Pre-employment checks are designed to minimise the risk of employing the wrong person. They're a crucial step in the recruitment process, reducing the risk of hiring employees who might cause difficulties for the organisation, its employees, customers and suppliers. For this reason, employers need to exercise due diligence in all cases, conducting pre-employment checks in a legal, ethical manner that consistently values fact over opinion.

This factsheet looks at the risks employers need to guard against in the recruitment process, many of which vary across different sectors and companies. The factsheet examines the UK legal requirements placed on recruiters when it comes to employing foreign nationals, criminal records checks and pre-employment health checks. References are a cornerstone of the vetting process, and as such are examined in this factsheet, which also draws our attention to the increasing number of employers using social media to research candidates’ backgrounds. Finally, the factsheet considers the role of outsourcing and employment agencies in pre-employment checks.

This factsheet was last updated by Lisa Ayling, solicitor and employment law specialist, and by Ben Wilmott.

Ben Willmott

Ben Willmott: Head of Public Policy

Ben leads the CIPD’s Public Policy team, which works to inform and shape debate, government policy and legislation in order to enable higher performance at work and better pathways into work for those seeking employment. His particular research and policy areas of interest include employment relations, employee engagement and well-being, absence and stress management, and leadership and management capability.

Ben joined the CIPD in 2003. He started his career in regional journalism and prior to joining the CIPD was news editor and employment law editor at Personnel Today magazine. He has an LLM in Employment law from Kingston University.

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