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Pre-Employment Screening

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Pre-employment Screening Work Background

Many of us are usually only familiar with pre-employment screening or ‘background checks’ in conjunction with job applicants who might be seeking to work with children and other vulnerable people. However many other types of candidate vetting procedures are commonplace. Employers not only want to get the most qualified and suitable people working for them but they also wish to employ honest and trustworthy members of staff too.

Of equal importance is the fact that employers can be held legally responsible for their employees’ actions so it’s important that anyone who is going to be offered a job is who they say they are as it could have damaging legal and financial consequences to an employer if they don’t do a Background Check. Of course, all companies and all jobs are different and it’s not mandatory to carry our pre-employment screening in all cases but, for certain roles, it is a fundamental requirement of the recruitment process.

Different Types of Pre-Employment Screening

There are many different kinds of background check that an employer may wish to carry out before offering somebody a job. These can include:

Standard Checks
This can cover things like verifying references, qualifications, professional memberships and validations, electoral roll checks.

Employment Gaps
Many people will have gaps in their CVs or might elongate a period of employment to conceal jobs where they have been dismissed or have left to simply take a long-term holiday. Unfortunately, there are people who can’t stick at jobs for too long and it might be important to verify dates of employment and ‘gaps’ in order to ascertain whether or not the person you are offering the job to doesn’t have a bad disciplinary record from past employers or it could be that they have ‘butterfly syndrome’ which could mean that you spend a lot of money on training them only to leave a couple of months later as they’re unable or unwilling to stick at a job for too long.

Criminal Records Check
An employer can be held legally responsible for any crime which an employee might commit whilst at work, especially if the worker had a previous criminal record relating to the offence carried out at work.

Driving Licence Check
Many jobs involve employees driving their own car or a company vehicle so it may be very useful to ensure that the driving record of any potential employee is clean and valid before employing them. They might not, in fact, even have a driving licence, they could be banned or their licence might even be fraudulent so it’s important to make sure they have the right paperwork because if an accident happens, the employer could be held responsible if the driver’s credentials haven’t been thoroughly checked.

Right to Work Check
There are even more people coming from abroad to work in the UK these days and it’s crucial that they are legally entitled to live and work here. If an employer has not checked this out, they would be subject to legal action.

Drug and Alcohol Testing
Misuse of illegal Drugs and Alcohol can have devastating consequences especially at work and, for some jobs in particular, it’s mandatory that a drug or alcohol test is carried out on a new employee to ensure that they are not putting themselves or others at risk.

Pre-employment screening and the Data Protection Act
Whilst background checks are increasingly becoming used to verify the suitability of a potential employee and are mandatory for certain occupations and in a number of companies and institutions, there are strict laws regarding what an employer is entitled to find out about a potential employee before offering them a job, what they can or can’t do with that information and for how long they can hold it as employees have privacy rights too so, unless an employer is absolutely sure about the regulations surrounding pre-employment screening, they should get in touch with the Data Protection Registrar firstly.

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