Employer’s Guide to Effective Recruitment Practices & Recruitment Processes

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We usually think that the worst thing that can happen when it comes to poor recruitment practice is ending up with an unsuitable employee. However, many employers may be surprised to know that they are exposed to the risks of tribunal claims at the start of the employer hiring process and recruitment stage.

That’s right while following the usual hiring steps for employers someone can submit a costly claim against your business without even signing an employment contract with you if you haven’t implemented the best practices for hiring employees possible.

From discriminatory wording on job adverts to unfair application screening- employers must understand the perils of getting the company recruitment process right. In this article, we look at some of the main pitfalls of the employer hiring process and provide some tips on ensuring you are utilising the best practices for hiring top talent at this crucial stage of the employment relationship.

Understanding The Aims of Recruitment & The Best Practices For Hiring Employees

It seems an obvious point because of course the aim of following the HR recruitment process steps is to fill a vacant position but the employee hiring process is best viewed as a two-way process i.e., a tool for the employer to select the best candidate for the job and for the job applicant to decide if this is the job for them.

The Stages Of The Employer Hiring Process:

1. Job description and person specification

Isn’t the job advert the first stage of the recruitment and selection process? No. In order to effectively recruit into a role as part of a robust employee hiring process, it is vital that the company is clear on what they need from prospective candidates for the role they are recruiting into and what skills and experience are required from the person appointed to do it.

Job description. This is simply a description of the role you are recruiting into. When implementing effective recruitment and selection practices its vital for the job description to clearly include the duties and areas of responsibility.

Person specification. This document sets out any essential or desirable requirements the post-holder must have to do the job. Following the best company hiring practices, the person specification document should include any qualifications, relevant experience and key skills of the prospective candidates.

2. The job advert

Job adverts for talent acquisition can be costly, often you have to convey a lot of information in as brief a format as you can. If you get these company recruitment processes right you will be well on your way to put into action, the best practices for recruiting new employees.

An effective recruitment process starts with attracting the best candidates by outlining key information such as the job title, and qualifications required, the job location, hours and some information as to what the role involves.

The applicants should be told the deadline for the vacancy and where to submit their application.

3. Screening Candidates & the Screening Process

When screening candidates, ensure that applications are handled confidentially. They contain personal information and should be appropriately stored.

If you are following the most effective recruitment and selection practices, it’s good to respond and acknowledge applications as soon as possible.

Your initial shortlisting can commence at this stage. So applications that do not meet the job’s essential requirements and/or the person specification can be turned down at this stage.

4. Interview Process Steps for Employers & Making Your Selection

The selection process is usually done via an interview process and assessments.

When you have selected the candidates via your recruitment and selection process who will be going through to interview process stage, they should be informed in writing of when you will be conducting interviews and what the assessment will involve. This ensures fairness and transparency for the employee hiring process and allows candidates to request adjustments where needed.

It is important to notify those who are not successful at this stage in writing. You can offer feedback if you wish or if you prefer, stipulate who they should contact if they require any specific feedback on their application – this is an essential part of the interview process for employers.

5. Making an offer

Depending on the type of role or the sector in which you operate, you will either be making a conditional or non-conditional job offer as part of your company recruitment process.

A conditional offer is usually one that is usually subject to the receipt of satisfactory references and pre-employment checks such as clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).  These job offers usually offer a ‘to be confirmed’ start date.

A non-conditional offer is one where the candidate is offered a start date, and any pre-employment checks necessary (such as the right to work in the UK) have already been completed.

Avoiding Discrimination During the Employee Hiring Process

Poor recruitment practices within your employee hiring process can leave you very exposed to discrimination claims. Here are some top tips to ensure this doesn’t happen to your business while outlining the best practices for recruiting new employees:

Discriminatory Job Advert Wording

‘Energetic’, ‘vibrant’, ‘able’, ‘modern’ – these terms could apply to people of all ages, of course. Still, they can imply you are seeking applications from young people and could indirectly discriminate against older candidates. This is obviously not the best practice for hiring employees and could lead to an unsavoury situation which leads to claims.

Likewise, ‘must have 5 years’ experience’- if the job needs it, that’s fine; if not, then you could be unfairly discouraging younger applicants.

Avoid job titles like ‘handyman’, and ‘waitress’ – keep it gender-neutral. *

Restrictive Job Advertising

When running through the HR recruitment process steps It’s always costly to place job adverts, as part of the best practices for hiring top talent it’s always worth spending time considering carefully where you place job ads.

You want to attract the best candidates as part of your employer hiring process and by only posting in your local job centre, for example, you may not be reaching as wide a demographic for qualified candidates as you can.

Also be mindful that publications geared towards certain sectors of the community such as a parish magazine or publications directed towards a youthful audience, for example, may exclude applications from some groups and could lead you exposed to a claim. Effective recruitment strategies and practices will always advertise job openings evenly across publications with a broad demographic targeting reach.

Unlawful Interview Questions

As part of the interview process steps for employers you are appointing on merit and should not be influenced by any other factors.

For example, there is no need to ask a candidate their age or ask questions about their health** and childcare arrangements as part of the interview process for employers.

Health questionnaires can only be issued after an offer of employment has been made – they cannot be used as part of the recruitment process steps or to screen applications.

* In some circumstances it is acceptable to target recruitment at certain groups and request that candidates have a particular protected characteristic. For example, an organisation providing support to female victims of domestic violence may seek applications from women only. This is known as an ‘occupational requirement’.

** There may be some circumstances where essential medical information may be sought but this really must be essential and advice should be sought if you intend to ask about health at any stage prior to a job offer being made.

And finally, here are our top tips to consider before embarking on a recruitment exercise:

Application forms vs CVs

CVs are fine but if you have ever had to wade through a pile of CVs versus a pile of application forms as part of the employer hiring process, you will know that application forms take much less time to screen. This is because all of the information you need is there and in a specific order and format.

By all means, accept CVs as part of the company recruitment process but you may want to ask candidates to also fill out an application form.

Application forms are available from Avensure.

Job description & person specifications

As part of your recruitment and selection process send a job description & person specifications to each candidate or have them available online for applicants to view and download.

That way you are able to keep your advert to only the key information and are able to ensure that all candidates are aware of what you are looking for.

It also enables the candidate to screen you and decide if the job is right for them. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the job offer stage only for your candidate to say ‘Oh I can’t work those hours.

Keep your interview questions consistent

Have the job description and person specification as your guide and draft key questions to ask all candidates as part of the interview process for employers. You will of course need to ask questions that are specific to the candidate’s skills and experience but your core questions should be the same for everyone.

Remember that the key interview process steps for the employer are for you to be satisfied that the candidate being able to ‘do the job on paper’ relates to actually being able to perform the role.

Equality & diversity training for those carrying out recruitment

It’s no use having equal opportunities policies and stating that you are committed to equality and diversity if the person interviewing doesn’t understand what that means.

Small businesses don’t have the benefit of HR Departments and HR recruitment process steps to follow, but we can help you.

We can look over the eroding for a job advert, we can look over proposed interview questions – if in doubt ask.

  • Record keeping

Keep records of the recruitment process. Applications, and letters turning down applicants should be kept. Those screening applications and carrying out interviews should take and keep the notes from those recruitment stages.

We know it’s time-consuming but if you face a legal challenge, these records could be the difference between you losing a claim and not.

Don’t forget your right-to-work checks! Employers will face heavy fines and face prosecution for employing someone who does not have the right to work in the UK.

For more information about how to follow the best practices for hiring employees please check here.