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How to make a Recruitment policy

Use this recruitment policy to set out your business’ recruitment and selection process and how discrimination during the recruitment process is prevented.

Recently reviewed by Lauren Delin, Solicitor. 

This recruitment policy was last reviewed on 20 April 2022.

A recruitment policy is a document that outlines a business’ recruitment process and the measures taken to eliminate and prevent discrimination during the recruitment process. Show a commitment to equal opportunity and diversity within the workplace with a clear and fair recruitment policy.

Use this recruitment policy: 

  • to set out your recruitment process

  • to help you fulfil your legal duty not to discriminate, harass or victimise as a (prospective) employer

  • to inform employees and managers about equal opportunities during the recruitment process

  • to explain what will happen if employees don't comply with rules about equal opportunities

  • if you are based in England, Wales or Scotland

This recruitment policy covers:

  • aims of the policy

  • who is responsible for equal opportunities and the special role of managers

  • different types of discrimination and examples of prohibited behaviours

  • details of the recruitment process (including application vacancy advertising, application screening and interviews)

  • avoiding discrimination during recruitment

  • what to do if discrimination is discovered

Having a recruitment policy shows your commitment to equal opportunities and tackling discrimination when recruiting. It ensures that staff (especially anyone involved in the hiring process) are informed about the recruitment process, equal opportunities and the consequences of non-compliance.

Those in senior positions (eg business owners, chief executives and directors) are responsible for the implementation, review and monitoring of the policy. This is known as having ‘overall responsibility’ for equal opportunities.

You should also appoint an employee who is responsible for monitoring and implementing the policy on an everyday basis. This will generally be either an HR manager or, where no HR department exists, the employee with responsibility for HR matters (an Office Manager).

Everyone in the UK is protected by the Equality Act 2010, which specifies 9 protected characteristics. These are:

  • age

  • sex

  • race

  • disability

  • pregnancy

  • marital and civil partner status

  • sexual orientation

  • gender reassignment

  • religion or belief

Discriminating against workers and employees because of any of the nine characteristics is against the law.

Discrimination can come in one of the following forms:

  • direct discrimination - a worker or employee is being treated less favourably than others because of association with one or more protected characteristic

  • indirect discrimination - when someone with a protected characteristic is put at an unfair disadvantage, despite the employer putting rules and equality arrangements in place

  • harassment - when someone's dignity is being violated through unwanted behaviour linked to a protected characteristic creating an offensive environment for them

  • victimisation - when someone is being treated unfairly because they have complained about discrimination or harassment

  • disability discrimination - when someone with a disability is directly or indirectly discriminated against and/or when an employer fails to make reasonable adjustments to reduce disadvantages caused by disability

For more information, read Equal opportunities and discrimination.

The recruitment process involves a variety of steps, including:

  • drafting a Job description and person specification - setting out the requirements of the role

  • advertising the vacancy - to attract a broad range of applicants, this should be done across a variety of channels (eg on job websites and in newspapers)

  • screening applications - reviewing applications against the requirements of the role

  • selection testing - testing an applicant’s skills where this is required for the role

  • interviewing - speaking to applicants to assess their suitability for the role

During all stages of recruitment, care must be taken not to discriminate against any applicants. For more information, read Recruitment.

If an employee (including those holding senior positions) doesn't comply with the recruitment policy, they may be subject to disciplinary action. Non-compliance with the policy may lead to the dismissal of that person with immediate effect.

In some circumstances: 

  • employees may be personally liable for discrimination

  • discriminatory acts may result in legal action and criminal offence where the harassment was intentional

Employers will be jointly responsible for an employee’s acts of discrimination unless they can show that they have done everything they could to prevent it.

For more information, read Equal opportunities and discrimination.

While not legally necessary, it is recommended to train staff on equal opportunities. Those responsible for recruitment are the most likely to be the subject of discrimination allegations, and should therefore be trained on equal opportunities and how to ensure a fair and non-discriminatory recruitment process.

There are a variety of HR policies you should consider having in place to supplement your recruitment policy. Examples include:

For more information on other employment policies, read HR policies and procedures.

Ask a lawyer if:

  • this document doesn’t meet your needs

  • you are based outside England, Wales or Scotland

Other names for Recruitment policy

Recruitment and selection policy, Hiring policy, Recruitment procedure, Selection policy, Hiring policy template, Hiring policy and procedures.