Recruiting the right way


Making the decision to take someone new onto your team requires a lot of consideration. There’s so much to take into account. A candidate must be fully qualified, have the right experience and perhaps most importantly, fit into the dynamic of the workplace. After all, personality is important.

On top of this, a candidate must be chosen for the right reasons. This choice should not be made on a discriminatory basis against a candidate’s protected individual characteristics, such as race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or disability.

It’s also vital that companies ensure candidates are eligible to work in the UK, and also comply with data protection laws when it comes to a candidate’s personal information.

Failing to follow the correct procedure, treat each candidate fairly, and accommodate those who have a disability or illness, can land a company in trouble. So, it’s best to wise up and execute each step perfectly.

It may all seem a bit daunting now, but read on and you’ll be all clued up in no time at all!

Following the right steps

When a company begins the recruitment process, this often involves juggling a lot of balls in the air at once, so it’s important to create a hiring committee, to deal with all the goings on. This is usually made up from those in Human Resources (HR) however, if a company is a small business, this may just be the director of the company.

When this is ticked off the list, the hiring committee should construct a job description which actively communicates:

  • The job title
  • The demands of the role
  • The skills and qualifications required for the position
  • The department and person the employee will report to
  • The key responsibilities
  • Any opportunities for training, progression and promotion
  • The salary and additional benefits on offer
  • Where the position is located
  • An insight into company culture

Once a company has created an eye-catching and informative job description, it’s time to distribute it far and wide. Using different forums is the most effective way to cast a wide net. Linkedin, job websites, the company’s social media and classified ad boards are great mediums for this.

After receiving a number of CVs and applications, it is the job of the hiring committee to analyse each application, and decide who best fits the job description. This can be done through rating each applicant.

When the weak applicants have been weeded out, a company will be left with a shortlist. The next step involves organising the interview stage. Here, it is important to make reasonable adjustments for those candidates with disabilities and illnesses (more on that later).

Interviews typically last for around 30-40 minutes, and should ask the candidate to discuss themselves, and why they want the job, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. Interviews can also include a skill test or aptitude test. A second round of interviews may be required.

Once the candidates’ interview performances have been reviewed, they should be cross-referenced with the candidates’ references. This is followed by the final selection, where a job offer is made.

Equality legislation and discrimination

Companies must always ensure that they comply with equality legislation at every stage of the recruitment process. As per the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal to discriminate against a candidate on the basis of a protected characteristic. This includes:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Being married or being in a civil partnership
  • Being transgender, or transitioning

Discrimination can be both direct and indirect. Making the decision to eliminate a candidate from the recruitment process because of their age, race or religion, is direct discrimination.

However, indirect discrimination is more subtle. This occurs when specific requirements lead to particular protected groups being treated less favourably. Asking for a candidate to have “good English,” could potentially discriminate against applicants who do not have English as a first language.

Equally, requiring a candidate to have over ten years of experience in a certain area could be interpreted as discrimination against younger applicants

That being said, a company is allowed to specifically target under-presented groups, or disadvantaged groups in the recruitment process and this does not count as discrimination. This is called positive action, and occurs when companies encourage certain groups to apply. However, a candidate would still need to be qualified for the position to land the job.

Making reasonable adjustments

One way that a company or organisation can ensure that they do not contravene the Equality Act 2010, is through ensuring that reasonable adjustments are made to accommodate applicants with illnesses or disabilities.

These adjustments should be made at each stage of the recruitment. When a company creates a job description, it should ensure that it is accessible to everyone. This includes those who have a visual impairment. In this case, a company could provide a braille form of the advertisement, or enlarge the text. An audio version could even be provided. Companies should also accept audio versions of the application, for those who are unable to fill out the application in a conventional way.

If an applicant is successful after applying for a position, and is invited for an interview, the company should ensure that reasonable adjustments have been made. This could include offering to supply an interpreter for a deaf applicant, or alternatively, changing the time of an interview to benefit a candidate who, for example, is diabetic and must eat at a certain time.

If the interview process requires a candidate to take an aptitude test, companies should ensure they offer extra time for those who have learning difficulties, or a learning disorder, such as dyslexia.

Right to work in the UK

Part of the recruitment process also involves checking that all applicants are actually eligible to work within the UK.

There are a number of individuals who can work in the UK without being subjected to immigration control. This includes:

  • Citizens of the UK
  • European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals
  • Family members of EEA and Swiss Nationals (if their family member is residing in the UK lawfully)
  • Commonwealth citizens who have the right to live and work in the UK

If the candidate does not fall under this bracket, a company must ensure that the applicant provides the correct documents, as outlined in the right to work checklist.

Additionally, it is the company’s responsibility to check the authenticity of the documents provided.

The company should then take copies of the documents provided, along with a note of authenticity and make a note of any restrictions on the applicant.

It is a criminal offence to hire someone who does not have the right to work in the UK under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006. Failure to comply with this legislation will see companies hit with a civil penalty, in the form of a fine up to £10,000 for each illegal worker that is hired.

Dealing with data protection

Another consideration in the recruitment process is ensuring compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

A company must have a legal basis to process an applicant’s data. Potential legal bases include the following:

  • Contractual requirement,
  • Consent,
  • Legal obligation,
  • Vital interest,
  • Public interest
  • Legitimate interest

An applicant’s data must then be processed bearing in mind these six statutory reasons. On top of this, companies should have secure and private internal processes to be sure that sensitive data is not accessible by external forces.

Subsequently, all processes should be in line with the seven principles of the GDPR:

  • Lawfulness, transparency and fairness
  • Accountability
  • Purpose limitation
  • Data minimisation
  • Accuracy
  • Storage limitation.
  • Integrity and confidentiality (security)

The consequences of ignoring procedure

If a company is found to deviate from the correct and lawful recruitment procedure, it can find itself quite a bit of bother. A candidate who believes that they have been treated unfairly, on account of age, race, gender, or any other protected characteristic, can by law, contest this under the Equality Act 2010.

While the candidate could choose to take action by making a complaint, they could also choose to take their case to a tribunal. If this happens, employers could face paying compensation on the basis of:

  • Financial loss
  • Personal injury
  • Aggravated damages
  • Injury to feelings

Cases like this will of course damage the reputation of the company too, and could make it more difficult for the company to retain staff and hire new employees in the future.

Final thoughts

So, when it comes to recruiting, make sure your company approaches the situation in the fairest way possible. Take into account each applicant’s value and don’t just make assumptions that have no grounding in reality.

Seek to make each applicant’s experience as comfortable as possible. The recruitment process is stressful on both sides of the coin, but it’s likely that an applicant is quite a bit more anxious.

Follow the correct procedure and you’re likely to have the right person for the job in no time at all!

Article Created By Madaline Dunn

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