How to properly select job applicants

 An excerpt from Lawpack's Employment Contracts Kit.

When you, as an employer, are interviewing staff and recruiting employees it's important for you to follow good practice as well as complying with employment legislation.

Failure to observe codes of practice doesn't render you liable to proceedings but if an employment tribunal claim is brought, any relevant provision of the codes may be taken into account. It's advisable to consider your practices carefully at each stage in the recruitment process.

Selection criteria and tests

The purpose of selection criteria and tests is to ensure that an individual has the ability to perform or train for a particular job. You should avoid insisting on irrelevant qualifications. You should review your selection criteria and tests regularly to ensure that they remain relevant and are not unlawfully discriminatory.

Find out more about discrimination laws with our Employment Law Made Easy Guide.

Once the selection of applicants has been carried out, letters should be sent inviting candidates for interview and rejecting unsuccessful applicants.

Example recruitment letters are included in our Employment Contracts Kit.

‘Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ when selecting and interviewing job applicants

What you should and should not do during the selection and interview process:

  1. Process all job applications in the same way.

  2. Ask questions at the interview which relate to the requirements of the job.

  3. Ensure that all employees who come into contact with job applicants are properly trained about legal obligations in respect of discrimination and how to avoid unlawful discrimination.

  4. Keep records of interviews showing why the applicants were or were not appointed.

  5. Don’t keep separate lists of male and female or married and single applicants.

  6. Don't ask questions at the interview about personal circumstances, such as marital status, children, domestic obligations, marriage plans or family intentions.

  7. Make jokes at the interview that are sexist or racist or otherwise biased.

  8. When interviewing nannies and domestic helps, exclude male applicants on the assumption that only women can carry out the role.

Making a job offer 

After the selection process, and once a suitable candidate has been chosen, you should make a conditional offer. References should then be taken up and medical examinations should be arranged, if required.

Once the preferred candidate has accepted your job offer, you should send rejection letters to the unsuccessful candidates.

If a candidate accepts your job offer but subsequently changes their mind (possibly opting for another offer), they technically may in breach of contract; unless you can prove financial loss as a direct result, there is little that you can do.

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Published on: October 11, 2010

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