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Top 10 tips for hiring top talent

By Sarah Naylor

Published In: Business Services

Hiring new employees is an important step in the expansion of any business. However, ensuring your recruitment process adheres to legal standards is as crucial as finding the right candidates.  Failure to comply with legal requirements could result in costly disputes and damage to your company’s reputation. Explore these expert tips to help you navigate the recruitment process while staying legally compliant and attracting top-notch talent.

Photo of man and woman in interview setting

1. Understand discrimination laws

In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination in the workplace and during recruitment. This means you must ensure that your recruitment process isn’t biased and there’s no discrimination based on protected characteristics like:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • disability
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion, and more.

Ways to avoid recruitment discrimination:

Consider implementing measures like redacting personal information from CVs so you’re basing interview decisions only on relevant experience for the role. In job advertisements avoid language that could be seen as discriminatory. Focus on the skills and qualifications needed for the role. Ensure your selection criteria are relevant to the job and applied consistently to all applicants.

 2. Conduct right to work checks

Before employing a new staff member, you must verify that your applicants have the legal right to work in the UK . This involves checking and copying original documents such as passports, visas, or biometric residence permits if necessary. Typically this would be something you’d do once you wish to make an offer to a candidate, but before their employment starts.

TOP TIP: You should keep copies of the documents for the duration of their employment and for two years after it ends.

3. Staying compliant with data protection

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requires you to handle job applicants’ personal data responsibly. You can cover off this risk by taking the following steps:

  • Include a privacy notice on the application form to inform candidates about how their data will be used and stored
  • Ensure that all personal data is stored securely and only accessible to those involved in the recruitment process
  • Only keep personal data for as long as necessary for the recruitment process

 4. Fair recruitment process

A transparent and fair recruitment process is crucial to comply with employment law and to attract the best candidates. You can achieve this by:

  • Standardising procedures: Use a consistent approach for all applicants, including the same set of interview questions
  • Scoring systems: consider implementing objective scoring systems to evaluate applicants based on their skills and experience

 5. Formalise employment contracts

Once you’ve selected a candidate and have made a job offer, you need to provide a written employment contract outlining the terms and conditions of employment. The contract of employment must be given to them on or before their first day. It must include key details like:

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Working hours
  • Holiday entitlement

It’s crucial your contracts are compliant with the Employment Rights Act of 1996. An employment lawyer will be able to do this for you.

6. Health and Safety obligations

You need to make sure that your workplace complies with health and safety regulations, especially if the role involves specific risks. Remember that this also includes your employee’s home, whether they work from home part or all of the time. Conduct risk assessments for the workplace and specific roles. Also provide health and safety training to all new employees as part of your induction process.

7. Handling references and background checks

When getting references or conducting background checks, make sure you do this in a legally compliant way. Firstly, you need the applicant’s consent before contacting their references or doing background checks. It’s easiest for this consent to be sought in the application form by way of tick box. You must also make sure that any checks you carry out are relevant to the job role and necessary for the position.

 8. Avoiding unlawful terms

Make sure your employment contracts and job offers don’t contain terms that could be deemed unlawful, such as clauses that unfairly restrict an employee’s future employment opportunities. Any restrictive covenants must be reasonable and protect legitimate business interests. In relation to wages and hours, you must make sure you comply with the national minimum wage and working time regulations . This can all be dealt with and advised on by the employment law solicitor you instruct to prepare your contract of employment.

 9. Probationary periods

You should include a probationary period in your employment contract as this can help you assess new employees’ suitability for the role once they’ve started work. The employment contract should clearly state the length of the probationary period (three months is most common) and provide that you’ll conduct regular reviews and provide feedback during the probationary period.

 10. Stay updated on employment law

Employment laws can change, and it’s important to stay informed about any updates that could affect your recruitment process. To help with this you should ensure there is regular update training available for your HR team (or person responsible for recruitment and staff) and managers on employment law. You should also consider seeking legal advice from a solicitor periodically as a “health check”, to ensure your processes and policies are always up to date.

Navigating the complex world of employment law can be challenging, but it’s essential for protecting your business and for creating a fair and compliant recruitment process. Remember, a fair and transparent recruitment process not only helps you avoid legal pitfalls but also attracts top talent to your business.

Happy hiring!

To discuss recruiting new staff contact employment lawyer Sarah Naylor at or call 01302 320621.

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Sarah has over 18 years’ experience in the legal sector. She is a Director and Solicitor as well as the Head of our Commercial and Disputes team

Director and Solicitor

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