Recruitment should incorporate the following steps:

Step 1 – Before you start looking
Step 2 – Preparing a job description and person profile
Step 3 – Finding candidates
Step 4 – Managing the application process
Step 5 – Selecting candidates
Step 6 – Making the appointment
Step 7 – Induction

Step 1 – Before you start looking

Put together information about the nature of the job, especially it it is a position being created for the first time. Think about:

  • The content (such as the tasks) making up the job
  • The output required by the job holder (work hours, number of clients etc.)
  • How it fits into the structure of the practice/organisation
  • The skills and personal attributes needed to perform the role effectively.

This analysis forms the basis of a job description and person specification.

Step 2 – Preparing a job description

A job description states the necessary and desirable criteria for selection.

Increasingly such specifications are based on a set of competencies identified as necessary for the performance of the job. Include:

  • Skills, aptitude, knowledge and experience
  • Qualifications (which should be only those necessary to do the job – unless candidates are recruited on the basis of future potential, for example graduates)
  • Personal qualities relevant to the job, such as ability to work as part of a team.

Step 3 – Finding candidates

Internal methods:

  • Staff referrals
  • Succession planning
  • Secondments

It is important not to forget the internal talent pool, especially in a larger practice. Providing opportunities for development and career progression is an important factor for employee retention and motivation

External methods

There are many options available for generating interest from individuals outside the organisation.

  • Online recruitment
  • Press advertising
  • Networking
  • Open days for the larger organisation

Advertising remains the most common means of attracting and recruiting. Advertisements should be clear and indicate the:

  • requirements of the job
  • necessary and the desirable criteria for job applicants (to limit the number of inappropriate applications received)
  • job location
  • reward package
  • job tenure (for example, contract length)
  • details of how to apply.

Advertisements should be genuine and relate to a job that actually exists. They should appeal to all sections of the community using positive visual images and wording.

Step 4 – Managing the application process

There are two main formats in which applications are likely to be received: the curriculum vitae (CV)/résumé or application. These can be submitted either on paper or electronically.

Application forms

Application forms allow information to be presented in a consistent format, and therefore make it easier to collect information from job applicants in a systematic way and assess objectively the candidate’s suitability for the job.


CVs give candidates the opportunity to sell themselves in their own way and don’t have the restrictions of fitting information into a form. However, some candidates include irrelevant material that makes them harder to assess consistently.

Step 5 – Selecting candidates

Selecting candidates involves two main processes: short listing and assessing applicants to decide who should be made a job offer.


Shortlisting depends on the number of candidates.

When deciding who to shortlist, it is helpful to draw up a list of criteria using the job specification and person profile. Each application can then be rated according to these standards, or a simple scoring system can be used.


A range of different methods can be used to assess candidates. These vary in their reliability as a predictor of performance in the job and in their ease and expense to administer. Typical methods include:

  • General interview
  • Competency based interview
  • Role play/demonstration
  • Sample presentation (for jobs needing presenting skills)

Step 6 – Making the appointment


Offers of employment should always be made in writing. But it is important to be aware that an oral offer of employment made in an interview is as legally binding as a letter to the candidate.


A recruitment policy should state clearly how references will be used, when in the recruitment process they will be taken up and what kind of references will be necessary (for example, from former employers). These rules should be applied consistently.

Other checks

Checks such as working with children or vulnerable adults, police checks, fit to work checks are necessary according to the job.

Step 7 – Induction

Induction is a critical part of the recruitment process, for both employer and new employee. An induction plan should include:

  • A clear outline of the job/role requirements
  • Orientation (physical) – describing where the facilities are
  • Orientation (organisational) – showing how the employee fits into the team, along with details of the organisation’s history, culture and values
  • Fair Work Information Statement


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