It’s hard out there for recruiters.

Hiring managers and recruiters often experience a good number of challenges and ethical dilemmas that test not only their decision-making abilities but also their professionalism.

  • Disrespectful candidates.
  • Making sure managers and higher-ups are happy.
  • Managing truly difficult candidates with care.
  • Navigating the always-there ethical concerns within the hiring process itself.
  • And so on.

Recruiting can be a minefield of unseen troubles.

Here are some common ethical scenarios often faced by hiring professionals and how to handle them.
  • Disrespectful, angry, truly hard-to-deal-with candidates

Angry candidates aren’t hard to find when recruiting. They may be fed up with applying to many companies and hearing nothing, very discouraged about their job search, upset that they even have to go through the process, and so on. They no doubt showcase unprofessional behavior such as lack of respect, arrogance and even – unfortunately – start acting out their anger/aggression.

If you have to interact with a candidate in this state, if the candidate is acting exceptionally angry and/or aggressive, shut it down immediately. Tell the candidate the interaction is over and turn off the video/hang up the phone.

If meeting with this candidate in person, let them know their behavior is unacceptable and tell them – firmly but professionally to leave.

However… if you’re alone with a candidate and they’re acting aggressively, never be afraid to yell/scream, stand up and head for the door. In fact, it’s probably wise to leave the door open a bit, have someone nearby and have a secret word that tells them they need to get into the room ASAP.

(Ask HR to come up with a policy as to what to do in these situations, if the department doesn’t already have one.)

Still, if the candidate is “slightly” disrespectful, give them the benefit of the doubt. Tell them their behavior is unrespectful and give them the chance to change their behavior.

  • Pressure “from above” to choose a certain candidate.

Perhaps one of the most challenging of ethical positions in which hiring managers and recruiters can experience is when a manager or higher-up insists on hiring a candidate who just doesn’t meet the necessary qualifications. Acquiescing to this pressure could create a culture of favoritism, or even cries of discrimination. If you feel such pressure, talk to your manager, explaining what you feel would be the consequences of hiring an unqualified candidate.

Offer possible solutions, such as seeking a compromise in which the individual is hired, but in another position, one that fits the candidate’s and background as well as what the company or department needs.

  • Encountering pushback when aiming to uphold equal opportunity and fairness laws.

Discrimination/bias in hiring practices can – and often does – lead to legal repercussions. It also damages the company’s reputation.

Make sure higher-ups understand the risks of their behavior and talk to HR about implementing “blind” recruitment practices that remove personal information in applications that could lead to bias during the recruitment process.

  • Always provide constructive feedback to candidates, especially those with whom you interviewed.

Candidates invest considerable effort and time in applying to your positions, during all types of interviews and in follow-up. They definitely deserve honest feedback regarding their candidacy.

Of course, doing so can hurt some feelings – at the least – or result in discouragement regarding their job search. Aim to provide specific feedback and offer actionable steps a candidate can do to improve their candidacy for subsequent applications, either with your own company or another. Obviously, you’ll steer clear of personal/subjective criticisms and instead offer interview tips and/or ideas for developing skills in which they are lacking.

Debbie’s Staffing can help your company interview candidates from resume screening, through interviews and even on to job offers.

Learn more about our recruiting, screening and interviewing services.