There are plenty of procedures to go through in your recruitment process – one of these (and a core element) is the pre employment screening process. Is it a core process though, you may think it’s something that you could skip? Well, let’s consider that and set out some key reasons why that’s not such a good idea.

Does a tick box on an application form really protect you from hidden criminal histories?

There’s a common misconception that criminal record checks are only for certain high-risk roles.  The UK has a system consisting of 3 different levels of criminal record checks dependent on the role, so there isn’t anyone in your business that can’t legally and justifiably have a criminal record check conducted during recruitment. When trying to understand your applicants, a criminal history check is not a witch hunt. In truth, sometimes a person’s criminal history will show how an applicant could be dangerous, unreliable, untrustworthy or unsuitable for your business. Also, it could mean the offences are minor or irrelevant to the role and you can’t make a robust recruitment decision without having the correct information on which to base it

Red flags that may impact job performance

On top of the criminal record results, there are several other background checks that will present information relevant to the role. For example, positions that involve driving but the applicant has a less than stellar driving record: perhaps they will be handling cash or have financial responsibility but the financial check reveals they are bankrupt or have a string of CCJs. The information can be relevant to many roles and critical to some.

It highlights fraudulence

More candidates are untruthful on their applications or CVs than ever before. They are elaborating role achievements, responsibilities or titles, making up employment history or adjusting dates of employment. A good background screening programme will include contacting previous employers to ensure that the applications and CVs are accurate. Just as important is checking any gaps and in the case you can’t contact a previous employer, finding what is acceptable as evidence.

Validates qualifications and education

Previous employment isn’t the only area that your applicants are tweaking. In fact, the most common inconsistency we find on a CV or application is education and qualifications.

Through checking you can also ensure all-important qualifications that your applicants have are valid and accurate. Even if they are not essential for the role, it’s all about integrity. Would you recruit someone who is lying through the recruitment process?

Compliance and Due Diligence

Many companies operate in regulated environments so they know the compliance they need to achieve and what due diligence is required of them through the recruitment process. But if you don’t operate under that kind of regulation, do you need to carry out background checks?  You will always have some lawful requirement.

Let’s imagine you recruit a new salesperson.  When travelling for business he is involved in a traffic accident, maybe there is a fatality.  When the police investigate they find out he has a suspended licence and has several convictions caused by alcohol abuse. This incident happened on company time but because you did not check his criminal or driving history, there could be a case for corporate manslaughter.

A complete view of the applicant

Many of your applicants will lay on the charm and act in a totally professional way through the recruitment and interview process. The interviewer may even relate to them personally (it is said that people recruit people like them). On their CV, maybe they missed out some bad employment period, jazzed up some experience or massaged some educational results.

Properly constructed background checks can remove ambiguity and give you a factual full picture of the applicant.

It validates your choice of staff

Your recruitment process is time-consuming and a significant investment. Background checks can be relatively quick and cost-effective in making sure that you don’t place the wrong people in your business.

Matt Armstrong – Managing Director, Giant Group

Practical HR and Giant Screening work in Partnership to bring clients the very best in employment screening and on-boarding. 

For more information please call 01702 216573.