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Factsheet:

Pre-employment checks

Resource summary

This factsheet was last updated in November 2014.

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. Careless approaches to vetting risk employing the wrong people, with resultant damage in terms of increased turnover and costs, and lower morale. They also risk legal challenge, which can undermine an employer’s reputation.

Having carried out an appropriate selection process to determine suitability for the role, employers need to conduct due diligence in order 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 failed to show 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
  • see the candidate ‘in the round’
  • 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 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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