Jane Crosby from law firm Hart Brown offers her top 10 tips to help find a smooth path through the maze of legislation and pitfalls.
1. Prepare a detailed job description
Before you advertise any post, check the job description. Is it up to date and does it clearly fit the role you are advertising? The description should be objective and must state clearly whether the job is full or part-time, or a job share.
2. Draw up a draft job advert
The law requires all job advertisements to be covered by the Equality Act. Whether you are advertising externally or internally, read the wording carefully, to ensure you are not discriminating by race, sex, disability, pregnancy or maternity, religion or age.
3. Consider internal advertising
Some companies do not think of existing workforce when looking to recruit. Internal advertising not only creates loyalty among staff but also saves on potential agency costs.
4. Assess written tests carefully
Psychological profiling can be a useful recruitment tool when used correctly, but any tests need to be written to fit the role being advertised, so that they do not cause an unconscious bias against certain applicants.
All applicants must be assessed objectively and it is advisable to take notes during the evaluation process, to produce in the event of a dispute. It also helps to provide staff with training in interview technique, to ensure they do not carry any bias for or against applicants, including age and experience.
Pursue all submitted references. They will give you the best objective view of the candidate.
7. Making a job offer
Again, check the wording of any job offer, to check for legally binding obligations. It is advisable to get legal advice on this point.
Unsuccessful candidates have the right to ask for feedback, but this needs to be sensitively handled, to avoid providing material which could be used in any legal action against the company, for example in an employment tribunal.
9. Withdrawing an offer
Writing a letter to withdraw a job offer requires careful wording and again it is worth seeking legal help, to avoid future pitfalls.
10. Probationary periods
If you offer a probationary period to the successful application, make sure you monitor it fairly and objectively. It is also advisable to set clear boundaries over any dismissal procedure.
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