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The importance of the job of recruiting the right candidate

Published 12 March 2018

Why recruitment process is important

Recruiting the right candidate for a vacancy is an essential task and it can be a job in itself.

The process of hiring the right person for the job has certainly proved a TV hit courtesy of the business-based reality show The Apprentice (1).

The ambitious candidates vying to become Lord Alan Sugar’s (2) new business partner face weekly challenges to test their skills and abilities before the eventual winner is told ‘You’re hired.’

Not every employer has the time and resources to stretch the recruitment process over a 14-week period, or to send the top applicants to different locations to test they have what it takes to do the job.

But recruiting the right people is vital to any organisation’s performance. It is a direct reflection of its strength and professionalism, and an important part of the business.

To attract the best candidates it is crucial to have a good recruitment process. Key to this is a good recruitment policy, which should be designed to ensure the process is open, fair and results in the hiring of the best candidate based solely on merit and the best-fit with an organisation’s values, philosophy, and goals.

An effective recruitment policy can help an employer to avoid any claims of discrimination during recruitment process and, if ever necessary, to demonstrate to an employment tribunal it has genuinely attempted to avoid this.

It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against anyone, both at work and in job adverts, based on the following nine protected characteristics (3):



Religion or belief



Pregnancy and maternity

Marriage and civil partnership

Sexual orientation

Gender reassignment

Ensuring those involved in the recruitment process have the appropriate knowledge and skills and are fully up to date on relevant legislation is crucial.

Falling foul of discrimination law during the recruitment process has previously proved costly. This was highlighted by the case of an accountant who was reported to have made over £120,000 by settling 22 age discrimination claims following unsuccessful job applications (4).

Job ads should not refer to age, race, gender, sexuality, disability, pregnancy/maternity, religion or marital status, except in cases where, they are genuine requirements for the job (5).

It may sound obvious, but when recruiting for a new or existing position, it is important to invest time in gathering information about the nature of the job. Consider more than just tasks and think about the purpose of the role, the output required by a new recruit and how it fits into the organisation’s structure. This will form the basis of a job description and person specification/job profile.

The success of the recruitment process depends on being able to attract the best applicants. This can be done via internal job ads, external job advertisements online, in newspapers and trade publications.

Reviewing CVs and application forms in a systematic and objective way will help to identify the best candidate for a job. A well designed application form will ensure the candidate information is gathered in a consistent format and is easier to analyse.

One of the biggest complaints from job applicants is a failure by employers to acknowledge applications, which has been highlighted by graduates applying for vacancies (6). An employer should acknowledge an application wherever possible.

Assessing the candidates should be done using a process that is constantly reviewed and is also fair, appropriate and relevant to each job 

Before making a job offer employers need to conduct checks that should include establishing the individual has the right to work in the UK, references and if there are any essential medical issues it should be aware of.

It is good practice to confirm the job offer in writing. A good induction process will also welcome the new starter and help to get them up and working effectively as soon as possible, which will benefit an employer.



1. The Apprentice (UK TV series). In: Wikipedia [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2018 Mar 12]. Available from:

2. The Apprentice - Lord Sugar - BBC One [Internet]. BBC. [cited 2018 Mar 12]. Available from:

3. Protected characteristics | Equality and Human Rights Commission [Internet]. [cited 2018 Mar 12]. Available from:

4. May 2010 JR. Employment Appeal Tribunal: ‘Job applications must be genuine’ | News [Internet]. Law Society Gazette. [cited 2018 Mar 12]. Available from:

5. Job adverts: How not to discriminate against applicants | Acas Workplace Snippet December 2013. 2013 Dec 16 [cited 2018 Mar 12]; Available from:

6. Most graduate job applications receive no response | [Internet]. [cited 2018 Mar 12]. Available from:


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