The headline of a recent article from my local newspaper caught my undivided attention:
Recruiter Arrested on Morals Charge (read an online article here.) The incident actually involves a Marine Corps Recruiter charged with several felonies that include pimping and kidnapping a fourteen year-old girl. There is a possibility that the girl was used to entice recruits. Now that's collateral material.

While not related, the title was reminiscent of recent postings here on One simply questions, Is Headhunting Ethical? Simple question, yes. Simple answer? Not so much. We each approach this career differently, with a different POV. Fully grasping what is the right way or what is the wrong way will be as diverse for HR Professionals and Recruiters as the question, "What is your favorite ice cream?" I, personally, like Rocky Road the best and I would never call a candidate an applicant. To me, they are all candidates. A "candidate" has a better shot at being a "placement," than an "applicant" or a "recruit."

Figuring out what is best for you, best for your organization, is not so easy, nor should it be too difficult. It isn't always going to be crystal clear or cut and dried when it comes to making ethical decisions or performing "fair and objectively" as a recruiter.

I spent several years in the dental field before becoming a recruiter. My favorite position was working with a pedodontist, a children's dentist. The set of ethical practices for physicians and dentists is a bit more clear and stringent, as they are specifically outlined with potential of loss of license should they be violated. One time, the dentist anesthetized a three year-old patient in all four quadrants (upper right and left, lower right and lower left.) I had witnessed this in the past and was extremely uncomfortable with this practice. It was something, I had been taught in school, that was unethical due to the potential for injury (biting oneself while numb) but also difficult from which to recover.

After three such incidents, I couldn't continue to assist in this type of procedure and I called the doctor aside and told him that if he numbed a patient in that manner again that I would walk out. I could no longer participate in a practice that I abhorred. The dentist, in practice for thirty-five years, cocked his head and looked at me funny. The other assistant had worked for him for thirty years and had never called him out on anything. Who was I to do this now? He put his head down and said, "Alright, thank you for speaking up." What I deemed unethical and abhorrent had never been called into question in the past, not by my co-worker nor the ten plus assistants that had worked with him over the numerous years he had been in practice.

You have to know where to draw your own line and then do it. Our actions don't always result in felony charges but should that be what it takes to motivate behavior?

by rayannethorn

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Best thing that ever happened to me was being "let go" after making my own stand on unethical behavior. It felt so good I went to chill at the pool afterwards (after making a couple of networking calls to line up my next gig of course)!

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