Recruitment – Minimising The Risk

Recruiting new staff, without cutting corners


The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) estimates that the average cost of recruiting the wrong person is £8,200, rising to £12,000 for senior managers. SMEs are naturally keen to reduce costs wherever possible, however cutting corners when recruiting new staff can lead to some terrible decisions, increasing the cost of recruitment and placing the business at considerable risk.

Employment Tribunal claims can be made against employers by unsuccessful job applicants even before an employment relationship starts. These are usually based on allegations of discrimination. To minimise this risk, it’s important to keep your recruitment process objective from start to finish. By treating all applicants in the same way at each stage and keeping a clear paper trail of your decision making processes, you’ll be better able to defend yourself should the need arise.

Here are some top recruitment tips:

  • Start by drawing up a job description/person specification setting out ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’ criteria for the role. This will help you focus on the key skills and attributes you’re looking for and will ensure your selection process is objective.
  • Beware of setting requirements which could amount to indirect discrimination. Don’t reject out of hand someone who is offering to do a fulltime role on a job share basis – this could potentially be regarded as less favourable treatment on the grounds of part-time status.
  • Don’t be swayed by a well written CV if a person doesn’t have the necessary skills, experience or qualifications. If you’re fortunate enough to have too many good applicants, you can then use the ‘desirable’ list to narrow it down to the most suitable candidates.
  • Ask all applicants to bring proof of their Right to Work in the UK to the interview (and take a copy of this) to avoid any allegations of discrimination. This will also ensure you don’t waste time interviewing someone who doesn’t have the right to work in the UK and that no one starts work for you illegally (this carries a potential fine of £20,000)
  • Remember not to make promises during an interview that you can’t deliver; a verbal contract is still binding. A written offer should be made conditional upon the appropriate references, medical information and disclosure checks being satisfied.

NatWest Mentor can help:

Maybe you feel like you could do with some hands on support with refining your recruitment process? Or do you just need you the reassurance that you’re doing the right thing? NatWest Mentor could provide the support you need. We are an advisory and consultancy service, offering expert guidance to help UK companies manage their regulatory and compliance obligations.

For more information please call 0800 634 7002, Minicom number 0800 634 7008 or visit the NatWest Mentor website.

Please note that the Mentor services incur a cost.