Responsible recruitment

International people outside having coffee

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi

The employer has both statutory and ethical obligations.

Responsibility frames the entire recruitment process.

What is ethical or responsible recruitment? The terms refer to the same thing: recruiting an employee through legal, fair, and transparent means that protect the employee’s rights throughout the recruitment process from planning to the end of the employment relationship, or even longer.

On responsibility in general

As an employer, you must be aware of the principles of responsible recruitment. When hiring an employee, the employer has both statutory and ethical obligations. Start familiarizing yourself with responsibility on this page. The page offers general information, recruitment topics, specific considerations for the health and social sector, and links to help you understand responsibility. 


The Finnish legislation and European regulations and recommendations safeguard the rights of both the employee and the employer.  


Responsibility covers many aspects and perspectives. The general principles of responsible recruitment include, for example, inclusiveness, work-life balance, appropriate remuneration, and a good candidate experience, as well as equal treatment and non-discrimination, which are part of the employer’s statutory obligations in Finland. 


These principles manifest themselves in everything related to recruitment: in the language and image choices of the job advertisement, in the technology used for remote interviews, in candidate communication, in the financial resources of the organization, and so on. 


With regard to international recruitment, you must pay particular attention to aspects such as the availability of labor in the region of origin, ensuring statutory and reasonable working conditions and terms of employment, and supporting the foreign employee. 


Here are some key points about responsible recruitment that concern both the employer in Finland and potential recruiting or subcontracting partners abroad: 

  • No forced or child labor 

  • No recruitment fees 

  • Appropriate remuneration and benefits 

  • Reasonable working hours 

  • Safe working conditions 

  • Freedom of association 

  • Equal treatment of employees 

  • Rights and reasons for the termination of employment 

Review the employer’s checklist for ethical recruitment in the International recruitment guide. The checklist is based on a publication by the International Labour Organization ILO, which deals extensively with the principles of responsible recruitment. 


Familiarize yourself with good practices for diversity, equality, and inclusion. Read more in the DEI Playbook.

four people talking at the office

Best practices for diverse workplace

Explore good practices in diversity, equality, and inclusion designed to help individuals, organizations, and communities move forward on the journey towards a more inclusive and fairer working life.

four people talking at the office

Best practices for diverse workplace

Explore good practices in diversity, equality, and inclusion designed to help individuals, organizations, and communities move forward on the journey towards a more inclusive and fairer working life.

Responsibility in recruitment

Financial responsibility


In addition to ethical and statutory factors, the employer should consider financial responsibility. Actually, this is a good place to start. Is recruitment possible at all with the available resources? What will the situation look like in a few years? Sometimes outsourcing or employee leasing may be better options than recruiting a new employee.


Transparency and honesty


Make the job advertisement transparent and honest. Write openly about the organization, the vacancy and its requirements, as well as the everyday life at the workplace.


Furthermore, consider and make clear the development opportunities the individual recruited will have in your company and how the employee is expected to develop in the position.


Consider using the diversity statement in the job advertisement. It signals that the organization appreciates the diversity of its personnel and encourages people with diverse backgrounds to apply for the position.


You must also put these principles into practice instead of paying mere lip service – in other words, it is recommended to review and develop the functions and procedures of your company so that responsibility and diversity, as well as their appreciation, are realized in practice.


For example, check out the IMAGO coaching, which helps companies to understand the importance of the employer brand, versatile recruitment skills, a multicultural and internally strong corporate culture, and the development of the employer image for the business, as well as to identify their strengths and targets for development as an employer.

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi

Credits: Markus Pentikäinen / Keksi

Credits: Markus Pentikäinen / Keksi

Language and image selections 


Throughout the recruitment process, starting from the job advertisement, use language that the candidate can definitively understand. In international recruitment, English is the default language. 


Remember to pay attention to the gendered nature of the English language when writing the job advertisement. For example, avoid using he/she pronouns and choose gender-neutral job titles. Do not seek a "Marketing Guru,” “Sales Ninja,” or similar, as research has shown this causes especially women not to apply for the position.  Read more on gender-sensitive communication on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (in Finnish)


Image selections also convey a message. Take a critical look at the image in the job advertisement and consider how it presents people. Do the people only represent one ethnicity or gender? Who is presented as active and who as passive? Who is the image focused on? Highlight diversity in images to make everyone feel welcome. 


In addition to ethnicity and gender, diversity refers to numerous other factors such as age, sexual orientation, family situation, disability, language, religion, beliefs, and educational background. Read more about gender-sensitive communication on EIGE's website.

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi



Consider the distribution channels for the job advertisement. By making the selection of channels as wide as possible, you can reach as many potential applicants as possible and a diverse applicant base. 


The recruitment systems and technology must be accessible. For example, check how easy it is for people from different backgrounds to apply. If interviews are conducted remotely, ensure that the technology and applications used for videoconferencing, for example, do not exclude anyone. 


Non-discrimination and equality 


In anonymous recruitment, only the parts relevant to the open position and required skills are shown in the candidate’s application. Any information that would enable identification of the applicant, such as name, age, and photo, are hidden. This is to ensure that people are invited to interviews based on their skills. Interviews can also be carried out completely anonymously in writing, but since personal impressions are often perceived as an important factor for the recruitment decision, interviews are often conducted face-to-face. This makes the recruitment process only partially anonymous. Consider whether you could use a method like this in your recruitment. 


Keep the job interviews between candidates consistent. This also makes the process more equal. 


When making the recruitment decision, challenge your thinking. It is typical to favor candidates who resemble yourself or the people already working in the organization. However, this is not in the interest of a company looking for the best possible candidate, and it does not fully comply with the principle of non-discrimination. The recruitment decision should focus on the open position and skills. Take care of transparency: be prepared to justify your selection on the basis of pre-determined criteria. The selection is more objective if done by several recruiters.

Credits: Keksi / Work In Finland

Credits: Keksi / Work In Finland

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi

Credits: Marjaana Malkamäki / Keksi

Candidate experience and candidate communication

Ensure that the job applicant gets a good candidate experience – whether they are selected or not. Often only one person is hired and several applicants drop out. They are potential future hires. In the best case, the employer does not even have to post a job advertisement because they already have a suitable candidate in mind from previous searches. In such situations, the recruitment may proceed in giant leaps. Non-selected applicants may also be future customers or partners. So, leave a good taste in their mouth from the recruitment process. 


How can you succeed in this? In addition to handling the overall process appropriately, the focus should be on good candidate communication. Keep the candidates informed about the stages of the recruitment process. Inform them of the schedule and agendas for the upcoming stages in advance. Timely and relevant communication is essential in creating a good candidate experience and employer image. It also increases the transparency of the process. Your own initiative as a communicator is important. In addition to informing your own organization and the selected candidate of the recruitment decision without delay, you should also inform the non-selected candidates. Thank them and explain well why they were not selected. 


Starting the job 


It is especially important that the employer supports the international expert when they are starting in their new job. When signing the employment contract, give the candidate time to familiarize themselves with the contract and be prepared to discuss its details. Find out in advance the equipment the employee will need in the role and the employee’s personal requirements. Prepare and implement the orientation well. 


It is recommended to set out in the employment contract the expenses that will be paid by the employer. Expenses that the employer may cover include relocation costs, such as government fees and settling-in services. Check out the different documents related to immigration and their costs on the website of the Finnish Immigration Service. There are many services and subsidies available for the employer  to promote international recruitment – take advantage of them! Remember to also agree on whether the employer will find an apartment for the employee. 


If you hire an employee for a fixed-term employment relationship, such as project work, find out what this means for the employee and the possible family relocating with them. For example, the employee cannot use municipal services without a Finnish domicile, which requires an employment contract of at least two years, among other things. Read more at

The health and social sector

The health and social sector is subject to the same general ethical recruitment principles as other sectors aimed at preventing exploitation in the recruitment process.


There is a labor shortage in Finland’s health and social sector, and it is estimated that by 2030, international employees could cover about 10% of this labor shortage. Organizations should therefore develop their readiness for international recruitment relatively quickly. The recommendations of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment concerning the health and social sector contain information about legislation, the selection of recruitment partners, employment placement fees, and the protection of employees’ rights. Here are some highlights specific to the health and social sector: 

  • The Acts on Social Welfare Professionals and Health Care Professionals regulate work in the health and social sector. The sector employs licensed professionals, professionals using a protected occupational title, and other people. Valvira is responsible for granting professional rights in health care

  • The wellbeing services counties and public service providers must comply with the Procurement Act when procuring personnel and recruitment services. 

  • What is the recruitment partner’s understanding of the special characteristics of the health and social sector? What about the educational level and job descriptions in the country of origin compared to the job descriptions and requirements of professional titles in Finland? 

  • You need to tell the candidates honestly about Finland, the local culture, climate, work in the health and social sector, working conditions and pay, living costs, and opportunities for family reunification. 

  • The employees must have adequate vaccination protection and be provided with health examinations on arrival at work (taking into account any infectious diseases and jobs that may pose a particular risk of illness). 

  • You must also inform the candidates of the requirements of working in health care and social professions in Finland, such as the need to obtain a right to practice the profession from Valvira and the training supporting it. This way, the candidates can understand their situation and personal opportunities. 

Read more about the responsibility recommendations for the health and social sector on the website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.


When recruiting for the health and social services sector, pay special attention to the expert’s country of origin if they come from outside the EU and EEA countries. Do not recruit from countries with a shortage of health and social sector professionals that need support and safeguards regarding health and social labor. Check out the WHO health workforce support and safeguards list 2023.  

Helpful links for responsible recruitment

More information on the principles of ethical recruitment can be found on the websites of, for example, ,the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and the International Labour Organization ILO


ILO’s website also contains online training material for responsible recruitment, which is also provided by the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit


The website of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment provides information about the rights of employees in Finland


On the website of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, you can learn about promoting diversity in recruitment


Go through the basics of gender-sensitive communication on the website of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (in Finnish). 


For an excellent article about a good candidate experience, see the website of Choice HR (in Finnish). 


The Oikotie website, in turn, has a great guide to responsible recruitment


Instructions for responsible recruitment in the health and social sector are available on the website of the World Health Organization (WHO)


Tell the expert about the Work Help Finland mobile application, which the employee can use to find information about rights and obligations in Finland.  

International recruitment guide 

Check out our comprehensive International recruitment guide. The guide offers detailed information, instructions, and links for each step of the recruitment process. 


In a nutshell: handle recruitment in an equal, fair, appropriate, and respectful manner.