Staff Recruitment

You may wish to include staff recruitment as part of your business plan and you should be aware of the process involved in hiring people to complete roles in your organisation. There are standard elements of recruitment, whatever position is being appointed.

The following guidance applies if you are starting a new business and creating new staff positions, however you may be taking over management of existing staff which is then subject to regulations. If this is the case then you must be aware of the requirements in TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006), including, in particular, the pension liabilities that may arise on the transfer of staff from the public sector.  In most cases the community organisation will require to become an "admitted body" for the purposes of the local government pension scheme.  A briefing note on this can be found at the bottom of this page under "Document Downloads".

Job Analysis. Prior to recruiting to a position, it is important to gather information about the nature of the job.  This should include the purpose of the job, the tasks associated with the job and the outputs required.  If the position is a result of a vacancy within the company, it is advisable to check if changes within the existing role are required.  Exit interviews can also inform whether changes may be useful.

Job Description.The job description provides information to potential candidates and can aid performance assessment when the person is in post.  The description should include the job title, the salary range and a paragraph outlining the overall purpose of the role.  This is then followed by a list outlining the principal duties and responsibilities of the post. 

Person Specification. The person specification sets out the essential and desirable competencies required to carry out the job.  These requirements are generally used to inform the criteria used to shortlist applicants. Such competencies include the required skills, knowledge, experience, education and training. Criteria relating to personal qualities that are essential to the delivery of the role should also be included.  This information also informs prospective candidates as to their suitability for the job.

Inviting Applications.  Marketing the post correctly ensures the best response.  Any advertisement should be clear and reasonably concise. It should include the relevant information, such as details of the organisation’s activities, outline of the job including essential criteria, reward package, location and details of how to apply.  There must be no discriminatory references and a statement of commitment to equal opportunities should be included in the advertisement.

It is good practice to acknowledge receipt of application forms.

There are a number of methods that can be adopted in order to generate interest, including:

  • Engaging an executive search recruitment agency. These companies often specialise in a particular area of recruitment and therefore have the knowledge to attract an appropriate pool of candidates. This method is often suitable to specialist fields, e.g. in the construction industry.
  • Engaging a commercial recruitment agency. Commercial agencies have a register of available candidates in particular types of work, e.g. secretarial and administrative.
  • Advertising on-line. This has become a very popular platform for recruitment and is inexpensive by comparison to some other methods of advertising.
  • Advertising in the media, local and/or national. Advertising in the national press/specialist journals is expensive but likely to produce a good response for particular specialist vacancies.
  • Advertising internally within the company. This method provides prospects for existing staff, builds on skills and training and assists in motivation.

Selecting Candidates.The initial part of this exercise is called short-listing.  This is carried out by measuring the details in an application form against the criteria set out in the person specification.

It is often beneficial to ‘telephone screen’ candidates who meet the specification, particularly when large numbers of applications are received (and who meet the criteria). This process can be useful in narrowing down those candidates whom you identify for face to face interview. The telephone call can address any gaps in the CV / application form, why they are leaving / left their current position and what appealed to them about the role in your organisation. Candidates who best match the specification should be invited for interview.

The next stage of this process is the interview. An invitation letter should be sent to invite candidates to the interview. This should state when and where the interview will take place and who will be conducting the interview.  It should also state whether the organisation will pay travel expenses for the interview.

The interview should be carried out by more than one person, e.g. line manager / supervisor and HR manager / representative, and it is essential to be well prepared.  The interview panel should read the application form and familiarise themselves with the job specification. Questions, relevant to the business and the job in question (see person specification), should be prepared beforehand.

This is a two-way process where the candidate is also given an opportunity to find out more about the business.  An assessment, based on the essential and desirable criteria, can then be made regarding the applicants suitability to the role.

ReferencesIt is important to follow up references prior to making a job offer.  It is usual for applicants to give details of former employers, college tutors, etc. who will be able to check factual information.  Express permission should be sought from the candidate before approaching a current employer.

Appropriate checks. Employers have a responsibility for checking that applicants have the right to work in the UK.  A list of appropriate documents is available from the Home Office.

It is also reasonable to ask candidates for proof of qualification or licences.

Making an Appointment. A decision should be made as soon as possible following the interview.  It is helpful to use a scoring system based against the criteria set for the post. This method enables comparisons to be made between candidates.

An offer letter should be sent to the successful candidate, which forms part of their contract of employment.  This should state the title and salary for the position, together with how the salary will be paid, the hours of work and holiday entitlement.

It should also include other relevant information, for example, if the offer is subject to satisfactory completion of a probationary period and, if so, for how long; if a company pension scheme operates within the business together with the details.  It is also good practice to include a copy of the job description and person specification. You should request that acceptance of the position (and the terms stated in your offer letter) is agreed in writing.

It is also good practice to inform all unsuccessful applicants of the outcome as soon as possible.

Induction Process for New Employees. An induction process enables new employees to become fully briefed about the organisation and other members of staff and enables smooth integration.  

It is also advisable to familiarise yourself with Employment Law when involved in recruitment/HR topics.

What to avoid

Do not use discriminatory language, whether intentional or unintentional. This means not using gender or culture specific language. Do not be over personal or ask questions based on conjecture. Be friendly but try not to be over-inquisitive. If the candidate is not appointed this could be construed as discriminatory. Avoid opening yourself to risks by being prepared for each stage of the process.

In job adverts keep the text short and specific. Longer pieces are more expensive and can be less eye-catching. Avoid using generalisations such as ‘appropriate qualifications’, instead specify which ones are needed. This will make it less likely that unqualified people apply for the job. This will save time in the screening process.

Related Resources

Note on TUPE Transfers

The purpose of TUPE is to protect the rights and preserve the contracts of employment of staff where an organisation (or part) or contract to provide services (or part) transfers. 

Microsoft Office document icon Note on TUPE Transfers