Where Do I Start?

Where do I start? It feels like I’ve been hit by an avalanche of stuff that relates to “ethics” that’s been having falloff for about the past four to six months. All of the underlying principles and concepts (one would think) are common knowledge and regular practice. But there are people out there who say one thing and when pressed to act, will do quite the opposite of the rhetoric they spout.

Where do I start? Maybe I should start putting my Vocabulary Builder in this blog on a weekly basis and fill it with three ethics or legal terms. No. I don’t think that would do any good. There are people out there who, like drug addicts and substance abusers, will say the word, define it perfectly, and then return to doing what they did to commit an error in the first place — as though the definition they just perfectly provided did not exist at all.

Where do I start? The concepts I’m thinking of relate to piracy, lying, misrepresentation, defamation, business slander, intentional interference with business opportunity, defamation by insinuation, fraud, stealing, espionage, confidentiality, whistleblowing. But as I survey the recruiting landscape, especially the more popular and better-known venues, these issues (along with many other things) appear to be the community standard or in layman’s terms, the standard way of doing things. These are merely the superficial tactics. They do not touch on the more colorful strategies such as staging fights in order to draw traffic and thereby justify higher advertising revenues. Nor do that reach into blacklisting (in its various forms) to prevent the competition from being seen or found and read and thereby prevented from vying along with others for similar or the same types of opportunities for business promotion and development.

Some are successful because of the means they use to achieve their goals. They wear angelic faces and excuse their actions by being the first to speak of what was done and gild the acts with enough truth that the untruths and support of them seem plausible. How unfortunate that the ones who are being harmed cannot speak in order to disclose the other side of the story. Those who we see as the successes are touted for their skills and resourcefulness. They teach classes on what they do so that others may replicate the procedure thereby preserving and prolonging unethical behavior. It also serves to hold the conduct up to most of the light of day and condone the practices as proper and correct.

If these practices were proper and correct, why would it then be necessary to lie about what was actually done? Why would it be necessary to use deception to induce the target to deliver information or make a change?

I look at recruiters (and business people) who cook up numbers and hold them out as attainable in order to induce their candidate to leave their present job for the more speculative one — the one with the cooked numbers. I hear about those who are fired because they could not reach inflated goals and are then left unemployed in a tight labor market with few resources to fall back on — and they have families.

Where do I start? It seems this is merely the scream before the discussion of the issues. And discussion of the issues needs to take place on a bite-by-bite basis. I will not even attempt to determine which topic has the most significant and deserves being in the spotlight first. But the bites will come. And I hope you will respond through comments here or in the Ethics in Recruiting forum.

NOTA BENE: Link to “Ethics in Recruiting” updated.

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