The recruitment industry counts for over £26 billion in the UK * and is growing. However, hirers are facing a shrinking pool of candidates which is making the search for local talent difficult and time intensive.
The latest employee outlook report, commissioned by the REC highlights that over 95% of employers feel they have no spare workforce capacity and may have to add to their resources in 2016. These are testing times, as companies are courting similar skills and at the same time looking for ways to reduce their cost of hire. Combine this with changes in employment and labour laws, the pressure on recruitment companies to meet with their legal and ethical responsibilities has increased dramatically.
Recruitment companies have a duty to ensure that the jobseekers they represent meet their clients’ expectations and are properly vetted and compliant. It is therefore important to understand what we need to know and record in order to satisfy those obligations.
If you are a job seeker, what should you expect?
Here are some key elements that we recommend any prospective candidate should take into consideration before entering the job market.
1. Rights to work
An Employment Agency or Business is usually required to ensure that all candidates are eligible to work in the UK and be clear about the nature of their eligibility, before presenting them to their client. Therefore they will ask to see proof of this (ideally a passport and visa). This is similar to the requirements an employer would have when they hire someone. The difference for recruitment companies, is that companies ask us to obtain evidence of eligibility before submitting a candidate to a job. Looking at a passport is not always enough. Recruitment companies also need to keep a copy to prove that they have made these checks.
If you want to know more specifically about types of documents this may include then the Home Office website gives a comprehensive list as to what documents (passport/ Visa/ birth certificate) can support this.
2. Registration form
All job seekers who register with an agency or employment business should expect to complete a registration document. This usually confirms personal details (address, name, employment history) and is also used to gain confirmation from the applicant that the information they are giving is true, that they agree to work with the recruitment company and that they also respect the confidentiality of the company to which they are applying. Think about it. If you were an employer you would be reassured that this is happening.
3. Proof of address
In order to confirm that a candidate is who they say there are and lives at a given address, you may be required to show proof by way of a utility bill or statement. This is non negotiable if you are about to start a temporary assignment through the agency.
4. Copies of Education Certificates &/or Professional Body Membership
Many employers seek evidence that candidates have the necessary qualifications to do the work and they expect their recruiters to confirm this. If you are applying for a graduate role, for example, you will need to present a degree certificate at some stage in the process.
5. Criminal checks / background checks
With the rise in fraud and criminal activity, it goes without saying that some jobs require criminal background checks. For example, if you work with children, you will need to have a DBS check at the very least. If you work in financial services you should expect to have your credit rating checked amongst other background checks. If you are temping for a recruitment company, you may be required to undertake further checks, dependant on the sector and type of company you plan to work at.
6. Proof of Earnings
Some companies are now requesting substantiation of candidates’ current earnings with recent payslips and their most recent P60 form. We have seen this more frequently for sales related roles, where a substantial proportion of the income is commission based. Some employers use this to verify sales’ achievements.
Generally companies request an absolute minimum of two employment referees from individuals who are qualified to comment on work performance. However within certain sectors it is not unusual to seek 7 years worth of references with confirmation of any gaps in that period. References are used to, not only try and gauge performance (although this is harder to achieve), but also to substantiate dates with previous employers, confirm earnings and also reasons for leaving. Some companies check the references before deciding who to interview. They are a fast and efficient way to decide who to interview, especially when here are time constraints. Your recruitment company will advise you of this and may be required to take up references on behalf of the company. They will always take up references if you are temping with them.
8. Freelance/ Temporary Worker documentation
The rules around freelancing are extremely delicate. If you haven’t freelanced before then we suggest, before you jump in, to do your research and understand the legal implications you have. The organisations APSCO and the REC (Recruitment & Employment Confederation) are a great source of information for this. For Boyce Recruitment, the majority of our workforce are temporary workers on PAYE. Although this is much more straightforward and transparent , the paperwork and record keeping involved is much more complex. Here are some of the records we will need from you :
Declaration of work history , completion go an Agency workers agreement, bank details and national insurance, P45 or,P46.
9. Assessments and Psychometric tests
For many professional careers conducting in-depth assessments to endorse a candidates credentials is the norm. This may involve a technical skills tests, a presentation, Psychometric Testing and Personality Profiling. These may be conducted by qualified assessors and administered either by the Recruitment company or the employer.
10. Data Protection
As a recruitment company we process personal data in relation to our own staff, work-seekers and individual client contacts.
It is vitally important that we abide by the principles of the Data protection Act 1998, which is there to ensure that Data is processed fairly and lawfully, it is kept securely and is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it is accurate, relevant and up to date. Data may only be processed with the consent of the person whose data is held. By instructing your recruitment company to look for work and providing personal data contained in a CV, you will be giving consent to processing details for work-finding purposes.
My reasons for writing this article is not to put you off applying for a new job. After all a good recruitment company will make this process easy for you. Meeting new companies and then starting a new position can be exciting and extremely rewarding.
However, it is important to remember that the process for recruitment companies involves a lot more than just building a candidate network and sending cvs to jobs. It is extremely helpful if you understand that, even at the very early stages of your search for work, there are so many elements to the vetting process.
Meeting with your recruiter (either online or face to face) will give you the chance to discuss the jobs you are interested in as well as understand what is involved every step of the way. Hopefully we will be able to make this a smooth and enjoyable process and demonstrate to you the value of the work we do.
*Skipton Business Finance