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Q&A with Kathryn Fitzgerald, participant in the RCSA Code of Conduct module

We spoke with Kathryn Fitzgerald, We spoke with Kathryn Fitzgerald, Director of Dixon Appointments about how RCSA’s Code of Conduct module helped reinforce Dixon’s commitment to raising the standards for the industry. Kathryn discusses how the module integrated personal professional conduct with business operations and integrity.

What is your position at Dixon Appointments and how long have you worked there?

I am Director of Recruitment Services, and I co-own Dixon Appointments with my business partner and our Director of Corporate Services, Lucy Ricanek. I first started at Dixon in 2005, and we purchased the business in 2013 from founder and previous owner Hilary Dixon, proudly continuing Dixon’s history as a female-owned-and-led business. Dixon has long been a member of RCSA.

The RCSA code of conduct module was launched in August last year, what were some of the reasons you decided to have your whole team complete the module?

Dixon Appointments has built our entire business around raising the standards and reputation of the recruitment industry. For us, this means responsible, ethical and sustainable business practices and leadership; executing assessment and selection methodology that is evidence-based, and engaging with all our stakeholders in a consistent, accountable and transparent manner.

The RCSA’s Code of Conduct was a simple, tangible way to reinforce our business principles and continue contributing to our industry.

What did you like about the module?

Lucy and I really valued the way the RCSA’s Code of Conduct module tied the personal professionalism of each individual with operational integrity. As business owners we are so aware that the team of people around us are the ones who make the business succeed. A business can have all the policies, processes and infrastructure in place, but they mean nothing if you don’t have a team of professionals who value the same principles and understand how to apply ethical decision making.

Our industry is still dealing with a reputation created by a minority doing what’s easy, rather than doing what is in the interests of their candidates and clients. This module is a great way for a responsible recruitment business to send a message that ‘easy’ is not the industry standard. We’re committed to working alongside other industry leaders in our community who are setting the bar higher.

What was some of the feedback from your staff about the module?

The Dixon team were all positive about their participation and completion - mostly we heard that they felt proud to work with a company and colleagues who were so committed to being the ‘good guys’ in our industry. It feels good knowing that you belong to a team that is doing the right thing.

They also mentioned ease of completion and flexibility of online delivery. They felt the practical examples were real-life ‘ethical dilemmas’ that our team find themselves in on a weekly basis – they have to ask themselves and make the right decision every time, even if they are tempted in another direction:

‘do I tell my client about the concerns raised in this reference check or should I only tell them if they ask about it?’ or

‘I have their permission to pass on their details already in general, do I need to discuss this role with the candidate before I send their resume? Or should I send it so I get in first and call them after to discuss it and get permission to represent them for this position specifically?’ or

‘I am really busy, do I have to design and conduct a full behavioural interview assessment for this? Do I have to document my interview record? An informal coffee with the candidate would be much easier…’

Not many organisations have had their entire team complete the module – you must be proud of this accomplishment?

We’re very proud of our team’s professionalism, competence and commitment to high standards of conduct at all times, but particularly given the difficult business backdrop of the last 16 months. Their resilience and willingness to support their clients, candidates, and one another during a period of great uncertainty and stress is testament to their values and work ethic. Their completion of the RCSA’s Code of Conduct is only one indicator of this, but an important, tangible one.

If you or your staff have not yet completed the quick and free online Code of Conduct training our membership team can assist with ensuring all your staff are enrolled in bulk and provide you with reporting on how many and who has completed.

Click here for more member resources.

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