Top Five Things to Remember When Recruiting

Ben McCarthy


24 May 2019


Although finding the appropriate person for a role is challenging, getting things right at the recruitment stage helps you avoid issues arising later on if the wrong candidate is selected.

Below are five key things to think about during a recruitment process:

Top five things to remember...

1. Be mindful of protected characteristics

As you will be aware, you are legally prohibited from discriminating against all individuals in respect of a protected characteristic.

These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. What you must also remember is that anti-discrimination law also applies during the entire recruitment process.

This means that all candidates must be provided equal and fair opportunity to apply and be considered for a role. For example, asking an older interviewee if they think they would ‘fit in’ with a younger team would be considered discrimination.

2. Develop an accurate and fair job advertisement

You should take care to organise and plan your approach to advertising the role, making sure that all relevant information is included in your advert. Usually, this should involve the key requirements of the job, any essential skills that are needed and if the applicant should have specific qualifications.

The more detail that is included the better as it can help to screen out unsuitable applicants at an early stage.

You must take care not to include any terms in the job advert that could unfairly disadvantage an applicant due to a protected characteristic, such as using gender specific terms like ‘policeman’ or ‘waitress’.

3. Be fair in your shortlisting process

The purpose of shortlisting is to objectively and fairly assess each applicant against the essential competencies for the role and select the strongest individuals for an interview.

All selections should be done in a non-discriminatory manner and you should be wary of being unconsciously drawn to an individual with a similar background to yours. This is called unconscious bias and a way to avoid this is to conduct the shortlisting process with another member of staff or to use an automated applicant tracking system (ATS) that is programmed to purely focus on competencies.

4. Conduct a fair interviewing process

During the interview stage, all questions should be pre-prepared and relate directly to the role. You should never ask anything that could discriminate against a candidate or could be considered inappropriate; for example, asking a person who has previously served in the army if they have ever ‘shot someone’.

Candidates should be given fair opportunity and equal time in order to prepare for the interview and you should not prioritise one over the other in any way. It is also highly advisable to have more than one person conduct interviews and to keep the panel as diverse as possible.

Decisions should not be made on the day; you should take some time and converse with your colleagues or other panel members to objectively discuss each candidate.

5. Be mindful of any additional checks you need to undertake

Some roles may require some further checks from you before they can be offered to a successful candidate. For example, if the work is to be regarded as a ‘regulated activity’ in relation to children or vulnerable adults, you will need to conduct a disclosure check in order to make sure the individual is not on a relevant barred list that prohibits their working in this area.

If you are employing an applicant from overseas, you should ask for proof from them that they are able to legally work in the UK.

Remember that the rules surrounding the employment of European workers are expected to change as a result of Brexit.

Recruiting for a new role?

If you have an issue with recruitment, salary benchmarking for a new role, or any other HR issue, speak to a Croner expert on 01455 858 132.

About the Author

Ben McCarthy works as a content writer for Croner producing commentary and guidance on employment law and key HR developments. Coming from an extensive legal background, Ben regularly constructs key training materials for clients and advisers, and provides daily contributions to national publications.

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