Employers in Singapore now view a candidate’s ethical behaviour as non-negotiable, say recruiting experts Hays in Singapore.

According to Hays, this desire for ethically sound candidates has been growing across most industries and sectors since the global financial crisis, although it is most obvious in the banking sector.

Selection strategies

Employing ethically sound people can be achieved through a few simple strategies.

It starts with identifying not only the technical skills you want in a candidate but also his integrity and standards of business conduct. Your job specification should also address ethical expectations.

Employers should use this information to draft competency or targeted selection questions for each point in their job specification and competence criteria.

Hays recommend behavioural-based interviewing to determine how a candidate acted in a previous role, which gives an indication of his future performance. This provides deep insights when attempting to uncover his integrity and standards of business conduct.

Pay attention to any red flags during an interview, such as if a candidate is evasive, tries to control the interview or is argumentative. This provides an insight into his professional conduct.

Make cultural fit just as important as technical skills when you select candidates. In this way, you will recruit candidates who are the right fit with your way of doing business.

Ask the right questions

Use your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to define the company’s culture and ambitions. Then use this information to ask the right questions of candidates to identify those with the right cultural fit for your organisation.

For example, you could ask: “Tell us of a time when your own personal ethics did not align with those of a client. What did you do and how was the situation resolved?”

Next, do a background check on the candidate’s CV, experience and qualifications. Today, some employers will also use social media sites like Facebook or LinkedIn to find out more about a candidate.

When it comes to references, do not rely on written references — hiring managers and recruitment firms seldom come across a bad one!

Instead, call the candidate’s previous employers, as they are a good source to help you determine a candidate’s overall credibility, integrity and performance in the workplace.

Many employers are also turning to psychometric assessment to explore a candidate’s ethical behaviour, preference and motivation. But it is important to remember that this tool is not a cure-all solution.

A person’s track record remains one of the best predictors of his future performance, which is why face-to-face behavioural-based interviewing is still recommended.

If you are still not sure about the ethical standards of a candidate, ask him to write a one-page submission on his opinion of ethics in the role he has interviewed for. This will determine how much he really values ethics and how much he wants your job.