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The A-Z of Recruitment

Digital Union Member HR Dept. share their A-Z list of everything to consider when recruiting for your business.

Attracting applicants

Attracting the right applicants requires an all-round approach. Some steps to consider are: Review your online presence, revisit your “work for us” content and be seen where your ideal candidates are looking.


It is true that Brexit uncertainty has affected the flow of EU migrants wanting to live and work in the UK. You may want to consider if and how Brexit affects recruiting for your business.

Workforce planning, which highlights skills gaps and opportunities for training, is a great way to start preparing.

Company culture

Company culture can be a big pull for candidates. And you will also want to know that your new-hire will fit in well with yours. Communicate your company culture and core values by including them in your job description and interviews.

Data protection

Processing the data of EU citizens currently falls under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and the handling of personal data needs to be compliant throughout your recruitment process. GDPR compliance can be complex. Ask us if you are unsure.

Employment contracts

Providing each new-hire with the right employment contract is crucial when it comes to protecting your business. Make sure you use the right contract for the right role and at the right time. You can be taken to an employment tribunal if you don’t.

Flexible working

Flexible working is a hot topic and a desired benefit of many job seekers in 2019. Could flexible workingwiden the net of your recruitment strategy?


Being ‘ghosted’ is the recruitment equivalent of being stood-up. In a job-seekers’ market, that cold feeling of rejection usually associated with online dating is becoming a common occurrence for companies who are hiring. Read our top tips on how to reduce the risk of being ghosted.


Headhunting can be a good way to attract your preferred calibre of employees. Just be sure to approach the process with caution and respect the confidentiality of your prospects. Steps one and two should involve research and rapport.


An interview will give you dedicated time with a candidate so that you can both discuss suitability for the role. To get the most out of this time, it is wise to do some interview prep to avoid repetition or missing out important questions which check that the candidate really has the right knowledge, skills and attitude to do the job.

Consider the location of your interview too. Does it give a good first impression of your business?

Job descriptions

Both a good job description and person specification are essential when it comes to being clear about the role and the person you want to fill it. Consider the title and keywords that you are using to advertise your role. Check out the competition too. Is your offering as attractive as theirs?


Make sure they have the right knowledge for the role. But also have you found a way to train and share knowledge across the team so that if someone is away, work does not grind to a halt?

Legal bit

Legal protection for candidates starts with your job advert. Is your process up-to-date and compliant for the likes of anti-discrimination, right to work and criminal record checks?


Enquiring about a candidate’s health before offering them a job could fall within the lines of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. There are a few instances where it would be suitable to ask. For example, if the job comes with an occupational requirement.

NDAs (Non-disclosure agreement)

Asking candidates to sign an NDA during your recruitment process can help to protect sensitive information and the confidentiality of your business. The question here is, do you need one?
Some candidates can find this off putting and NDA’s have come under scrutiny in recent high-profile harassment cases. If you are unsure about NDAs, ask us.

Offering the job

When you have found the ideal candidate for your role it’s time to make them a job offer, great!
If you have already discussed salary expectations and employee benefits with your candidate, the process is likely to continue as expected. If you haven’t, you may want to keep your options open or prepare for the possibility of a counter offer.

Protected characteristics

The following characteristics are protected from discrimination within recruitment under the Equality Act 2010.

Age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.


Your questions should tell you enough but not too much. There’s an obvious need to avoid subjects that could breach equality law (see protected characteristics above). And it’s also wise to steer clear of contentious subjects like politics or pressing for answers too vehemently. Their questions will tell you how much they have thought about the role, avoid those who ask how much sick entitlement they get.


Candidates often lie on CV’s. We recommend that you include reference checks as part of your recruitment process to corroborate the skills and experience submitted by your candidates. To do this it’s best to have a policy in place to make the process legal and fair.


Legally you must pay your employees at least the national minimum wage. It would be fair to pay your employees an affordable salary based on their skills, experience and the work entailed. Consider salary at the very start of recruitment to ensure that you have the budget required.

Telephone interviews

If you have received a substantial amount of applications for your vacancy, telephone interviews are a good way to shortlist candidates before holding face to face interviews. Plan your questions ahead of time and give a dedicated amount of time for each one to be answered.

Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias, through affinity, can influence your recruitment decisions. It’s important to be aware of it and justify your decisions with facts and evidence to avoid discrimination.


If your business works with the vulnerable, children or the elderly for example, you will need to know about disclosure (DBS) checks. Where references give you a basic and recent history of candidates, a DBS check provides a more thorough record check.

Worker status

We have seen Worker status cause confusion in some high-profile employment tribunals. In recent years, companies such as Uber and Pimlico Plumbers have been found to wrongly call their drivers self-employed when they should have been workers.

This can be a costly mistake. Ask us if you are unsure about employment status.

Xmas and seasonal staff

To be well prepared for busy periods you may wish to consider hiring seasonal staff. Our advice would be to give yourself plenty of time with this. Planning your seasonal recruitment strategy in advance will not only provide you with more time for training temps, but also broaden your opportunities.  Read our top tips on recruiting seasonal staff

Your rights

Ultimately it is your decision as to who you choose to hire for your business. But your recruitment process does fall subject to employment law. Be fair to your business and candidates by introducing a recruitment policy, detailing the how’s and whys of your process.

Zero hours

Used properly Zero-hour contracts work well. The bottom line is that those on zero hours contracts are entitled to annual leave and entitled to accept work elsewhere. Contracts can be complicated, contact your local HR Dept for advice.

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