The Recruitment Process

Recruiting the right people is very important. How you recruit is also very important as although most employment legislation starts from the first day of employment, even before any offer of work, job applicants can raise a complaint, for example a claim of discrimination, at an Employment Tribunal.


When advertising for a position consideration should be given to what skills and experience would be required.

A job description and person specification will help you find applicants who meet the skill set and experience you require. The criteria for the person specification must be job related, set at a realistic level.

The most common options for advertising include:

  • Newspapers, Specialist Publications
  • Job Centres, Government Training Centres
  • Online job sites e.g. Indeed


The interview is an opportunity to build upon information already obtained from the applicant. The person conducting the interview should be well prepared and familiar with the requirements of the role.

The interview process should be structured to gain consistent information on all the candidates. A written interview record should be completed to ensure selection of the most suitable candidate.

The interview is a two-way process and allows the applicant to find out more about you and the job vacancy.

Prior to the interview

  • Review the job description, person specification and agree questions to be asked.
  • Review the CV/application forms and identify any gaps which need to be addressed e.g. in employment or education.
  • Ensure all necessary paperwork is ready.
  • Ensure there are no interruptions and a private room has been arranged – switch off mobile phones.

During the interview

  • Greet the candidate, providing names and positions. Help the candidate ‘relax’; safe topics include travel to the interview and the weather.
  • Explain that the purpose of the interview is to learn more about the candidate and for them to learn more about the role.
  • Advise the candidate of the structure of the interview.
  • Advise the candidate that notes will be taken .
  • Ask the candidate if they have any questions at this stage.
  • At the end of the formal questions, ask the candidate if they have anything else that they would like to add to their interview that they have not already told you.
  • Advise the candidate what will happen next – when can they expect tohear back?
  • Thank the candidate for their time and close the interview.

Remember to ask each candidate the same questions.

Another useful point to remember is that the candidate should do most of the talking.

Refrain from asking questions relating to protected characteristics. The below is not an exhaustive list, you can not ask about protected characteristics. For example:

  • Do not ask questions relating to childcare
  • Do not ask about marital status
  • Do not ask if they plan on having children
  • Do not ask about sexual orientation
  • Do not ask about religion


  • Communicate the outcome to the applicant. This will normally be carried out verbally, but if this is not possible ensure letters are prepared and issued in a timely manner
  • Retain interview notes for a minimum of six months. This is to ensure evidence is available in the event that a candidate submits a claim to an Employment Tribunal

Pre-Employment Checks

References are a very common pre-employment check. References can be written or verbal, with one normally being from the applicant’s most recent job. It is important to obtain the applicant’s permission prior to doing this (permission can normally be indicated on the job application form).

It may also be appropriate to verify relevant qualifications and copies of original certificates can be kept on file.


The successful applicant should receive written notification of their offer of employment as soon as reasonably practicable. The offer of employment should contain the following information:

  • Conditions (pre or post) that apply to the offer(for example the offer may be subject to satisfactory references, eligibility to work in the UK and PVG checks)
  • Terms of the offer. For example, salary, hours, benefits, pension arrangements, holiday entitlement & place of employment
  • The start date and details of probationary period
  • What action the candidate needs to take. For example, returning a signed acceptance of the offer
  • Conditional upon receipt of satisfactory references and right to work and PBG  checks

Ideally, a check on the employees right to work in the UK should be made at the interview stage.It is an obligation upon the employer to ensure the employee they employ has the Right to Work in the UK, and necessary documentation has been obtained, checked and copied.An individual cannot start work until Right to Work Checks have been undertaken.

All new employees should receive a copy of their main statement of written terms and conditions. From April 2020, the statement must be issued no later than the day a worker starts their employment.


It is important to be aware that applicants can place a claim in an Employment Tribunal; they do not have to be an employee. The grounds on which applicants can claim discrimination are outlined in the Equality Act 2010. These are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or philosophical belief
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation

Throughout the recruitment process, care should be taken to avoid any risk of an applicant feeling that they are being treated differently because of a protected characteristic.

Summary of the Recruitment Process

Draft job description and person specification. To fill the job quickly and with the right person you need to:

  • Provide as much information as possible about your needs
  • Ensure that you offer at least the national minimum wage and that the job is in-line with UK employment law
  • Advertise the job – make sure the wording is non-discriminatory
  • Choose who you want to interview
  • Arrange and carry out the interview
  • Choose who to employ
  • Offer the job subject to background checks
  • Do the checks:
    • PVG check
    • Check last employer and other relevant references
    • Check if your PA is allowed to work in the UK
  • Start an employee record, including the application form, job offer letter, contract, add a record of holidays and sick leave

Next steps

Take a look at the resources and further information below to guide you in more detail.

Part of
Last Updated
27 April 2023
First Published
28 March 2022
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Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.