Recruiting? You might get more than you bargained for

Recent months have seen thousands of people being made redundant. Despite all the schemes put in place to help businesses and individuals, some companies simply haven’t been able to maintain operation at the same level as the start of the year, and that means there are a lot of people chasing the available jobs.

This point was made fairly starkly recently when a hotel reported that it had received more than 1,000 applications for a receptionist role. It had only expected 30. Dealing with the volume of applications is one thing: weeding out the people who actually have the skills or experience to do the job is quite another.

A recent survey by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found that those employers who are looking for new staff are becoming more confident about starting to hire as their businesses start to return to work after the lockdown. Of course, some businesses have been extremely busy and needed to hire during lockdown, whilst others have been biding their time and waiting to see what a post-lockdown business world looks like. But the fact that businesses are now actively hiring at the same time as growing numbers of people are looking for work means that employers could suddenly see a significant rise in applications.

How to manage job applications

The easiest way to reduce the burden of sifting through hundreds of applications is to work with a recruitment partner. That way, you’ll still see just the most relevant and useful CVs to help you take the next step. It may take longer to get to this point, however, because each application will need to be read and considered.

You could also be clear in your job adverts about exactly what you’re looking for. This may deter people who are applying for ‘anything’ and leave the path clear for the applicants who have the skills or experience you need. This isn’t guaranteed, however: we have been working on recruitment for some very specific roles, only to find that we are getting hundreds of applicants, many of whom have none of the skills or qualifications needed.

Instead, employers may have to accept that, for the moment at least, you will be over-subscribed if you advertise a new post. At the same time, you need to have a policy for how you manage rejections, because poor management could reflect badly on your brand reputation for years to come. More importantly, we’re hearing that people are struggling with low self-esteem around rejection on top of poor mental health because of the challenges of the pandemic, so it remains the employer’s role to handle applications responsibly and with empathy wherever possible

Will you be claiming the job retention bonus?

At the beginning of July, the Chancellor announced a scheme known as the Job Retention Bonus, to help employers across the country save jobs wherever possible.

The bonus relates to employees who have been furloughed, and who might otherwise be made redundant rather than being brought back into the business. If the employer brings those people back and employs them between November and January – November being the month after the furlough scheme ends – the government will pay the business a bonus of £1,000 for each worker.

In order to qualify for this bonus, the employee must earn at least the lower earnings limit for national insurance – currently £520 per month – during the entire period. The scheme is designed to help employers retain staff who would otherwise be at risk of redundancy.

Worries about bonus abuse

The announcement, which the Chancellor said could amount to a £9bn support package if the bonus was claimed for all furloughed workers, has led to some concern that employers may claim the bonus even for staff whose jobs are not at all at risk.

In fact, a range of national brands have already said that they wouldn’t be claiming the bonus, and developer Barrett Homes said that not only would they not claim the bonus, they would also pay back the furlough money claimed from the during lockdown.

Will you claim?

If your business has been considering redundancies because of the financial impact of lockdown – or because you have discovered that you may be able to run your business more efficiently with fewer people – this might help you to keep those jobs secure for a little longer. This gives you the chance to get back to business, improve your cash flow and perhaps keep some of those jobs in the long term.

Conditions for the scheme

  • Your employee must have been furloughed on the existing Job Retention Scheme and HMRC must have made a payment to you in respect of that employee.
  • The employee must return to work from furlough in November and be continuously employed until January 31st 2021 at the earliest. Those workers who have already returned from furlough may also qualify the employer to claim on the bonus scheme.
  • The employee must earn an average of more than £520 per month before tax during this period.

Advisers and business experts have expressed hope that the process of applying and receiving the claims is not too bureaucratic, so that businesses who have taken employees back can be sure of getting the bonus promptly in February 2021, when it is due to be paid.


Have you been considering redundancy for some of your employers? Has this news changed your plans? If you are still contemplating redundancies, you'll need to make sure you follow the correct processes, including fair selection - for help and support, contact us today.


Have you been affected by CV fraud?

As we move into a position where a large number of people are going to be job-hunting and some employers need to take on increasing numbers of staff, it’s important to make sure that your business is not losing money because of fraudulent candidates.

Research has showed that around 20% of CVs have some sort of misdirection on them, and feedback from employers has highlighted that nearly 50% have experienced candidates who lied about their degree qualifications.

CV and job application fraud has a knock-on effect on your business and finances. If someone is prepared to lie on their CV, they are less likely to be trustworthy employees. And if they have lied about their qualifications, they may not have the essential knowledge, skills and capability that you require for the position.

Fraud in the digital age

Whilst it’s true that it’s harder to commit CV or job application fraud now that so much information is available online for third party sources, it doesn’t seem to have prevented some candidates from trying to get one over on employers.

This type of fraud is often discovered too late: the employee has been hired, paid and invested in. In order to correct the problem you’ll have to spend time and money on dismissing the original employee and starting your recruitment all over again.

  • That’s why it’s so important to have a rigorous screening and referencing programme as part of your recruitment process. And it’s not just about having the process in place; it’s about making it clear to candidates that you will be checking their details for accuracy and honesty. This helps your business in a number of ways:
    Discourages fraudulent candidates from applying for your jobs
  • Enhances your reputation as an employer that values honesty and transparency
  • Gives you confidence that you are spending your recruitment budget efficiently and wisely
  • Builds a strong relationship between you and your candidates/new hires
  • Allows you to concentrate on growing your business successfully


What does screening and referencing offer?

Screening and referencing allows you to make sure that your candidates are who they say they are. It also gives you the opportunity to ensure your candidates have the right to work in the UK – which will become particularly important on January 1st 2021, when new immigration procedures come into force – and it means you can check qualifications, experience and professional memberships.

Screening as part of your recruitment process helps to give your candidates confidence in your process and gives your business confidence in the candidates, and it should be built into your recruitment process as a matter of course.

Does home-working affect teamwork and socialisation?

We’ve been thrust into a situation where homeworking has become the norm for many. But is it the best option for everyone? Not necessarily. There are lots of reasons why homeworking is good; studies show that some people are more productive when working from home, for example. But equally, not everyone has enough space to work well from home; not everyone has a good-enough broadband connection; not everyone wants to stay at home all the time.

So how are businesses going to approach the issue of homeworking now? Here are some of the pros and cons that we’ve discovered through working with our clients during this period:

• Productivity – for many, homeworking has resulted in greater productivity. The lack of a morning and evening commute means that people can get straight to their desks, and often take less time for lunch and are less distracted during the day.

• Caring responsibilities – homeworking can be useful for those with caring responsibilities – either for children, parents or other relatives. Being in the home means they can manage any visits or appointments needed and can adjust their working hours if possible, to accommodate school runs. Studies have shown that people who work at home for this reason are often very productive because they are aware of the flexibility they enjoy from their employer. However, this is a balance: managers and business owners will want to make sure that the employer is able to perform all their tasks from home and won’t be disturbed or distracted by their other responsibilities.

• Teamwork – teams often work best when they are in the same place, so homeworking could have a negative effect on the way that teams work together. Keeping a remote team working closely together requires more planning, more effort and more measurement, so businesses offering this opportunity will need to make sure they are providing the support needed to keep teams together.

• New hires – working in the office is a positive part of the induction process for new hires. It gives them a chance to integrate into the business, to get to know the people they are working with and to have a sense of purpose from day one. Starting a new job remotely – as many people have discovered during the pandemic – is a strange and difficult way to begin a new job and, like managing teams, requires more effort from line managers to ensure that new hires are able to work well.

• Managing absence – it’s easier for work to be picked up by others when everyone is in the office. Handing over tasks or projects ahead of holidays, during a period of long-term absence or even just for a week’s sickness is much easier when everyone is in the same place. Managing work handovers remotely is more time-consuming and requires advance organisation.

In the end, of course, this is going to be a choice for each business, based on the type of business and the job role. But it’s more than likely that many employees will be asking either for full-time homeworking or a split between office and home and businesses need to have a plan in place to deal with this new way of doing things.