Managing the selection and recruitment process
Recruiting new staff is an exciting next step for your business – whether you’re hiring your first employee or your 50th, it should be a positive experience for all involved.
You’ll want to attract a wide pool of applicants to ensure you have the best chance of finding the ideal candidate for your position.
That means the job advert, the selection and interview process and any other recruitment tools should be carefully considered to make sure you haven’t inadvertently excluded a particular group of people that could see you at the wrong end of allegations such as discrimination or worse, a tribunal claim.
Avoiding discrimination in the recruitment process
When recruiting new employees, there are several parts of the recruitment process where you could fall foul of discrimination law.
Hopefully you’re able to spot the mistakes this Cardiff picture framer made in the example below but can you spot the more subtle issues that could land you in hot water?
“Full time/apprenticeship for a local school leaver, preferably a boy, must be able to stay off his phone for at least 5 minutes and away from the xbox/playstation for 8 hours. Very interesting and hands on job.”
Job adverts and job descriptions
When writing a job advert you need to carefully consider the wording you use. For example, asking for a ‘youthful’ candidate could constitute age discrimination whilst stating a job title such as ‘waitress’ suggests that only women should apply.
Considering the language used doesn’t stop at job adverts – you should avoid phrases such as ‘vibrant’ or ‘able’ and requirements that aren’t strictly necessary such as holding a drivers licence unless the role really does require it.
Selecting candidates for interview
It might seem obvious but you should only select candidates based on merit, not on their name or age by making a guess based on their education dates on their CV.
It’s best practice to ensure there are at least two people present at the interview – it’s helpful to have a witness in case there are any allegations made by the interviewee at a later stage. Prepare your questions in advance and ensure you’re not asking questions like ‘how many children do you have / are you thinking of having children’.
It’s a good idea to take notes throughout so that the process is well documented and so it can help you select the right person for the job.
Selecting the right candidate
When choosing the right person for the job, you should apply the same selection criteria and method to each candidate. As much as we might like to pretend we’re Alan Sugar in The Apprentice with the pointed finger and ‘you’re fired’ approach, this should definitely be avoided!
Letting candidates know they didn’t get the job isn’t a particularly pleasant task and you should try to adopt a more sensitive way of informing them. Let them know what they did well at in the interview and ensure the reasons why they weren’t selected was well documented. Do not include anything which could lead to an inference of discrimination.
If you discriminate against a job applicant they are entitled to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal and if the claim is successful, compensation is calculated on the usual basis for discrimination claims. The Tribunal will look to attach a number to the loss of a valuable chance to obtain work but how this works in practice depends on the facts in question.
Tips for avoiding discrimination during the selection and recruitment process
Thinking about each stage of the process in advance and having them checked by at least two other people, as well as training for those carrying out interviews will help to protect your business. Finally, keeping a good paper trail is key to helping defend any allegations should they arise.
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