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The fierce competition between organizations today for talented employees makes recruitment a strategic function for companies. While employment procedures need to make efficient decisions to choose the best candidates, they must also comply with legal and ethical hiring requirements (Alder & Gilbert, 2006). Ethics and fairness in hiring are fundamental for organizations and recruiters: for applicants, the recruitment procedure is their first introduction to the organization and their treatment throughout the selection process can have ramifications. Therefore, a fair process is closely connected with attracting job seekers (Ployhart & Ryan, 1997) and the organization’s reputation (Bustaman et al., 2020), especially because today so many individual experiences are evaluated, rated and distributed through social networks. When applicants perceive the hiring process to be just, they are more likely to form positive impressions of the company (Bauer et al., 2001) and recommend it to others applying or purchasing the firm’s goods or services (Folger & Cropanzano, 1998; Rynes et al., 1991; Smither et al., 1993). Thus, treating applicants justly lays the foundations for better work performance (Gilliland, 1994), relationships and trust (Cropanzano et al., 2007) when they become employees. On the contrary, treating applicants unfairly has negative consequences for organizations. For example, Singer (1993) found that employees who believed the selection system had been unfair were less committed to the organizations for which they worked…


This paper is intended for human resource managers involved in the selection of new employees. The article deals with organizational justice (OJ) in the recruitment process. It develops the principles of OJ and their application in recruitment. Then, the paper considers more precisely the selection interview because it is the most widely used recruitment tool by companies. It analyzes unstructured and structured interviews in terms of procedural and interactional justice. Applied to these two types of interview according to Gilliland’s Model (1993), the study demonstrates how and why the unstructured interview, which does not meet the requirements of procedural justice (unlike structured interviews), is perceived by candidates as fair. Therefore, Organizational Justice and Perceived Organizational Justice contradict each other. Indeed, while certain conditions of organizational justice are respected during structured interviews, candidates may not perceive the process as being fair. Thus, the paper highlights a situation of «justice paradox» or «justice dilemma» and proposes to improve the perception of justice in structured interviews. Finally, the article recommends a model to overcome this paradox in the structured selection interview. The main recommendations are based on the opportunity to express the voice of the candidate especially at the beginning and at the end of the interview, incorporating rapport building and open question. In relation to these proposals, future research could develop case studies to integrate the social, economic and cross-cultural perspectives of our proposals.


  • Fairness
  • Organizational justice
  • Hiring interviews
  • Justice paradox
  • Human resources managers

La justice organisationnelle dans les entretiens d’embauche : Analyse d’un paradoxe de justice

Cet article s’adresse aux responsables des ressources humaines impliqués dans la sélection de nouveaux employés. L’article traite de la justice organisationnelle (JO) appliqué processus de recrutement au regard des principes de JO. Ensuite, le papier considère particulièrement l’entretien de sélection en tant qu’outil de recrutement le plus utilisé par les organisations. Ainsi, il analyse les entretiens non structurés et structurés sous le prisme de la justice procédurale et interactionnelle. Relativement à ces deux types d’entretien, l’étude démontre, selon le modèle de Gilliland (1993), comment et pourquoi l’entretien non structuré, qui ne répond pas aux exigences de la justice procédurale (contrairement aux entretiens structurés), est perçu par les candidats comme équitable. Autrement dit, justice organisationnelle et justice organisationnelle perçue se contredisent. En effet, si certaines conditions de justice organisationnelle sont respectées lors des entretiens structurés, les candidats peuvent ne pas percevoir le processus comme étant équitable. Ainsi, l’article met en évidence une situation de «paradoxe de justice» ou de «dilemme de justice» et propose d’améliorer la perception de JO dans les entretiens structurés. C’est pourquoi, le papier recommande un modèle pour surmonter ce paradoxe lors de l’entretien structuré. Les principales recommandations sont basées sur la justice interactionnelle en donnant l’opportunité au candidat de s’exprimer, notamment au début et à la fin de l’entretien, ainsi que par des questions ouvertes. En lien avec ces propositions, les recherches futures pourraient développer des études de cas afin d’étudier les perspectives sociales, économiques et interculturelles de nos propositions.


  • Equité
  • Justice organisationnelle
  • Entretiens d’embauche
  • Paradoxe de la justice
  • Responsables des ressources humaines
Agnès Ceccarelli
ICN Business School
Holds a PhD. in Sociology from the University of Lorraine. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour at ICN Business School. She is also a member of the CEREFIGE research laboratory in Management Sciences. Her publications and research topics center around Dress Code, Organisational Justice, CSR and Social Innovation. She was Director of the Executive MBA program at ICN for several years. She specializes in and teaches non-verbal communication and self-image in various programs from Bachelor to EMBA. In addition to her teaching and research activities, she provides in-service training to executives and managers in all sectors of activity, in France and abroad.
Sybille Persson
ICN Business School
Holds a PhD. in Management Sciences from the University of Lorraine. She was a full Professor in the Department of Human Resources and Organisational Behaviour at ICN Business School. Her double profile as an active researcher, qualified to supervise research, and as a consultant and speaker in companies has enabled her to develop an original and pragmatic approach to management, and to the mentoring of managers in organizations as part of the ICN School of Coaching since 2006 or the Unesco Chair «Arts and sciences at the service of sustainable development objectives» hosted at ICN since 2019. She is also a member of the CEREFIGE research laboratory in Management Sciences.
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