Recruitment Policy and Procedures

Reviewed by: CEO & Team Managers
Ratified by The Mentoring Lab Board of Directors: January 2019
Reviewed: 19/04/2023
Next Review: April 2026


The Recruitment Procedure has been developed to attempt to ensure that The Mentoring Lab recruits the right person for the job in a fair and non-prejudiced manner.

The Mentoring Lab is committed to equality of opportunity.

When recruiting and employing staff, volunteers and management committee members it is our policy to:

Maintain and improve the quality of the workforce by appointing people who best meet the requirements of the job.

To ensure that the recruitment process is open, fair, systematic and objective, to combat prejudice and bias.

To treat all employees and potential employees with respect and care, ensuring that no-one is unjustifiably disadvantaged, whether on the grounds of age, disability, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation or trade union membership or activities.
To stand the test of fairness and openness to an independent observer.

The Mentoring Lab is committed to providing opportunities for employment and volunteering to previous problematic drug and/or alcohol users providing they have been drug free for a period of two years.


The aim of the Recruitment Procedure is to ensure:

That no job applicant receives less favourable treatment

That no job applicant is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be justified

That, so far as the law allows, positive action is taken to promote equality of opportunity.


There are three laws in existence which make it unlawful to discriminate against anyone, whether directly or indirectly, in their employment, or when applying for employment. (An explanation of direct and indirect discrimination can be found in section 17 of this document). The two laws are:

-The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
-The Race Relations Act 1976/ 2000
-Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Furthermore, the law allows The Mentoring Lab to encourage and train people from under-represented groups to take advantage of the opportunities available. This is called positive action.


When a post becomes vacant or a new job is created the job description and person specification will be drawn up by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and relevant Team managers.

The CEO will then agree an interview panel, which may include a
co-opted member. The panel should be as mixed as is practicable in terms of an Equal Opportunities Policy balance.


All posts will be advertised externally and internally at the same time.

All posts will be advertised as widely as possible including local notice boards, bulletins, internet etc.

All full-time and part-time posts will be advertised in either the national and/or local newspapers as appropriate to the post.

Advertising practice will be carried out in line with Equal Opportunities to ensure the widest possible response to all vacancies.

The Mentoring Lab will consider, seek and use the most effective ways of bringing job vacancies to the attention of people or groups who may be disadvantaged.

The wording of the advertisement needs to be drawn up in conjunction with the job description and the person specification and will go through the same process as outlined above.

The advertisement can include a commitment to training for individuals who have valuable life experience but not qualifications.

The person specification within the advert should try to be as specific as possible. This is in order to try to reduce the inquiry ratio to actual applicants.

The advert should also include:

-address and telephone number of The Mentoring Lab
-contact name to obtain application forms
-closing date for applications – the closing time is deemed to be 5.00pm on the date stated

Staff who answer the telephone to applicants are to give a consistent message to all enquirers.

Names and addresses of all enquirers will be kept on log sheets. The log sheets will be kept safe until the appointment, after which they will be destroyed.


Enquirers will be sent out an application pack consisting of;

-an application form
-a letter with a reminder of the closing date
-some information about The Mentoring Lab
-an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form
-a job description and person specification
-a return envelope marked private and confidential


When completed application forms arrive at the office, the following procedures should be observed:

The application form will be dated and stamped

The form will be handed to the CEO and kept together until the closing date.

The Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form will be detached from the application form and stored separately

Members of the short listing and interviewing panel should not see or have access to the EOP Monitoring Form.


The interviewing panel will also be the short listing panel.

Members of the panel should state if any candidates are known to them.

All applicants will be assessed in terms of the person specification. The assessment will be made using the necessary form which will state if applicants possess or demonstrate that they fulfil the criteria.

Any variations and discrepancies should be discussed amongst the panel members.

Where it is agreed to invite an applicant for interview the following procedure will be followed:

A date and time for interview will be arranged

An order of interviews will be decided

Letters will be sent to successful applicants - this letter will include date and time for interview and an Annual Report


The purpose of questions posed at the interview is to provide additional information to supplement or clarify the application form.

When formulating questions for interview it is important to consider what answers the interviewer is looking for and to communicate this to the other panel members.

It is essential that comparable questions are asked of each applicant being interviewed. The substance of questions should not vary.

Questions should be phrased in a standard way and should not make use of cultural idiom or metaphor that would put particular candidates at a disadvantage.

Questions relating to the following areas must not be asked during the course of the interview;

-marital status
-occupation of spouse
-number of children
-family interventions
-domestic arrangements
-political or religious beliefs

Questions will be drawn up and agreed by the panel prior to interview.


The aim of the interview is to:

assess the candidate’s suitability and ability for the post applied for

provide an opportunity for the candidate to make further enquiries concerning the nature and conditions of the job

When a candidate enters the room, the interview panel will introduce themselves; the Chairperson of the panel will set out the terms, conditions, pay scales and starting salary and then will begin the interview.

All interviewees will be asked the same questions.

At the end of the panel’s questions, the Chairperson will invite the interviewee to ask any questions they might have. These questions will be answered by the appropriate staff member or of the Volunteer Board of Directors representative.

At the end of the interview the candidate will be thanked for attending and all candidates will be given the consistent message that they will be written to with the outcome within three working days.


Once each candidate has left the room the panel will compare their notes and score from their response sheets.

Response sheets have the following categories and scores;

Far exceeds requirements = 4

Exceeds requirements = 3

Meets requirements = 2

Will meet requirements with training = 1

Fails to meet requirements = 0

At the end of the interviewing day the scores from each panel member for each candidate will be added together to give a total score for each candidate.

The candidates who have consistently scored at three or above are all suitable for the post.

If no-one has scored at three or above then the panel should consider the candidate who has scored the most overall.

The panel must decide whether this candidate could be trained to meet the requirements of the post.

Where the candidate cannot be trained to meet requirements then the post must be re-advertised.

Where more than one applicant has scored three or above then the post will be offered to the candidate who has scored the highest overall.

If there is a draw, then the panel should make a decision based on the interview itself. In order for this process to be fair and effective, the following two stages must be observed:

The final decision must be unanimous

Full records of the reason for the decision must be kept alongside the existing records of the interview

If the panel cannot make a decision based on the interview then there are two options available to them:

To recall the relevant candidates for a second interview or,

Call in an independent person to arbitrate.


The successful applicant should be contacted by an appointed panel member.

It is hoped that the successful candidate will be able to accept the post on the spot. If they ask for time to consider the offer then The Mentoring Lab will allow them 24 hours.

Once the post has been accepted then the other applicants should be informed that they were unsuccessful.

If the first choice candidate does not accept the post, it will be offered to the next candidate who scored sufficiently well.

Opportunity for debriefing candidates who were interviewed but unsuccessful will be offered.


All paperwork relating to applications and interviews will be stored securely.

All paperwork will be destroyed one year after the interview date.

The successful applicant’s paperwork will be placed in their personnel file.


Any appeal against shortlisting must go to the Chairperson of the Volunteer Board of Directors.

The Chairperson can offer an interview to the person making the appeal to discuss the issue.

If an appeal is made against non-selection at interview the Chairperson of the Volunteer Board of Directors will undertake to ensure that there has been no inadvertent unfairness. They will also ensure that all procedures were properly followed and documented.


All posts are offered subject to a minimum of two, preferably three,
independent satisfactory references.

References should be obtained prior to the person taking up the post.

When references received indicate some concern, then the interview panel will be consulted. The candidate will be informed that this has happened.


The Mentoring Lab undertakes police vetting procedures on all staff.

The successful candidate for a post will be asked to complete an Enhanced Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) form and this will be passed to the responsible person within The Mentoring Lab who will undertake the procedure. If a valid Enhanced DBS check is available, the details will be checked with the DBS update service. If the candidate has a valid DBS but did not choose to register with the DBS update service then a fresh check will be made. The original document should be provided for sight by the Project Manager.

Police checks will be undertaken prior to the person taking up post.

Where a check indicates concern, then the interview panel will meet to discuss the issue. This may result in withdrawal of the job offer and the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) and Disclosure & Barring Service being contacted.


The Equal Pay Act 1970, The Sex Discrimination Act, 1975 and The Race Relations Act, 1976 make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of:

-gender/ gender identity
-race or nationality
-ethnic or national origins
-marital status

Unlawful discrimination can take the following forms:
-Direct Discrimination
-Indirect Discrimination

The definition of the above can be found in The Mentoring Lab’s Equal Opportunities Policy.


There are some exceptions under the Acts where an employer can claim a Genuine Occupational Qualification to recruit, train or promote or transfer a person of a particular gender or racial group.

The Mentoring Lab will make careful reference to the appropriate section of the Acts should they make a claim to Genuine Occupational Qualification.