Conducting an end-to-end employee background check can be very challenging to HR managers if they are not up to date with compliance requirements. The UK Government for instance regularly updates its compliance and policies for Employeses and Workforce management in private and government sectors. And if you have been outsourcing your recruitment activities to third party agencies, it is even more important that you keep yourself informed about the latest revisions in the field.
In order to reduce cost, a lot of staffing agencies in the UK opt-out from offering background checks of candidates. However, some of the leading staffing agencies in the country do offer to conduct background checks on their candidates and employers. But as an HR manager or decision-maker representing your organization or business, it is important that you assess the background verification processes and policies being followed by the staffing agency that you onboard.
Here is a list of the different types of checks that the UK government has mandated all employers to conduct before onboarding a new employee.
Criminal Record Checks: Goes without saying that the criminal record checks are the most important of all the different background checks conducted by employers. Depending on the role and the responsibilities aligned with the job, these checks can vary on their depth and duration. They must also comply with the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. When hiring for a very senior role make sure you cross-check with your recruitment agency and instruct them specifically to conduct this check.
Education and Credential Checks: Most recruiters and staffing agencies execute the education background and credential checks diligently as it is fundamental in their selection and shortlisting process. Nevertheless it is always a good idea to cross check the validity of certifications that candidates submit just before onboarding them to a new role.
Reference Checks: Much like the education and credential checks, most of the staffing agencies conduct a quick reference check as well just before the candidate starts the onboarding process. But as an employer or HR Manager, you must confirm with your agency whether they verify the authenticity and relevance of the references themselves. A lot of candidates would give references of people who are highly likely to say good things about them. What needs to check out is whether these people are the right ones to validate the candidate’s suitability for the new job role.
Right to Work Checks: This one is particularly important when hiring non-nationals and lets you and the agency know that the candidate is legally allowed to work in the UK. Make sure that your staffing agency conducts this check for all applicants regardless of race, nationality or ethnic origin, to avoid discrimination claims. Records must be maintained for all checks and must be shared with your business in the event of an HR audit.
Credit Checks: This is a less common type of verification done to evaluate the financial background and stability of a candidate. If you are looking to hire someone for a financial role of medium to high level responsibilities, then this check must be completed before welcoming your candidate to your office. Not all staffing agencies might be aware of these checks and you might have to instruct them to complete this verification for job roles that mandate it.
Driver’s Licence Checks: Similar to the Credit checks, the Driver’s Licence checks need only be carried out for job roles that require the candidate to drive to perform his/her duties, like for employees part of a logistics fleet or salesperson responsible for meeting clients in person on a daily basis.
Background checks are a vital part of the recruitment process. So make sure to partner with the right staffing agency in th UK that offers to conduct background verifications as diverse as the list discussed above.