04 September 2018

Staff are often the most valuable asset of any employer. Getting the right staff in the right job is important in every business. Ensuring you comply with current employment regulations is vital to avoid potential pitfalls and possible claims.

Preparation & Advert

Preparation is key. Be clear about the role you require and get the job description right for your business needs. Set out the duties and responsibilities the role will entail. Detail the person spec – what skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience do you genuinely and reasonably require? What are truly relevant and justified for the role.

Ensure your advert has no criteria or statement that could be considered discriminatory – e.g on the grounds of sex, age, or disability. A range of advertising media should be considered. Inform your agency of your equal opportunities policy.

The job description and person spec will not only form the basis of your advert, but also your interview and assessment process. It is the start of your paper trail. Make sure your paperwork is clear, fair, objective and consistent. Job applicants can bring claims for discrimination and there is no limit to the compensation a Tribunal can award. All your recruitment documents will have to be disclosed in any Tribunal proceedings.


Shortlist your candidates, matching their CV’s against your job description and person spec. At interviews, consider any reasonable adjustments that need to be made for disabled candidates.

Assess candidates against the job description and spec. Questions should be objective and relevant. Don’t ask discriminatory questions – such as plans for a family or about a candidate’s childcare arrangements. Assess all applicants fairly, without bias and note your comments/scores.

In the event there is a challenge from an unsuccessful applicant, you will be able to demonstrate that you followed a fair, impartial and balanced recruitment process.

Right to work

You need to be satisfied that the applicant has a right to work in the UK. Do not make assumptions based on appearance! Request the prescribed documents as per the Home Office right to work checklist from all employees.


Contracts have to be provided within 2 months of the start of employment. However, it is always sensible to have these in place beforehand so the employee knows what is expected of them.

In addition to the minimum requirements, consider additional provisions such as confidentiality and restrictive covenants.

Probationary Period

Include a probationary period within the contract and make good use of it. Your new recruit should be working hard from the start to impress you. If there are issues with their behaviour or performance, it is best to deal with those at an early stage. If they can’t be resolved either formally or informally, you will potentially be able to give notice within the probationary period, as long as there are no discriminatory factors in play. Always get advice first, BEFORE you do anything.

Spending time getting the recruitment process right will benefit your business in the long run, hopefully saving time and potentially costly issues later.

For more information or further advice on employment or HR matters, contact Dawn Gallie Head of Employment on 01935 846233 or visit our Employment and BattensHR page here.