Developing your recruitment policy

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In this section:

Your Recruitment Policy

Key Elements

Be clear that your recruitment policy follows safer recruitment guidelines. It should be fair and must be compliant with all relevant legislation, and help lead to positive experiences and outcomes for people who use care.

An explicit written recruitment policy can help show your organisation’s commitment to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of people.

Key statements from your policy may be included in:

  • publicity materials
  • recruitment websites
  • advertisements
  • applicant information packs
  • person specifications
  • job descriptions
  • competency frameworks
  • induction training

Links to further guidance and practice examples

Skills for Care- Values based recruitment and retention guide

Skills for Care – Employing your own care and support information hub

Principles of the National Care Standards

SSSC Codes of Practice

SSSC registration regulations 6 month rule

Care service record keeping & notification requirements

Personal data and record keeping

Practice example 1 Pre & post employment checks

Practice example 2 Recruitment and selection policy

Practice example 3 Recruitment checklist

Practice example 4 Recruitment policy

Practice example 5 Recruitment training

Further Considerations

Your policy should refer to the stages of the recruitment process and how your organisation intends to approach these. For example:

  • use of assessment centres,
  • composition of interview panels
  • retention of applicant information 
  • how offers of employment will be made
  • conditions of employment such as professional registration or probationary periods.

The provision of references to other social service employers on behalf of an employee (or former employee) providing information on suitability is an essential undertaking. You should have clear guidance
on your organisation’s approach to this. You should consider:

  • Who should complete the reference?
  • Does it need to be counter-signed at a higher level?
  • Employer responsibilities as outlined in the SSSC Codes of Practice for Employers, in particular Code 1.3.

Consider highlighting that an applicant having convictions is not necessarily a barrier to their employment.

A robust procedure will include a process for dealing with recruitment complaints.

Consider highlighting that an applicant having convictions is not necessarily a barrier to their employment.

A robust procedure will include a process for dealing with recruitment complaints.

Case Scenarios



Equal Opportunities

Key Elements

Equal opportunity principles should be applied throughout the recruitment process but should not be seen as a barrier to rigour. 

Ensuring that your practices and strategies promote equal opportunities and people’s human rights should not make employers overly cautious. The key is to treat all applicants fairly and ensure people’s individual needs during recruitment are considered.

Collecting sensitive information on disabilities, race or sexuality to help monitor equal opportunities is acceptable but, only if the information is used for that purpose. Where possible use anonymised information. If there is any doubt as to whether adopted practices and strategies do comply with equal opportunities and/or human rights legislation, consider contacting the Equality and Human Rights Commission for Scotland for advice or seek independent legal advice.


Links to further guidance and practice examples

Equality and Human Rights Commission for Scotland

Encouraging men into childcare


Further Considerations

A tool such as the personal interview is an effective way of looking at skill, suitability and fit.  Applicants should be made aware that:

  • this kind of interview is a key part of the recruitment process and that by submitting their application form, they understand this
  • if they find this kind of probing difficult, they may take the opportunity to withdraw.

All applicants should be asked to address the same issues at interview (though information revealed by individuals may of course take the discussion in varying directions and require further supplementary questions that will differ for each candidate).  The areas explored must be those which relate to the post applied for.


Case Scenarios


Involving People Who Use Services in Recruitment and Selection

Key Elements

It is good practice to involve people who use services and/or their relatives in recruitment. This should be carried out in a meaningful and appropriate way which is in line with your recruitment policy.

Various methods include:

  • visits by applicants to facilities
  • groups of people who use services meeting applicants individually where a set of agreed questions is put to the applicants
  • a group of people who use services meeting a group of applicants in order to undertake a group exercise
  • asking people who use services to help develop the person specification for the post without being directly involved in the interview process or including people who use care as a member of a panel interview.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

Practice example 1 Interview by young person

Practice example 2 Involving service users

Practice example 3 OSC children’s involvement in staff recruitment

Practice example 4 RATS programme

Practice example 5 Service user’s interview report


Further Considerations

You should think about the following issues.

  • Are you exposing people who use services to individuals who may not have had any PVG checks?
  • Have you provided adequate training and support for people who use services to undertake the task you have asked them to do?
  • Are people clear about their role within the whole process and have you helped to manage their expectations?
  • Have you made clear whether people using the service will contribute directly to making the recruitment decision?
  • Have you thought about how you will manage any personal biases in relation to age, sex discrimination and other equalities issues?

In planning how you will involve people who use care in your recruitment, you should think about these issues and how you will mitigate any risks.



Case Scenarios





Application Form

Key Elements

A focused but comprehensive application form or online process can make a strong statement on rigour and commitment to safety and can deter those who know their practice is unsafe whilst encouraging those who wish to work for a quality employer.

Application forms allow an employer to obtain a common set of core data from all applicants.

An application form should seek:

  • full identifying details
  • a full employment history in chronological order including part time and voluntary employment, including start/end dates, reason for ceasing and explanations for periods not in employment or education/training
  • a statement of academic and/or vocational qualifications relevant to the position
  • any involvement in of disciplinary or grievance procedures and any ‘live’ formal warnings
  • details of current or former registration with the SSSC or any other relevant regulatory body, declaration of any finding by a regulatory body and any conditions that apply to current registration
  • details of any PVG scheme membership
  • a declaration of any family or close relationship to existing employees and relatives of people using the service
  • details of referees: one referee should be the applicant’s current or most recent employer and minimum of two references should be sought, making clear that references will not be accepted from relatives or friends
  • a statement of the personal qualities and experience the person believes are relevant to his/her suitability for the post and how he/she meets the person specification.

The form, if paper based, requires to be signed by the applicant.

Be clear that as a prospective employer you may contact any former employer in addition to the referees nominated by the applicant.

  • Applicants should be warned that if employed, failure to disclose important information may lead to dismissal if discovered at a later date.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

ACAS –recruitment guidance

Disclosure Scotland- guidance on spent/unspent convictions

Practice example 1 Applicant profile – Availability and work history (care assistant)

Practice example 2 Application form (care assistant)

Practice example 3 Application form

Practice example 4 Declaration


Further Considerations

Serious consideration should be given to developing post-specific application forms where contact with vulnerable people is important. At the very least, the additional information regarding convictions needed for certain posts should be sought in an addendum to an organisation-wide form.


The law requires the following always to be disclosed

  • any unspent convictions, and
  • any spent convictions contained in a list of offences that must always be disclosed.

Make clear on the application form that Disclosure Scotland/ PVG scheme membership checks or regulatory body registration checks will be carried out.

Ensure application forms are not discriminatory. For example, to require a form to be filled out ‘in your own handwriting’, where written English is not relevant to the post, may discriminate against applicants whose first language is not English or applicants with disabilities that affect writing ability – an issue which may be avoided by making an electronic version of the form available.


Case Scenarios



Innovative Recruitment

Key Elements

Ensure your initiatives complement the SSSC value based recruitment standards

Think about different routes to recruitment to obtain a broader diversity of applications, for example:

  • local newspapers
  • websites
  • shopping mall
  • open days
  • local window advertising
  • social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
  • organisations who help long term unemployed back into work
  • schools and higher education institutes
  • school leaver programmes
  • local representative bodies and networks
  • national representative bodies and networks.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

Skills for care -value based recruitment

Developing the young workforce

Community renewal

A question of care?

Principles of the National Care Standards

SSSC Codes of Practice





Case Scenarios



Retaining recruitment Information

Key Elements

Only retain information obtained through a recruitment exercise for as long as there is a clear business need for it.

Links to further guidance and practice examples

ICO-   Quick guide to employment practice

ACAS-  Personal data and record keeping

Retention of PVG and Disclosure Information

Disclosure of employee information under TUPE

Personal data and record keeping

Quick guide to employment practices code

Retention of disclosure information

Subject access and employment references


Further Considerations

You may choose to retain recruitment records for a longer period of time, six months to one year, in case of a recruitment complaint, discrimination challenge, or to assist in the assessment of ways to improve the recruitment process for future vacancies.

You may wish to keep more information for longer about successful candidates. The Care Inspectorate expects employers to retain full records for people who are appointed.


Case Scenarios


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