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Recruiting and hiring

Advertise a job with Universal Jobmatch

Employers can use Universal Jobmatch to advertise jobs online and automatically match them to suitable jobseekers


How to become an apprentice – qualifications, pay and training, take on an apprentice - funding, employer grants

Employing staff for the first time

The main things you need to consider when hiring an employee for the first time or if you've never hired an employee before. For empoyee liability insurance, see the Legaleze Insurance section.


An offer of employment will usually be subject to satisfactory references. However, subject to anything to the contrary in an employee's contract, there is no legal requirement to give a reference. If a reference is given, it should be fair and accurate, otherwise the employer giving the reference  may be liable to the former employee; or a referee may wrongly indicate the applicant is unsuitable, in which case if the offer is withdrawn on those grounds, the organisation could face legal action by the applicant.

For the taking and giving out of references, see ACAS "References and checking".
If a former employer simply fails to provide any kind of reference. the organisation needs a policy of what to do in circumstances such as the non-supply of a reference - an initial 'probationary' period might be an acceptable way of proceeding.

Detailed guidance on confidentiality when giving and receiving references may be found in the Employment section of the Information Commissioner's Office website at
There is guidance on what to do when a worker asks to see his or her own reference. This includes guidelines on what information it is reasonable to withhold if the reference enables a third party (eg the author of the reference) to be identified.

Jobcentre Plus help for recruiters

Support from Jobcentre Plus if you're recruiting - including wage incentives, recruitment advice, Youth Contract, Work Choice and other employment schemes

Chaperone service for child actors

Check your local council for advice on chaperone services for children in the entertainment business

Check an employee's right to work documents

Employee's permission to work in the UK - check they have the right documents and make sure you're not prosecuted for employing an illegal worker

What's new item:

23/09/2013: UK Visas & Immigration and GLA pilot guidance for SMEs
Online support will be available to small and medium-sized enterprises seeking to recruit skilled international employees via the launch of a three-month pilot by UK Visas & Immigration and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to provide a “toolkit” of information on the GLA website containing:
* a simple overview of the process of sponsoring an overseas worker;
* a best practice guide; and
* frequently asked questions

01/07/2013: Croatia becomes 28th EU Member State
Employment of Croatian nationals
Croatia became the 28th EU member country on 1 July 2013. Under post-accession arrangements in Annex V of the Accession Treaty, EU member states, and the EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) are allowed to impose transitional restrictions on Croatian nationals wishing to access their labour markets for a period of up to five years, and in case of serious disturbance to their labour markets or the threat thereof, for a further two years, subject to notifying the Commission.
Under the Accession of Croatia Regulations 2013, employers have a duty to prevent illegal working by carrying out document checks to confirm if a Croatian national either: a) has unrestricted access to the UK labour market as they are exempt from work authorisation, or b) holds a valid worker authorisation document allowing them to carry out the type of work in question.
Detailed guidance is available in the Home Office publication Guidance for employers on preventing illegal working in the UK: Croatian nationals

Check if someone can work in the UK
Find out if a potential employee has the right to work in the UK and what documents employers should check. Use the Government’s online tool.

Checks employers can make on job applicants
Checks employers might need to run on job applicants, including right to work in the UK, Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS - formerly CRB) checks and health checks

Child employment
Minimum working age and pay for children, how to apply for performance licenses and what local council bylaws can say about employing children

Child performance licence (England, Scotland & Wales)
You need a child performance licence if you pay a child to participate in a public performance, sporting event or modelling assignment

Child work permit (England and Wales)
To employ a child in the UK, you may need to get a work permit from your local authority

Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly Criminal Records Bureau)
Carry out criminal record checks on potential employees, or check the progress of your criminal record check - phone, minicom, online enquiry form.

the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) s.56 makes it a criminal offence for employers to require someone to produce the results of a Subject Access Request (SAR) under the DPA relating to their previous convictions and cautions as a condition of employment or engagement (other than as required by law or justified in the public interest). DPA s.56 also prevents contracts from requiring certain records as a condition for providing or receiving a service. It does not, however, prevent such requests where the record is required by law or is justified in the public interest.

Some employers have imposed a requirement on employees or candidates to make such an SAR as a means of ascertaining spent convictions, which usual searches would not do. Although this practice has been discouraged by the Information Commissioner’s Office, DPA 1998, s. 56 which actually makes it an offence is not yet in force.

Those employers who have not already done so should review their recruitment practices to ensure they do not contravene this legislation. If found guilty of the offence they may be fined up to £5,000 in the magistrates court or face an unlimited fine in the Crown Court..

What’s New items on this topic [go to the What's New page or archive for the full item]

25/01/2018: Disclosure and Barring Service updates identity checking guidelines


The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has released new identity checking guidelines for standard and enhanced disclosure checks. The changes to the guidelines are in response to the DBS aligning the identity checking process with right to work checks, which state that employers must root out illegal working in the UK by undergoing document checks on potential hires. Although the new guidelines have been running in tandem with the previous guidelines since October 2017, the previous guidelines will be replaced and will cease to apply.


Equality monitoring: Employers' responsibilities
Employers' responsibilities for diversity monitoring: gender, ethnicity, sexuality and disability balance in the workplace - including data protection

Equality and prevention of discrimination
Discrimination policy and equal opportunities in the workplace - sex discrimination, disabled workers, older people, compulsory retirement.
What's new item:
24/10/2012: Supreme Court upholds Court of Appeal in Birmingham equal pay case
Birmingham City Council (Appellant) v Abdulla and others (Respondents)
[2012] UKSC 47

Ex-offenders and employment
The law on criminal records and employment, including spent convictions, rehabilitation and exceptions for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS - formerly CRB) checks

National Minimum Wage calculator
Check if your pay matches the National Minimum Wage or if you're owed payments from past years, employers can check if they're paying the National Minimum Wage

National minimum wage: accommodation
If a worker gets accommodation as part of their job it can count towards the National Minimum Wage

Penalties for employing illegal workers
You can be fined £10,000 for employing an illegal worker - find out what happens and what you can do

Reasonable adjustments for disabled workers
Employers must make reasonable adjustments to make sure disabled workers are not seriously disadvantaged when doing their jobs

Recruitment and disabled people
Avoiding discrimination against disabled people in recruitment – advertising the job, encouraging applications, reasonable adjustments, work choice programme

UK visa sponsorship for employers
UK visa sponsorship information for employers - sponsorship licences, requirements, certificates and visa tiers

Using a recruitment agency to find staff
Employers' responsibilities when using agencies to find staff, including health and safety, access to facilities, vacancies, continuous employment, transfer fees and complaints

[Page updated: 20/02/2018]


More information>

Recruiting and hiring
Contracts of employment and working   hours
Statutory leave and time off
Trade unions and workers rights
Dismissing staff and redundancies