The pandemic and its continuing impact has been driving people to reconsider their working and personal lives.

Some have chosen to leave the job market and others have chosen to semi-retire and enjoy life a bit more. Recent statistics show the economy is moving to fuller employment. This is leaving the job market in a state of flux. In an overheating market, it can be tempting for employers to bypass recruitment best practice and concentrate on securing new recruits quickly.

Finding candidates with the right skill set is often difficult, especially when availability becomes restricted in a buoyant job market. A thoughtful recruitment process is most likely to fill vacancies effectively with the right person for the job, and avoid potential problems further down the line.

Jas Dubb, Associate Solicitor of The Wilkes Partnership considers the various pitfalls of recruitment and top tips for employers to help conduct a successful recruitment process.

Advertisement and selection process

With line managers increasingly getting involved in the recruitment process, it is crucial that everyone involved has the relevant skills and knowledge. Anyone taking part in activities such as interviewing and shortlisting should be aware of the relevant discrimination legislation and should receive equal opportunities training.

Equal opportunities and diversity needs to be considered at each part of the process, with regular reviews carried out to ensure there is no hidden bias and that candidates are being judged fairly.

The following factors should be considered:

  • Check the terms of any internal equal opportunities or recruitment policy. Factor in any requirements of the policies into the procedure for them to be followed.
  • Ensure those who are recruiting have received some pre-requisite training on discrimination and equal opportunities.
  • Compile a job description, covering such things as the main purpose and objectives of the role, responsibilities of the jobholder, reporting structures etc. A person specification can be created detailing the experience, know-how, qualifications, and behavioural attributes necessary for the job.
  • Standardise the selection process. Set the same questions at interviews, ensuring what you are asking can be objectively justified by reference to the job function. Use the same process to test skills, aptitude, experience etc. Check you are not indirectly discriminating against any groups/types of candidates. Record the results using a standardised form/sheet.

There should also be consideration as to where the job will be advertised. Will it be advertised internally and/or externally? Ensure the wording of the advertisement is not discriminatory and does not alienate any specific sector of candidates. Will you engage recruitment agencies to select candidates?

Requesting a reference for a potential new employee

Employers may choose a variety of methods to evaluate a candidate’s ability for the role such as application forms, interviews, assessment centres or tests. Having passed the selection process, it is common to seek at least one reference from a former employer in order to verify the work experience that a prospective employee claims to have.

Once you have found the right person, be careful to ensure any offer of employment is conditional upon key conditions being satisfied. Top on the list is being in receipt of at least one satisfactory reference.

What many employers forget is to ensure the candidate has the right to work in the UK. Where the candidate is from the UK that is not too much of an issues, but where the candidate is from abroad this becomes more complicated. The obligation to check and maintain records is down to the employer. We at The Wilkes Partnership can advise employers with their immigration obligations.

Induction of a new employee

When a new employee starts work, an employer is likely to have a procedure that it follows to ensure it has all the information and documents needed to on-board the employee and ensure they quickly settle in.

An induction process can be used to ensure the new employee knows the standards expected of them and is aware of the employer’s key policies and procedures. The following, among other items, are likely to be dealt with as part of the induction process:

  • Confirmation that the employer has copies of all necessary paperwork (e.g. a signed employment contract, acknowledgement of the Staff Handbook and Health and Safety manual, as well as any additional policies and procedures that have been provided by the employer).
  • Capturing personal information such as P60/tax information/bank details for payroll purposes. Confirming the employee’s personal details such as address, emergency contact, e-mail etc.
  • It may invite the employee to provide any other “need-to-know” information, such as details of any allergies or medical conditions, so that first aiders can be advised.

Preparing contractual documentation

Considering what type of contract will be offered is extremely important. For example, is it for fixed hours/days or do you need more flexibility like a zero hours contract? Is it permanent or fixed term? Is there an element of working from home, if so do you have a policy for this?

It is usually also a good time to review your contract to ensure it gives protection in terms of confidentiality, business property, post termination restrictions etc. If a contract review is needed then the Employment Team at The Wilkes Partnership can help.

Jas Dubb comments: “Employers must be reminded that having the correct training, documents and forms can save you time, and help you manage your recruitment process quickly and effectively. It is vital to get the correct contractual documentation in place to ensure a smooth start to the working relationship between employer and employee”.

To discuss anything arising from this update, please contact Jas Dubb on 0121 710 5929 or via email at [email protected]. You can also contact any other member of the Employment Team on 0121 233 4333 or email us at [email protected].