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Pre-Employment Background Checks - How to complete them

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

Why Do I need to Background Check?

When hiring new staff, it is important to ensure that they are suitable for their new role; background checking helps to improve retention and reduce turnover, and helps organisations avoid employing an unsuitable individual who could pose a risk to overall health, safety and security within a business. Effective background checking could reduce the time, effort and costs an organisation may face when finding a replacement in the future or by repairing reputational damage caused by a poor hire.

What could be included in Background Check?

Firstly, it is important to remember that background checks should be appropriate and proportionate to the type of role and industry that you are recruiting for. It is also crucial to remember that all pre-employment checks have to be carried out in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

Here are a number of checks that you need to consider:

  • right-to-work checks – If you employing workers in the UK you are obligated to ensure that potential new employees have permission to work in the UK, or in the particular role they are employed to undertake. If you do not, you could face fines of up to £20,000 per illegal worker.

  • Criminal record checks – A basic DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check can be undertaken on an employee in England applying for any type of role, and will show unspent convictions and conditional cautions. More detailed DBS checks can be run for certain roles which may require higher levels of safeguarding such as working in healthcare or with children.

  • Medical checks – You must ensure that any medical checks are not used to discriminate against a candidate- this is illegal, and you could be prosecuted. You should only ask candidates for a health check if it a legal requirement for the role, such as an eye test for a lorry driver, or if the job required it e.g. for insurance purposes.

  • Employment history checks – Checking references includes checking previous employers, supervisors/managers and education to ensure that information shared by a candidate about their experience and skills is factually correct.

How do I complete background checks?

There are many ways to complete background checks, all varying in complexity, cost and resource requirements.

You could choose to complete background checks manually, which would involve running all the legal checks through the relevant regulatory bodies (such as DBS) and then personally reaching out to individual candidate referees, whilst keeping a manual log of the status of each check.

You could choose to outsource the whole process to a specialist reference checking company, which would incur additional costs.

Alternatively, you could use an online tool such as VettingGateway. Using a simple online platform you can complete pre-employment screening, criminal record and credit checks, and any industry specific regulatory checks you might need all in one place. The tool is automated, which means it will chase referees automatically, leaving you to get on with your day job. Contact VettingGateway today to start using it for free.


The information Provided by VettingGateway in this blog was published on the 22/09/2021, all information was relevant at the time of publishing however as our landscape is forever changing this information may not remain valid.

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