made to accommodate the right candidate, such as ensuring disabled access or arranging home or remote working.

Application Review

Self-awareness and self-exploration of the reviewer is essential. Anyone involved in the review process must be willing to check their own bias and do what they can to ensure it is not impacting their choices. Reviews must be done in a group and try to ensure where possible that the reviewing team includes people from varied backgrounds. Make sure that you are drawing out the professional and job related aspects of the application and CV and not focussing on any personal details. As tempting as it can be, try to avoid checking candidates’ personal social media profiles. LinkedIn is designed to be a professional space, but checking any of the candidates’ other social media channels may lead to biases.


The main challenge within an interview is allowing the candidate the opportunity to represent the best version of themselves, whilst ensuring the interview fits a template and gives candidates equal opportunity. Make sure all candidates are asked the same questions, ideally in the same order. The interviewing team should have a clear set of selection criteria and an interview template. Asked for and discussed information should be relevant to the job and it’s important to make sure that the role and the candidate’s ability to do the role takes priority over culture fit. This is not only ethical, but simply ensures that you will have the best talent on your team, producing the best possible results. Make sure all questions avoid discrimination or stereotyping and outside of the interview room, try to ensure that conversations about candidates are controlled and focused on ability.


If the rest of the application process has been grounded in good ethics, maintaining ethical recruiting at this stage should be easy. By this point, the main priorities are simply to keep up the awareness and ensure that the candidate’s ability and qualifications for the role are the best suited. Most businesses, certainly in the UK, offer a probation period rather than a work trial but in the instance that a work trial is offered it is important that it is conducted ethically. The trial should be paid and not go on for longer than necessary to assess whether the candidate is the right person for the job. Candidates need to be given full ability to represent their capabilities and also should be supervised.

Ethical recruiting touches every point of the recruitment process and is fundamentally woven into the values of companies. Companies making a commitment to ethical recruiting can get in touch with Jackson Sims for advice or to confidently work with a recruiter who is dedicated to ethics in recruitment.

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