Recruitment agencies and unethical client requests: the 'loyal matchmaker' dilemma

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This research focuses on (non-)compliance with unethical requests in the context of external recruitment specialists and their susceptibility to the ‘loyal matchmaker’ dilemma. A total of 176 Israeli recruitment specialists were presented with ethical dilemmas in which a client makes an unethical request. The focal point of ethical obligation was measured based on the Basic Human Values theory. Results indicated direct and indirect connections with the readiness to comply with unethical requests. Conformism with agency rules exhibited a positive connection with compliance. Benevolence and universalism led to decreased readiness to comply with unethical requests, although this behaviour was contingent on the particular situation. Recruitment specialists who are high in self-direction altered their readiness to comply based on the stakeholders. By highlighting the difficulties faced by recruitment specialists vis-à-vis rooting their obligations to clients and job-seeking candidates in ethical standards, the results of this study have important theoretical and practical implications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-41
JournalThe Irish Journal Of Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2021


  • Unethical behaviour
  • loyal matchmaker dilemma
  • recruitment specialist
  • recruitment agency
  • values
  • Basic Human Values Theory


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