Recruiting new employees

Recruiting new employees

The Management Committee is regarded as the employer in a group / voluntary organisation. As the employer, the Management Committee has legal duties when it comes to the recruitment and management of employees and is required to keep up to date with good practice and changes in employment law.

Here’s some tips to consider when recruiting new employees.

Make sure you have a job description setting out the main responsibilities and tasks of the job. This will lead to a ‘person specification’ and will enable a prospective job applicant to assess whether they are right for the job.
This should state the qualifications, skills and knowledge as well as any specific requirements needed for the post. It can include essential criteria and desirable criteria which can be used when choosing people to interview for the job (known as shortlisting).
Ideally you want to promote your post to the widest number of people so you have a lot of people to choose from.   The main thing to consider is that you must be able to show that the job was advertised openly and available to all parts of the community.

The type and level of the position may dictate how much you are prepared to spend on paid advertising e.g. local/regional press.  Low costs ways of promoting jobs include:

  • job centres
  • email lists
  • social media
  • through organisations such as NICVA, CO3 and LCCC.
It is a good idea to design an application form for the post that is based on the job specification. This will make it easier for applicants to set out how they meet your requirements and can be a quicker way to check if applicants meet your requirements rather than reading through a CV.

  • Application forms should not include questions on gender or date of birth.
  • You should ask if there are any reasonable adjustments which may support an applicant attending the interview.
  • If your organisation has more than 11 employees, it must also include a form asking for specific information on the candidate’s religion to meet the legal requirement to submit an annual return to the Equality Commission.
  • No member of the interview panel should have access to that form during the recruitment process.
Don’t keep separate lists of male and female or married and single candidates
Ensure that all employees who come into contact with job applicants are properly trained about the legal obligations about discrimination and how to avoid unlawful discrimination.
It’s good practice to have a mix of people on an interview panel. The panel should include at least 1 member of your Management Committee/Board of Trustees/Board of Directors and include men and women where possible. It is also good practice to have an independent person as well – who may chair the interview panel.

It’s best to have the same interview panel for all applicants who have been asked to come for an interview.

Make sure that you are well prepared for the interview.  Consider a scoring sheet with space for comments linked to each question.

  • Make sure that every person interviewing the applicants (known as panel members) has a copy of the scoring sheet, the person’s CV or application form.
  • You must not ask personal questions about marital status, children, home life, marriage plans or family intentions. These could be potentially discriminatory.

An example of a discriminatory question is ‘Do you intend to have children soon?’.

When conducting an interview, you need to consider whether any reasonable adjustments need to be made for applicants with disabilities; for example, access to the building or a loop system.
Do not make comments in the interview that could be taken as sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise biased.
If certain qualifications, licenses or training is essential for the job, then it is reasonable to ask for proof from the applicant.
The Data Protection Act 1998 allows a candidate to request to see interview notes/scoring matrix where they form part of a ‘set’ of information about the candidate (e.g. the application form, references, etc.). Your reasons for rejecting a candidate may also be looked at under employment discrimination legislation.

  • Notify unsuccessful candidates and if appropriate offer feedback.
  • One panel member should be designated to give feedback and it should be based on notes and scoring.
If you are asking for references, you should include a job description with the request for a reference.  Be aware that some employers now only offer factual references.
The job offer letter should include:

  • the job title
  • any conditions of the offer
  • salary
  • hours
  • benefits
  • holiday entitlement
  • pension
  • start date
  • the probationary period.
A probationary period allows you to assess the new employee’s suitability for the post. Regular supervision and support should be built into that period, so any issues with performance can be addressed and additional support provided if needed.

Click here to download a template for a job description.