With unemployment at an all time low, finding a new and suitable member of staff can be quite a challenge.  It may be very tempting to welcome with open arms the first person to apply for your vacancy but employing the wrong person can be worse than having no one at all.   Here are some hints and tips to help you ensure that the person you have found is the right person for the job.


  • Take time to work out just what skills you need for the job on offer and then stick to the list you have put together.
  • Set a closing date for your vacancy and put it into your advert.
  • Advertise as widely as you can afford.
  • Use the Job Centre.  Not everyone registered at the Job Centre is unemployable.  Really good people get made redundant and have to register at the Job Centre in order to get any benefits to which they may be entitled.
  • Make sure your advertisement is not discriminatory.  “young enthusiastic waitress required” is discriminatory on the grounds of sex and age.  Be careful with your wording.  Remember it is unlawful to discriminate.
  • Do wait until the closing date before you start to assess if any of the applicants are suitable.  It is frustrating to offer someone a job and then have someone more suitable apply for the post.
  • At interview, test for the skills you have identified.  If you need a typist then get them to do a typing test; if you need a gardener check that they can tell a rose bush from a lettuce.
  • Use a competence based application form, “tell me about a time when you have…….”  You can then explore their answers at interview.  CVs don’t tell you enough and may be a work of fiction.  Get a pro-forma application form from B&D Roper Ltd.
  • Get a reference.  Why did your applicant leave their last job?  Would their previous employer re-employ?  However short the reference there are often clues and if there are no clues pick up the telephone to the previous employer!
  • If you offer someone a job make the offer conditional on satisfactory references


  • Employ someone just because you like them.  Being likeable is not the same as being skillful.
  • Employ someone just because you know their parents or friends.  It can be difficult to manage someone who thinks they have the inside track.
  • Accept a reference from a friend, always get a reference from a previous employer.
  • Accept a reference handed to you at interview.  You have no way of knowing who wrote it!
  • Ask about their sickness record, that is unlawful.  But you can ask if they have any disabilities that may hinder their ability to do the job.
  • Expect your new employee to hit the ground running, we all take time to settle into a new job.

Probationary Periods

  • Set a probationary period and actively monitor and evaluate your new employee’s progress towards doing the job well.
  • Make sure your new employee knows the objectives they have to achieve in order to successfully complete their probationary period.
  • Include attendance as one of the parameters you are assessing.  There is no point in having a skilful employee who regularly takes odd days off with unidentifiable illnesses.
  • Mentor and/or coach the new employee to help them achieve their probationary objectives.
  • Dismiss if they fail to achieve the objectives.  Don’t wait until it is too late to divest yourself of an unsatisfactory employee.

Pro-forma application forms are available from B&D Roper Ltd.  Get one through www.bdroper-hr.co.uk