Best practice for recruitment and selection

Best practice for recruitment and selection

It is common for employers to need staff, but not know how to get the right person for the job. Adopting best practice for recruitment and selection is achieved by making the whole process fair, transparent and inclusive. There are many elements to recruitment and selection and each needs to be approached with care to ensure the right result is achieved. This blog will provide tips on how to find the right person for the job and how to conduct a job interview.


Best practice for recruitment and selection – 5 tips on how to find the right person for the job  


1. Showcase the company and the role


Imagine that the person does not know anything about the organisation (before he or she began reading), and capture the essence of it in a summary containing, for example, what areas it operates in, any awards it has achieved, what sectors it serves etc.


In terms of the role, capture what the person will be doing, and the skills and attributes needed to perform the duties well. Based on the information you have put together would the person reading it know precisely what you want of them?


2. Know what you want


It is tempting for employers to list everything that they might want an employee to do in future. This scattergun approach is not a good one. Really explore what the new recruit will be doing? Does the role really need the person to be good at 10 things or is the bulk of the work focused around 2-3 tasks, in which case it would be best to focus on those duties and secure someone who excels at them.


A simple example here is an admin role. What does admin mean to the company? Is it taking notes during meetings, taking dictation, dealing with spreadsheets, perhaps payroll, will they be liaising with clients, will they be responsible for diary management or planning events? There would be no need to refer to typing speed if the role centered around spreadsheets – similarly referring to dictation or typing may deter someone who was great at spreadsheets (and perfect for this imaginary role) from applying.


Separate which skills are essential, and those that would be ideal.  That way it is made abundantly clear what the role requires and those viewing the advert can filter themselves.


3. Be flexible


Whilst it is important to be precise about what a job requires, it is best to be flexible about how that is achieved (and for that flexibility to be clear on the advert/application). A common example is stating that the person ‘must be able to drive’. Is the essence of the job the driving, or is that what happens when the destination is reached? If it is the latter, ‘must be able to travel’ would be a better choice. Wording does matter. Many people are unable to drive, perhaps because of a disability, and an unnecessary reference to driving would potentially be discriminatory as it would deter many from applying who may have otherwise done so. The organisation is also denied a candidate who could have been ideal for the role.


Could the role be undertaken remotely? If so, why not make reference to the opportunity of homeworking – as this may well increase applications from people who have a preference for working in that way.


Flexibility is not about lowering standards, it is about maximising the number of people who meet the standards of the organisation: having as many ideal candidates as possible to choose from.


4. Make sure that any pre interview assessment/testing is useful


Many roles have a pre interview process whether that be questions over the phone, written questions within the application or a visit to an assessment centre.  Whilst these steps can be useful in applying a method to the process of selection, be careful to ensure that any tasks required are relevant to the requirements of the job, otherwise the grading serves no useful purpose. Similarly, ensure that everyone involved in the grading process acts consistently to ensure fairness to all.


There is an obligation on an organisation to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled people at the pre-employment stage as well as when in post. Reasonable adjustments are essentially to level the playing field by removing a significant disadvantage that the disabled person would have compared with others. Straightforward examples may be ensuring that applications are available in alternative formats so they are accessible to everyone, ensuring that the venue for a pre-interview assessment is wheelchair assessable, where there is a timed written exercise, more time is given if writing or typing is more time-consuming. Another option would be to permit the person to dictate answers instead of writing them. The applicant is likely to know the best way to overcome such difficulties. The key here is simply to be aware that an organisation needs to make reasonable adjustments. What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances, so organisations should consider requests carefully. 


5. Give thought about where to advertise


Think about where the ideal candidate would be and advertise there. Advertising in different outlets is also a potential way to widen the net in terms of potential applications.


Plotkin and Chandler works exclusively in the areas of HR and employment law. We provide HR consultancy meaning we advise on all aspects of recruitment including reasonable adjustments, and also undertake such tasks on behalf of  clients. In addition to HR consultancy we provide HR training in this area so that those involved can perform their roles with confidence. For more information on how to choose an HR provider view our blog.


Best practice for recruitment and selection – 5 tips on how to conduct a job interview


1. Ensure reasonable adjustments are properly considered


There is a need to consider reasonable adjustments at every stage, so that means ensuring that everything is in place regarding the interview itself. Therefore, any arrangements relating to reasonable adjustments should be made in advance so the interview process can run smoothly.


Reasonable adjustments are intended to remove substantial disadvantages which disabled people would otherwise experience.  A couple of examples of potentially reasonable adjustments are ensuring the venue is wheelchair accessible, or by adjusting the way things are done such as by making sure written material is available in a format which is accessible to candidates with visual impairments.


2. Properly prepare


  • Consider any interview activities to be sure that they are relevant to what the person will actually be doing and are not just generic. Are the activities a reflection of what is needed ‘on the job’? Do the tasks provide an indication of how the person will perform if given the position? The stronger the link between the requirements of the role and the interview activities the better – it will help the organisation to have a clear idea of what the candidate can do, and it means the candidate has a real sense of what the role involves. How many stages will there be in the process? For example, will more than one interview be needed? If so, what will be done when?


  • Go through the interview questions and activities to determine what elements would achieve what score. Perhaps have a scoring matrix in a standalone document, and ensure that all involved adopt the same approach. This may seem complicated but, whatever approach is adopted, it is important for all interviewers to know what a 7/10 looks like as apposed to an 8/10 – otherwise the score would be down to the instinct of the individual interviewer as everyone would be valuing skills differently. This consistency is particularly important where there are many interviewers involved, such as when there are several interview panels, each one having responsibility for a separate portion of the candidates. 


  • Recognise that certain questions are unacceptable (and discriminatory) such as asking an interviewee if she intends to have children. Interviewers need to stick to questions which are relevant to establishing a person’s ability to do the job which has been applied for, and questions such as the one above undermines that aim.


  • Ensure that the approach adopted by all interviewers is entirely consistent: that all interviewees are asked the same questions/set the same tasks, given equal opportunity to reply and are graded in the same way.


3. Have more than one person on the interview panel


This would add another perspective and help interview scores be more objective (but training and a scoring document should limit the potential for unexpected results anyway).


4. Don’t influence the interviewee


We all respond in certain ways when we agree or disagree with something, or when we are frustrated. That is natural and instinctive, but try to be as neutral as possible so that all candidates receive the same experience. Give candidates the chance to shine without prompts or clues – unintentional as they may be. 


5. Keep relevant records


As will be clear by now, it is important for scoring to be objective and consistent. An organisation should keep any relevant documentation such as interview notes, grading documentation including the scoring system and the individual results. That way if a candidate later alleges that the decision was unreasonable or discriminatory an employer can show it was fair.


Plotkin & Chandler can assist with all aspects of the selection process on a an HR consultancy basis such as  advising on reasonable adjustments, offering guidance on putting together relevant activities/tests, devising a scoring system and advising on interview questions etc. We can also attend as part of an interview panel. In addition to HR consultancy we provide HR training on a range of topics including the activities referred to above. To discuss your needs, and find out the ways in which we can help, call us on 020 3923 8616 or email us at info@plotkinandchandler.com




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