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The REC is the membership organisation dedicated to improving recruitment practice in the UK, both by setting standards for recruitment businesses to adhere to and by improving the knowledge and professionalism of individual consultants. To help employers recruit and keep the right people for their businesses with the minimum of risk, we have produced this quick guide. However, a guide can never replace specialist advice for your own circumstances, so the REC would always recommend using an appropriately qualified professional to help you employ the right people.
As an employer planning to recruit new members of staff there are some basic questions you should ask yourself before starting the recruitment process:
- What is the most efficient and cost-effective way of recruiting the right person for the job?
- Should I advertise the role or use a recruitment agency?
- What sort of contract should I use to fill this job role? Do I need someone on a temporary basis, or a fixed term contract, or does the business require a permanent member of staff?
- What should I be looking for in a CV?
- What are my legal obligations when I’m recruiting staff?
When advertising jobs be aware that specifically requesting extensive experience, or ‘dynamic’ candidates may violate the 2006 Age Discrimination act. Advertising language needs to be carefully crafted not only to refrain from excluding applicants based on age, but also to avoid suggesting that a particular age group would be better suited for the job than another.
Keeping up to date with your legal obligations when recruiting is extremely important. Employment law is constantly changing to reflect the changing needs of the economy and the workplace. As an employer in the UK, you are subject to a complicated series of responsibilities, requirements and legal obligations to employees, potential employees and jobseekers.
If you are recruiting permanent staff, as just a few examples, you must consider; policies for maternity leave and pay (even if your policy is to not offer these benefits), salary rates, holiday entitlement, pension contributions and sick pay, and redundancy. Direct.gov.uk has a section on employing people that may be helpful.
Temporary and contract staff
If you are recruiting temporary staff or contractors to work for you through a recruitment agency you must consider your relationship with the agency itself. For example: you need to check the hiring process for new staff (for example for age discrimination), and for your protection you need to understand the Agency Workers Regulations (new laws that came into effect in 2011). Failure to fully understand and follow the law - even by accident - can lead to fines and other punishments.
Legal requirements of agencies placing temporary workers
When placing temporary workers at your organisation recruitment agencies have a responsibility to:
- Check the health and safety of the workplace
- Take up references for the candidate
- Give you all the information relating to the candidate that may be relevant.
Using a recruitment agency
If you decide to use a recruitment agency to help you find the right candidate for your job, using an REC member agency ensures that your whole recruiting process adheres to all legal requirements and follows best practice. REC members must prove that they are fully compliant with the law and must abide by a Code of Professional Practice. It is also a condition of membership that they have a complaints policy and procedure in place, and member agencies are subject to the REC’s disciplinary and complaints procedure if the agency fails to live up to its promise under the Code.
Search for an REC member specialising in your sector using the member directory here.