Managing Pre-employment Checks
Before hiring and putting him / her on the job, the employer wishes to carry out a certain number of checks on the new employee. These checks depend on the type of organization where the applicant is applying to work on a specific role. A careful and thorough knowledge of various pre-employment checks are required before shortlisting the right candidate.
The following paragraphs highlight the key checks that are carried out, in general, by organisations during their recruitment process. Various practical considerations and risks that need to be taken into account when offering employment are explained. The following pre-employment checks are explained as follows:
Your new employer wants proof of your identification credentials before he legally allows you to work for him. Showing and verifying your identity through your ID documents is the first thing to do before you are granted the Right to Work in the UK. To confirm one’s identification one needs to produce a set of documents to confirm one’s eligibility for the job. The set of documents generally include a passport, a visa and a work permit for foreigners who’ve recently entered the country, but it is best to consult one’s employer on a case-specific basis.
References from your previous and / or current employers to your future employer can boost the chances of winning a job offer.
Employers generally carry out background checks for security purposes. As a standard norm, an employer is liable to treat all applicants equally.
Equal opportunities monitoring
An organization marketing itself as an Equal Opportunity Employer generally collects information on race and ethnicity while gathering data from perspective applicants. As there is no law that prohibits organizations from doing so, many organisations gather applicants’ personal data of such nature to monitor the effectiveness of their equal opportunities policy. However, no applicant is obliged to share any information of this nature if he / she doesn't want to. As a general statute of employment law, an employer must not discriminate between employees / applicants because of sex, race, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.
In some organizations health checks are a mandatory requirement of the job. This is generally legally mandated in documentation. Any information on health checks is made aware to the new employee in the offer letter. In case the employer asks for a medical report to be presented, one must ensure that the organizations has policies for keeping personal information of such nature secure for all intensive purposes.
A health test cannot be justified only on the basis of a disability and there must be a good reason for it. If a candidate loses a job after being singled out for a health check, he / she can file a complaint with an Industrial Tribunal.
Treating people with disabilities any differently than regular people because of the former’s physical condition is unlawful. But this does not mean that a person with disabilities can take objection in response to a direct health check request, even if other candidates have not been asked. A lot of such things depend on the nature of disability and specific work requirements.
Employers ask proofs from applying candidates for qualifications required to apply for a particular job. Employers must make the candidates aware for any relevant checks that they’re carrying out and also if they intend to keep copies of relevant documents on system files.
Criminal records checks
For work profiles involving any of the following, a criminal record check becomes mandatory and a prospective applicant must clear the same.
- working with children or vulnerable adults
- being employed in a job which mandates the employee to always be in close contact with children or vulnerable groups
- driving license application
- working with drugs
A prospective applicant is required to complete an AccessNI application form (form for criminal records check) and share this with the employer, who will also check identity documents to cross-check all details mentioned therein.
Withdrawing a job offer
In the circumstance that any cross-verification check brings out unsatisfactory or undesirable results, an employer can withdraw a job offer even after the candidate has accepted it. This applies as long as the candidate was made aware of all conditions and clauses which were applicable to the job.
An employer should only ask for information which is necessary and relevant to the background verification to be carried out. The employer must also make sure that any use of personal information complies with the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998. Employment records of a candidate must be kept secure and disposed in accordance with this act once a change of employment occurs. In case of mandatory record-keeping norms at an organization, any personal records must be retained as per statutory requirements. A candidate has the right to view any information held on him / her. A employee must be allowed to see his / her employment records by a past employer within 40 days of requesting and on possible charges of up to £10.
Free advice and help can be sought from the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) and Advice NI. They also offer impartial advice on all employment issues. Also, trade unions give help, advice and support to all their members.
Social Media checks
The number of organizations using social media portals to research their candidates’ backgrounds is increasing every year. Social media checks have also been scrutinised by various surveying agencies and have been reviewed. As per the results, an average of one in five organizations make decisions based on social media profiles and the content on candidates’ social media portals. This is more likely in case of large organizations. However, the following pointers must be noted.
- information on social media profiles must not always be true.
- information on a candidate’s social media portal needs to be confirmed and referenced carefully in case of multiple or duplicate sources.
- candidates should be allowed to respond to any information that hiring organizations have found online.
- any discrimination arising out of social media checks must be checked and legally reported.
- organizations must inform candidates beforehand if they’re going to conduct social media checks during hiring process.