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How to evaluate candidates for business ethics while hiring

Recruitment | 6 Min Read

How to evaluate candidates for business ethics while hiring


Wrong hiring decisions can lead to losses for the company. When losses are due to theft, misconduct, or corruption, the company suffers financially, and its goodwill in the market is also harmed. Since a company’s business ethics act as its moral compass, it is essential to make a hiring decision while taking those values into account. But how do you evaluate a candidate’s business ethics? This blog offers the standards for judging applicants for workplace business ethics.


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What are business ethics?

Business ethics are the principles that act as guidelines for how a company should conduct itself. They cover social responsibility, business governance, and whistleblowing. Business ethics instruct employees about moral standards and the consequences of breaking them.

They safeguard the interest of the involved parties and emphasize moral and social values such as consumer protection, welfare, business practices, and social service.

Fundamental principles of business ethics

The basic principles of business ethics can be explained below:

  • Accountability: A key component of business ethics is personal accountability. Individuals are held accountable when they participate in unethical business practices. In the same manner, organizations are held accountable for the unethical behavior of their employees.
  • Code of conduct: Another important part of ethics, a code of conduct is a set of rules the company and its employees should abide by.
  • Ethical behavior: It concerns honesty and fairness in professional dealings.
  • Honesty: The concept of fair in every dealing, both personal and professional.
  • Integrity: This incorporates principles such as honesty, trustworthiness, and reliability and is associated with doing the right thing no matter the situation.
  • Social responsibility: Social responsibility is a form of self-regulation through which organizations aims to impact society and the environment positively. It involves striking a balance between profit earning and benefitting society.


Why is it crucial for companies to screen potential employees for business ethics?

In business, corporate ethics are vital. They serve as the foundation for the organization’s values and commercial decisions. It is important to choose applicants who share your company’s beliefs. It reduces the chance of a hiring mistake and raises the efficiency of service delivery once the person has been hired.

The reasons why a business should screen applicants for business ethics include the following:


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1. Upholding a business's reputation

An organization's success depends on having a positive reputation among its customers. Business ethics aid in establishing and maintaining this reputation. Employees who uphold good business ethics work to maintain an organization's reputation and improve and preserve its image.

2. Making strategic choices

An organization's strategic decisions are based on its corporate principles. As employees act as the agents of a company, it is vital that their ethics match those of their employers.

3. Increasing the company's productivity

Candidates with high ethics are motivated and known to be productive, which helps increase a company's productivity.

4. Establishing credibility

An organization's moral standards help establish credibility with the public. Customers are more likely to purchase a company's goods if they are sincere.

5. Encouraging cooperation

Candidates with strong business ethics are good at working in teams and have confidence in one another.

6. Increasing sales

Candidates that uphold corporate ethics provide better services that meet company standards and customer needs. Employees who act ethically put the needs of the clients first and increase overall sales.


11 tips for evaluating candidates for business ethics

For a company to perform well, it is critical to find candidates who are not only qualified for the position but also aligned with the company’s ethical policies.

Here are a few suggestions that aid in assessing applicants for business ethics:


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Examine the candidate's behavior

The responses to behaviorally-based interview questions cannot be prepared in advance since they are situation-specific. By observing how an applicant reacts to particular situations, one can gauge their sincerity and ability to resolve conflicts.

Test candidates using real-world situations

Give the candidates real-world problems and scenarios to see how they approach tackling them. You will gain knowledge about how they operate and behave in the workplace.

Employ competency-based testing

A candidate's competency-related behavior can be evaluated using a valid competency-based assessment. Their strengths, flaws, and other attributes are analyzed. You can learn from this evaluation about their expected behavior in the workplace and how they will interact with clients.

Pay attention to how the candidate describes the prior workplace

By asking the candidate to discuss the challenging situations they encountered at their present or previous jobs, you can gauge how diplomatic they are. Finding a harmonious balance between praising the potential employer and showing respect for the past might be challenging. The interviewee's method in doing so will reveal how ethical they are.

Examine the candidate's work ethic and outlook on the job

The candidate must be capable of handling the tasks by themselves as well as in a team while staying humble and respectful.

Verify if the applicant is a fit for your workplace culture

A candidate must blend into the culture of your business. To ensure this, you should tell the applicant about the company's culture, provide them with a probationary period and assess their ability to work effectively with others.

Conduct a careful analysis

Examine the candidate's past successes, how they overcome challenges, and their ability to think creatively.

Complete a questionnaire for a survey

Applicants are prompted to write responses to survey questions assessing their corporate ethics. These polls aid in forecasting the candidate's response to certain situations. It evaluates their commercial judgment, adherence to organizational culture, and ethical behavior.

Pay attention to the candidate’s body language

Pay attention to the candidate's body language, speech tone, and stance, which conveys the candidate's eagerness to accept the position.

Check your references

To receive an accurate assessment of a candidate, you must ask for references to confirm their statements and gain insight into the candidate's abilities and previous responsibilities from their reporting managers, supervisors, colleagues, and clients. Ask the candidate to describe the most impressive thing they accomplished while working for their previous employer.

Monitor a candidate's behavior on social media

The employer can assess if the candidate is a good cultural match for the firm by looking at their accounts on social media websites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.


Mercer | Mettl’s psychometric test for the evaluation of business ethics

The psychometric tests developed by Mercer | Mettl assess a person’s IQ, conduct, aptitude, and personality.

Our psychometric tests assess a candidate’s ability to think critically and reason using scientific theories. While reasoning looks at an applicant’s verbal and nonverbal talents, critical thinking looks at a candidate’s ability to analyze situations and gauge if the candidate would fit into the company’s culture.


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Three areas where Mercer | Mettl assists with recruiting for business ethics


1. Personality assessment


The Personality Profiler Test by Mercer | Mettl provides a comprehensive evaluation of the candidate’s personality. It evaluates their skills in flexibility, emotional control, and dependability.

Gaining an understanding of an employee’s characteristics, such as behavior, personality, and drive, can help an organization reach optimal efficiency. The Personality Test improves employee engagement and experience.

The following five personality traits are measured in this assessment:

  • Is the candidate extroverted or introverted?
  • Is the candidate open to new experiences?
  • The candidate’s level of emotional stability
  • The candidate’s level of friendliness
  • Whether the candidate is effective and prepared


2. Test of critical thinking aptitude


The candidate’s capacity for critical thought is assessed using the Mercer | Mettl Critical Thinking Test.

Competency assessments test:

  • Critical thinking: Candidates are generally judged on their ability to recognize assumptions, evaluate arguments, and make conclusions using critical thinking skills.
  • Data interpretation: Examines the candidate's capacity to analyze sizable amounts of data and structure to identify patterns that aid decision-making.
  • Verbal ability: Evaluates the candidate's reading comprehension, sentence completion, and correction skills.
  • Domain knowledge: Assesses a candidate's ability to analyze data using formulae and functions.


3. Test of abstract reasoning


The Abstract Reasoning Test by Mercer | Mettl assesses a candidate’s aptitude for managerial and individual contributor jobs. It assesses a candidate’s ability to think outside the box, analyze problems in fresh ways, and make logical connections between various ideas.

The abstract reasoning test evaluates a candidate’s aptitude for connecting disparate pieces of knowledge, spotting patterns and linkages, and coming up with creative solutions to challenging issues.

Related links:

  1. Psychometric test: Types, applications, advantages
  2. All you need to know about Personality assessment
  3. The what, why, and how of behavioral assessments
  4. A guide to communication assessment


Final remarks

In the contemporary business world, ethics are crucial. They affect how companies operate and communicate. Determining right and wrong in the workplace aids both individuals and companies.

In this post, we’ve spoken about how crucial it is to examine candidates for their business ethics in addition to their technical aptitude. We’ve also discussed how Mercer | Mettl provides the appropriate tests to examine an applicant for business ethics.



How do you test candidates for work ethics?

What are ethical principles in recruitment?

Originally published November 9 2022, Updated November 9 2022

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About This Topic

The primary objectives of recruitment and selection are to ensure high-quality candidates who are culturally fit and work toward shared organizational goals and vision.

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