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The authors assert that organizations large and small have placed a great emphasis on ethical behavior and many resources have been dedicated to ethics training. This emphasis on ethics also extends to pre-employment factors including the Job interview. The author explains that one of the most important expects of the job interview today as it pertains to ethics is pre-employment screening.
As it pertains to pre-employment screening some employers are using drastic measures to ensure that applicants possess the character that the organization desires to have in an employee. To this end some organizations perform electronic searches on individuals seeking employment. Such searches are used to "weed out" any employees that could display behaviors that are undesirable to the company or organization. The type of information employers look for during such searches may include derogatory pictures or language the person has used. In many cases the organizations look at the profiles for the applicants on social networking websites such as MySpace and FaceBook. Some employers go as far as checking the credit report of potential applicants. These organizations believe that a credit report can expose a great deal about the character of an individual.
Both of the aforementioned practices have been called into question because some believe that they do not take the privacy of the applicant into consideration. In addition such practices are harmful because they judge applicants for things they may have done years before applying to the position. For some his is viewed as an unethical approach to pre-employment screening and many have questioned the use of such screening.
Yet others believe that these types of "background checks" are fair game, particularly as it pertains to the checking of internet profiles. Proponents argue that the internet is a public space and employers have the right to examine such sights when attempting to determine if they will hire certain individuals. According to Palak (2006) poll..found that 26.9% of employers check the backgrounds of job applicants by using Google and social-networking Web sites. The National Association of Colleges and Employers surveyed 254 organizations in the services, manufacturing and government-nonprofit sectors. Of the employers who said they use Web sites, 41.2% reported occasional use, 35.3% said their use was infrequent and 7.4% called it standard practice (Palak, 2006)."
Whether the checking of internet profiles amongst employers is frequent or infrequent, there is a trend toward the use of the internet to perform additional checks on applicants as an aspect of the employment interview (Varmer & Varmer, 2002).
The internet also plays a significant role in the interview process because job positions and applications for those positions are now available online. To work for some organizations the application must be filled out and returned via the Internet ("Job Interview Myths"). In some ways this can make the interview process less personal. In some instances interviews are conducted over the phone and even via email. The phone and email interviews are quite common for virtual companies where a traditional office does not exist.
Since the 1990's there has also been a greater emphasis placed on ethical behavior as it pertains to women and minorities. As it pertains to women, laws prohibiting sexism have been better enforced and women do not have to endure some of the sexism that their mothers confronted in earlier decades when interviewed (Bragger et al., 2002). Organizations have begun to understand the importance of having women in their ranks and the valuable role they play (Kinser, 2002). However, women still make less money than men employed in identical positions (Kinser, 2002).
As it pertains to employment interviews and minorities there have also been substantial changes in the manner in which minorities are treated when compared to previous decades. Indeed, there is a greater effort to ensure fairness and promote diversity during the pre-employment screening process, including the employment interview. Although some discrimination is still present as it pertains to both sexism and racism, organizations have made a concerted effort to conduct employment interviews in a manner that is ethical as it pertains to the aforementioned groups.
As it relates to the interviewees, the padding of resumes is a prominent issue and has become a serious problem for some organizations in recent years (Ralston, 2000). Although the padding of resumes is not a new phenomenon the amount and nature of the padding has changed and in recent years, some prominent people have been fired for the padding of their resumes. Some of these individuals got away with this deception for many years.
IT is evident that potential employees pad their resumes in the hopes that such padding will increase the likelihood that they will be hired. However it is also a very serious ethical issue and many companies are conducting more extensive reference and academic checks to ensure that applicant worked at the place they claim on their resumes.
Overall, from the 1990's until the current time, there has been a great deal of emphasis placed on ethics as it pertains to interviews and organizational strategy. Employers recognize that certain problems associated with unethical behavior can be avoided if the proper mechanisms are in place during the interview process. As such, different processes have been developed to examine the character of potential employees. The advent of the internet has also drastically changed the manner in which interviews are conducted particularly as it pertains to weeding out applicants.
The purpose of this discussion was to examine how employment interviews have changed ethically since the 1950's until today. The research found that during the 1950's and 1960's there was much less emphasis placed on ethics in the employment interviewing process when compared with the emphasis placed on interviewing ethics in the current organizational environment. The research asserts that during the 1950's and 1960's there was a great deal of unethical behavior in the interviewing process as it pertained to women and minorities. However, it seems there was also less deception on the part of employers and employees during this time in history.
During the 1970's and 1980's it is apparent that organizations began to place greater emphasis on ethics as pertained to the interviewing process. It was during this time that organizations began to develop strategies directly related to organizational ethics. It was during these decades that organizations began to understand how the interviewing process could be used to assist in accomplishing the type of ethical standards for employees established by the organization.
Finally, during the 1990's and into the present, it is apparent that technology and the internet in particular, have greatly impacted employment interview ethics. The technologically savvy environment has led employers to search the internet for information concerning applicants. In addition the competitive environment has led many applicants to behave in ways that are unethical by padding resumes with false information.
Overall the research reveals substantial changes in employment interview ethics over the past sixty years. It is obvious that once laws are passed it may take some time for those laws to be adapted in practiced in a manner that is ethical and fair. However, such laws do eventually become accepted and even embraced into the organizational structure.
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Clark, T.D., Human, S.E., Amshoff, H., & Sigg, M. (2001). Getting Up to Speed on the Information Highway: Integrating Web-Based Resources into Business Communication Pedagogy. Business Communication Quarterly, 64(1), 38.
Palak, J. Face it: 'Book' No Secret to Employers; Social Sites Used as Background Check. (2006, July 17). The Washington Times, p. A01.
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Job Interview Myths. (2002). Journal of Accountancy, 193(3), 104.
Kinser, a.E. (2002). Gendered Performances in Employment Interviewing: Interpreting and Designing Communication Research. The Journal of Business Communication, 39(2), 245+.
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Ralston, S.M. (2000). The "Veil of Ignorance": Exploring Ethical Issues in the Employment Interview. Business Communication Quarterly, 63(1), 50.
Riggio, R.E. & Feldman, R.S. (Eds.). (2005). Applications of…[continue]
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