Pre-employment checks: an employer’s guide

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Pre-employment checks: an employer’s guide

Published December 2013

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700 KB

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This guide provides advice to employers on how to conduct pre-employment checks in a way that will support their business objectives. Careless approaches to vetting and screening 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.

The guidance draws on discussion with HR professionals and employment lawyers with extensive experience in conducting and advising on recruitment. It takes account of the law on discrimination and data protection, which are core to this area and which are under constant review by the courts. An outline of other key areas of law relevant to pre-employment checks, including in relation to criminal records, is at the Appendix. Employers may also need to take account of statutory requirements applying to recruitment in their specific sector (for example finance).

Good practice action points are listed at the end of each section.

"...employers need to conduct due diligence in order to find out if applicants might
bring the organisation into disrepute, ... Failure to establish relevant information
could mean that HR has failed to show due diligence: vetting is a key element
in conducting ‘due diligence’ in relation to the recruitment process."

Contents of the guide
  • Introduction
  • What risks should employers guard against?
  • Circulating lists of high-risk candidates
  • Using social media to support recruitment
  • Employment references
  • Outsourcing and employment agencies
  • Appendix: Key legal issues relating to pre-employment checks

View more detailed advice on legal issues: Employment law FAQs (CIPD members only)