Recruitment and resourcing

This section looks at resourcing and aims to give advice on helping your co-operative attract and recruit the best people to ensure its success.


Employing the right people with the right skills is crucial. Making the wrong recruitment choices can be expensive and disruptive to the business.

Your recruitment process should be fair and focused on finding the best person for the job. Putting together a job description will help you focus on the job’s main tasks, and the skills you need. You can find examples of job descriptions on many job search websites.

Once you’ve put together a job description, you’ll then need to advertise the role, interview potential applicants and select your new recruit. You can find out more about the recruitment process via our HR resourcing video

Staffing options

How many staff you employ depends on what you can afford and need to meet customer demand. It is useful to think about what the needs of the business will be over the coming months and whether you can develop existing staff to fill any skills gaps.

As an alternative to you directly employing people, you may want to engage self-employed individuals, use volunteers or agency workers. All come with benefits and disadvantages.

The process

There are several steps in the recruitment process:

  • Putting together a job description
  • Advertising the job vacancy
  • Interviewing the candidates who meet your criteria
  • Selecting the successful candidate
  • Appointing your new recruit using an employment contract & job offer
  • Carrying out pre-employment checks

Discrimination and recruitment

Job applicants are protected from discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy & maternity, race, religion & belief, sex and sexual orientation. The law states that you must not discriminate during the recruitment process, including when making your selection. Take care when drafting job descriptions and job adverts - only include those job tasks and skills which are essential to the role.

You must make reasonable adjustments to the recruitment process for disabled individuals where a feature of the process puts them at a disadvantage. What is reasonable depends on the circumstance. Some examples include re-locating the interviews to a different location, providing additional reading time in an assessment or providing the job description/application form in alternative formats such as Braille.

You can find out more information about equality within the recruitment process on the ACAS website.

Pre-employment checks

Before employment starts, you must check that the person you want to employ has the right to work in the UK. Employers can be fined up to £20,000 where they employ someone who is working illegally in the UK. You’ll be taken through the steps on the website. Don’t forget to keep a copy of the relevant documents on your HR files.

If your new recruit will be working with children or vulnerable adults on a regular basis, you may also need to request a DBS criminal records check via the website.

You may also want to see references from previous employers.

Also in this section

Family friendly rights • Dealing with sickness absence • Grievances and ending employment • Performance management

Co-operatives UK HR Package: Delivering HR expertise for your co‑operative

Because people are at the heart of a successful co-operative business, Co-operatives UK offers a specialist HR service designed specifically for co-operatives. To find out more about the Co-operatives UK HR Package, please visit

HR training

Co-operatives UK offers one-day training, including an essential HR course – find out more.

Updated: 26/03/2019