UK: Recruitment Guide For The Festive Season

Last Updated: 13 October 2015
Article by Katee Dias

Before you launch into placing an advert or calling a recruitment consultant, pause to think about exactly what it is your organisation actually needs. For instance:

  • Is a permanent or a fixed-term employee required or is engaging an agency worker more appropriate? The latter generally gives you more flexibility and less exposure to liability
  • Do you need a full-timer or would part-time working be acceptable? Consider this at the outset in case a candidate makes an enquiry about flexible working.

Plan ahead

1. Job description

Draw up a job description and a person specification to focus your mind on the key requirements of the role and the essential skills, knowledge and experience of the individual.

2. Selection process

Think about how to select and assess applicants. What type of selection process is suitable? This could be anything from a practical test to a traditional interview.

3. Question carefully

Finally, remind yourself of the areas where you should not probe. For example, it is generally not permissible to ask health-related questions before an employment offer is made to the individual – unless you are seeking such information with the purpose of making reasonable adjustments to your recruitment process to accommodate a disabled applicant).

Advertising

Care needs to be taken to avoid discriminatory adverts and so you should not, for example, state that the role is open to “men only” (except in very rare circumstances). However, be careful not to inadvertently discriminate against potential applicants either. Using terminology like “mature” and “excellent knowledge of English” can exclude younger and non-UK nationals, which can lead to age and race discrimination challenges.

Consider also where you will advertise the vacancy. This could be internally (e.g. on a staff noticeboard or intranet) or externally (such as via trade publications or your websites). Reach out to as wide a pool of candidates as possible. This not only helps you source the best applicants but avoids you perpetuating the make-up of your current workforce, which may not be balanced.

Do keep in mind when advertising internally that any employees who are off work (for instance on maternity leave or long-term sick) should be made aware of the opportunity too to avoid suggestions of sex or disability discrimination or similar. Additionally, don't forget that any agency workers you engage have a legal right to be notified of relevant vacancies as well.

Applications

A standardised process should be used so an application form is a good idea. CVs and covering letters are likely to vary greatly in their content, making it difficult to compare the applicants fairly. Also, such documentation is more likely to contain irrelevant information, such as the candidate's date of birth, their marital status or their religion. These details, among others, will be 'protected characteristics' for discrimination law purposes, so should not be used as a basis for deciding whether to shortlist an individual. While you could (and should) totally ignore such information, there is only your word that you did not base your decision on these superfluous factors meaning that disputes can still arise.

If you want to collect information about the applicant's characteristics, the best way to do this lawfully is to have a separate equal opportunities monitoring form that is detached from their application form and kept away from the assessors.

Remember your data protection obligations. Ideally, you should have a policy outlining how applicants' personal data will be used, how long it will be kept etc. Bear in mind that if you collect sensitive personal data (such as information about disability), then higher standards apply.

Selection

It is very important to get the selection procedure right – not just because you want to recruit the top candidate, but because this is probably the area where there is most potential for allegations of discrimination. Given this, it is crucial to provide equal opportunities training for all personnel involved. Further, you should:

  • Standardise your selection process to ensure that all hopefuls are treated equally
  • Ideally have more than one person carrying out the shortlisting and selection process. This reduces the possibility of bias and unbalanced decisions
  • Ensure that each assessor carries out their assessment separately against a pre-agreed scoring system which is both fair and non-discriminatory. Watch for discrimination by the back-door, such as only interviewing those who have, say, five GCSEs as this would potentially exclude older people and non-UK nationals. Avoid this by accepting equivalent qualifications
  • Check that any interview questions are appropriate and not discriminatory. Asking a woman whether she intends to have a baby soon is an obvious no-no! But even asking about someone's hobbies can lead to problems; they might mention that they belong to a LGBT group, the disclosure of which could then lead to sexual orientation discrimination complaints if they later do not get the job
  • Base decisions on objective evidence of the applicant's ability to do the job satisfactorily. Do not make assumptions or focus on irrelevant factors
  • Keep a record of all decisions and the reasoning behind them as this will be critical evidence in the event that an unsuccessful candidate contests a decision.

Offers

When you have chosen the successful candidate, you will need to send them an offer letter. It is important to set out any conditions that need to be satisfied before their employment can be confirmed. This could be anything from receiving satisfactory employment references to criminal record and professional qualification checks. Also, prior to their employment starting, you will need to check their eligibility to work in the UK. This check should be made of all new employees, not just for those who you think might not have this right because of their accent or appearance.

All that then remains is to (i) check that all pre-employment conditions are satisfied and (ii) get a signed contract of employment in place with the individual. While you legally have up to two months from their start date to issue written employment particulars, it is sensible to do this prior to their employment commencing so that everyone is clear about the terms and conditions governing the relationship.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.