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5 Tips to Run a Fair Recruitment Process

Posted on the 21 August 2012 by Onetest @onetest_hr


5 Tips to Run a Fair Recruitment Process


Ensuring that candidates have a positive experience when completing assessments is not only an ethical issue, it can influence individuals’ perceptions of your organisation and the job. Studies have shown that perceptions of fairness influence attractiveness of the position and intention to accept the job offer. Particularly now, when unemployment rates are low (5.2% according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics), it is important to consider the appeal of your business as an employer in order to attract the best candidates.

Just over a month ago, I joined Onetest as the Consulting Psychologist for the Sydney office. Starting a new position, in a new office, in a new organisation, and spending my first 2 weeks in Brisbane was daunting. Having studied organisational psychology, I knew I wasn’t alone in my fear, excitement and stress of starting a new job. Starting or changing jobs is ranked in the top 40 of life’s most stressful events (Spurgeon, Jackson & Beach, 2001), and the process of getting the right job can be very stressful.

As my colleague Salih mentioned in an earlier post, the process of selection involved a degree of discrimination in order to distinguish between candidates and get the best person for the job. And in the context of job selection, a candidate’s heightened awareness of fairness is understandable. It poses the question: What can we do to ensure candidates not only actually go through a fair recruitment process, but they feel that they have been through a fair process too?

Here are 5 tips for how you can increase candidate perceptions of justice and fairness in the selection process:

  1. Selection procedures that are related to the job – candidates want to be assessed on criteria related to the job they will be performing. An easy way to ensure this is to provide accurate information about what they can expect during the recruitment process. Further, making clear the relevancy of the assessments at each stage of the recruitment phase.
  2. Opportunity to perform – candidates want to be able to display their skills, knowledge and abilities to their employer. If candidates feel that they are assessed on irrelevant criteria they feel they have missed the opportunity to show what they can really do.
  3. Consistency of administration – similar to employers, candidates want a level playing field to ensure fairness. Assessments are one way to ensure this, as all candidates for a position are assessed using a standard, objective test. This level playing field can be contrasted to a recruitment process based solely on interviews, which are subjective and leave the candidates wondering whether the process was consistent. 
  4. Honest, timely and informative feedback - feedback is important in making the candidate’s experience positive and helps candidates feel like recruitment is a two way process. Appropriate candidate feedback is accurate, informative and prompt. For example Onetest provides assessment feedback to candidates through our instant report generation. However, assessments are only one aspect of the recruitment process. Providing timely feedback or an accurate estimate of when a candidate can expect to hear about the progression of their application is a low-cost but effective way to create a perception of fairness and provide a positive candidate experience (Gilliand, 1995).
  5. Interpersonal, two-way communication – clear communication is important for candidates to feel they have been treated fairly and humanely. Onetest offers technical and psychological expertise support for businesses and candidates. You can extend this support to the candidate throughout the recruitment process by ensuring candidates are able to ask questions and obtain information from your organisation when required.

After being through a great process myself, and now seeing how others do it, I can see a lot of it is about communication. It is important to not only implement a fair selection process, but it pays to take this a step further by conveying this to the candidates to ensure your future employees have a great start in your business. 


Spurgeon, A., Jackson, C.A., & Beach, J.R. (2001). The Life Events Inventory: re-scaling based on an occupational sample. Occupational Medicine, 51(4), 287-293.

Derous, E., Born, M.P., & De Witte, K. (2004). How applicants want and expect to be treated: Applicants’ selection treatment beliefs and the development of the social process questionnaire on selection. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 12, 99 – 119.

Gilliand, S.W. (1995). Fairness from the applicant’s perspective: Reactions to employee selection procedures. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 3, 11-19.

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