Even with Internet employment sites and social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, companies still rely on their employees for hiring references. However, this hiring approach may result in different types of favoritism, such as cronyism or nepotism. Cronyism refers to a partiality towards friends and associates, and nepotism refers to bias for family members. When someone is awarded a position because of connections rather than having the best credentials and experience, that person’s performance may be inferior. It can present a conflict of the human resource interest policy. It could also pose as a prevention from finding the best talent.
So, when should personal network candidates be considered? From the get go, the same criteria for hiring should be applied for hiring internal personal network candidates and external ones. A company should standardize the requirements of the hiring process to reduce conflict of interest in employment hiring. Equal weight must be given for grades, accomplishments, project work and other factors that affect the screening process. The bottom line here is that personally known candidates should only be considered for hire if they possess the right skill set.
At the same time, it’s important for human resource departments to strike up a balance between internal referral programs and using Internet sites or social media platforms to find employees. If companies rely too much on employee referrals, it means that there are many other potential candidates out there who aren’t getting the opportunity to come in for an interview. Finding the best talent for a particular job position results from casting a wider net.
Full disclosure of personal acquaintance is necessary and should be required before hiring a job applicant. It alerts human resource personnel to potential conflicts of interest within the work environment. For example, those in pre-existing relationships with a potential hire should not be in managerial positions that would have a direct influence on promotion. Organizational conflict of interest policies in the case of personal acquaintance should have a management plan in place.
When it comes to human resource practices, it’s all about ethics, law, and compliance. Even in the hiring process, the human resource department must know the state’s regulations on employee privacy in the workplace. There must be a balance on what the company needs to know about a potential candidate and the freedom from undue intrusion. Diversity is key, and there should be no discrimination in the hiring process based on race, religion, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
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