How to conduct ethical interview practices

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During the interview process it can be a stressful time as a business is looking to get someone through the door quickly whilst making the correct decision in terms of fit for the business and the current team. Therefore it is vital that when conducting an interview that certain areas are avoided.

In the eyes of the public the ethical values of a company are more important than ever, and as a result of this the workforce is becoming more aware of what constitutes ethical or unethical practices.

The first impression of your business is during the interview process and this shows the candidate how your business conducts and handles itself. Making a good ethical impression is key in order to attract and retain the best talent but is also important in order to stay the right side of the law. When interviewing there are plenty of dangers and certain areas to avoid in order to be beneficial for your business.

Natural unconscious bias

A vital area that needs addressing by employers when adapting interview practices to become more ethical is the problem area of unconscious bias.

Unconscious bias is a natural way in which people tend to favour people with similar characteristics to their own. This includes a range of characteristics such as appearance, education, background or even something as small as same dress sense. The hold that unconscious bias has over everyone is something that creates problems when trying to conduct an interview in an ethical manner and therefore is something that interviewers must try to combat. A method used to combat the issue is to ask yourself why one candidate stands out over the other. This will enable you to analyse and consider what makes them different to other candidates in terms of skills and experience and will give the interviewer concrete reasoning behind their preference.

If unconscious bias is something that is not actively combatted then it could result in your business conducting interviews in an unethical manner and also could mean that the top talent is not being hired.

Questions that should be avoided and indirect discrimination

There are two types of discrimination: indirect and direct. Direct discrimination is an easy thing to spot, not wanting to hire an individual based on appearance, identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability is completely unethical and also illegal. However indirect discrimination is normally harder to identify as it is not choosing someone over another, it is rather having a rule that applies to everyone but has more of an adverse effect on certain people. An example of this may be an inaccessible workplace that makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to access or a uniform policy that does not take religious groups into consideration.

In terms of conducting an interview there are certain areas that are completely off limits and should not be asked under any circumstance. This is because it may make an individual feel pressured or if they give a certain answer it may act as a hindrance when vying for the job.

When conducting an interview there are some obvious areas to avoid such as sexual orientation and religion, however some more areas that are more innocuous that should also be avoided are individuals marital status and whether or not they have children. This is because these could all be seen as a determining factor when interviewing and would not constitute an ethical interview practice.

Improving your interview process

In order to avoid bias and maintain ethical practices during the recruitment process there are certain ideas that can be implemented. In order to avoid the level of unconscious bias, it is vital that a large group of prospects are interviewed in order to negate any personal preference for any one individual. Also implementing a points based scoring system will reduce the amount of bias involved as this will judge a candidate on practical skills and suitability for the company.

If you have any queries with regards to the content of this article then please do not hesitate to get into contact with one of the oneHR team members:


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