An efficient recruitment process demonstrates a good ethical and business practice, which will help develop a positive reputation for the Company and recruit the right person for the role, whether you advertise in the local newspaper or online. The law requires employers not to discriminate during their recruitment process based on protected characteristics; these being age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex and sexual orientation. There are a quite a few characteristics to consider…
What to consider during the recruitment process
Only in certain circumstances, namely justified ones, where you as an employer can specify a certain characteristic for your business, such as female applicants for a position which requires personal body/belonging search. In the recruitment process, this is known as an ‘occupational requirement’ or ‘positive action’ which could make your recruitment needs perfectly legal.
The legal side of the recruitment process
However, many businesses do not fully appreciate what is and is not legally acceptable during their recruitment process. Job adverts, interview selection process, checking references and making job offers all need to be done in a way that satisfies legal requirements. So why is it that employers are still getting practices wrong and how to make sure you do not get caught out.
Recruitment process checklist
Below we have picked out the main areas to consider during your recruitment process, that will ensure that you are following legal requirements so that you don’t get caught out:
- The Job Advert – avoid publishing adverts that indicate, or could reasonably indicate, an intention to discriminate. against potential applicants unless this is an occupational requirement.
- Right to Work – checks must be carried out PRIOR to employment. Not making the necessary checks or employing someone who does not have the right to work could result in severe penalties and fines up to £20,000 per illegal worker.
- Equal pay for UK and non-UK citizens – an unjustified difference in pay would amount to discrimination if two workers, doing the same or a similar role but from a different background and/or gender are paid different rates.
- ‘Illegal’ Questions – the selection process and indeed interviews need to be a fair, consistent and transparent approach for all applicants to make sure you recruit the candidate who has the right skills for the job. Questions asked during the interview process should not intentionally or unintentionally discriminate against an applicant and all questions asked should allow all applicants a fair chance to respond based on the needs of the job. For example, where a position requires flexibility and overtime, you should phrase your question in a manner where “this position requires flexibility and on occasions, overtime worked. Can you meet this requirement?”. Plan interview questions in advance and ensure to document the Q&A process.
- The Job Offer – once you have identified the most suitable applicant to join your business then this should be followed up with a job offer. The salary, benefits and the terms and conditions of the role should be consistent and based on the concept of skill, effort, and responsibility of the job advertised. The difference in salary, benefits and/or terms and conditions need to be justified and not discriminative between employees of a certain characteristic. The offer made should provide the successful applicant with all the necessary information they will require in order to satisfy themselves that they are making the right decision in joining your business.
Always think about the legal ramifications, as for how you choose to handle your recruitment process does matter.