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Factsheet:

Pre-employment checks

Resource summary

This factsheet was last updated in May 2016.

What is the role of pre-employment checking?

Conducting pre-employment checks on job applicants (sometimes referred to as ‘vetting’) is an integral part of the recruitment process in the UK. Once an employer has selected someone suitable for a role, they need to find out if applicants might bring the organisation into disrepute, or cause difficulties with colleagues, managers, customers or suppliers. Failure to establish relevant information could mean that HR has not shown ‘due diligence’.

There is increasing public recognition of the need for employers to adopt practices that are both legal and ethical. In conducting pre-employment checks, employers should seek to:

  • ensure non-discrimination and compliance with data protection law
  • rely on fact, not opinion
  • ensure relevance to the post to be filled
  • understand the candidate thoroughly
  • be transparent and open to candidates about the checking process.

Login or register for a free account to continue reading this factsheet and to learn about:

  • What is the role of premployment checking?
  • What risks do employers need to guard against?
  • Specific UK legal requirements on recruiters
  • The role of references
  • Using social media to support recruitment 
  • Circulating lists of high-risk candidates
  • Outsourcing and employment agencies
  • CIPD viewpoint
  • Useful contacts
  • Further reading

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