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Case Study 10

ROC Case Study - 10

These case studies are examples to help you to apply the Rules of Conduct in situations that may arise in your professional practice.

When making ethical professional decisions, you need to:

  • consider the facts
  • identify the relevant RICS standards in the Rules of Conduct and other guidance
  • use your professional judgement, which may require you to balance different interests and principles.

What matters is that you can show that you have done your best to follow the professional standards set by RICS.

Read the case study below

Scenario 10

I was part of an interview panel for a trainee role with our firm. When we scored the candidates after interviews, I thought we had agreed on the strongest candidate based on their interview and CV. I’ve just found out that the role has been offered to one of the weaker candidates whose father plays golf with our director. When I asked the hiring manager about this, thinking that other candidates might have turned the role down, she said “I was told the candidate we wanted wouldn’t have been a good fit for our company”. Do I need to do anything?

Summary

  • Recruitment decisions should be based on competence demonstrated not on irrelevant factors.
  • Discrimination against individuals on improper grounds, for example sex, religion or age may be a breach of the Rules and may need to be reported.
  • Talk to senior people or HR in your firm about improving recruitment decision-making and ensuring diversity and inclusion.

Rules and behaviours

Rule 4 and behaviours 4.2 and 4.7 are relevant here.

Rule 4 requires firms to encourage diversity and inclusion. Recruitment decisions should be made fairly and based on merit to ensure that the best talent is attracted and retained, and firms and clients benefit from diversity of thought and experience. On the face of it, a decision to appoint a weaker candidate (probably on the basis of a family connection to the firm) seems likely to have breached Rule 4 and is unlikely to be in the best interests of the firm.

Commentary

What you need to do will depend on a number of factors. Do you have any reason to think that the decision was made because of discrimination against a characteristic of the candidate you preferred at interview? Were they a different sex, race or age from the appointed candidate for example? If you are worried that the firm is discriminating against candidates on improper grounds that might make the breach more serious. If you believe it may be a serious breach you might need to raise the matter with RICS. However, in the absence of direct evidence, RICS is unlikely to be able to take action and you might want to try to influence improvements in the culture and practices within your firm.

Is there an HR department in the firm you could raise your concerns with, or could you talk to your manager? Are there policies you can suggest, perhaps with other hiring managers in the organisation, or training that could be given to improve hiring decisions and help to ensure that candidates are judged on their capability, not family background or other irrelevant criteria? Sometimes raising awareness of bias and unfairness can help to influence those making decisions without the need for regulatory action.