Integrity

Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Scenario 3 - A Qualified Applicant

Bob, the receptionist, has just resigned. While his manager, Stan, can roster other employees in the short term, Stan needs to arrange for a permanent replacement. Betty, who works in the same section, approaches Stan and suggests that the process of getting a permanent replacement could be streamlined and everyone will be happy. Betty’s daughter, Helen, has been working in a similar job in the private sector, and would be happy to do the work. Betty could get Helen’s resume, and Stan could see that she is well qualified for the job. It’s a near certainty that her experience and ability would put her well in the front of the pack if there were to be more general advertising and then hiring for the role. Helen would be happy to come in and Stan could see for himself how well qualified Helen is. It would be easier, quicker, more cost effective, and more efficient than getting Human Resources involved from the beginning. Everything can be done above board, and Stan can judge Helen on her merits.

How should Stan respond to Betty’s query?

  1. No; we cannot do it this way. The public service operates strictly on merit, transparency, and accountability. Although Helen is welcome to apply for the role, we cannot short circuit the requirements for hiring.
  2. OK. I can have a look at Helen’s resume. If it convinces me that she is well qualified for the role, then I can speak with her. If I then believe that she would be good in the role, I can arrange for the hire.
  3. This might be ok, but to avoid any appearance of impropriety, I should get another senior person or two to have a look at Helen’s resume. From there, if things are looking good, those people and I can interview her for the role. If we are satisfied with her ability to do the job, I can offer it to Helen.
  4. It’s too bad, but because Helen is your close relative, she cannot be hired into the section. The reason for this is that, whether or not she is well qualified for the role, such a hire would certainly have the appearance of favouritism; and the appearance of impropriety does just as much damage as impropriety itself.


About the possible answers

Re: a

THE BEST ANSWER FOR YOUR WORKPLACE?

YES. Hiring is solely merit-based.  Merit is properly appraised by operating in a transparent and accountable way, which requires openly advertising the role, and impartially evaluating all the applicants.

Re: b. 

No. Although in this response, Stan is paying some regard to making an appointment based on merit, handling the matter this way does not go far enough.  Hiring is solely merit-based.  Merit is properly appraised by operating in a transparent and accountable way, which requires openly advertising the role, and impartially evaluating the applicants.

Re: c. 

No. Although in this response, Stan is paying some regard to impartially appraising the applicant for a role, handling the matter this way does not go far enough.  Merit is properly appraised by operating in a transparent and accountable way, which requires openly advertising the role, and impartially evaluating the applicants.

Re: d. 

No. There is not such a requirement about relatives.  There is a requirement about making certain that the appointment is purely merit based.  The public service operates strictly on merit, transparency, and accountability.  Helen is welcome to apply for the role, and her application will be handled impartially, like all other applications.



Government Sector Employment Act 2013

Ethical Framework

Integrity

(a) Consider people equally without prejudice or favour.

(b) Act professionally with honesty, consistency and impartiality.

(c) Place the public interest over personal interest.

Accountability

(a) Recruit and promote staff on merit.

(c) Provide transparency to enable public scrutiny.