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A Guide to Pre-Employment Checks


A Guide to Pre-Employment Checks

Perhaps not the most dynamic topic at first glance but pre-employment checks are a critical part of your talent attraction strategy.

As the final layer of protection for a candidate’s suitability, navigating the regulations can feel like running blindfolded through a maze, which is why I am going to try and demystify them and transform the final stage of your recruitment process into a seamless and well-planned affair.

The Role of Pre-Employment Checks

Imagine someone applying to join your team with the ideal experience and a glowing CV. They appear perfect for the role yet, under the surface, they hide a history that brings risk to your company’s future integrity.

This is where pre-employment checks shine. Giving you a comprehensive overview of a candidate’s background, credentials, and character, they help you verify their employment history all the way through to criminal record checks.

By using the right checks, you can mitigate risks, uphold legal compliance, and foster a safe, productive work environment for your current team because you know your recruits will contribute positively to your working culture.

Your Legal Obligations

Complying with legal requirements is essential in any area of business, including recruitment and employment. Failing to undertake the appropriate checks can not only tarnish your long-term reputation but could also result in severe legal consequences.

Whether it is right-to-work assessments, medical reviews, employment references, online social media or criminal record checks, each piece of due diligence is designed to protect both employers and employees and ensure fairness, transparency, and compliance at every step.

Types of Pre-Employment Checks

Pre-employment screening is not a one-size-fits-all affair. It will differ between organisations and the nature of the role so you should tailor the checks undertaken to fit your needs. From examining identification documents to delving into online profiles, each plays a distinct role in the vetting process, helping you to build a more informed picture of the person you are looking to recruit.

Whether it’s verifying right-to-work status to prevent illegal working, or conducting CRB checks to safeguard vulnerable people, each stage helps you to reduce the potential risk of recruiting unsuitable people to your firm.

Conducting Pre-employment Checks

Most commonly carried out after a job offer has been made, there are several steps to ensure you are compliant, beginning with a request for the applicant’s consent. If they refuse, you are not legally allowed to conduct any searches or checks and must decide on the best route forward without the benefit of this information.

Assuming the candidate does approve, you need to gather and verify the relevant documentation to start the screening process. Typically, this includes photo identification, passport, work permit, educational or existing DBS certificates, and criminal record disclosures.

While a manual process can be relatively time-consuming, some tools and technologies can help. Checks can even be carried out on government websites, where you can view someone’s right to work or see a copy of their driving license.

Maintaining detailed records of completed checks is essential for compliance with laws governing data protection, equal opportunities, employment, and privacy. Not only does this safeguard you and your business in the case of disputes, but it also helps to standardise your approach and ensure fairness throughout the process.

Final Thought

Pre-employment checks are not just about ticking boxes; they are about embracing a mindset of excellence and long-term recruitment success.

Once the processes are in place, candidate screening will quickly become second nature, but please remember the golden rule of clarifying that any job offer is conditional on the results of your pre-employment checks.

Legally, your employees’ contract begins when they accept your job offer so if you decide to withdraw it at a later stage, without reasonable grounds, it could be seen as a breach. By reserving the right to withdraw your offer, if your checks reveal any issues or concerns, you will protect yourself and the business.


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