Moral and Ethical Issues in Hiring New Employees

This paper explores the moral and ethical issues faced by managers involved in hiring new employees. During the hiring process, it is extremely important that applicants be selected based on merits alone. The employer shall not discriminate against any applicant based on their gender, race, religion, pregnancy, or marital status. Companies must, also, inform all applicants of the true state of the organization. There is also a controversy of whether pre-employment drug testing is ethical or not.

Recruitment is the first step in creating a company. The business must have employees to run it. Picking the right candidates for each position is of vital importance to the success of the company. Many factors are looked into when selecting the appropriate candidate for the positions the company is hiring for. It is important for the recruiters to be able to make a sound judgment on who to select for the available position. The hiring manager must follow all ethical guidelines while interviewing every single applicant. There are several ethical dilemmas a hiring manager may encounter during the interview process, but they must be able to set their personal bias aside and make the decision based on what the applicant can provide for the company. This paper shares some examples of moral and ethical issues that a hiring manager faces during the recruitment process.

During the hiring process it is important that the applicant is judged on merits alone. Merits are to include knowledge, skills, and ability in accordance to the needs of the organization (Gan, 2006). A hiring manager must interview all candidates that qualify and review each one of their abilities before making a decision on which is the best match for the position available. All candidates must be treated equally and given the same opportunity as other applicants. Basing a decision on who to hire for a position based on something other than their qualifications is an unethical issue that hiring managers face today.

The first thing a hiring manager notices when a job seeker steps into his or her office for a sit down interview is the applicant’s appearance. Our world is overflowing with different people of different shapes and sizes. It is important for a manager not to judge an applicant by their appearance before they are given the opportunity to apply for the position. Jacob Gan, PhD (2006) states, “While preferential treatments to certain specific group may be allowed, there should be no discrimination to people from any other group due to race, religion, gender, marital or even pregnancy status.” Whether the hiring manager has a preference on who should or shouldn’t receive the position that must not get into the way of hiring someone that is more qualified for the position. If a company was to turn down an applicant that was qualified for the position based on their race, religion, gender, marital or pregnancy status the company could be looking at a lawsuit. This is considered discrimination in the workplace.

As much as an applicant should not lie on their application, an employer should be honest when advertising their company. The company should not mislead people to work for them with-out being completely honest about all pertinent information. In Gan’s (2006) article he declares that, “We should not mislead the applicants. In particular, the applicants should be told all pertinent information, including that information that is not publicly known but that will materially affect the new employee's future employment prospect with the organization.” For a relationship between a company and its employees to work, the employees must be happy with the company and vice versa.

An issue has come forth of whether or not pre-employment drug testing is unethical. Pre-employment drug testing is done on all potential candidates who pass the interview process and move on to the next step in becoming an employee of that company (Hoopes, 2009). It is a decision of the company of whether they want to administer a pre-employment drug test or not. Companies that would choose to give a per-employment drug test would definitely have something to lose if something was to happen and the employee was under the influence of drugs.

An example of this would be requiring an individual that works for the city to take a pre-employment and random drug tests. The main reason why cities would require this would be because their employees are often in a company vehicle. If an accident was to occur while the employee was under the influence of drugs; the company would not be covered under their insurance. The pre-employment drug test is given because the employer wants to make sure the interviewee understands that drug abuse would cause the company thousands of dollars in accident claims (Hoopes, 2009). Putting a person that is under the influence of drugs behind the wheel is just morally wrong anyways.

One of the main concerns when a hiring manager is interviewing candidates for a position is abiding by the laws and regulations for practicing ethical hiring processes. A company cannot discriminate against someone due to their race, gender, or religion. The person that receives the position must be the candidate with the most qualifications, no exceptions. Also, the company should not mislead its applicants into accepting the position at hand. The company must reveal the true state of the organization to all job-seekers. It may not hide any pertinent information that will affect the new employee’s future with the organization. Drug testing is given by discretion of the company but can wind up costing the company more than a test would have. To avoid accidents and other drug related problems, the company should require the applicant to pass at least a urinary analysis exam. There are several resources provided to companies to ensure that they are following all ethical laws and regulations when operating their business.

Hoopes, Robin (2009). Legal and ethical issues of workplace drug testing. Retrieved March 23,
2009 from
Gan, J. PhD (2006). Ethical dilemma 1: Human resource issues. Business Ethics.

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