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May 2007
Ethics in Job Search & Hiring Decisions

by Susan Reynolds

Have ethics and values changed in hiring practices and job searches? As employers, we want to find the candidates with the best possible fit for the company culture, environment, and goals. Obviously we also want to find the most effective mix of skills, characteristics, attributes, and work history to fulfill the requirements of the job description we need to fill. We need to do a complete and careful screening of our candidates, taking care to watch the legalities and ethics to protect the company from vulnerability. As a result there are a number of subjects that we must not address in our interviewing. For instance, questions about age, religion, sexuality, and health are forbidden.

What should a job seeker do to play a fair and safe role in this interviewing quagmire? Here’s where it gets touchy. It may be to your benefit to bring out into the open, and discuss, a topic that you believe the interviewer is having to avoid, but yet still may be worried about! Let’s use age as an example. Perhaps the best way to comfort the unspoken concern about your age might be to say something like, “I’m mature and experienced in conducting myself in a professional matter. I’m looking for any organization that will appreciate my stability...” They might be greatly relieved to hear that you would be a great candidate, and that your age can be seen as an asset instead of a vulnerability.

Companies need to feel that they are hiring solid employees that will not make unethical use of their company property or supplies. Companies should expect employees to work hard in their allotted time, and not steal away time on the Internet, or on personal calls. Companies need to be able to “rent their employee’s best behavior”. Likewise job seekers need to know that they are joining a company that will provide them an environment safe from any form of harassment, and that their personal lives will be allowed to remain personal!

Susan Reynolds is a senior partner at Newmarket Careers in Santa Clarita, a job search and career strategy firm geared toward managerial, executive, and senior level professional careers. She can be reached at or 661-755-3308.

Other Job and Career Success Related Articles:
Why Have an Up to Date Resume?

Take the Meeting to Get a Great Job

The Role of Degrees in Job Search

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