Unethical, ineffective graduate recruitment is rife

by: September 2, 2014
There was a time when good employers looking for new graduates carried out a proper and thorough recruitment process in order to identify the best talent and offer them jobs. I have little doubt that many of today’s top employers still do this. But the seeming normalisation of widespread highly unethical corporate recruitment behaviour, particularly amongst SMEs, gives great cause for concern. 

No travel expenses are paid, candidates who ‘pass’ an initial interview are then expected to work without pay and often without expenses for one or sometimes many weeks – on a so called internship – then may or may not be offered a job at the end of this period. Not only is this probably illegal, but it’s also highly unethical, immoral, and an appallingly ineffective way of recruiting great talent. 

So many organisations seem to have lost sight of the second two of the three core objectives of the recruitment process – sure to find the best person for the job, but also to allow candidates to select the right job and employer for them, and thirdly to leave candidates feeling positive about your business, whether or not you offer them a job. I put this down to shortsighted arrogance. 
OK I understand that to a large extent, graduate recruitment has become a buyer’s market (although I still think that recruiting top talent is not much different to how it always has been), but let’s ensure that employers don’t exploit young people by effectively making them pay to work.

As Cary Curtis astutely pointed out in his recent article in the Telegraph, this methodology carries a high risk of damage to the business’s brand. Increasingly such firms are being named and shamed on the Internet. 

That’s no less than they deserve.


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Paul is Zonata's founder and MD. He has a true passion for business and is massively excited by the opportunities that Zonata provides for its clients and partners. He loves helping owner-managed businesses be exceptionally successful, and enjoys the phenomenal quality of the people who work with him.

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