How do I recruit?
Once you have decided on the right early careers route for recruiting new talent for your business, you need to:
- Develop a job description—use this early careers job description template if you do not already have one.
- Review your job description and planned recruitment activities to make sure you are doing the best you can to attract diverse applicants. This means making sure the job opportunity is accessible for a range of people, is designed to be inclusive and is an exciting opportunity for the right candidate. This sector-wide commitment helps to establish roofing as a professional, modern, respected sector with clear career paths, able to attract the best and the brightest apprentices, students and new workers. For hints and tips on developing your inclusive job opportunity, please contact the NFRC Roofing Careers Service.
- Create your new recruits' contract of employment. Having this ready at an early stage will allow a smooth onboarding process and will prevent delays to them starting in the job. For advice on what needs to be included in a contract of employment is available on the ACAS website.
- Develop the new recruit’s personal development plan. This includes the qualifications they will achieve, training they will attend and other learning opportunities. (These can be informal as well as formal training, including work-shadowing, mentoring and spending time with experienced staff across your business). This plan is then ready to share with your new recruit when they start their new job.
- Find a training provider or partner to help you plan and recruit for your early careers job. They will also help you by reviewing the personal development plans that you have. Get in touch with the NFRC Roofing Careers Service if you would like support to find a training provider.
- Prepare the team and manager of the new recruit to make sure they are aware of their responsibilities of managing them effectively. This includes planning the new recruits first few weeks and months in their new role and setting realistic expectations for their performance.
- Calculate the cost of employing the new employee. This will ensure you are fully aware of these prior to recruiting. Use this basic financial planning template if you do not already have one.
- Look into grants and funding available for your training plans for the new recruit.
- Think through the recruitment timeline, starting with your ideal start date, and work backwards. This allows you to plan, including when you will need to advertise the opportunity, interview candidates who have applied and get the employment contract ready to send to the successful recruit. Use this recruitment timeline planner template if you do not already have one.
- Advertise the job opportunity—your training provider will support you to do this. NFRC is committed to supporting employers to create, and young people to succeed in, good quality career opportunities. We therefore recommend that you advertise your job opportunities through Talentview Construction. This is a construction industry-wide early careers job vacancies website developed with the CITB, national apprenticeships service, government, construction employers and training providers. You do not need to be a registered CITB employer to use Talentview.
Early Careers—Basic Financial Planning Tool
It’s important to be able to work out how much a new early careers employee would cost your business every year. The below table identifies the core costs of employing someone, and can help you to calculate what the annual cost of an employee will be.
Actual Cost (£)
Hourly rate x
working hours per week x
52 weeks per year
Consider paying above the recommended minimum wage. This will go towards safeguarding losing your newfound talent to other employers.
Yearly NI contribution and pension contribution figures.
All employees (including apprentices, trainees and graduates) will incur the same contributions as other paid employees.
Record here costs that you will incur for the training of the recruit. This can include induction, health and safety and other initial training, as well as any formal training through your training provider.
Record here costings that you incur for the providing appropriate PPE, tools and uniform.
Record here any additional costs that are specific to your business, these can include time spent off-the-job and other time investment in training.
You can also download this table as a PDF form or as a Microsoft Word template.
Recruitment Planning and Timeline
Advertise the job for a sufficient period of time: two weeks is usually the minimum time to advertise for, to ensure you obtain a good number of applications. Consider how you can promote the job opportunity: this includes making sure it’s advertised on your website / social media channels, and asking your employees to share it too. NFRC are committed to supporting employers to create, and young people to succeed in, good quality career opportunities. We therefore recommend that you advertise your job opportunities through Talentview Construction. This is a construction industry-wide early careers job vacancies website developed with the CITB, national apprenticeships service, government, construction employers and training providers. You do not need to be a registered CITB employer to use Talentview. For more information and an introduction to using Talentview, see the video above.
Also remember to consider probation periods, salary offered and timing recruitment to fit in with the seasons (the first winter for a new recruit can be a shock to what they expect!)
Regularly review applications so you can choose to extend the closing date if you need more applications to come through for consideration.
Once your job opportunity is advertised, you will need to decide what you will ask the candidates at the interview stage. Interviewing does not need to be overly formal, however the process needs to focus on getting to know the candidate, asking them about their career plans and about their skills and qualities that are linked to the job that the successful candidate will be doing. Monster website has an 'ultimate guide to job interview questions', which talks about common interview questions and different ways candidates may answer them. This includes guidance on questions that you legally cannot ask candidates at interview.
Shortlist applications as you go, so the last-minute applications can be reviewed quickly, rather than you needing to review all applications after the closing date.
Confirm the interview date and time to your chosen candidates as soon as you can after the closing date. Then you are less likely to lose applicants who have applied for jobs elsewhere at the same time as yours. It also creates a good first impression for the candidate about your company.
Interview the candidates using a pre-set group of interview questions, making sure that you treat each candidate fairly. Some interviewees may be very nervous, so take time to make them feel comfortable and encourage them to ask questions at the end.
After the interviews, confirm to the preferred candidate as soon as you can that you would like to offer them the job. If possible, have a second choice candidate chosen just in case your first choice chooses not to accept the position.
Once you have confirmation that your preferred candidate has accepted the position, inform the other candidates about the outcome of their application. This can take precious time but it is helpful for candidates to know the outcome of their application, and again creates a good impression of your company as you treat people with respect.
It is important to keep your preferred candidate 'warm' between them accepting your job and their start date—you don't need to do anything too complicated—just a quick check-in call and email to keep in touch and answer any questions that they may have.
Inducting a new employee
When you recruit early careers talent for your business, it’s important to make the most of them, and part of this is understanding how to manage your new recruits effectively once they join your company. New recruits are ‘green’ to the workplace and may not have much/any experience of the workplace. Help your new recruit settle in well by sharing with them the important things about their new work environment. This can include (where applicable) that they will be working at height, need to be prepared for changes in the weather, dark early starts etc. This hones in some of the real challenges that new entrants face in the roofing sector early on and making them aware of these helps them be practically prepared.
It’s important to ensure managers provide them with enough (and the right type) of support.
Here are some things which can help you maximise the effectiveness of your early careers programme by planning their first few weeks and months in their new role.
Placing them with a good supervisor
This is the single most important factor of recruiting new employees—whether they are new to the workplace or professionals who have worked in the sector for a long time.
Making sure your new talent is placed with a supportive and experienced manager will help them settle well into their new role. Think through who in your workforce would be pleased to show the new person the ropes, rather than a manager who isn’t interested or keen to take on the challenge. This supervisor should be a direct employee of yours, rather than a subcontractor.
After all of the planning and time spent on recruitment, you do not want to lose your new team member. Having a good experience at work, especially in the first few weeks, will help the new recruit gain confidence, and start building the skills that are valuable to your business.
Think about what a good workplace induction looks like. What does it need to include? Planning this out as part of the personal development plan in advance will help the first few days go smoothly.
Set clear expectations
Holding a meeting during their first week will be a good chance for you to confirm what you expect from them and what they should expect from you. See our information on the recruitment and new starter process above. Agreeing these together will set a positive tone from the start.
Review their progress regularly
Meeting with your new employee regularly shows that you are as keen for them to grow and develop as they are. One to one meetings don’t have to be formal or last for hours either. It is a regular check in of how they are finding the job, what they have enjoyed learning about and giving them the opportunity to share any challenges or issues they are having. You can also give them regularly feedback during these conversations, highlighting areas that they are doing well and areas that they need to focus on. Link their progress back to their personal development plan.
Workplace mentor or buddy
If possible, give the opportunity of being a workplace mentor or buddy to a committed team member who will work with the new employee regularly. They can keep an eye on how things are working, support the new employee and offer advice and guidance to them too.
Helpful policies templates
Preparing for new talent includes making sure your business is protected against the potential risks. These include:
Health and safety
Ensure your health and safety procedures and practices are in-line with what is legally required. This includes making sure you have a culture prioritising safety, and that the new recruit is aware of their responsibilities. Review your risk assessments and employer liability insurance to make sure that you have included young people working on site.
Visit the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) website for further guidance.
As part of your business development activities, you may already use social media, as it is an important part of marketing your business to potential new customers. With this in mind it is worthwhile to consider introducing a social media acceptable usage policy with all employees to ensure that they are aware of what is acceptable.
This does not have to be hard or complicated. It can be as simple as explaining that while all employees have a right to a private life and freedom of expression, as your employee, they must avoid making any comment on their personal social media accounts which is likely to harm the reputation of the company.
Introducing a social media acceptable usage policy may also include considering your employees’ use of personal social media during work time too. This should include expecting employees to act responsibly and ensure their productivity or health and safety is not affected by using personal social media excessively while at work, as it can reduce efficiency and concentration.
As your workforce grows, you may find that your employees need your support to build their mental and physical wellbeing.
If you are not already an NFRC member and you are part of a growing business, consider joining to access the full benefits of NFRC membership.
There are also many resources online that you can refer your employees to for further support:
Reasons to upskill your workforce
‘Upskilling’ is the practice of offering existing employees the opportunity to learn new skills and advance their capabilities. This may be through additional training and qualifications, mentoring or coaching.
Employee upskilling is important for boosting staff satisfaction and retention rates, as well as future-proofing your business, ensuring you maintain a competitive edge.
There are a number of additional benefits of upskilling, both for your employees and the company as a whole, including:
- Improved employee satisfaction and retention—employees will be more likely to remain with the company they work for when the company invest in their development. This may mean helping them plan their future career and giving them access to the tools to develop the skills to get there. Good employee satisfaction across your business is crucial for keeping productivity and quality of output high, and employee turnover rates low.
- Allows you to provide a better quality of service and to diversify your offering—keeping pace with the wider sector will ensure your business can offer the services your customers need, to the highest quality standards. This includes keeping up with the skills and capabilities of your workforce that your business will need in line with changes to installation skills through product innovation.
- Attracting new talent—businesses that offer upskilling opportunities are more likely to attract new talent, as it demonstrates a commitment to employees’ professional development and career progression. It can also help to attract ambitious and driven employees who are looking to commit to a company on a long-term basis. Investing in your existing employees builds staff loyalty and a great brand for your business, meaning your employees are more inclined to recommend your organisation to friends, former colleagues and others in their network, which can make it much easier to attract an influx of new talent when positions become available.
Step-by-step: How can I prepare for my business to offer upskilling?
- Identify your skills gaps—work with your employees to complete a skills gap analysis. This basically means identifying the skills that your employees already have, and the skills that you need your employees to develop, and then finding ways in which your employees can develop the skills that are missing or need strengthening.
- Identify learning that meets your employee’s development needs—find training that will support the employee to learn and develop the skills that are missing or weaker. The best upskilling programmes are developed through a skills development plan and are made up of a mix of the employee attending formal training and courses, taking part in job shadowing or mentoring from another employee who has developed this skill already, and self study where the employee dedicates time to learn about the skill on their own. It is wise to consider what competency looks like first, rather than focusing on just the formal qualifications needed and hoping that this results in a successful upskill.
- Once you have agreed together the skills development plan, you can then get regular updates from your employees on how they are progressing. Asking them key questions like ‘what have you been learning about?’, ‘how are you putting your learning into practice?’ and ‘how can I support you further in your upskilling?’ will mean you can see whether everything is going as planned or whether you need to make changes.