For a variety of reasons, including the obvious need to get the right person in the right job, employers should have in place clear policies and procedures in respect of recruitment:
- clear ideas about the job requirements (perhaps in the form of a Job Description);
- decide what skills and qualities are required to meet job requirements;
- ensure that the interviewer prepares for the interview;
- ensure that the interviewer is aware of the legal implications of the process of advertising/ recruiting/ offering the job / starting the new employee.
Following the above principles will ease the employer's life in a range of management situations. They will:
- facilitate safer handling of employee problems when they arise (and sometimes avoid them altogether).
- minimise the risk of claims arising against the employer in the Employment Tribunal or the County Court
- strengthen the employer's chances of defeating claims at tribunal on the rare occasions when they arise.
Potential Problem Area
Finding out after the event that the employer and the employee have real or imagined differences as to what they think they have agreed and what each thinks they are entitled to expect of the other
- Confirm the basic terms and conditions in writing before the employee's start date
- Invite any queries at that stage
- Provide the written Particulars of Employment (which by law must be given to the employee within 2 months of the start of employment)
- Have an "Induction" process. No matter how small or how busy the employer is, ensuring that the employee is familiar with the employer's policies, procedures and requirements, and that they are aware of their legal obligations (eg Health and Safety), will save much time, trouble and expense later.
The benefits of having documented recruitment policies are:
- they provide a blueprint against which the employer and the employee can operate
- they provide agreed solutions to problems if they arise
- they demonstrate that the employer takes all legal obligations seriously and endeavours always to deal with employees fairly and reasonably at all times
Discrimination in the Recruitment Process
Since the 60's it has been unlawful to discriminate against employees on the grounds of sex or race. In the late 90's it also became unlawful to discriminate against applicants who suffer from a disability. It is now unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of age.
Employers should also be aware therefore that prospective employees enjoy the same protection against discrimination as those already in employment. Be clear about your recruitment policies :
When placing an advertisement for a job, the employer should ensure that it is clear that applications are invited from all members of the community, irrespective of sex, race and disability. Often a statement of the fact that the employer is " an EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES employer" will assist.
When sifting through applications, it is important that they are considered on merit. In the case of sex and race discrimination, the applicant's sex or ethnic origin must not be a factor.
In the case of an applicant who has a disability, the employer has a responsibility to consider whether or not "reasonable adjustments" can be made in the way the job is carried out and whether adjustments can be made to the workplace or equipment.
Clear interview procedures and a clear idea of what skills and qualities are required of the employee will minimise the risk that a job applicant can allege that his/her application has been unsuccessful because there has been unlawful discrimination
It is important to ensure that those involved in the recruitment process are aware firstly of the need to recruit having regard to the laws on discrimination, and further that they are consistent in the manner in which they select employees for employment.
Unlimited compensation is available for employees who can establish that they have been discriminated against on grounds of sex, race or disability, at the recruitment stage.