Introduction | Christian Vocations

Introduction

Good recruitment is crucial for every organisation and church

The aim of recruitment is to get the right person for the job at the right time. But it’s more than that. Filling a current vacancy is one thing, but finding and keeping the right number of staff with the relevant skills and abilities for current and future needs is also vital. The recruitment process should not be rushed, and those involved should have the appropriate knowledge and skills.

These pages are designed to help UK Christian organisations and churches understand and think through the different stages of the recruitment process. They also address how UK law impacts recruitment activities in the Christian sector. The importance of fair recruitment should not be underestimated. Monitoring your recruitment processes to ensure that they fulfil equal opportunities legislation, and are non-discriminatory, is imperative.

But good practice in recruitment and selection need not be difficult. Yes, it takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. 

Throughout this guide there are links to helpful resources – standard templates and proforma, further guidance, blog posts, factsheets, e-learning and other e-tools, all free to access.

Discrimination alert

It is important to bear in mind that you should not discriminate on grounds of any of the protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex (gender), and sexual orientation) throughout the entire recruitment process. This includes when writing the job description and person specification, shortlisting, interviewing, offering a job, and agreeing terms and conditions. Everyone taking part in such activities should be aware of relevant legislation and the importance of avoiding discrimination. Throughout this guide any discrimination issues to consider will be raised at appropriate points.

However, the Equality Act does allow an employer to require a job applicant or employee to have a particular protected characteristic when it is genuinely needed for the job, known as an ‘occupational requirement’. The requirement must be crucial to the post, not just one of several important factors. Where an occupational requirement applies, the employer is required to ensure that imposing the requirement is objectively justifiable.

There is a particular challenge facing Christian organisations and churches when seeking to recruit new staff members who share their beliefs. Some think that because they are a Christian organisation they can simply state in their job adverts that any role they are advertising for has an occupational requirement that the jobholder is a committed Christian - without giving it any further thought. That is not enough. 

The key question to consider is this: what are the circumstances where a church or Christian organisation can legitimately assert in a recruitment exercise that the post-holder must be a Christian?  See The Equality Act – Occupational Requirement for helpful information from Mark Mason (employment lawyer) on this subject.

Helpful resources - including links to general information about recruitment and selection, and e-learning modules.