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1. Do you really need to recruit?
When someone leaves a post, it is a good time to assess their job:
- Was the job really necessary and the person fully occupied?
- Could the various tasks be reassigned to existing employees?
- Does the post fit in with future plans?
2. Job descriptions and person specifications
The job description defines the duties in the role the person will be expected to undertake. It includes
- Job title
- Summary and purpose of main job role
- Main tasks.
The person specification, which must not be discriminatory, defines the attributes and skills of the person needed to perform those duties. It might include requirements concerning
- Physical attributes
- General intelligence
- Special aptitudes.
Advertising is expensive, so it is worth considering other options while bearing in mind factors such as
- The need to trawl through suitable candidates
- Monitoring responses so that you can make an informed decision next time
- Including all the necessary information
- Avoiding discrimination
- Genuine occupational qualifications and requirements
- Positive action to achieve diversity.
4. The selection process
How do you want candidates to supply information and what information can you ask for?
- Decide on the process – will you use tests or personality profiling?
- Application forms can be designed to provide the required data; CVs may contain irrelevant information.
- Criminal records – what do you have the right to know?
- Where used, health screening should generally take place after an offer has been made and be appropriate to the job.
- Equal opportunities monitoring may show where you are falling short of the ideal.
- The vetting and barring scheme was introduced after the Soham murders to prevent unsuitable people working with children.
- Your recruitment practices must conform to the requirements of the Data Protection Act.
5. Eligibility to work in the UK
In February 2008, the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 came into force. In it, the Government introduced changes which all UK employers need to know and follow to avoid liability for payment of a civil penalty for employing illegal migrants. The law relating to enforcement of immigration checks is now significantly more stringent. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) confirm that breach of the law is likely to close down employers who knowingly employ illegal workers; the fact is that it could also close down careless employers, so make sure that you check your records and can establish the statutory excuse.
- Documents provided from List A establish that the person has an ongoing entitlement to work in the UK.
- Documents from List B indicate that the applicant or employee has restrictions on their entitlement to be in the UK.
- You must also beware of documents that do not provide you with an excuse.
- The UKBA recommend that you carry out checks on all prospective employees, as this will establish a statutory excuse from paying the civil penalty, provide evidence of an open and transparent recruitment process and ensure that your recruitment practices do not discriminate against individuals on grounds of race.
6. The interview
It’s important make thorough preparation for the interview, which includes preparing questions, so that everything runs smoothly. The interview should then be structured:
- Stage 1 – introduce yourself, explain you’ll keep notes and build rapport.
- Stage 2 – gather information, makes notes and keep control.
- Stage 3 – check that you have asked all the questions, tell the candidate what happens next, say goodbye.
- Throughout, avoid some common pitfalls and mistakes.
7. Interview questions
Prepared questions should be relevant to the job and include some that are individually tailored to applicants and some that are asked of all candidates. Choose the right type of question to elicit the required information.
- Leading and closed questions are generally best avoided.
- Open questions are the basic tool of interviewing.
- Behavioural example questions can be revealing.
- You may find the question funnels a helpful technique.
Tests may be useful as long as they are
- Properly validated
- Relevant to the job
- Administered and interpreted by a qualified person
- Not discriminatory.
9. Assessment centres
An assessment centre can be costly, but success rates are around 85 per cent. Typically, they will include
- An interview
- Preparation and delivery of a presentation
- Aptitude tests and personality profiling
- Group exercises at which participants are observed.
Always take up references.
- They are a way of checking information given in CVs or application forms.
- They may give you advance warning of potential problems.
You are not usually legally obliged to give references. If you do
- Stick to the facts
- If all else fails, confirm basic employment details.
- Be aware of the implications for references of the Data Protection Act.
11. Short guide to discrimination
Discrimination is expensive and there is no service qualification. Direct discrimination is comparatively rare, but indirect discrimination is more common and refers to a provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone equally, but would put certain persons of a group at a particular disadvantage, does put a specific person from that group at a disadvantage and cannot be shown to be a proportionate way of achieving the company’s legitimate aim. Victimisation and harassment also come under the heading of discrimination. Much of the discrimination legislation has now been consolidated into The Equality Act 2010.
12. Data protection
Part 1 of the code, which can be downloaded from the Information Commissioner, covers seven main recruitment activities:
- Pre-employment vetting
- Retention of recruitment records