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3.1 Recruitment and Selection

The sustainable organization will be a community employer whenever possible. Recruitment and selection generates a social and economic impact on the community. Corporations want to find qualified workers and many times will use national recruiting agencies. Bringing in new employees from outside the community can provide a social benefit by increasing the number of residents for the community, which, in turn, increases spending in the community, housing starts, improvements in infrastructure, and growth of programs. On the other hand, hiring within the community decreases unemployment numbers and sustains the social and economic quality of life. Employment not only creates a means by which to live, but it also increases skills within the area that develops a stable labor pool for hiring. Sustainable companies should act as a community employer; they can be socially responsible to current employees by filling upward mobility positions internally and promoting from within whenever possible.

Recruiting tools such as Web sites, videos, presentations, and literature should include the company’s philosophy on sustainability. In particular, recruiters need to make the company’s environmental stance a priority in promoting the firm to potential applicants. In the advertisement, bring attention to any successful environmental endeavors or any awards won for environmentalism. However, it is important that recruiters not inflate environmental claims of the company, which is termed greenwashing (to be discussed further in Chapter 6 "Marketing").

In addition to traditional recruitment outlets, choose magazines or trade journals whose audience is open to sustainability issues. There are several print and online sites focused on the recruitment of individuals seeking employment with a sustainable business (see Note 3.1 "Sustainability Recruitment"). These specialty recruitment services bring together sustainable companies with sustainability-minded potential employees.

Sustainability Recruitment

There are a number of print and online media outlets for the recruitment of employees for the sustainable business.

  • Acre
  • Business for Social Responsibility
  • Corporate Responsibility Officer
  • CSRwire
  • Ethical Corporation
  • GreenBiz
  • Green Dream Jobs
  • Idealist
  • Net Impact
  • Stopdodo
  • Sustainable Industries

The availability and use of online recruiting and online application submissions are increasing in firms that have sustainability as a core value in order to save on printed materials and mailings. However, if printing is necessary, brochures and other recruiting literature should use recycled stock with soy-based inks and include that fact on the document itself.

The firm’s selection criteria should be aligned with sustainability criteria. A thorough needs assessment and job analysis will provide insight into the knowledge, skills, and abilities that will facilitate accomplishment of sustainability. The best candidates for employment will have a propensity toward sustainable views and will indicate an “organizational fit” for the company and its goals. Job descriptions will reflect appropriate requirements for jobs that require a more substantial knowledge of sustainability such as purchasing, marketing, and fleet management, to name a few. Interviewing can also be made more environmentally friendly. Several Web sites, such as,Retrieved January 30, 2009, from have been developed to assist in conducting synchronous or asynchronous virtual interviews with candidates that can reduce transportation costs and associated carbon emissions.

The sustainable firm is definitely an equal opportunity employer. The principle of fair and equal treatment is an integral part of sustainability endeavors. Selection tests and interviews will avoid unfair or discriminatory questions and requirements. Companies are putting focus on diversity because it plays an important role in the reputation of the firm, in decision making, in relationships with suppliers and other stakeholders, and in the hiring processes. The advantage comes from the diversity of ideas and values that stimulate innovation. Women and minorities have been projected to enter the workforce in increasing quantities in the future. A company runs the risk of missing high quality employees if equal opportunities in the company are deficient.