10 Tips To Make Your Hiring Process Fair And Ethical

10 Tips To Make Your Hiring Process Fair And Ethical

Traditional hiring processes are typically quite unethical. From salary-less job ads, to endless hiring processes, to ghosting, to sham 'internships' that exploit university interns and grads.

At Alooba, we think we all need to lift our game and do better.

We’ve put together a list of 10 simple & practical ways to make any hiring process better and more ethical.

1: Candidates should be provided with the full remuneration details up front

Providing the full remuneration details up front saves everyone time. It’s a great opportunity for the candidate to qualify themselves out of the process, if they see the salary is simply below their minimum. There’s no point finding this out in the first interview, or much later - that just wastes everyone’s time and blows out the hiring process.

In addition to the base salary, it’s important to include all other tangible benefits like share options, expected bonuses and health care.

Please note, these all need to be numbers not words - so avoid flowery terms like ‘good bonus’ or ‘competitive salary’, ‘market-based’ salary and other waffle. This is not helpful.

By the way, job ads with salaries on them attract 42% more applicants anyway, so that’s another great reason to include the full details.

2: The hiring process should be disclosed up front

Let’s be honest, some companies have ridiculously long hiring processes, especially the FAANG companies, where even for individual contributor roles the process sometimes takes months, with 8 interview rounds not uncommon.

While this is a problem in itself, at least ensure that you tell the candidate ahead of time what to expect. Setting expectations early avoids disappointment and prevents you stringing the candidate along for ‘just one more chat’.

Of course, in order to provide this to the candidate, you will need to have figured this out for yourself ahead of time.

And remember, the candidate is going through your hiring process - through all those hoops - for free. Time is money, and the candidate’s time needs to be respected.

3: The working conditions should be disclosed up front

Is this a 9 to 5 role, or is the candidate going to be regularly pulling all-nighters, weekend work and the need for sudden travel? Likewise, can they work from home from anywhere in the world, or are they going to be locked at a desk in an office?

Because most candidates want flexibility, companies have responded to that sometimes unethically, by wording job ads very tactically, making them appear more flexible than they actually are.

Avoid terms like ‘flexible working arrangements’, ‘work from most places’ etc. - just be crystal clear with where the candidate can, and cannot work from.

4: The organisation’s financial health should be disclosed up front

It’s deeply unethical to lead candidates astray regarding the current situation of the company. Candidates sometimes join companies (especially in tech), only to find out that there’s 6 months runway and half the team is about to be let go.

As long as this is disclosed up front, then it’s actually fine - the candidate can opt into the risk if they want.

5: The job’s responsibilities and tasks should be accurately described up front

Typical job ads tend to be a laundry list of tools and generic sounding responsibilities that feel like they’ve been copy and pasted from somewhere. This doesn’t provide much insight to candidates, and therefore doesn’t help you attract the right candidate.

The best job ads we’ve seen spoke in simple terms about the expectations of the role and covered:

  • what the team was and their goals
  • what will (actually) be done (day in the life)
  • tools/tech stack
  • who else is in the team

6: Candidates should be given actionable, timely feedback after each stage

Candidates’ single biggest complaint in the hiring process is not receiving any feedback, or worst still, getting completely ghosted by the employer. They are generally ok to receive negative news - they just want to hear the news.

There are numerous reasons why companies fail to provide meaningful feedback, even if there is sometimes the right intent. Check out this quick guide to learn how to overcome traditional barriers to giving feedback.

With more and more companies adopting more ethical hiring processes, it’s going to be essential to up your game to retain candidates’ trust in your employer brand.

7: Hiring decisions should be based on objective facts

Traditional hiring processes tend to be quite subjective, especially CV screening and unstructured interviews. This leads to a lot of bias and shocking levels of discrimination.

Instead of manual CV screening, try skills-based screening, where candidates get measured at how strong they are at the essential skills for the role.

Hint: if the stage has no numbers associated with it, it’s not an objective measurement at all. When it comes to hiring, make sure you replace those feelings with facts.

8: Hiring processes should be structured and pre-defined

We see lots of companies making the mistake of basically making up the process as they go along. This is a recipe for disaster, because it leads to moving the goalposts in terms of the requirements, and leaves communication with the candidate in disarray. Also, it becomes impossible to forecast when the candidate will join, because you don’t know how long the hiring process will last.

A better way is to plan out the hiring process before you start hiring. You don’t need to boil the ocean - it’s actually quite simple. Just decide what the process will be, and make sure to base it on what your hiring goals are.

For example, if your hiring goal is to hire a solid software engineer in 2 weeks, then you know you can’t have 6 rounds of interviews, with a week between rounds.

At minimum, make sure you decide these basics ahead of time:

  • What the stages will be and why (you’ll need to be able to sell it to the candidate)
  • What feedback the candidate will get at each stage (you’ll be more likely to stick to your word)
  • What effort/time commitment there will be from the candidate (avoids them being strung along)
  • Who will be responsible for each stage

The ’why’ you have for each stage is the most important. A classic mistake is to just cookie cutter hiring or have more interviews, without any real specific reason to include them. Going through this exercise will definitely help you cut off steps that add no value at all, tick-and-flick reference checks.

9: Biases should be actively removed from the hiring process

Traditional hiring approaches are laced with the potential for bias & discrimination.

Just ask Chinese Australians, who have only the chance of getting a callback for a job compared to candidates with a white name. Discrimination at the screening stage is a solvable problem - use skills-based screening instead.

And at the interview stage, make sure you consider the 15 different types of bias commonly found in any interview.

This is why it’s essential to include unbiased evaluation methods in any hiring process, such as cognitive reasoning tests, personality quizzes and skills-tests, instead of just relying purely on interviews to make a hiring decision.

10: Everyone involved in the hiring process should acknowledge their biases

We should all know by now that the quality of our decision making is greatly affected by all the biases we carry around with us. The broad acceptance of cognitive biases really came to the fore in 2011, with the publication of the stupendously popular book Thinking, Fast and Slow, by the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman. There’s now no excuse for us to not be aware of these and at least acknowledge them.

Although merely being aware of our biases won’t magically eradicate them, at least it gets everyone in the process thinking about them actively trying to find ways to mitigate them.

We can all do better!

Tired of the BS? Check out our definitive guide to diversity hiring.

Hear from leading Alooba customers who are already running fair hiring with Alooba

We get a high flow of applicants, which leads to potentially longer lead times, causing delays in the pipelines which can lead to missing out on good candidates. Alooba supports both speed and quality. The speed to return to candidates gives us a competitive advantage. Alooba provides a higher level of confidence in the people coming through the pipeline with less time spent interviewing unqualified candidates.

Scott Crowe, Canva (Lead Recruiter - Data)

Looking to make your hiring process fairer? Check out our ethical hiring guide.