Make sure hiring practices are fair

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Make sure hiring practices are fair


The Nowon District Facility Management Corporation in Seoul hired Mr. A for a level-three position through a recruiting process. The level-three position at the corporation is equivalent to a level-six position at the district office, and it takes an average of 15 years to get promoted to that level. Soon, controversy arose over the hiring process as the corporation changed the selection criteria before recruiting Mr. A. According to Ma Eun-ju, a member of the Nowon District Council, candidates were not credited for their experience, certification or award history but for their community service and potential. Mr. A submitted a document showing that he had done 80 hours of community service right before applying, giving him enough points to fulfill the criteria. Naturally, people suspected the criteria may have been leaked or that Mr. A had been given preferential treatment. There was speculation that Mr. A had rendered a service for the June 2 local election in 2010. The district office denied the allegation and explained that conventional selection criteria such as educational background had simply been replaced with new standards.

A few days ago, the Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission published a report on hiring at public corporations, including the case in Nowon District. The commission surveyed 14 agencies nationwide. In all 14 places, suspicious hiring practices were found. In Gyeonggi, the daughter of a city official was hired for a job though she wasn’t eligible to apply. In Busan, the son of a former council member was promoted from independent contractor to employee. The former personal secretary to a National Assembly representative was employed as a level-seven officer for a position with a hiring rate of 84 to 1. The commission may demand that agencies submit documentation of their hiring practices but have no further authority.

What does it mean that corruption was found at all agencies in such a preliminary investigation? If a more extensive investigation were conducted on all public corporations, the results would surely enrage citizens.

People joke that only fools take cash as a bribe because the best kind of bribe is a job. In the era of high youth unemployment, there are many qualified people who are unemployed. If they find out that they didn’t get a job because they didn’t have the right connections, they get angry. Before assigning blame for the job shortage, we need to make sure the hiring process is fair.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

By Noh Jae-hyun
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