Nepotism in the workplace hitting recruitment

Almost two thirds of UK workers have experienced nepotism in the workplace, with 27.9 per cent witnessing underqualified candidates being hired for jobs because they were favoured.

A study by job site CV-Library suggests nepotism could be preventing UK businesses from hiring the best talent.

The survey of more than 2,300 UK workers aimed to uncover how prevalent nepotism is in the UK workforce, and whether it affects recruitment decisions.

Some 61.3 per cent of employees have first-hand experience of nepotism in the workplace, with the most common experiences cited as seeing favoured colleagues receive preferential treatment (37.4 per cent) and witnessing a candidate get a job they are not qualified for (27.9 per cent)

Respondents also say that certain colleagues are getting away with things that others would be disciplined for (22.4 per cent).

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library says that nepotism trickling through the UK’s workplaces and into the recruitment process is worrying.

Eliminating it entirely is unrealistic, but it can be managed, he adds. ‘Businesses are built of people who have feelings and personalities that (intentionally or not) can cloud judgment.

‘However, having a skilled workforce is an essential key to productivity and growth, so while hiring people that ‘fit’ into the culture of the company is important, employers should pay particular attention to ensuring they are bringing in the very best talent.’

To eradicate nepotism, some have suggested that interviews could be stopped altogether, a trend which is currently taking off in India, where job interviews have been banned in favour of assessment tests.

When asked about the possibility of banning job interviews in the UK, 43 per cent of employees believed it would be a good solution. When asked why, more than half (50.4 per cent) felt that assessment tests are more effective than interviews at revealing a candidate’s qualifications.

However, Biggins doesn’t agree: ‘Removing interviews from the recruitment process isn’t the solution; they are an essential part of recruiting and give employers a good insight into a candidate’s skills and capabilities.

‘Ultimately, it’s the people that make the company and bringing in the right staff is critical to a business’s success; depending solely on an assessment would be a huge mistake.’

Biggins adds that recruitment can be a tough world and it’s understandable that employers want to hire someone that they like.

‘Implementing a multi-stage interview process can provide managers with an extra opportunity to establish whether a candidate has the right skills to do the job well and ultimately drive the business forward.

‘If the answer’s no, then it’s best to wait for the right person; finding the ideal hire is much more cost effective in the long run than having to manage the wrong candidate.’

Further reading on recruitment

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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