HR Improve - Onboarding: How to recruit without falling foul of the law

Watch the webinar video and study our key takeaway points from our latest seminar focused on Onboarding.

Our 2023 webinar programme is focused on supporting HR teams to improve the effectiveness and productivity of the organisations they work for, equipping them to best handle key issues and improve their business through reducing their risk, developing their talent and future proofing their organisation #HRImprove.

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The key takeaway points are set out below

What to be aware of when recruiting

  • Employers must not discriminate against a candidate in:
    • the arrangements made for deciding to whom to offer employment, such as the location and timing of interviews
    • the terms on which employment is offered, such as the place of work
    • not offering the candidate employment.
  • Employers can be vicariously liable for the acts of their employees and agents, for example where an employment agency uses a discriminatory job advert to advertise a role for the employer.
  • Job applicants will be data subjects and any personal data provided to an employer as part of the recruitment process will be subject to the requirements of the UKGDPR. Employers should ensure that an applicant privacy notice is readily available prior to candidates completing an application form. Employers also need to carefully consider for how long they need to keep the data of unsuccessful candidates and ensure it is destroyed at the end of that period. 

Improving your recruitment process

  • Review policies and procedures to ensure they are up to date, and train employees involved in the recruitment process.
  • Follow the EHRC Employment Statutory Code of Practice: employercode.pdf (, for example making reasonable adjustment where appropriate to support disabled applicants.
  • Keep records of the process followed and decisions made but remember that these could be disclosed in an Employment Tribunal!
  • Keep recruitment processes focused on the vacancy, that is what is needed and how it can be performed and ensure that job descriptions and person specifications align with this.
  • Be prepared to discuss culture and working practices to attract candidates. 
  • Consider what pre-employment background checks are required and whether there are any conditions you want to place on the offer of employment.
  • Consider whether you require a sponsor licence and check that successful candidates have permission to work in the UK. 

Tricky issues

  • Remember that sponsor licence applications and visa applications can take time to process and build this into your recruitment process.
  • If you decide not to apply for a sponsor licence, ensure that you have clear reasons for this decision and document what these are.
  • Remember to keep records of right to work checks.
  • Decide how the organisation wants to treat applications from former employees and ensure that any decisions are followed consistently but avoid blacklisting.
  • Be consistent in feedback given to both successful and unsuccessful applicants and ensure any feedback can be supported objectively.
  • If it comes to light that an employee lied during the recruitment process, follow your disciplinary process.
  • Beware the rising use of AI by employers and candidates alike!


This information is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. Please contact us for specific advice on your circumstances. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024.



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