Recruitment advice for businesses

The aims of successful recruitment are to obtain the best possible person for the job and to ensure a diverse work environment free from discrimination.

From the moment a prospective employee submits an application for employment s/he has the right not to be subject to unfavourable treatment by the employer in respect of that application.

Unsuccessful applicants during an interview process have three months less one day from the date of the rejection to bring a claim in the employment tribunal if they feel they have been discriminated against on one or more of the following grounds known as protected characteristics:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion and belief
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage or civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity

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Discrimination can take a number of different forms

Direct discrimination - This is where a person has not been successful in obtaining the position due to or partly on account of a protected characteristic.

Indirect discrimination - This occurs when a condition of selection prevents an individual from obtaining the job because of their protected characteristic. In addition the condition of selection places all individuals who share the prospective employee’s protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage when compared to those individuals who do not share it.

Avoiding discrimination when recruiting

In order to avoid discrimination and to ensure that the best person for the job is recruited it is important to ensure that as much of the selection process as possible is objective and relevant to the position in question. The following steps should be taken to ensure objectivity and relevance:

  • Ensure an up to date job description and personal specification is complied before the recruitment process begins
  • Make sure the position is appropriately published
  • Compile a points system for the selection of applicants for interview
  • Ensure each interview is conducted in a similar manner with a points system for selecting the best candidate

The interview

During the interview the employer must ensure that reasonable adjustments are made to enable disabled applicants to attend. Failing to provide this may amount to disability discrimination and failing to select a candidate for interview because they require reasonable adjustments may also amount to disability discrimination.

It is appropriate during the interview to test the candidate’s skills to ensure they are suitable for the role. However, it is important that each candidate is given the same opportunity to present their skills.

It is important to note that it is valid to consider whether or not an individual will fit in with the company. However this must not be influenced by any of the protected characteristics listed above.

References

Employers should ensure that they take up references before making a firm offer of employment. Alternatively, the employer can make the offer subject to satisfactory references.

An employer should not accept a reference that is provided by the applicant. The employer should always obtain their own reference direct from the previous employer. Further, the employer should inform the candidate that they are approaching their previous employer before doing so because most candidates will not want their current employer to know that they are seeking alternative employment until the offer is certain.

Rejection of candidates

Rejection can be by way of a standard letter. However, the employer should always be prepared to give reasons for rejection if requested to do so.

Offer letter

The employer should note that the offer letter will form part of the contractual documentation. Therefore, it is important that the employer gets the terms and conditions of the employment correct within the letter.

Recording the recruitment process

A full record and note should be taken of the process. Records should be kept for six months after the recruitment has concluded. 

If you would like to speak to a member of our employment law for businesses team in relation to a recruitment issue or if you have been accused of discrimination during the recruitment process call us on 0203 816 9302 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

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