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  • Writer's pictureJerri Ryder

How well do you REALLY know your staff?

How well do you REALLY know your colleagues and staff?

I have recently embarked on refresher training for Safer Recruitment, which as NSPCC describes as ‘is a set of practices to help make sure your staff and volunteers are suitable to work with children and young people’.

The training is meant for settings in which employees are working with, or around children and young people. It is disturbing, but essential. It made me think about other environments I’ve worked in, and the recruitment practices they follow (or not).

Whilst you may not work with children, many of the Safer Recruitment guidelines are applicable in other sectors as well, and help to ensure that the people you hire really are who they claim to be. Do they really have the experience they claim to have?

How tight are your HR procedures?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself, as a starting point. Do you:

  • Create a job description and person spec for each vacancy?

  • Agree shortlisting criteria before publishing a vacancy?

  • Explicitly state in job adverts that you scrutinise experience, qualifications and references?

  • Provide a standardised application form?

  • Allow CV submissions?

  • Check for gaps in education/employment history and ask questions?

  • Give candidates a copy of their application form and ask them to sign and date it before the interview? Even if they signed the original?

  • Request references from personal email addresses?

  • Allow ‘open’ references?

  • Compare reference details with application form?

  • Request a telephone number for referees?

  • Independently verify each reference via telephone call?

  • Use a weighting grid to shortlist?

  • Have at least two responsible members of staff involved in the shortlisting process?

  • Shortlist separately and come together to compare notes, or shortlist together?

  • Demand the same robust procedures for temporary staff/contractors/ volunteers?

  • Share your processes and recruitment checklist with your team?

  • Follow GDPR practices?

  • Understand and comply with which vacancies require a convictions disclosure statement?

  • Explicitly state this in the job advert?

If these questions flag potential holes in your recruitment process, there are many online resources available. NSPCC offer online Safer Recruitment training at

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