Effective Pre-Employment Screening

published Thursday, October 10, 2019, 2:44:00 PM BST

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Pre-employment screening gives businesses and organisations the opportunity to check the suitability of candidates before recruitment. Employment verification is a comprehensive and robust way of confirming credentials and safeguarding against potentially costly future HR problems. However, it can sometimes feel like a minefield when hiring new candidates as the screening process can be a headache in its own right. There can also be uncertainty as to what checks can legitimately be carried out. This is not a reason to be put off however and finding the right advice and screening partner to check employment records is key.

Right To Work In The UK

Every employer in the UK has a legal obligation to check that a candidate has permission or the right to work. The right to work check must be done to ensure that a candidate is legally allowed to carry out the role. The employer also has an obligation to keep a record of the checks carried out and copies of relevant documentation.


It's quite common for employers to make an offer of employment subject to ‘satisfactory references’. There are some sectors that have mandated requirements for checks in some regulated sectors but in most cases, these don't apply. As such it's not mandatory to request references, although we would strongly recommend this. Our advice is to seek at least one reference to check experience and suitability for every role you are recruiting for.

Non-Compete Clauses 

It's not uncommon for employees to have non-compete clauses in their contracts of employment. These can vary in length and potentially restrict a candidates ability to carry out another role with a different employer. There could be reasons that a candidate may fail to mention or declare this when applying for a new role. As a result, employers should check whether an applicant has any restrictive clauses in their previous employment contracts which could limit their ability to work for the business.

Background or Criminal Checks 

Criminal record checks should only be carried out by employers when they can be justified in relation to the role to which they are recruiting. There are some professions that have specific requirements for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check to be completed. An example of this would be for roles that involve children or vulnerable people. Businesses must take care not to ask about ‘spent’ convictions, and ensure these do not have any bearing on a decision to employ someone.

Driving Licence Checks

Driving licence checks are important when you need to check for endorsements and also validate a candidate has the correct type of driving licence for a role.

Financial Conduct Register Checks

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates and supervises more than 50,000 firms in the UK that offer finance and insurance products in the UK and abroad. Financial Services Register checks allow you to confirm that a candidate you are hiring is authorised in some capacity by the FCA or Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) - or if they’re exempt. You can also see the status of their permission (e.g. full, or interim).​​​​​​​

RECREF takes the hassle out of pre and post-employment checks. Our expert team and seamless technology make thorough checks a breeze. To get started, register for access to our online portal where you can submit a wide range of checks, choosing to pay upfront or receive monthly invoices.