The success of a business hinges largely on the quality of its employees. This explains why the recruiting process is very important to any company and must be handled carefully.

When hiring new employees, there are many legal and issues that might arise. And most business owners and recruiters are unwary of these issues, despite that the issues can dent the image of their business. Whether you are recruiting employees for your own business or as a hired recruiter for other companies, you must avoid these ten common legal and ethical pitfalls that many fall into when hiring employees.

10 Legal / Ethical Issues That Arise When Hiring Employees

1. Discrimination

This is by far the commonest legal issue that is related to recruitment. Many business owners and recruiters discriminate against candidates who are of a particular race, tribe, nationality, gender, marital status, religion, health status, and educational background. Although there are strict laws against this, culpable recruiters aren’t brought to book because most victims themselves are not aware that they have been discriminated against. A good way to know if you are sending signals of discrimination is when you are asking questions that go beyond the ordinary—such as whether a female job applicant is pregnant or not.

2. Nepotism/cronyism

This is when you favor applicants who are your close relatives—regardless of whether they are qualified for the position or not. Most of the time, nepotism results from the urge to “help” jobless relatives. And this urge usually overrides any sense of objectivity and fairness on the part of the recruiter.

Cronyism is when you hire an applicant because he’s your friend, and not because he’s the most qualified for the job. The only difference between the nepotism and cronyism is the “beneficiary“.

3. Extortion

Some recruiters hiring for corporate establishments hold private conversations with job applicants, demanding that they pay a specified amount of money for them to be chosen for the job. In some cases, the corrupt recruiter contacts the candidate who has already been chosen for the job before the company does the same. He demands some money and sends signals that he is to decide who gets chosen. So, the desperate candidate rushed to pay the money, without knowing he was going to get the job even if he didn’t pay for it.

4. Painting a wrong picture of the employer

In a job vacancy notice or advert, the employer is free to highlight the various benefits of working for their organization as a way to attract quality employees that will be an asset to the organization. However, many recruiters or business owners present exaggerated benefits as a way of enticing high quality and experienced candidates. This is plain deceit. And it’s legally questionable.

5. Hijacking employees from competitors

In a desperate bid to crush the competition, some companies set out to hire their competitor’s most valuable employees. They do this by attaching irresistible benefits to the position and make every move to make their target employees aware of the job position. Once the target employee shows interest in the position and applies for it, the application is instantly accepted.

6. Recruiting non-skilled employees

Many recruiters are guilty of speeding up the hiring process in order to beat the deadline set by the company’s management. Since all elements of scrutiny and common sense will be lost, such “under-pressure” recruiters end up hiring incompetent candidates.

7. Changing some of the job’s responsibilities after hiring

A good job vacancy notice must clearly highlight—and explain where necessary—the roles to be played by the candidate chosen to fill the vacant position. However, it’s not uncommon for employers to come up with new or additional responsibilities to be handled by the chosen candidate. Most victims usually prefer to keep up with the demands, since they are afraid they might not get another offers easily if they decide to give up the position.

8. Not answering relevant questions by applicants

It’s not out of place for a job applicant to ask questions as to why the previous holder of the vacant position had to give up the position. Not answering such questions would raise a red flag and send wrong signals about the company.

9. Requesting an application fee from all applicants

Though it’s not common for employers or recruiters to demand a specified application fee from job applicants, some companies do this as a way of enriching their own purse. This unethical practice is common in countries where unemployment and indiscipline are both rife.

10. Trying to offer the least possible pay

Another common unethical hiring practice is asking the least amount a job applicant would be willing to accept if chosen for the job. The recruiter’s aim here is to compel recruiters to request for pay that falls far below market standards—in a bid to cut costs as much as possible.