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How to Prepare for the Early Stages of Recruitment

Last updated on 26th January 2023

Recruitment is a part of every business. For companies wanting to recruit safer, it is important for them to take the time to research the best ways to do this.

In this article we will look at the best ways to recruit staff safer and what strategies need to be put into place to ensure that this is a smooth process.

Making arrangements to recruit new staff

Having competent staff who are employed in the right roles is crucial to the ongoing success of any workplace. Therefore, organisations have to have the correct recruitment strategies in place and they must follow the correct procedures to ensure that the process will attract people who are most suited to the role that is on offer.

It is of utmost importance that effective and fair recruitment processes are put into place by all employers so that time is not wasted by the employer and the potential candidate and everyone is given an equal opportunity to apply for the role.

If the person appointed to the role is unsuitable this means that not only have time and money been wasted but that the new employee will leave or be dismissed from their role if they cannot be supported to meet the role’s requirements. This can be demoralising for a team. Furthermore, appointing an unsuitable candidate also means that the whole recruitment process then needs to be carried out again.

In contrast, recruiting a suitable applicant is beneficial to the candidate, the team in which they are placed, their manager and the organisation as a whole.

Group of workers talking about recruitment process

The five-step process

ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) recommends that organisations apply the first step of a five-step process which involves the hiring options that are available to them. These include consideration of the following:

  • The needs of the business: Working out what the organisation really needs; is it more staff? New skills? Specific duties? Might there be a time when new staff may only be needed at certain times?
  • Changes in the labour market: Making sure that the employment terms that are being offered are attractive to potential candidates and are suitable in the current labour market. The organisation may benefit from checking what competing organisations are offering for similar roles.
  • Developing existing staff: Ensuing that current staff are not overlooked in the recruitment process – could training and developing them avoid having to recruit someone new?
  • How many new staff are needed: Careful consideration should be given to why and where extra staff are needed so that the correct number of people can be hired. If too many are recruited then the organisation may not be in a position to keep them all. If too few are recruited then the recruitment process will need to be done again.
  • What kinds of new skills are needed: The organisation must consider where new skills are needed and if there is a need for a particular specialist skill that will benefit the organisation.

What should the job description include?

The job description is considered to be one of the essential documents that is needed for any kind of recruitment process to run as smoothly as possible. Other documents that may be provided in a bundle to potential new recruits include:

  • Person specification.
  • Job application form.
  • Equality and diversity monitoring form.
  • Information about the employer.

If the applicant will require health checks, background checks or references, then this must be made clear by the employer on a cover note that would be provided with the essential documents.

The job description is sometimes referred to as the job specification and is to mean the same thing. Within a job description there must be information that is essential in letting potential new recruits know exactly what the role entails.

It should include information about the following:

  • The main purpose of the job, which should be summed up as concisely as possible.
  • The main tasks of the job, which should be accurate and concise.
  • The grade of the post.
  • The scope of the job, which means what the importance of the job is and how it fits into the business. It should also include any other duties and responsibilities that the potential candidate will be expected to carry out.

In a practical sense, it is recommended that job descriptions adhere to the following:

  • Use short sentences so that information does not become overwhelming.
  • Use short paragraphs and/or bullet points.
  • Avoid upper-case letters and italics.
  • Refer to the job title rather than the individual.

Writing a good job description ensures that the requirements of the role are accurately clarified so that a person specification for the role that matches the job description can be drawn up. Employers must be careful when putting a job description together that they are not potentially discriminating against certain groups of individuals. For example, could a job that is advertised as full-time potentially be fulfilled by two people who work part-time as part of a job share?

The person specification

The job description and the person specification should go hand-in-hand because one informs the other. The job description enables potential candidates to know more about the role and the person specification enables them to see if they fit the role’s requirements.

The specification, like the job description, should be as clear and concise as possible so that it is clear to potential candidates exactly what skills, qualities and qualifications the organisation is looking for. In certain areas, the language used by organisations varies but means the same thing, for example the NHS refers to ‘values’ required by candidates whereas this is referred to as ‘behaviours’ by the Civil Service.

The person specification should include information about attributes that potential candidates must have that are either essential or desirable, which help candidates to consider if they should apply and can be useful to the organisation when they are comparing applicants.

Organisations may find it useful to use the following headings when writing a person specification:

Skills and abilities

  • Those skills that candidates must be able to demonstrate.
  • Skills may be technical, organisational, creative or communicative or a mixture of these.
  • How skills apply to specific parts of the job description.

Qualifications and experience

  • What specific education or course background is needed?
  • What level of experience is needed?
  • Does the candidate need to have had a similar role in the past?
  • How much experience in a similar role is needed?

Character and personal qualities

  • What kind of personalities will fit into the role and the organisation?
  • What kind of traits should candidates refer to in their application?

Ideal qualities and attributes

  • What other qualities would the organisation like the candidate to have?
  • What has the candidate achieved? For example, do they volunteer or have a special role in their local community?
Person writing job specification

The job application form

The job application form should be designed to enable applicants to show just how they fit the person specification and are therefore able to fulfil the requirements of the job description. It should match the level of the role and ask for information that is relevant only to the job role.

This may include details about:

  • The job applicant: Their personal information, current employment situation, notice requirements, qualifications and how their skills meet the job description.
  • Skills and knowledge: Information about how skills have been used in the past and what kinds of professional or technical qualifications the potential candidate has should make up a significant part of the application form.
  • Experience: The application form should ask for brief explanations to show teamwork or managerial skills, for example, which are in line with both the job description and the person specification.

Equality and diversity monitoring form

This form is used by organisations to monitor the different kinds of people who are applying for their roles and who are therefore making up their workforce. It enables them to see if some groups are underrepresented or over-represented in their organisation. It is not a mandatory part of a job application and so candidates do not have to complete it to be considered for a role.

Equality and diversity monitoring forms include information that relates to:

  • Race and nationality.
  • Religion or belief.
  • Sex.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Age.

Potential candidates can choose to answer some questions if they wish to but are not obliged to complete any at all.

Writing the advertisement

The advertisement should be a reflection of the organisation, and different organisations will have their own way of making it as eye-catching as possible, using their logos and words which are commonly associated with their brands.

However, there are some general recommendations which make a job advertisement more effective, which include:

  • Making sure it is easy to understand – it should be succinct and to the point.
  • Ensuring all key elements of the job are included to make it as attractive as possible to potential candidates.
  • Stating how candidates should apply, such as by giving an email address, website link or telephone number.
  • Stating a clear closing date for all applications.
  • Making sure that all potential candidates are given exactly the same information, including internal candidates or those applying via an agency.
  • Ensuring that the advert is completely anti-discriminatory.

Asking applicants if they need any reasonable adjustments to be made for any part of the recruitment process is good practice early in the job recruitment process so that this can be implemented as soon as possible and avoids potential inadvertent discrimination at any point.

The organisation should make their commitment to equal opportunities clear within the job advertisement and state that they welcome applications from all individuals who fit the role’s essential requirements. In some instances, organisations are allowed to mention certain groups of people who they encourage to apply who may be underrepresented within their workforce, such as women or individuals from certain ethnic minorities.

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About the author

Megan Huziej

Megan has worked with CPD Online College since August 2020, she is in charge of content production, as well as planning, managing and delegating tasks. Megan works closely with Freelance Writers - Voice Artists - Companies and individuals to create the most appropriate and relevant content as well as also using and managing SEO. She gained her Business Administration Level 3 qualification over the duration of being at CPD Online College as well. Outside of work Megan loves to venture to different places and eateries as well as spending quality time with friends and family.

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