FRIDAY HR FAQS – Why is speed important in the recruitment process?

Stand-out talent with forward-thinking mindsets are in high demand, which means businesses need to be reactive to the market and move quickly to secure the best people for their teams.

The recruitment process works at its best when it is quick and there are no delays from the employer’s side, which could risk a good candidate being snapped up by a competitor.  This is particularly true for the junior and middle management market, where strong candidates can take their pick of jobs.

On top of this technological advancement means the hiring process has sped up and candidates are being matched to potential employers by AI powered tools.

To remain competitive and in with a chance of welcoming engaging minds to your team, here are some considerations you need to think about before beginning a recruitment project:

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Be quick to respond

If you want to have great talent in your team, then you need to prioritise hiring.

Recruiters might seem like they are nagging you to respond, but the reason for this is because they know what a great candidate looks like and that they will be on the radar of your competitors – so they are acting quickly to secure them.

If you’re too busy too manage the admin of a hiring project, then consider using an HR consultancy who can manage the process for you.

Know who you’re after

It pays to have a plan in place before you start looking for someone new to bring on board – even if they’re a replacement – taking the time to evaluate what you need from the role that might have been lacking before is a sensible process to go through.

You should plan the specifics of the job role, how it fits into your business vision, what skills you need, how you culture will work for you to attract talent and so forth.

Once you have a plan in place and have got cracking then the process needs to be smooth, with regular communication between you and the candidates and time set aside to dedicate to the process.

This will mean that when you find your perfect candidate, you are able to keep them engaged and get them in front of the team within days of submitting their application and show you are a proactive and organised business.

If you know they’re good, then remember that it’s likely they will be a star candidate for other job vacancies too. So, act quickly and if you don’t have anyone else to compare them to, it may be that you won’t have time to run a longer, robust process in order to have other candidates to square them up against. Be confident that they are right for the role and get them in the bag.

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Be flexible with your offer

It would be a great shame to have planned and executed your hiring process and found your star candidate only then discover that what you’re offering them isn’t enough to convince them to accept your job.

Candidates expect fair remuneration, generous benefits, interesting perks and flexible working to name a few!

If you are going to risk losing a great candidate because you don’t match up to what others in your sector are offering, then it may be time to revise your offer package.

Even if you are on a tight budget, there are still things you can do to swing the balance – such as offering a few extra days holiday, contributions towards travel costs or investing in softer benefits that add to your overall offering.

After all, if a candidate has the potential to boost your business productivity and increase your bottom line, then finding ways to bring them over the line will be well worth the effort.

If you need any recruitment advice or guidance, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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10 inappropriate questions interviewers need to stop asking!

According to new research, the vast majority of organisations have asked candidates inappropriate and potentially illegal questions during a job interview.

Researchers of the study found that 85% of interviewers have asked questions such as ‘Are you physically fit and healthy’, ‘Have you any plans to start a family’ or ‘Did you grow up outside of the UK’.

All of the above questions are potentially breaching the law, which requires all potential employers to treat candidates fairly.

It’s true though however that many interviewers could be completely unaware that what they think is innocent questioning could be a legal grey area, with 47% saying they have never had official training on what questions to ask in an interview.

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Below are the top 10 inappropriate interview questions that hiring managers have asked:

  • What year did you graduate? (59%)
  • What year were you born? (55%)
  • Do you have any children? (56%)
  • Are you physically fit and healthy? (53%
  • Are you in a relationship or married? (51%)
  • Have you got any plans to start a family? (42%)
  • Where is your accent from? (46%)
  • Will you need flexible time for family life? (46%)
  • Did you grow up outside of the UK? (45%)
  • Will you need time off during half term? (43%)

This highlights the need for training for any person involved in the process of interviewing prospective candidates, so they know what is and isn’t acceptable in the recruitment process.  Ensuring all prospective employees are given a fair and honest opportunity to secure a job based on their skills and ability not their gender, personal choices or maternity/paternity choices.

If you need any HR help, advice or tips on interviewing, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – Requesting a reference – why it’s important and what you can ask for

Bringing a new employee into your business is an important step no matter the size of your business. You’ve completed the recruitment process and believe they are the best candidate for the job. You’ve interviewed them, think that they have the right skills and attitude and found that they would fit in to the culture of the team. So why should you care about confirming their previous employment?

Why ask for references?

Receiving references is an invaluable tool to fact check that the candidate has been truthful about their experience on their CV, that they worked at the company for the time they said and that they performed the role listed on their CV. This confirmation can also provide reassurance that you have chosen the right candidate.

This process can also be used to check that there are no gaps in their employment which are unexplained and could be a cause for concern. Checking references, including a personal reference can explain this and ease your mind as to the reason for any employment gap e.g. career break, travel, job search post redundancy.

At what point do you ask for references?

References can be asked for at any point in the recruitment stage. Typically, they are requested once you have found your preferred candidate. This can be done at the point of making an offer to a candidate or afterwards. Often the candidate receives a conditional offer, with the contract stipulating that receiving satisfactory references are a requirement of the contract. This will offer you protection if the references you receive aren’t satisfactory as you may then be able to withdraw the offer or terminate their employment if they have already started.

You can also ask for a character reference; however, it is worth noting that this would usually be given on a personal basis from their referee and it is unlikely companies will provide one.

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What can you ask for in a reference?

Before requesting a reference, you will need to get the candidate’s consent, they will at that point also give the contact details of their referees.

When contacting their reference, you should ask for the information that you want to know about the employee and what is relevant to the role and your business.

References can include:

  • basic facts about the job applicant, like employment dates and job descriptions
  • answers to questions that the potential employer has specifically asked about the job applicant that are not usually given as basic facts, like absence levels and confirming the reason for leaving
  • details about the job applicant’s skills and abilities
  • details about the job applicant’s character, strengths and weaknesses relating to the suitability for the role they have applied for

It is worth noting that regardless of what you ask for the respondent is not required, by law, to answer each question you ask or to even give a reference at all. Most companies now typically respond with an employment confirmation on their own company headed paper, and usually confirms their employment dates as well as their job title whilst they were working there. All references need to be fair, honest and consistent.

What if their previous employer refuses to give a reference?

Certain companies, such as ones regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority are required by law to give a reference when requested. However, companies in other industries have no obligation to provide you with a reference. If this is the case, you can then ask for other ways to prove their time at that company, such as the employee providing you with payslips or a P60/P45.

Doing your due diligence on new employees by requesting references is a useful way to provide reassurance that you have selected the right candidate, and can help prevent issues that may arise once they have already joined your business.

If you need any HR and talent help or advice, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Our new website has launched…

We are excited to announce our new and improved website has been launched…

We’ve listened to our clients and customers and made some key changes.

We our proud that we take an innovative approach to HR, cutting through the industry jargon to help make a real difference to any business, by providing excellent HR consultancy and HR support.

We know HR can be a scary prospect for businesses both big and small and there is a lot to take in.  However we ask questions that other HR consultancies don’t, because we want to make a positive impact on your business and understand your people, by providing excellent HR and Talent services in the form of employee documentation, support, management and advice regarding employment queries and processes.

Come and take a look:

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might be interested in then please give us a call on: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY FAQS – Can an employer ask about my mental health when applying for a new job?

Thanks to awareness days like Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day, the conversation surrounding mental health is getting louder. The stigma attached to talking about our mental health in the same way that we do for our physical health is being lifted and with that there is a growing acceptance that it’s okay not to be okay and to seek support.

The workplace is undeniably an environment that for many people can cause stress and anxiety. If you have a mental health issue then being in a pressured working environment, that may not be supportive of your mental health, can cause further damage to your health and overall well-being.

It’s therefore the role of employers to ensure they have fair practices in place with regards to their approach for identifying and supporting their teams with mental health issues, just as they do for physical health.

As an employee you should expect to be supported by your employer and provided with the necessary support for a mental health issue.

However, is it a concern for those seeking new employment that if they have an existing mental health issue, it may impact upon their likelihood of getting a job?

We want to help debunk some of these crucial questions and shed light on an area of HR that is vital for a happy and productive workplace.

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1. Can I be asked about my mental health issue when I apply for a job? 

In short, no. It’s unlawful for an employer to ask a candidate if they have a history mental health issues during the application process.

If you are asked about your mental health, you are not obliged to answer this, however, if you do choose to disclose this information it is recommended that you do so honestly.

Asking candidates health questions before a job offer is made is unlawful and can be reported to the Equality Advice and Support Service.

If you are asked about your mental health during the application process and then don’t receive an offer, you may want to challenge this as it can be classed as discrimination on the grounds of disability.

2. Are there situations when an employer can ask about my mental health before making a job offer?

There are a few situations when an employer may need to ask about your health before a job offer is made, these can include:

  • To find out if you can take an assessment for a job.
  • To find out if you need reasonable adjustments to the application process.
  • To find out whether you will be able to do the requirements of the job, whilst they also consider any reasonable adjustments that may need to be made.
  • To find out if applications are coming from a diverse group of people.
  • To establish if you have the particular disability required for the job.
  • To assess you for national security purposes.

For example, a lawful question about your health and whether this affects your ability to do the job would be; if you were applying for a job erecting scaffolding and the employer asked questions at the application stage regarding disability, health and whether the applicant has a fear of heights.

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3. What questions can I be asked about my mental health once I’ve been offered a job?

Once you receive a job offer then your new employer is lawfully able to ask you questions about your health.

If your new employer asks questions about your mental health and subsequently becomes concerned due to a mental health issue you may not be able to carry out your job, then it is the employer’s responsibility to seek further advice from your doctor or occupational health.

Should your new employer ask a question about your mental health and then withdraw the job offer without first consulting advice or conducting a further assessment or investigation, then this may be seen direct discrimination and therefore unlawful.

Mental Health is a really important HR issue in the workplace and If you need any help or advice on how to approach it, get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQS – What are the implications of AI in talent management?

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) within the HR sector and its ability to transform the way we interact with candidates and employees is a topic of interest for many businesses.

Recent surveys have revealed the buzz around AI and it’s potential to change HR practices. An IBM survey revealed that almost half of employers believe AI would transform their talent acquisition capabilities as well as transform their payroll and benefits administration.

Businesses are using AI technologies to reduce costs and save time when it comes to their HR – and talent management is an area that AI promises innovation for.

Recruitment is traditionally a labour and time intensive process and can cost your business thousands in recruitment fees and HR salaries when you total all of the time invested in the process.

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AI presents a way to streamline a business’s approach to talent management and to bolster their understanding of talent pools and existing teams, helping businesses to find their next employee and nurture them once they’re onboard.

We’ve explored some of the talent management areas that AI is impacting upon, as well as the potential downsides that the AI trend could have upon candidates and employers alike.

1. Automate candidate screening

AI can be used to reduce the time businesses spend finding the right employee by automating the process and providing more rigorous selection methods that filter out unsuitable CVs before a shortlist reaches the hiring manager.

2. Candidate assessment

AI software is changing the candidate assessment stage by combining techniques such as digital video and overlapping this with predicative analysis, thereby allowing the hiring manager to gain a data-driven understanding of the candidate’s suitability.

3. Skills matching

An applicant’s skill-sets, personality traits, and salary preferences can all be determined by an AI enhanced application system. Similarly, AI is also reinventing the traditional personality test and can produce a ‘score’ which candidates can publicise on their CV so that hiring managers can quickly assess their suitability.

4. Reduce human error

Human error is an inevitability of traditional talent management approaches and one that AI is supposedly able to eradicate completely, whilst also speeding up the process of collecting and compiling candidate and employee data.

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5. Employee onboarding

Ensuring your new hire is regularly contacted throughout the onboarding process can now be overseen by a bot, meaning that tasks such as document collating through to answering employee questions can all be relived of HR teams and carried out by AI powered virtual assistants.

6. Customise training

Once your new team member is onboard it’s vital that they remain engaged. Businesses are using AI to provide the right training for employees by creating a needs-based learning experience using learning data.

7. Entrenching biases

There are concerns that AI designed to enhance talent management could instead serve to perpetuate established biases within hiring and promotions – a very real concern when you consider that AI is a software which will inevitably be infiltrated by the biases of those who set it up.

8. Lack of humanisation

A lack of human interaction throughout the people management process due to the rise of automation is a concern for many within the HR sector. Nothing can compare to a human touch when it comes to talent management, and so while the transactional elements of the process can be enhanced by AI, businesses will need to work hard not to overlook the importance of human interaction – and hopefully in time come to realise it’s ever growing importance.

If you need any HR advice or guidance, please get in touch:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Don’t forget about HR

When many of us think about companies that have made big HR mistakes, we’re quick to jump to the assumption that it’s all the fault of greedy bosses who are more interested in lining their own pockets than doing the right thing by their loyal employees.

Mistakes with administrative processes that result in employees receiving their wages far later than expected.

Employees forced to give up their holiday entitlement because of a last-minute crisis.

Disgruntled employees who are vocal about their negative experiences at work.

The list goes on and there’s no smoke without fire right?

Not always.

Employment legislation exists for a reason, and for the greater good. As an employer, you have a responsibility to make sure that you’re compliant and you’re implementing the best working practices to create an environment that’s fair and nurturing for your employees.

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However, mistakes can happen, and even the most dedicated and ethical employers can find themselves facing extremely difficult circumstances.

When your business is growing fast, and you have a million and one things to balance, you can take your eye off the ball. You can overlook important details. And you can find yourself facing circumstances that you never imagined, but which can put your entire business in jeopardy.

So at this stage, it is imperative what you do next and how you decide to put things right.

If you’re worried that there could be an HR nightmare on the horizon, then we can help. We can assess your current circumstances, and help you to create an action plan that gets things back on the right track as quickly as possible, with the least amount of fuss.

We’re not here to judge – we’re passionate about getting things right, and we understand the challenges that you’re facing. Get in touch: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Job descriptions – why getting them right is so important

We all know what job descriptions are, but how much importance do we actually give them? Writing a good job description should be a really important part of your business, as they provide a road map for potential employees, explaining what the job they are applying for involves.

Here we list a few reasons why job descriptions are indispensable for employers and employees alike:

They set-out expectations

How can you expect someone to do their job if you don’t explain their responsibilities to them properly? Providing applicants with solid job descriptions ensure they understand exactly what will be expected of them if they are selected. Clarity in a job description puts potential employees on the same page as you, and aligns them with your company’s vision and goals and assists you in finding the best person possible for the role.

They empower communication

A well written job description should fully communicate the essential requirements of your vacancy to any applicants. Among other things, they should include a job summary and all the requirements which need to be fulfilled by applicants, such as relevant qualifications and experience. This will avoid any mistaken interpretations being made on what the job role involves.

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They facilitate recruitment and training

Job descriptions need to set out all the important aspects of a particular position, so an employer can easily refer to them when recruiting or training existing employees. All-encompassing job descriptions can improve a company’s ability to manage its people and their respective roles, as well as help them develop both professionally and personally.

They provide structure

Good job descriptions establish structure and discipline within the workforce. In reality, it isn’t that difficult to create them, especially if you involve the employees you already have to help you develop them. As long as they promote the company’s values and re-enforce the company’s culture, job descriptions will help you attract the right people and manage the roles of all your employees effectively.

A well written job description opens the door for a successful hiring process, if you need help or advice get in contact with HR Revolution: +44 203 538 5311 or email: talent@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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Why SMEs need to invest in HR now…

An interview with Silicon Valley investor Marc Andreessen in Business Insider this week has revealed what all HR consultancies know too well; setting up your HR function should be a priority and failing to do so can lead to almost certain catastrophe for your business.

This advice is particularly pertinent for startups, who are known for their focus on revenue generation and encouraging their teams to work long hours to reach their financial goals.

Andreessen has made many large investments into businesses within the technology industry – one of the most popular sectors for startups – so we know his advice will be based on high-profile experience with the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

He specifically advises that companies should look to hire a HR leader when it has somewhere between 50 and 150 employees. Sound advice we can definitely vouch for and which should be taken on board by any company hoping to see not only their revenue grow but their team develop and remain motivated.

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“Most new startups don’t have a designated HR manager, and most CEOs lack the proper HR training. Instead, they rely on the company’s grandiose vision or founder’s social skills to compensate for the lack of basic procedures.

“That typically works well enough the first few months, and then the dust begins to settle, and operational holes become evident.”

The advice from Andreessen on the importance of setting-up your HR function is clear – do it before it’s too late. Focus on creating a robust onboarding process, be transparent with your team about the hard work they will be expected to put in and don’t overlook their development.

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Outsourcing your HR function means you can pick and choose the elements you need, such as support with recruitment, legal documents and ongoing support for your team.

Ultimately a business that prioritises its revenue over its people will end up with neither, so biting the bullet and investing in HR will safeguard not only your employees but your overall business functionality.

HR Revolution provide a fully outsourced solution for businesses of all sizes and sectors. We have hands on experience working with pioneering London-based startups to support their business leaders and ensure they are meeting all of the legal requirements for their team.

Give us a call: +44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk  where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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FRIDAY HR FAQs – Should you set a task at interview?

In essence there is no right or wrong answer to this question, it’s a decision you will need to make based on what competencies and skills you want to assess during the meeting.

As part of the selection process, employers may conduct numerical testing or ask candidates to complete a technical questionnaire to establish their level of knowledge on a certain area of the job.  These are quantitative approaches and provide easily comparable results between candidates.

If you want to find out about a candidates communication skills, how they approach scenarios, what their level of enthusiasm for working in your industry is, or whether they prefer following a process or their gut feeling, then setting a task for the interview could be beneficial.

Tasks require the candidate to come prepared to talk about a particular area of the job or company during their interview. Setting a question accompanied by background information in advance for the candidate to prepare a response, will encourage creative thinking. Your candidate can then plan a well-rounded argument with the benefit of being able to research the topic and fully understand the brief.

Allowing candidates to come prepared with an answer to a task will no doubt help you to get the best out of them and reduce the risk of uncomfortable silences from springing tricky questions on them.

That’s not to say that challenging, on the spot questions should be avoided at interview, and this approach is tried and tested and allows the interviewer to see how the candidate thinks on their feet and whether they react well under pressure.

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However giving a candidate the chance to prepare and hopefully excel on a particular topic is also a useful interview technique, as it can reveal other important qualities and traits about them.

Interviews are generally seen as nerve-wracking, with the employer doing the grilling and the candidate often crumbling under the pressure.

So it’s important to remember that the interview scenario should be an opportunity for you to build rapport by speaking openly and honestly with your potential new team member, and so you should want them to do their best and hope they leave the interview feeling positive about working for your company.

Consider using an interview task to dig a bit deeper into why a candidate wants the job. The right task, which focusses on a plausible work scenario or issue, can reveal what the candidate’s ideas are about the industry, their plans to develop their position (or even wider team and business), and how their previous experience has set them up for the challenge.

You may want to suggest they prepare a PowerPoint presentation or bring handouts, as these will also give you an insight into their writing style, presentation skills and also how committed they are to getting the job depending on how well they prepare.

If you have any handy hints, tips or real life experiences we would love to hear them, please reply in the comment section below.

Or get in contact:+44 203 538 5311 or email: hello@hrrevolution.co.uk or visit www.hrrevolution.co.uk where our expert CIPD HR professionals are waiting to help you with any questions you may have.

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