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Preparing to recruit

The five step process

ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) recommends that organisations apply the first step of a five-step process that involves the hiring options that are available to them, when preparing to recruit.

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 amount 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.

The job description

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 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.
Office worker typing up job description as her office prepare to recruit

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 organisation 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 which candidates must be able to demonstrate.
  • Skills may be technical, organizational, 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?

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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 under 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.

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

Writing and placing adverts

When advertising a job, the organisation is trying to tempt the best possible candidates as well as trying to ensure that they get a sufficient number to choose from and can identify the best person in the most cost effective way.

There are several considerations for organisations before they advertise a vacancy, which include:

  • How applicants will be required to reply to adverts; will this be via application form or CV and will it be online, by email or by telephone?
  • Who will go through applications forms to choose the correct potential candidates? Will the person doing this be suitably trained?
  • How will candidates be selected? Will there be a scoring process?
  • What will happen once suitable candidates have been identified?
  • Is everyone aware of the GDPR laws concerning the use of personal data?

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 logo 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 completely 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 what a clear closing date is 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.
Worker reading job description as she wants to recruit

Where to place an advertisement

It is good practice for organisations to try and advertise in diverse locations so that they attract a good range of potential candidates.

Options for where to advertise include one or more of the following:

  • Advertising within the organisation: Staff who are given the chance to develop can be one of the best possible options for filling a vacant role. Therefore advertising within a company Internally may attract someone who wished to further their career within their current organisation.
  • The internet: Many individuals who are looking for new jobs will now use internet search sites such as Indeed when trying to find a suitably vacancy. Some organisations may also recruit on their own website by advertising jobs and some will make use of social media to reach as wide an audience as possible
  • Jobcentreplus: Organisations can advertise vacancies through the Government’s online Universal Job match website and through their local offices. This enables individuals who need extra support when making applications to have an equal chance of applying.
  • Newspapers and specialist publications: Advertising in either of these can be expensive but will be more likely to produce quality applications, which are more relevant to the job being advertised.
  • Job Fairs: Being part of a job fair not only enables organisations to recruit potential new candidates but it is a good advert for the organisation itself and helps to raise awareness of what it does and what kinds of people it is likely to recruit in the future as well.
  • Education and Skills Funding Agency: Organisations may wish to employ a trainee or apprentice and this is a good route to enable them to be able to recruit successfully.

What are workers legal rights?

Organisations must be aware that agency workers have legal rights which must not be breached if they are using agencies to supply them with staff.

These rights include:

  • Being paid the minimum wage.
  • Not having unlawful deductions made from wages.
  • Not being discriminated against, in line with legislation.
  • Not being discriminated against for working part-time.
  • Having a limit on the hours worked per week (with some exceptions).
  • Having paid holidays.
  • Working in a safe environment.
  • Receiving sick pay, statutory maternity pay and statutory paternity pay if requirements for these are met.

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About the author

Eve Johnson

Eve Johnson

Eve has worked at CPD from the start, she organises the course and blog production, as well as supporting students with any problems they may have and helping them choose the correct courses. Eve is also studying for her Business Administration Level 3 qualification. Outside of work Eve likes to buy anything with flamingos on it, catching up with friends, spending time with her family and occasionally going to the gym!

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