Guide To Ethical Practice When Interviewing

Guide To Ethical Practice When Interviewing
Guide To Ethical Practice When Interviewing

Now more than ever, it’s crucial to ensure ethical practice in your company’s recruitment process: not only to make sure that you attract the best candidates but also to avoid falling short of recruitment law.

The UK workforce has become increasingly switched on to unacceptable practice from employers and having a robust interview process is a must in 2019.

With this in mind, Aaron Wallis Marketing Recruitment has collated a series of tips for maintaining an ethical interview process, as well as common pitfalls to be aware of:

Common Pitfalls For Unethical Interviewing

Unconscious Bias

This is where without consciously thinking it, you naturally favour people similar to yourself. People with similar values, backgrounds or even simple things like the way people dress, look or talk. It’s important to be aware of this and think about why you’ve put a certain candidate at the top of your shortlist. Question yourself whether they actually have the best skill-set and experience for the role or if they’re just an individual that you’re more naturally drawn to. Without acknowledging your unconscious bias, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on the best candidate for your company’s vacancy.

Direct or Indirect Discrimination

Direct discrimination is more easy to spot in your recruitment process: rejecting candidates due to specific attributes around age, gender, religion or sexual orientation to name but a few. This practice is obviously unethical and can put your company under threat of being liable to the UK Government’s Equality Act of 2010. Having ethical justification of why you’re turning down a candidate is crucial to make sure your company’s reputation isn’t damaged from an inequality complaint.

On the other hand, indirect discrimination is also something to be aware of but can be harder to rule out of your recruitment process. This is where a business requirement or practice seems fair because it applies to everyone equally, but a closer look shows that some people are disadvantaged by it because of an attribute. For example, having a standardised uniform policy can indirectly discriminate against individuals from different religious backgrounds, or having a workplace without full accessibility can discriminate against disabled people.

Interview Questions You’re Not Allowed to Ask

Innocuous ‘conversation starters’ with potential candidates can also put your company at risk of the 2010 Equality Act. Questions around protected characteristics like their marital status or if they have children are illegal and must be kept out of your interview processes.
A more comprehensive guide on illegal interview questions can be found here.

If you’re looking to improve or protect the ethical practices your company employs when recruiting, it’s worth looking towards the public sector for best-practice
If you’re looking to improve or protect the ethical practices your company employs when recruiting, it’s worth looking towards the public sector for best-practice

Processes to put in Place For Employers

Look to the Public Sector

If you’re looking to improve or protect the ethical practices your company employs when recruiting, it’s worth looking towards the public sector for best-practice. Recruitment in the public sector tends to follow a much more formal process and is often carried out to a much more ethical standard.

Some useful pointers include:

  • Increasing the number of decision makers in the process
  • A scored interview based upon pre-defined competencies or values
  • A detailed recruitment checklist available to employees

Consider Artificial Intelligence as a Recruitment Tool

New technology may also be worth integrating into your recruitment process. Artificial intelligence can be used in your interview process a way to remove the barrier of unconscious bias and promote more diverse and fair hiring practices.

One interesting example includes HireVue, an AI tool already used by Intel and Nike which analyses over 25,000 data points in video interviews to find the candidates most likely to succeed in a role, without the need for human evaluation.

Formalise Your Process

Finally, often the quickest win to improve your interviews from an ethical perspective is to formalise your company’s interview methods and publish it to your employees. Having a consistent and robust approach to interviewing will reduce the risk of unethical practices between your hiring managers.

Robert Scott, Managing Director at Aaron Wallis Marketing Recruitment said: “Even if your company has the best intentions in candidate interviews, it can be easier than you think to fall foul of equality legislation. It’s important to carefully design your interview process and make it publically available to your staff conducting the interviews.”

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Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of,,, and writes regularly for, Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist, he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.