The correct mix of skills and experience an employer needs can only be obtained properly and efficiently if there is a continual assessment of the skills required. From this assessment and from the short-term vacancies created on an unplanned basis, those responsible for recruitment can operate a 'sourcing process'. They must not only be trained in all aspects of interviewing etc. but also need to ensure there is no discrimination in the process. Setting up a suitable monitoring scheme (with attendant spot-checking for compliance) which records all applications and their progress/disposal, with brief reasons, may be advisable.

Recruitment Plan Procedure

The following would be usefully sourced:

  1. A manpower chart reflecting the expected needs of such department (for each department).

  2. A management succession plan showing the skills required and expected to be available in (say) 3 and 6 years time.

  3. A training plan showing those employees expected to participate and the level of skills attainment anticipated in each case.

  4. A skills requirement analysis for each department, taking into account the data generated by items 1 – 3 above.

  5. The shortfalls in order to ensure adequate skills supply to meet the requirements of the business plan.

Management Succession Planning

A corporate plan should address not only where the organisation business is going but also who is going to take it there. Management succession needs to be planned at least over the length of the plan. A time span that reflects the greater time needed to develop or source managerial skills should be used, although given the rate of technological change, constant updating may be necessary. Irrespective of Organisation size, replacing a key executive can take a considerable time - often the chemistry of relationships with other executives is as important as the range of skills and experience, which may militate against a number of otherwise suitable candidates, and thus prolong the recruitment process.

Recruitment Sources

  1. Promotion from within: although this may solve the vacancy in one department, it usually creates a recruitment requirement elsewhere, and may also require a training input to the person promoted. In addition, the promotee may also need a trial period following which their progress will be assessed. Although promotion from within is to be encouraged to some extent, unless outside sources are also utilised, constant internal promotion can cause innovation to be stultified, and development restricted.

  2. Personal introduction from an existing employee: this can be a useful source although it has potential dangers (of reputation) to existing employees, who need to be advised that whilst not liable for the actions of the recruit they introduce, nevertheless they are, at least to a certain extent, acting as their sponsor. This process can also lead to the introduction of spouses and other relatives into the Organisation, which can cause friction, particularly if they operate at different levels of authority. Introductions are often linked to a reward - a sum of £50 or £100 being paid to the existing employee, provided both that employee and the new recruit are in employment, for example, six months after the recruit commences work. The Commission for Racial Equality has indicated that it believes that such schemes could be discriminatory since they tend to perpetuate the ethnic composition of the existing workforce. To avoid any such allegations, employers using such schemes should check for bias or ensure that at least some vacancies are offered externally.

  3. Advertising vacancies on external notice boards: whilst this is an inexpensive source, the effect of constantly having vacancies advertised outside the premises should be borne in mind - it may create the impression that the Organisation cannot retain its employees.

  4. Mailing list: created by those applying to the Organisation seeking a position, or of previously unsuccessful, but suitable, candidates whose details have been retained for the purpose. To use any or all of the above four sources, the recruiter needs to provide details on internal/external notice boards or by means of a circular. Whether the salary and/or benefits are shown will depend upon policy. In many larger organisations all jobs (and the pay/benefits related thereto) are graded and thus, the grade can be stated. Other organisations, and/or those who prefer not to publish salaries openly may be able to use a form of words such as 'will be of interest to those currently earning £XXXXX' - although even this gives a guide to the salary likely to be paid.

  5. Job Centre: for vacancies to supervisory level the national Job Centre Organisation can be effective. An increasing number of managerial jobs are also processed via these centres, although there is a reluctance on the part of some potential recruits at this level to register, which may mean that the target audience is restricted. The job, person, reward structure needs to be developed and discussed with the local Centre. If it is to be used regularly, it may be possible to provide it with the organisation application form for completion and, once there is a good working relationship, and it is clear the Centre understands the requirements of the Organisation, with copies of the vacancy briefs which the Centre interviewer can use to screen applicants.

  6. Employment bureaux/management consultants: the range of such staff appointment facilities is very wide, covering every level of job from unskilled labourers to board level appointments, and every length of requirement, from a few hours on a single day for purely temporary staff, to service contracts lasting some years. The recruiter will need to send details to the bureau for comparison with their applicants, or to discuss the sourcing with a consultant who, with more senior jobs, will usually wish to visit the Organisation and obtain a range of additional information before starting a search. Bureaux used continually by the Organisation can be given a supply of application forms and, where there is an understanding of the exact requirements, encouraged to screen applicants. A recruitment campaign for senior personnel will usually entail national, and/or professional journal, advertising - the costs of which will normally be in addition to the fee charged by the bureau/consultant retained. A full estimate showing details of the fees and other charges should be requested when retaining the bureau, etc., and a budget agreed for the recruitment costs.

    Although screening interviews will be conducted by the bureau/ consultant, subsequent interviews are usually conducted at the organisation own premises. Some of these organisations provide a headhunting service (see below).

  7. Advertising: by handbill, or local, national, trade or professional press, by local commercial radio or television.


When recruiting for senior positions, where there are exact requirements and possibly only a small potential labour pool, recruitment consultants (or headhunters) can be used to compose, and approach, a short list of candidates currently working in an environment thought to provide them with the range of experience likely to equip them to deal with the vacancy identified.

Such personnel may not be actually seeking a new position, which may put them in a marginally stronger position when it comes to negotiating the remuneration package and thus, those using this form of recruitment should be prepared to pay more than they might otherwise have to do. The job, person, reward synopsis will need to be very detailed and specific, and may need to include a comprehensive range of enticements for the ideal candidate - so-called 'golden hellos'. Essentially there must be an enticement to tempt the person from a situation from which they might not otherwise have considered moving. Although it may be desirable to make the criteria for the required appointee as tight as possible, in order to reduce the number of unwanted applications, this can have the effect of deterring some otherwise potentially suitable candidates from applying - thus, requirements should be made realistic without being restrictive.

Headhunting is a form of recruitment quite widespread in the USA, and on the increase in the UK - it has been claimed that only 25% of the top jobs are actually advertised. This does not necessarily mean that 75% are headhunted, since many are filled by promotion, and others by personal contact emanating from within organisations but a considerable proportion are filled by a process of headhunting.


Since it is possible for those applying for a position to claim they have been discriminated against, those interviewing to fill vacancies should not only be trained to avoid discrimination but at every stage in the process details should be noted in a permanent record. Thus, such a record could contain details including all applications received, details of those selected (and the basis of selection) for interview, details of those short-listed and the basis of selection, details of the eventual successful applicant and the reasons for not offering the position to others short-listed. If this process and records are regularly inspected by a senior manager checking to ensure there has been no bias and selection was made on the basis of experience, skills and likely ability to perform the tasks required, it should provide a defence against potential discrimination claims.


a. Legal Compliance

Employers are required to check before employment commences that all applicants are entitled to work in the UK by asking for documentary evidence. Under the Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) Order 2003 the appropriate documentation is limited to:

  • passports (with correct certification for foreign nationals, i.e. a right to work);

  • EEA identity cards (or the UK identity card when introduced);

  • UK residents permits issued to EEA nationals; or

  • Home Office issued residence permits.

If none of the above are available an applicant must provide two of the following:

  • A full (not short-form) UK birth certificate.

  • Certificate of registration or naturalisation or letters from the Home Office.

  • Employment approval documents issued by Work Permits UK.

  • Evidence of a National Insurance number (e.g. a P45 or P60).


(The short-form birth certificate is provided free on first registration. If the long certificate, which as well as name, sex, and date and place of birth provides details of parents, is required this costs £3.50 on first registration but £7- £8.50 later and £11 if the general register office number is unknown.)

This applies to ALL applicants, not just those who appear to be or are immigrants. Thus even a person who has previously worked the whole of their working life in the UK needs to comply - they should be able to produce a passport but if not, they will need a full birth certificate as well as a P45 etc. Employing a person with no right to work is currently subject to a £5,000 fine which is likely to be increased substantially in the near future.

It may be advisable to take copies of the documentary evidence supplied and to sign and date the copy before placing it in the employee's personnel file.

b. Practical Protection

It is reckoned that in the average organisation 25% of employees are honest, 25% are dishonest and the remaining 50% are as honest or dishonest as the organisation allows them to be. (See THEFT). It may be advisable to make all recruitments subject to:

  • a PROBATIONARY PERIOD (with employment subject to a week's notice during such period)

  • REFERENCES satisfactory to the new employer, and

  • receipt of a basic certificate from the Criminal Records Bureau (which should be available, with the permission of the applicant, from end 2004).

Without the applicants agreement to each, the recruitment process may be safest abandoned.


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