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Recruiting graduate trainees

The best-planned training programme will be ineffective if the business recruits a graduate trainee who does not have the capacity to make the grade as a financial adviser. The recruitment process is the foundation of the rest of the programme&#39s success and this is reflected in the attention paid to the recruiting process in the guidebook.

In this article, we set out to explain why planning the recruitment process is important, the main steps in the recruitment process, from finding the potential recruits to appointing someone and the legal issues relevant to recruiting in employment law and data protection.

The need to plan the recruitment process

Recruiting is one of the most potentially difficult processes. Recruitment mistakes can be very expensive in terms of wasted time and money. Despite this, many managers fail to plan their recruitment process and prefer to select just on the basis of their instinctive reaction to potential recruits, rather than a rigorous analysis of what qualities the job requires and whether the candidate has them. Liking the candidate is usually important but it is not enough.

Organising the recruitment process properly can take time and money but it can also impress candidates. It is worth remembering that they too have a choice about whether to join an employer. So they should be treated professionally and with respect. Even if the business does not end up employing them, the chances are that some candidates know or are related to actual or potential clients – and they might yet turn out to be future clients themselves. It pays to be considerate.

When planning the recruitment process, it is worth checking some of the legal issues surrounding recruitment and employment in order to avoid potentially expensive pitfalls.

The main steps in the recruitment process

It is worth drawing up a formal written plan for the recruitment process. The main steps should be as follows:

Step 1: Write the job description

Sample job description

Job title: Graduate trainee financial adviser

Reports to: Line manager

Location: Office-based in central London

Purpose of the role: To undertake the role of administrator and paraplanner while developing the competences of a financial adviser.

Key tasks:

To support three financial advisers with:

•Product research

•Diary management

•Obtaining quotations, illustrations and product information using internal systems and software, provider intranets and the internet •Liaising with product providers

•Client administration

•Producing draft reports and suitability letters

•Administering client files

•Documenting client meetings

•Providing support for client meetings, including schedules, valuations, quotations and other information/documentation.

•Updating and using the back-office systems

•Commitment to a professional development contract consisting of private study for examinations and the development of practical competences to become a financial adviser Qualifications and competence: graduate or equivalent For competence – see recruitment person specification

Step 2: Decide on the level of remuneration for the graduate trainee.

Step 3. Write the person specification

Sample person specification

Knowledge competences

•Identifying evidence Grading 1-4*

•Has achieved appropriate qualifications

•Number and level of appropriate qualifications

•Positions of responsibility and achievement, for example, sport, societies Skill competences

•Identifying evidence Grading 1-4*


•Ability to acquire, update and apply new skills and knowledge •Has demonstrated an ability to pass examinations

•Can give examples of recent learning and its application Analytical thinking •Can assess information, make comparisons and identify critical features.

Numeracy and quantitative skills

•Has shown an ability to analyse quantitative information about investments •Able to manipulate and analyse numerical data


•Able to operate with little supervision

•Evidence of making decisions for themselves

Planning and organising

•Able to use time and resources effectively to deliver results required •Evidence of a structured approach to revision

•Operates a diary and arrives on time

Interpersonal skills

•Able to make a positive impact when rebuilding and maintaining relationships •Creates a strong first impression

•Involvement in social activities and team sports

•Has a wide circle of friends

•Vacation and student job experience

Communication skills

•Able to communicate fluently in both speech and writing and make effective presentations •Can listen and understand other people&#39s views

•Able to be persuasive and credible

•Provides (as asked) examples of written work in advance •Application form, CV and letter are well written

•Can describe their experiences coherently and state their point of view effectively •Listens to questions and answers them well

Attitude competences

•Identifying evidence Grading 1-4*

Achievement drive

•Sets themselves challenging goals and wants to deliver on agreed targets •Evidence of superior achievement

•Has set specific goals for the future


•Performs well under pressure.

•Able to cope with rejection and persist in the face of difficulties •Evidence of overcoming obstacles and dealing with rejection * Timing will depend on when exams are held.

Step 4: Decide on the strategy for the recruitment drive – how to find the potential recruits.

Step 5: Collate the applicants&#39 details and reduce them to a manageable short list of possibly six for interview.

Step 6: Interview, assess and select candidates.

Step 7: Take up references and check qualifications.

Step 8: Confirm the appointment and issue the contract or letter of employment.

Employment law and recruitment

The recruitment process is subject to considerable amounts of employment law and employers need to be aware of the potential pitfalls.


The most serious issues arise from unlawful discrimination, hat is, treating someone less favourably than other people,and can just as easily apply to the treatment of existing employees as to new recruits.

Discrimination can be both direct and indirect. There are several types of discrimination that are currently unlawful.


It is unlawful to discriminate on grounds of a person&#39s sex or marital status. Employers must give equal treatment in the terms and conditions of employment that they offer men and women for “like work”.


Discrimination on grounds of race is unlawful. That is discrimination on grounds of race, colour, nationality, citizenship,ethnic or national origin.


Employers with 15 or more employees must not discriminate against current or prospective employees who have (or have had) a disability, unless they can justify this treatment.

•The discrimination cannot be justified if the employer could remove the reason for the different treatment by making a “reasonable adjustment”.

•A reasonable adjustment is an action that the employer could reasonably take to change their physical premises so that the disabled person is not at a disadvantage to someone who is not disabled.

Part-time employees

Part-time employees must not be employed on terms and conditions that are less favourable than a comparable fulltime employee.

Trade union membership

Employers are not allowed to refuse to employ someone because of their membership – or non-membership – of a trade union.

Employment equality regulations – sexual orientation,religion and belief These regulations apply with effect from December 2003. They outlaw direct and indirect discrimination as well as harassment and victimisation.

•The sexual orientation regulations apply to discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation towards the same sex, opposite sex or both sexes. So, for example, it will be unlawful to discriminate against gay or lesbian applicants.

•The religion and belief regulations apply to discrimination on the grounds of religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.


Employers are encouraged not to discriminate on grounds of age, although this is not yet strictly unlawful.

Behaviour in an interview

During recruitment, assessment or promotion interviews, employers would be well advised not to ask questions or seek information about a prospective employee&#39s gender,sexual orientation, family circumstances, nationality, origins, religion or beliefs.

Action plan

Suggested actions:

Create the job description and person specification

Decide on the best method and sources of recruitment

Create a recruitment plan

Establish support and resources required and check that they will be available Implement the plan


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