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 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.

CIPD viewpoint

What is the role of pre-employment 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


Useful contacts and further reading

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