3 major rules of ethical recruitment in tech
September 8, 2021
min read

3 major rules of ethical recruitment in tech

Rudi Bauer
Rudi Bauer

Tech recruiters are constantly pursuing to build relationships with software developers who are either passively or actively looking for a job change. When a suitable candidate decides to enter the talent market, they want to be there first and provide the opportunity.

Tech companies should be at the forefront of introducing ethical standards in every aspect, especially through recruiters in constant touch with software developers.

Rule 1: Ethical alignment

Ethical alignment occurs when individuals in your company clearly understand what's wrong and what’s not. 

To avoid hiring discrimination, you first have to define what your company in general and its leadership considers ethical. Once the principles are set, the HR department must establish and communicate standards among all hiring teams. 

The easiest way to understand ethics is to send out team questionnaires and ask employees how they would act in various situations. Results will inform you about the areas where employees differ from the company’s ethical standards and will allow you to ensure that everyone is well aware of the hiring process changes.

Rule 2: Ethical approach on passive tech candidates

In the highly competitive tech talent market, companies often attract talents from other companies. The line about whether it is good or bad gets thinner if ‘poaching’ is an ethical thing to do or not. 

By definition, poaching appears when the candidate is constantly being pushed to opt for a competitor and hasn’t expressively shown an interest in joining his organization. 

Looking from another point of view? Potential candidates’ loyalty to its current employer is an admirable quality, but it’s not required by any means. Companies should protect their human assets in many ways, mainly through a strong retention program.

Be prepared to experience the same with the candidates that are a part of the company. However, try to make them happy where they are by helping them to grow with your company. Again, if they decide to leave, it’s their own free will and life choice.

ethical recruitment in tech

Retention makes employees well integrated into the company structure and self-aware about their contribution to the company goals and innovation process. 

Keep in mind that software developers are professionals as any other with the freedom to choose where they want to work at any moment and when it’s time to move on. 

Any recruiter should be allowed to reach passive candidates to explain recent openings and ask them if they are interested in learning more. 

Building a relationship with potential candidates under the boundaries of respect doesn’t do any harm. 

If they respond as being happy with their current job or don’t respond at all, you will be able to move on. No harm, no foul.

Rule 3: Lack of communication with candidates

Besides poaching candidates and assessing ethical guidelines inside your organization, when building company ethos, you must pay attention to potential unethical practices that might occur throughout: 

  • Badly written application process and understandable by internals only 
  • Unclear definition of response time in between application and interview time 
  • Unrealistic job description 
  • Power on displays that might discourage and influence interview performance, no matter how friendly you are. 

One of the most neglected ethical problems is the lack of communication with the candidates once they are no longer considered promising. 

Software developers are especially vulnerable since the time deducted from interviewing is incredibly expensive and valuable. If they aren’t respected, you can expect to build a bad reputation inside the dev community.

Integrate company ethos in every aspect

Underline to yourself: don’t make the interview and onboarding process the last touchpoint when new candidates hear about your ethics and company values. 

Company ethos builds up, and maintenance should permeate through every organizational aspect, but also throughout the career journey of each employee at all times. 

The software developer community is very cohesive. They talk a lot about problems that other members face in their respective companies. Listen at all times, or get better access to different topics onboard a specialized community helping developers to level up their careers.


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