How to Do Employee Background Checks:

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How to Do Employee Background Checks:

Read below to find out how to do a background check before you hire a new employee, and discover tips that will help you to develop an effective background check policy.


Take action before doing a background check.


Have a consistent policy.

Have a consistent policy.

This is best documented in a flow chart so everyone knows which steps to complete and at which point. Haphazard background verification check processes can cause legal issues if you are only applying some steps to some candidates, such as only doing credit checks on candidates from specific backgrounds.


Determine what type of information you want to check.

Determine what type of information you want to check.

In the U.K., employers must check that candidates they intend to employ are allowed to work in the U.K. Aside from that, an employment history and credentials check is typically sufficient for most roles.

However, depending on the role and industry, some employers may want to or be legally required to conduct a driving record check, a credit check, a health check, and/or a criminal record check.

Get legal advice.

Background checks can unearth sensitive information and you may not be able to gather certain information as part of a background check. However, you may be legally obliged to run certain checks.

Talk to a lawyer to make sure that you include all checks you have to do by law and that any additional ones you intend to conduct do not violate any privacy, data protection, or other laws.


Research background check services.

Research background check services.

Background check services can save time and make it easy for employers to verify a candidate's background and information. Research several service providers and look at the types of checks they perform, turnaround times, security measures, legal compliance, and pricing.


Steps to take after the background check.


Do not assume parts of the background check process are routine.

Do not assume parts of the background check process are routine.

Critical information will often come up in the most mundane steps of the background check. Make sure that hiring managers take the process seriously and that they pay attention to the valuable information obtained.

Give managers a list of what to look out for in each step.


Keep it professional.

Keep it professional.

When verifying previous employment, be mindful of the questions you ask and stick to factual information rather than asking for opinions.


Give candidates a chance to clear up mistakes or misunderstandings.

Give candidates a chance to clear up mistakes or misunderstandings.

Information obtained through background checks can be incorrect. Giving candidates a chance to review information can help you save a great candidate that could have been excluded incorrectly.

What are Common Types of Background Checks?

1. Right to work check.

Employers in the U.K. have to make sure that any candidate they intend to employ is legally allowed to work in the U.K.

2. Education and employment history check.

Conducting an education and employment history check serves to verify the places of prior employment and the qualifications the candidate listed on their resume.

3. Reference check.

Employers conduct reference checks to find out about the candidate's work experience and their skills and performance from someone who has worked with them previously.

4. DVLA check.

This check is used for roles that require employees to drive for the company, such as truck driver and courier positions. It provides access to a candidate's driving record and shows any penalty points or disqualifications they may have.

To run this check on a candidate's behalf, the employer must obtain the candidate's consent, as it is subject to data protection law.

5. Health check.

A health check can only be required of a successful candidate before they are hired if it is a legal requirement or if the job requires it. Furthermore, employers must include information about this check in their job offer letter and obtain written consent from the candidate before requesting a report from the candidate's doctor.

6. Criminal records check.

While employers can request a basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which includes details of unspent convictions, only certain roles are eligible for an enhanced check, which includes any additional information on local police records that a Chief Police Officer deems relevant. Visit to find out what type of DBS you can get.

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What shows up on a background check in the U.K.?

This may depend on the type of information an employer is looking to find or verify. If an employer just wants to verify references, they may reach out to the individuals the candidate listed as references. Employers may be legally obliged to conduct other checks, such as a DVLA and DBS check, depending on the role.

What background checks do companies in the U.K. do?

All companies in the U.K. must check that any individual they intend to employ is allowed to work in the U.K. Many will also verify a candidate's employment history and professional references and conduct any additional checks they are legally obliged to perform.

What is the most common type of background check in the U.K.?

Beyond the Right to Work check, the most common type of background check is the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

What is a Level 2 background check in the U.K.?

A CVI Level 2 background check is a screening for medium-risk roles that includes credit, address, and highest education checks, as well as a basic criminal disclosure.

What background checks do employers use in the U.K.?

Employers have to verify a candidate's right to work in the U.K. and may also request a basic DBS and check the candidate's references, qualifications, and employment history. Depending on the role, they may conduct additional checks, such as a DVLA, health, and enhanced DBS check.

What is a pre-employment background check in the U.K.?

A pre-employment background check in the U.K. is a screening that involves checking the candidate's right to work in the U.K. and verifying their background. Depending on the role, this may include a driving record, health, and/or criminal record check.

How far back do employment background checks go in the U.K.?

Employment background checks in the U.K. typically go back a minimum of five years.

Can you do a free background check for employment in the U.K.?

You can do a free background check by researching someone online, reaching out to the references they have provided, and checking their social media history. Other background checks, such as a DBS check, are not free and may require written consent from the candidate.

Can you do a financial background check in the U.K.?

Yes, depending on the role, some employers may want to check candidate's financial history.

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